A Twilight Walk

The Writer glances up. Her smile is quick and ready. “I have a story, if anyone is interested in hearing it.” The visitors around her clamour for her to tell it, and with a smile wreathing her lips, she begins.

The twilight was dim as she stepped forward. It was very pleasant in the autumn, the air a touch cooler than she might like; but that was what walking briskly was for. She waited with barely concealed impatience for her best friend. Once the other joined her, with a swift smile, they walked. Only she ran, her best friend constantly calling her back. The pair of them played in the twilight, the night slowly darkening and blurring the outlines of everything, She ran on until her friend called her back.

“It’ll be gettin’ dark. We’d best go home, eh?”

She turned and obediently walked beside her friend. She was tired, but not exhausted. And oh, she was so happy.

And then her best friend, who she was walking with, looked down at her with a smile. She patted her head.

“Good dog.”

The Writer laughed. “‘Tisn’t as long as you might hope. Ah, well, next time perhaps! I’ve got to go and figure out my programming.” Still laughing, she rose and left, the mists enshrouding her completely in an instant.


The Language of the Trees

The Writer steps forward. The wind whips her hair into her face, but she does not react. She smiles at her assembled friends, and opens her pale lips to speak. “Description – the art of lyrical language – is difficult to achieve without being overdone.” Another speaks up timidly. “Show us an example!” Her response is immediate. “How can I? But, for you, I shall try…”

The wind whispered through the trees, sighing, sobbing, singing. No one was there to see it; no one and everyone. All the world would have been standing there, their eager faces staining the dark waters, if they had but known what was about to happen.

The wind touched the water. It sang to the rivers, and the rivers sang back with a melody that was all their own, beautiful, lonely, everlasting. The wind ruffled the water as it did the leaves, deep in their drifts, in the time of autumn, of destruction, of beautiful, noble descruction. The water rippled softly, and struck the edge of the bank. The soft earth crumbled and fell to the water with the softest of sounds. Slowly some moss, a dark green and foreign to the water, slipped into the river. It rushed over it, picked it up, and now the moss was tumbled over and over in the water, flying through that alien underground world. A fish tried to eat it. It was a pity for the fish that the moss was toxic.

The wind swooped up, flinging rose petals into the air, so that they drifted, drifted and fell gently to the water. The bright colours kissed the liquid, like the eyes of a seal, limpid and helpless, and then the dark, powerful whirlpool snatched them, whirling them under the surface, away, away, lost.

“You mean that’s your descriptive passage?” questions her friend. The Writer nods. “It is indeed; although a poor effort.” She rises, and stands looking down at them. Then she smiles. “Now it’s your turn.”

The Dance

The Writer stands. The firelight flickers around her, making her seem like she is less solid than she really is. Her eyes are pools of darkness, her white hands streaks of foam. Her hair blows when there is no wind. “Let me tell you a story. The story of the Dance.” Her listeners lean forward, trying to catch every half-spoken word, snatched away by a wind there is not.

A maiden there was, once. A girl as lovely as the dawn; and her name was indeed Dawn. Her hair was long and a light golden. The sun would catch it every day and refuse to let go. In her eyes there was only light.

And yet no man had ever noticed her.

No tear dropped from Dawn’s eyes. She had never known unhappiness. Her life was almost a dream with joy.

And then came the day that the Dance was scheduled.

Dawn was a lovely figure that night. The clothing she wore was past description, and she rode on a unicorn. Trumpets cried aloud as she came, with no man’s impetus, but of their own volition.

They stared at her. Men stared at her as if they had forgotten all else. She was so beautiful they could not believe her to be real. And all tried to claim her for the Dance.

But Dawn hated it. And she turned and fled.

After her ran Benjamin, a man who was tall and bold.

“Dawn! Wait…”

She did not wait. She fled into the dark heart of the forest.

“Dawn…” He continued to pursue her. “Dawn, please!”

She did not turn. Then she cried back, “No! I shall not wait!” Now she did turn, staring at him and breathing quickly. “They… they all stared at me so,” and for the first time a tear came from her eyes. And Benjamin sprang forward and took her in his arms. She did not resist.

“Dawn, my dear, I love you. And the Dance told me so. Shall we dance alone?”

She smiled at him, and nodded. And, silent, far away from the festivites, Dawn and her chosen mate danced until the dawn.

The Writer finishes. She pauses. Then she smiles and looks suddenly at the others. One ventures a question as they see the resemblance. “Are you – are you Dawn? Is this your story?” Once more the Writer smiles and shrugs. They can see her as she might have been. “Who can tell? Nay, I am not Dawn. Dawn is but a dream…” Her words fade on the wind, but the listeners catch, or think they catch, the whisper. “It is my wish…”