My Writing Playground

a personal and inspirational blog, full of my creations and others' creations

Month: March, 2016

Feathers Inn

a short story

My clock has no hands and my body no heart.
I sleep in the day and come out in the dark.
I breathe no warmth, no kindness I pay,
for I never come out in the heat of the day.

Doubt nothing that’s said. Be silent in wonder.
Hope for the rain and listen for thunder.
Remember not me when the sun shines through.
Remember not me. I shall not think of you.

Come inside.

I’ll make you a cup of tea.

Yes, I lost the hands to that clock years ago. Looked everywhere and finally gave it up for lost or stolen. The clock still tells me the time, though. Perhaps it is magic. Things tend to be magic in this house. Or were once. But secrets and spells have come to bore me now that I am old and have no one to share things with.

Those trees out there, do you see them? They were once the glory of the forest. If you came within a hundred yards of their branches and lay down to sleep, you would be sucked into a world unknown and utterly lost. You would stay there till the end of your days, drinking from lemonade streams and sucking sugar grass. You forget who you are and what you’ve always dreamed to be. You become one with the people there, the Nobodies. But no one goes there nowadays. The trees are too old for that sort of thing, and all the young heroes they might intimidate are far gone, off in distant lands far more interesting than here.

Do not look for skeleton bones or dead snakes in the cabinets. They were all taken by my sister when she eloped with a young doctor fresh from medical school. She said she wanted to live the life of the ordinary for a while, but she needed a few souvenirs of home, in case a demon or wizard tried to take her memory away. I don’t think she knows what it’s like to be ordinary.

Not that I am one to talk. Nor should you. We neither of us are used to ordinary.

You hear something from above? Yes, don’t worry. That’s just my aunt sleeping. She’s a bear at this time of year, but perfectly harmless, I assure you. Back in the day, she would come out and drag off children from innocent villages and eat then for supper. And if anyone in the family told her to stop, she would eat them up, too, quick as a wink, for she was cursed by a sorcerer who had saved her life.

She had been in great peril, locked in a deep dungeon whilst above a villainous king plotted her murder, for she had attempted to steal the blessed water of the gods to use on the poor and helpless people of a nearby island. There had been a plague on the island for many years, and she was destined to stop it. In the dungeon, at her last thread of hope, there came the young sorcerer, Macedion. He had fallen in love with my aunt at first sight, and after hearing the harm intended towards her, he determined to free her. She vowed him eternal love, and the sorcerer broke her free and told her how to get the blessed water from the gargoyle who guarded it. He told her to set all the king’s ships on fire while he lured the sailors away. Then they made off for the island. There on the island they were to marry, but my aunt fell deeply in love with one of the island villagers named Gesstol. When the sorcerer heard this, he cursed my aunt, making her bear and beast for the rest of her days.

She lives with us now, and has grown quite calm and tame. After she knew she did not love the sorcerer, there was no way for her to be completely happy, but at least she talks to me a bit now. She tells me that she’s happy she didn’t marry the sorcerer. She’s glad to live in my attic like a bear. She only eats honey and fruit off of trees now. She never asks for more.

Do not be afraid of the mice that run around. They have always roamed free after my cat was kidnapped by a wicked fairy who sought for gold and riches, and got a pet instead.

Have you never heard the tale? She always had a wicked heart, that fairy. She clung to the idea that she was great, majestic, that she should be queen of the world. And the way to do that, in her eyes, was to become the richest fairy in all the world. You must not blame her. Fairies will think silly thoughts like that sometimes. Humans, too, if you’re not careful.

My brother lived in this house at that time. He had a whole treasure box full of gold in the cellar. He always kept it hidden, but word got around. It always does in fairy tales, because fairies are the best at knowing secrets. She demanded every coin. My brother, who always tried to follow in my wise uncle’s footsteps, said that the fairy could have all the gold and riches that she pleased, it was nothing to him, but he begged her not to take the cat. That cat, I will just mention, was always mine. I had asked him to care for it as a favor until I returned from a quest. I was to kill a raging dragon—but that is another tale. My brother was very bad at keeping promises. He convinced the fairy that the cat was the most valuable thing in the whole world.

I wonder what become of Feathers, my cat. I like to think he was a magic cat that made a kind spot in that fairy’s dark heart that grew and grew until she was no longer wicked but the most benevolent fairy ever heard of. I like to think that. Don’t you? At least I’ve never heard of her wicked doings again.

You needn’t worry where you place your feet or in which chair you sit. All the trap doors were sealed up after my father took a fall in one of them and broke his head. He died that day. My mother insisted that it would never happen to anyone again.

It was quite hard to get any builder to come to the house. We had quite a few more bats back then, and spider webs as well. Whenever we finally got someone to show up on our doorstep, they often ran away before they ever stepped inside. In the end my brother patched the doors himself. But he did a fine job. They won’t open again.

I think it was after my mother died that the magic really started the fade. She was so vibrant, so full of magic herself that it was hard to do anything without her. She was killed by some accident over a mess of a spell. Something of cockroaches and porcupine needles. Not sure exactly. I wasn’t there.

A sign hangs on my door, if you look closely. My mother wanted it thrown out, but I carefully took it down and saved it until after she was gone. It’s worn in places, but you can still read it if you truly wish to. It was my father’s.

My clock has no hands and my body no heart.
I sleep in the day and come out in the dark.
I breathe no warmth, no kindness I pay,
for I never come out in the heat of the day.

Doubt nothing that’s said. Be silent in wonder.
Hope for the rain and listen for thunder.
Remember not me when the sun shines through.
Remember not me. I shall not think of you.

 

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Reduced to Stardust

My English professor blew my mind today. He was talking the play King Lear by Shakespeare, and about the difference between the morality of the traditional Christian Europe of the past in which there is considered to be a “natural order” ordained by God and modern scientific philosophy that says there is no natural order, and then he said this:

“What is it like to live as moral beings in a cosmology that reduces us to stardust?”

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I personally think it sounds wonderful to be made of stardust.