Their moments were fleeting; at times, raw. This, was that moment.
She giggled. A child’s head popped up from beneath the table. His daughter, a sprite of girl straightened and met his stare. A paper doll dangled from her fingertips. The style of doll was familiar; he knew Jacqueline had sketched it, had painted in the model like features and cut it to form.
“I didn’t see you,” he laughed. “How long have you been here?”
She was his light beam; her smile tamed darkness.
In that moment she charmed him. Feet planted, Annie straightened and dared: stay. Her ruffled blonde hair, wide bangs cut short, and one off- centered, green eye, opened wide; he had noticed her tricks.
Instantly, Annie lowered her head and the spell was broken.
He crouched beside her. Gently, his fingertips smoothed the tussled strands of her hair into place. He cupped her dimpled chin and waited for her to look up. When she did, he traced the freckled path along her cheekbone. Surgical tape stuck to the skin above her left eyebrow. One edge of the tape had lifted. Carefully, his fingertip pressed the errant corner into place. He knew she hated the eye patch, always picked at the edges to get free of the gauze covering.
He lingered in that moment. She was his black cat bone, his good luck charm.
“His Plymouth navigated home on the blade edge of moonlight, that fine line before the razor-sharp steel slices through darkness, revealing the thin leaf of dawn.”
It’s been awhile since I’ve sat down to “free” write much of anything worthy of eyes and time. So, here goes a draft of something that has little relation to anything, other than a fledgling writer’s recommitment to practice her craft~
Perched upon a twisted branch, nestled deep within the tree top’s canopy, a raven hid. Beneath its view, a woman lay sprawled upon the mossy floor. Tousled locks, the colour of spun gold, fanned over the green that bedded her body. She was covered in tapestry, its richness deeper and bluer than the ocean that smashed beneath the hillside cliffs at the forest’s edge.
It was the glint of diamond pinned at her neckline that caught the Raven’s eye.
A woman’s body, once an empty vessel, was filling. Was she drowning? One hand slid over her heart. The steady rhythm, a comfort. She stirred, grateful to be alive.
What all knowing presence had snuck beneath her skin? Its comforting warmth now surging through her veins; its wisdom trickling down in whispers, “seek and you shall find.”
Full lips parted and she drank the words as quenching to her hollow as a downpour over parched earth. As a seed unfurls, she felt herself transforming back to life.
Once again, the voice spoke. This time the words were audible, “You are not alone.”
A flash of black broke through the verdant canopy. Eyes wide, she knew the answer to her question.
This ephiephemy hadn’t come about in easy fashion. Rather, it had been a journey of twists and turns, thorns and roses, darkness and light. Steeped in the brew were moments of glimmering truths.
Beauty is found within shambles. A gritty truth she understood. Glances back through time, a particular poem cut from a Daily, a chipped, floral tea cup, a photograph and an untold story. All small, cracked and torn moments forged to memory.
She stood, a forearm shielding her forehead and faced the dark fury. A lone voice commanded, “Be not afraid.”
She straightened. The others had circled, an army of silent souls. Sentries, they stood guard. Step for step, they had matched her pace along this journey, only pausing when she had collapsed, to rest her cheek upon the carpeted forest floor.
Lyrical words for a rainy morning.
Alone, in the darkness, her silent tears slip; only the stars listen.
Far, far away, on the other side of time, someone catches and collects her tears. He tucks the vial to his heart and waits till the moon rises, ripe in an inky sky. Standing atop a grassy knoll, he uncorks the tears and tosses them heavenward. Momentarily, the sky flickers with light. Shimmering, the released tears scatter to earth as rain.
Fury and force heaved and shattered all that dared defy their presence. With exhaled breath, they battered the stalwart evergreens. Tree- tops spun. Boughs snapped and fell.
I knew it was a matter of time.
In the distance, a low rumble shot like a freight train through the land. The faint thundering of hooves grew louder. Beside me, a squirrel scurried for shelter. Overhead, a raven screamed a spell.
A veil hung, ominous and sheer, separating earth from the heavens. Deafening silence overtook the land. The faintest sound was the pumping of my heart. Even still, I was not afraid.
Leaves spun, suspended in air. Shades of red through orange, shapes of maple and oak teased my outstretched hand. Pinecones scattered and rolled across the mossy carpet beneath my feet.
From a clearing he appeared, lit beneath the hunter’s moon. I watched ringed fingers grip and tug the reins. The stallion reared, muscles taut, its coat damp and shiny, head twitching side to side.
On the charge’s back sat the royal one. A body clothed in leather, eyes the sparks of flint, a rugged face devoid of emotion.
It was then I glimpsed his truth. I saw one hand lift, watched as his fingers stroked the mane. The steed lowered its head and stood like stone.
The Storm King lifted from the saddle. Dark, dangerous, beautiful and mysterious he kneeled before me and bowed.