#VisDare 43 : Memory

The eagles asked me to take Alice to a second place. As I did, Alice pulled me to a stop. “I can’t.”

I took both her hands in mine. “Why?”

“You don’t know, do you?”

I softly touched her cheek with my fingertips, as I closed my eyes. Alice pressed my hand against her face. And I saw her memories. She stood in the small glade the eagles told me about. She was much younger. I saw her speaking to a butterfly, her eyes closed, as she listened to the stories it shared with her.

I saw members of the horde pour through the walls of the glade, destroying it. I learned what they’d done to Alice that day. When she was just a child.

I’d seen enough. I kissed her. I held her.

“Alice. It’s time for things to change.”

She kissed me. “I’ve looked for you so long.”

150 Words
@LurchMunster


This is part 27 in the continuing story I’m working on for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

If you wish to read the entire tale, you can find it, starting with Part 27, running back to Part 1, here.

#12Masque : Lost In The Masquerade

Welcome to the Twelfth Night Masquerade, hosted by Meg McNulty. A masquerade celebration of the twelfth night of Christmas. What follows is my entry into the celebration.


She looked the part she’d chosen to play in the masquerade. The black silk gown she’d selected was exquisite. It fit every curve, drew attention to every surface. Her shoes, more like sandals with straps that wrapped around her ankles and calves. Her nails were all polished black as night. She wore black lace gloves that reached to her elbows. Her black hair cascaded down her bare back, the gown held in place by a black ribbon that laced from the small of her back up to the base of her shoulders. She’d topped it off with a black mask. The pale black eye shadow she’d so carefully placed was just another detail in the work of art she was.

I’d expected nothing less.

She was the same every day. Perfectly made up. Perfectly dressed. With perfect behavior. Like an actress playing a role made just for her. Putting on a show for all to see. With no depth, no life beyond the screen. What does an actress do when she’s not acting? Who does she become when she’s not in character?

I knew the answer, though I dared not share it with anyone, save her.

It was a joy to watch the way she played the part. Turning men into helpless boys, unable to take their eyes off her. Nodding their heads, and racing to fetch her another drink when she indicated she wanted one. Too tongue-tied to ask her to dance.

The way they turned to love-struck puppies was no surprise.

Other women avoided her. The spoke of the hussy in black in hushed tones in their little gatherings. Green jealousy, and red hatred filling their eyes. Visible through their masks. Smiling when their paths crossed hers. “You look stunning tonight, dear. Really. You make it look so easy.”

I stood, in the shadows. Speaking to no one. Watching her perform. Watching the corresponding performances from those around her. Wondering how they would behave, if they knew her as I did. If they knew the truth of who she was.

Would they understand how hurt, how broken, how wounded she was? Would the see the way her heart bled? Would they see the scars within her soul? Would they see she had forgotten so very long ago who she really was? No longer knowing what she felt, what she believed, or who she was. Just an actress, playing a part, and nothing more?

Would they see the little girl, hiding from the world she didn’t understand? Always hidden behind a mask.

As I watched her perform that night, I found myself wondering, as I have wondered so many times before. If I could ever help her find herself. If she would ever see herself as I did. If she would let me walk beside while she searched for who she was. Or if she’d remain as she was now.

Lost. In the masquerade.


496 Words

Please read the other entries in this masquerade. They are all wonderful stories, freely shared by word artists, and are well worth reading.

Chapter 29 Of JuNoWriMo 2012

Chapter 29 – I Don’t Have A Name

Scream pushed himself. As hard as he could. He flew, streaking across the sky. He spoke to Mystica as he flew. “Mystica. It’s time. I have heard another child. I have to help her. Please take care of Musica for me.”

And he flew. He had to get there in time. He had to. His wings grabbed oceans of air, and hurled them behind him. A black stream in the black sky. He’d heard a little girl. Maybe only 2 years old. Crying. “Mommy? Daddy?” He’d heard her, “Where am I?”

He’d spoken with her. “Hi, little one. Are you lost?”

“I’m lost.”

“Where are you?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know.”

“Who are you?”

“Me.”

“Do you have a name?”

“No.”

“What does everyone call you?”

“Bad girl.”

“Why do they call you that?”

“I don’t know.”

Scream pushed himself. He had to get there. He had to. “I’ll find you. OK? I’ll find you.” He wished he could fly even faster. Faster than Merlin. So he could get there. So he could find the little girl. So he could help her. Take care of her.

“I’ll bring her to the lake.” He told Mystica. “I’ll bring her to the lake, so she will be safe.”

But first, he had to get to her. Find her.

“Are you hurt?”

“No.”

“Can you walk?”

“Yes.”

Scream knew where she was. He could tell tat as he spoke with her. The Black Mountains. He knew she was in all kinds of danger. She could fall off a cliff. Trip and fall down the side of a mountain. Cause a rock slide. Get caught in a mountain scream, and drown. So many things that could go wrong. So many things that could hurt her.

He had to get there. He had to.

He kept speaking with the girl as he streaked along. “Are you OK?”

“I’m scared.”

“I know, little one. I know. I’m on my way. I’ll be there soon.”

“I’m scared.”

“Would you like to know who I am?”

“Yes.”

“My name is Scream.”

“Scream?”

“Yes. Scream. I’m a dragon.”

The girl sounded nervous, scared, and excited all at t same time. “A dragon? I’ve never seen a dragon before. What’s a dragon?”

She was so young. “How old are you?”

“2.”

“2? That’s a good number.”

“I just turned 2.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. I missed your birthday.”

“That’s OK, Mr. Scream. No body celebrated my birthday this year.”

“Do you have a mommy and a daddy.”

“No. I don’t.”

Scream tore through the sky. He’d never flown so fast. As the sun came up, he screamed. A scream that carried for miles in all directions. A warning scream. A warning that a dragon was coming. To protect something. And would do whatever he had to.

The sun had been up for an hour.

“I’m tired, Mr. Scream.”

“Why don’t you lie down. And take a little nap.”

“I’m scared.”

An eagle spoke. “I found her.”

“Where is she?”

The eagle explained. Then said, “I’ll circle here. Above her. So you can find her.”

“Will you protect her?”

“As much as I can.”

“Thank you. Little one. An eagle friend of mine is flying nearby. He will watch over you as you sleep. He’ll protect you. You can take a nap. And I’ll get there soon.”

“I’m scared, Mr. Scream. And I’m hungry. So hungry.”

A bear spoke with Scream. “I have found some berries. I’ll take them to the child. So she can eat something.”

“Thank you.”

“It’s so very wrong, what those people have done to her.”

“They abandoned her, didn’t they?”

“Yes. They did.”

Scream tore the sky in half, as he raced along.  Racing across the Grey Hills. Into the Black Mountains. Getting higher, and higher. Until he saw the eagle, circling. He slowed. And looked carefully for the child on the ground.

There. On the ground. Asleep. Next to a bear. It was the little girl.

Scream landed. The bear nodded at him. “She’s resting.”

“Thank you for taking care of her.”

“I couldn’t let her go hungry. What they did to her is just so wrong.”

“I know.”

“What will you do with her, Sir Scream?”

“I will take her to the White Witch. The White Witch will know what to do.”

The bear got up, “That she will. That she will.” Then he headed off into the bushes, and the grasses, and the weeds.

Scream watched over the child. She was the cutest little child he’d ever seen. With curly, flowing silver and gray hair. When she finally woke up, Scream got to she her silvery gray eyes. And the nubs of wings on her back. Her wings had just started to come in.

“Are you Mr. Scream?”

“Yes. I am.”

“Where did Mr. Bear go?”

“He watched over you until I got here. Then he went home to his family.”

Scream looked at the little girl. “I know where two other girls are. And their mommy. I’m sure they would love to see you.”

“But I’m a bad girl. Remember? Who would want to see me.”

“I did. Remember. I came to find you.”

“Oh.” The little girl looked confused.

“You don’t have a name?”

“No.”

“Well.” Scream fought to control his anger. He wanted to go find the village  Totally destroy it. They’d abandoned this little girl. Only 2 years old! They’d even refused to give her a name. Calling her “bad girl.” And her parents had even declared they weren’t her parents. They’d disowned her.

He shook his head. He knew that wouldn’t accomplish anything. It would only cause the fairies to continue to fight the dragons. And to fight change. And that’s not what he wanted. He wanted the fairies to change. To learn to accept their special children. Like the one he was talking with.

Scream placed a hand on the ground. “If you climb into my hand, I can take you to see Mystica, and her children.”

“Do the children have names?”

“Yes, little one. They are Musica and Sunshine.”

“Can I have a name too?”

“Yes, little one. I’m sure Mystica will give you a name.”

The little girl climbed up into Scream’s hand. It wasn’t easy for her. She was little. She was tired. She was hungry. She struggled. She lost her footing several times. But she always held on, and found a way to regain her footing, and start climbing again. Scream held perfectly still. And that helped the little girl a lot.

When the little girl had made it into Scream’s hand, he gently picked her up. “I promise not to drop you. And to keep you safe. OK?”

“Yes, Mr. Scream.”

Then he flexed his wings, and took to the sky. Scream flew at a much slower pace. He wanted to be careful with the child. To make sure she was safe. He spoke to Mystica along the way. “I’ve found the child. I’m bringing her to the lake. She’s alive. And she seems to be OK. I’ll get her there as quickly as I can.”

He flew through the mountains. Toward the north, and the forest. He came upon a river that flowed toward the forest. So he followed it. Knowing it would flow into the lake. It took several hours, and Scream watched the little child very carefully. The little girl fell asleep.

Scream listened to hear heart beat. He listened to her breathe. He stayed very careful. For he knew of her gift. So he didn’t believe everything he saw while she was asleep. He simply followed the river.

The little girl woke up. And she cried.

“Why do you cry, little one?”

“I’m sad.”

“Oh.” Scream wished they were already at the lake. So Mystica could help with the girl. He considered going faster. But he didn’t want to scare the little girl. And he didn’t want to risk hurting her.

“We’re almost there, little one. It will take a little while longer.”

The little girl sniffed, and wiped her eyes. “I cry all the time. But I’m OK.”

“Are you looking forward to meeting the other girls?” he asked.

“Yes. But I’m scared.”

“Why are you scared, little one?”

“‘Cause people don’t like me.”

Scream heard the words she’d said earlier. “They call me bad girl.” He wanted to scream. But he couldn’t. It would have scared the little girl. And he couldn’t do that. So, he did not scream. He remained quiet, knowing it was less than one hour to the lake.

He hoped Mystica would know what to do.

A Clip From Chapter 26 of JuNoWriMo

Sunshine needed to get out and about. Mystica knew exactly what to do. She crossed the lake, and sat down in the rain, right next to Sunshine. “Let’s have a girl’s day out,” she said. “We’ll go to a village I know of, and we’ll find some new clothes for you. And a hair brush.” She smiled at Sunshine, “Is there anything you’d like to do while we are out?”

The rain began to fade, until it stopped. And Sunshine smiled. “Yes, Mommy! Yes! Let’s have a girl’s day out!”

Mystica picked Sunshine up, and called on her White Magic. “I’m going to try something different.” She winked at Sunshine. “Merlin said I can go anywhere I want to go, and get there very quickly. Let’s see if he was right. There are shops I know about at a village several days from here. Let’s see how long it takes us to get there.”

Sunshine thought that was a marvelous idea. “Let’s go, Mom! Let’s go!”

Musica called to the White Magic. It wrapped around them both. Then she spoke, “Let’s go!” There was a flash of white light. Everything just became a blur of swirling colors. It felt like they never really moved. But when the white light faded, and the colors stopped swirling around, they were standing on the outskirts of the village Mystica had spoken of.

It was the village Mystica had protected from the wolves.

She took Sunshine’s hand, and the two of them walked into the village. As the villagers saw Mystica, the word that they were being visited by the White Witch. And the White Witch had a little girl with her.

Mystica asked if everyone was OK. She healed those that were not feeling well. And she introduced Sunshine to everyone. “This is Sunshine. She’s my adopted daughter.” Everyone was happy to meet Sunshine. They made her feel welcome.

“Sunshine. What a beautiful name. She’s a beautiful little girl.”

The mothers of the village gathered up, and decided Sunshine needed a few things. They got her a little hand-held mirror, and a hairbrush. They helped her brush her hair. They picked out a couple of sun dresses and a pair of sandals for her.

Everyone ate lunch. The village had a picnic. Unplanned, and hap-hazard. But it was fun.There was singing, and dancing. Sandwiches made with chicken and turkey. And some of the best tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and green beans Sunshine had ever had.

Sunshine was happy. And of course, it was a beautiful day. And the more Sunshine smiled, and laughed, and played with the children in the village, the more beautiful the day became. The villagers asked Mystica about her daughter. Mystica explained that Sunshine was a special little girl. One blessed with wild magic.

Much to her surprise, the villagers accepted that. Several even told her, “We know you. And that you protect and help people. And we believe that if you say Sunshine is not dangerous, then she is not dangerous.”

Several of the mothers of the village sat with Mystica, as they watched the children play such games as tag, and tug-of-war, and hop-scotch.

Sunshine had never been a little girl. She’d never played with so many children all at once. She’d never had so much fun. Mystica watched her, and couldn’t help but smile. It was so wonderful to see Sunshine being a normal, happy, 4-year-old child.

Other children in the village asked her questions, “Are you a fairy?”, and “Did it hurt when your wings started to come out of your back?”, and “When will you learn to fly?” Sunshine answered all the questions. “Yes, I’m a fairy,” and “No. It didn’t. They just started coming out one day,” and “My wings have to grow a lot more before I can begin to learn to fly.”

Several of the girls in the village, and Sunshine, walked through a field of grasses. They picked little wild flowers. And braided them together. Making little headbands they could wear. They helped Sunshine pick the right kind of flowers, and braid them together, so that she had her own flower headband.

Sunshine’s favorite part was when the girls showed her how to brush her hair out, and put it in a pony tail. Sunshine loved that.

As with all good days, eventually, the sun begins to set. And when it did, Mystica and Sunshine knew it was time to leave. The girls of the village had all hugged their new friend Sunshine good-bye. And everyone thanked Mystica for coming to visit them. And for letting them meet her daughter, Sunshine. “Don’t be a stranger,” they told her.

The two of them walked from the village, and as they did, the white magic wrapped around them once again. And in no time at all, they were walking in the clearing by the lake.

A Clip From Chapter 16 Of JuNoWriMo 2012

Verdant Green was in her room in the castle. Alone. Her father, and her mother, gone. All at once. She tried to understand what happened. But, it’s hard for a four-year old girl to understand death. It’s easier to understand that someone’s gone.

She spoke with Eyela about her father. “Why is my Daddy gone?”

“He died in the fire in the village to the north.”

“So he can’t come home?”

“No, child. He can’t come home?”

“Does he hate me now?”

It was hard to hear Verdant Green ask such questions. But how do you explain to a child that her father died a hero, but is dead. And could not return no matter how much he loves you. But how Eyela tried. “You know your father loved you very much.”

“Then why can’t he come home?”

As hard as it was to talk with Verdant Green about her father, it was even more difficult to talk with her about Gentle Breeze. “Where did Mommy go?”

“Mommy is with daddy.”

“She went to be with daddy in the village in the north?”

“No, dear one. She is gone. No more. Dead. Just like Daddy.”

“So she’s not coming home either?”

Then the words that always brought an ache to Eyela’s heart. “Mommy hates me too, doesn’t she?”

A Clip from JuNoWriMo 2012, Day 8…

No sound was made. The wolves were silent. They simply let her past. The two females moving away from the child, as Mystica approached. A white light formed around the child. Gently holding her still. Providing warmth. Closing her wounds. Mending her broken bones. Ending her pain.

The child smiled. She looked at Mystica, and she smiled. Mystica smiled back at her. Then turned. And looked at Scream. There was sadness in her eyes. Scream knew. Mystica was too late. That even with all her white magic power, there are wounds Mystica can’t heal. That a life, already gone, can’t be restored.

The wolves, Scream, Merlin and Mystica stayed with the little fairy girl. Talking with her. Mystica holding her hand. Gently kissing her on the cheek, and the top of her head. Always smiling. They learned her name was Sally. That she loved bright red and yellow flowers. Some of the wolves had raced into the forest, and came back in just a few minutes with lots of red and yellow flowers they had snatched up in their mouths. Bringing them to Sally.

Sally had asked Mystica, “Will you be my mommy? My mommy doesn’t love me any more. My daddy doesn’t either. I need a new mommy. Will you be my mommy?”

Mystica had smiled. She’d kissed the top of Sally’s head once more. “Of course, my dear child. I’ll be your mommy. I’d love to be your mommy.”

Little Sally smiled. “I love you, Mommy.” Then she closed her eyes. “I’m so very tired.” And she went to sleep. And never woke. Her body going limp, as she stopped breathing. And her heart beat for the last time. With that last heartbeat, the wolves all stood as one, looked to the sky, and howled in pain. As if they’d lost one of their own.

Tears fell from Mystica’s eyes.

Merlin only watched. Standing to one side.

Scream, screamed. Stretched his wings. And was gone.