51bae841a56e8ee38b9fab709020d714

The Jester and The Washerwoman

The humming stopped him first. He reigned his horse to a brief pause when the sound drifted past his ears. The voice after it was not a very good one. It fell flat in certain spots, but it sent his heart racing. The horse beneath him pranced about impatiently. The cart behind them jingled with the tools of his profession.

It was heavy and his horse was tired. She wanted to get back to the castle, where her stall awaited her. He was the court jester, his horse bedecked in the flashy ribbons and fabrics. His suit was not as flashy as his impatient filly, but he was noticeable through the thick of the trees.

The castle was close, but the voice was closer.

“My savior comes from lilly land

And brings his song to me

He holds my hand through lilly pads

And shares his jubilee…”

He slid down from his horse. She gave a sigh and danced around on gold painted hooves.

“Now, now old girl. I’m just going to make sure there’s no intruders on the king’s land. She may be a spy, up to no good,” he said patting the horse’s nose.

She stomped her foot, showing him that she was adverse to the idea of playing hero, after the long journey they had just embarked on.

“I’ll be back! Just a quick peek.”

The jester slid off his multicolored coat. He purposely wore green pants and a dirtied white under shirt, so that in situations such as these he could sneak around unnoticed. He blended with the undergrowth and the trees as he crept towards the sound of the woman humming again.

When he came through to the creek that ran through the forest, he was startled to see a young woman knelt before it. She had a giant bundle of fabric beside her and her arms elbow deep in the brisk water before her. She dragged the brilliant white fabric from the water scrubbed it across the rocks, adding the harsh soap that turned her hands bright red in the afternoon sun.

She heard him stumble and turned quickly, her humming stopping and her eyes wide with fright. Without his colorful jacket, the jester was a half clothed man stumbling around in the king’s forest. The woman snatched up a pair of soggy undergarments and threw them at him.

He caught the soaking wet lacy things with his face and instantly began to lose his footing.

He tripped once.

Then twice.

And finally ended up in the creek on his back, with a mighty splash and a small shriek from the washerwoman.

In the distance the horse whinnied her concern and the jester came out of the water spitting and hollering to his steed to stay still. He apologized to the young woman, sloshing out of the water, taking half the creek with him.

8b2c7708c935b2dd640cd4c17218ef5e

He handed her the undergarments, with a face as red as her own. She snatched it from him, her face and hair dripping from his impromptu swim. He paused to stare at her, as she glared back, then heard the crash of his cart as his impatient horse tried to make her own way home.

He had to run through the woods and a good ways down the path to catch up with the old nag, snatching up his coat and bits and pieces that had been flung from his cart. As he stopped her and climbed back up onto her wide back, he strained his ears to hear if the washerwoman had recovered from her fright and began to sing again.

He heard nothing but the twittering of the birds and the soft babbling creek working its way through the forest.

He kicked the horse’s step up a bit and she pulled harder, eager to get back home.

************************************

When they neared the castle gates, the jester saw a great eagle flying overhead. In its great yellow claws it carried a giant basket filled to the brim with bright white linens. The bird soared down to the turret above the castle gates and set the basket carefully in front of a castle guardsmen. The guard paid the bird with a large fish and a little parcel wrapped tightly in leather.

It rose into the air again and flew back towards the forest. The jester watched it disappear before turning back to the last stretch before them.

The gates opened and the guard announced them to the courtyard. The king came to the doors to greet his favorite person among his court. The jester made him laugh and most importantly he brought back the best herbs and tobaccos for the king to try.

As the servants unpacked the cart and the grateful horse was led away to her bed, the jester walked with his king, his mind racing with thoughts of the washerwoman.

“Sire, who is the washerwoman in the woods?”

“What?!?” the king was surprised by the seriously posed question. Normally the jester was full of jokes and he could never tell when a punchline was coming.

“The woman who cleans the castle linens in the woods. Who is she?”

“Well, I don’t rightly know my good man. The linens have been picked up by a great eagle every day for the last two hundred years. No one knows who does them or how they are done, but as long as the eagle is paid a fish and a chunk of fresh bread and cheese, they come back brilliantly clean. No one in the entire kingdom has been able to match the price and quality of cleanliness.”

The jester stood back and looked at the king incredulously. Maybe this time the king would be the one to deliver the punchline, but the man was not one for making jokes.

The king’s face did not break into a smile, on the contrary he looked quite concerned.

“It is said that there is a cursed woman who lives out there. The eagle is her only outlet to leave the forest. Two hundred years ago, our king struck a deal with a witch in the forest, she wanted a piece of land of her own on the creek and in return she would wash the castle linens. The witch had a young woman to deliver the clean ones and pick up the dirty ones.

This young woman caught the eye of the king. He was a good man, but a greedy man. The king was married and had a young daughter, the witch’s assistant did not care for the advances of a man too old for her and even though she refused, he followed her to the creek one afternoon.

He returned to the castle and the young woman’s body was found floating in the castle moat, where the creek empties. The witch was not happy. She had lost a very precious thing, as the girl was her own daughter and the one who washed the linens, since the old woman was curled and gnarled from the rickets.

To earn her keep she would have to do the work on her own and this angered her. She refused to lose her daughter and her home to this greedy lustful man. So in the middle of the night she came to the king in the guise of a beautiful woman. He immediately invited her within his castle.

ce07e0b5a82a8e21eb8cee0ed490bed3

The old witch could not enter before, she had never been invited inside and her power kept her from trespassing. As soon as she was within she began to slaughter anyone within her reach. The old woman’s body may have been frail, but her magical power was immense and deadly. She could terrible and horrible things with the flick of a wrist.

The king hid inside his room for hours, crying and begging God to save him. His wife and young daughter were shoved into the room ahead of the old witch. She glared at the greedy king and he shrank from the steely gray eyes. He was terrified she would kill his family. He knew his lust could possibly take the only thing he ever truly loved, his precious, pretty little girl.

He watched as the witch killed his wife without even touching her, then she turned on him, holding his daughter close to her side.

‘You will not die, greedy king,’ she growled at him. ‘Instead you will live as you have doomed me to, without those you love the most.’

With that she disappeared from the room, holding his screaming daughter. The very next day the great eagle appeared with the basket filled with the cleaned linen and a message for the king. The linens would continue to be cleaned, as a clear and powerful message to the greedy king that his daughter still lived and would never return to the castle.

They say the witch still lives out there in the forest and the young girl that was kidnapped from this very castle, a royal princess of the kingdom, spends her days washing the linens.”

The king has sat in his throne by now and was holding a cup of cider out to his jester who stared at him in disbelief.

the_madness_of_the_jester_by_cg_warrior-d8l3yv1

“I have never heard that story,” the jester said taking the cup and sipping it slowly.

“It’s an old tale. Each king is taught the lesson to not be greedy using that tale. The greedy king passed it down with the warning to always pay the eagle and send the royal linens. I don’t personally believe it. There is probably just some old woman out there that just doesn’t want to be bothered.”

The king chuckled and the jester relaxed a bit. Maybe the woman was just an apprentice of an old washerwoman. The family business or some such.

“Well my jester! Enough of fairy tales! What have you brought for me this time?”

The jester set his cup down, his head still trying to burn the woman’s face in his memory. He yearned to see her again. The king set upon him to present the tobacco he had gathered on his travels. The jester set about his work with the king, still thinking back to the woman in the woods.

The next day he waited patiently on the back of his horse. She was well rested and antsy without the cart weighing her down. She pranced about the courtyard in the steamy afternoon air, puffing and panting her frustrations. He stroked her neck and urged her to wait.

Then as the sun was beginning to make its descent into the horizon, the eagle appeared, carrying its heavy burden. The jester indicated to the gate guard to open the small gate and let him and his horse through.

When the eagle took to the sky again he kicked his horse into a grateful full stride. She tossed her head and enjoyed the run that he urged her into.

They followed the bird straight into the tree line. The jester watched the shadow flit across the dim path and when it veered off the path into the trees, the horse gleefully pushed her way through the brush to chase it.

The jester sank down over her wide back and held on tight as she got his idea and chased the quickly fading shadow. Then, before the sun had completely sank in the sky, the horse halted. The jester clung to her to keep from being flung over her head.

Just in front of them, the creek babbled its greeting and an old creaky house jutted out of a rock formation, a small garden in the back and smoke pouring out of a smoke house chimney.

He urged his horse back into the woods and tied her to a tree. She was strangely quiet and obedient as he shushed her and signaled his intentions to check things out. She merely nodded her head and stood still and quiet, her speckled brown and white body blending in to the brush without all her colorful ribbons to give her away.

The eagle landed on the porch and the young woman from the creek emerged to take the payment from its claws. She gave it the fish and it left the porch to alight high in the trees and eat its dinner. The other parcel containing the bread and cheese she took into the house.

As the door swung open, pushed by her slender hip, he saw an old woman sitting before the fire. She was a gnarled and tiny woman. The signs that this was the witch and the kidnapped princess were all there. He knew he must use caution.

The door swung slowly closed, but the young washerwoman was at the window and moment later, lighting a candle and spreading the bread and cheese on a low table behind her.

“Did you send the eagle back for tomorrow’s basket?” the old woman rasped from her dusty old chair.

“No mam, not yet.” The sweet voice said quietly.

“Well go send him girl! Before he gets lazy and spends the night in the tree again. You will need an early start tomorrow. They send the guest linens that day.”

The young woman bowed quickly and slipped back out the door. She called out to the bird and it ruffled its feathers and squawked from its high perch. It shook its fish at her, demanding more time to eat. She sighed and sat down on the step. It would not do her any good to go back inside. The old woman would just fuss at her until she was sure the bird was on his way back to the castle.

She heard the woman rustling around in the shack. The clink of plates let her know the woman was preparing her own bowl of stew and bread. She would eat when the bird was finished; usually when the stew was cold and congealed in the pot.

She rocked back and forth, humming the little lullaby her mother had taught her as a child. The old woman banged her cane on the wooden floor inside and silenced the happy tune.

There was a splash nearby in the creek and she straightened, thinking back to the day before and the silly man that had frightened her. She giggled a little, remembering his dripping breeches clinging to him as he had ran off through the woods.

A sharp cry brought her back to the woods and the strange splash she had heard. She got up, straightening her dirty dress around her legs. A small moan made her sink into the bush beside the shack and creep down to the creek side. There the same man, from the previous day, was sunk to his knees in the muck that bordered the creek beside the old house.

She covered her mouth, a giggle pushing its way forward suddenly. The man groaned again, pulling his knee right up to his chest, only to fall back into the rushing water.

“Damn it!” he muttered trying not to draw attention, thrashing quietly in the creek to regain his balance.

“Do you need help, sir?” she said quietly.

“Ah!” he jumped as she came out of the bushes. Falling again into the water. This time not so quietly.

“Shhhhh!” she hissed, glancing up at the trees. The eagle was still buried beak deep in his supper, thankfully.

She made her way down the creek bank a little away from him, where the mud was packed tight. It was the spot she and the old woman entered to take their baths. They used the mud to scrub themselves clean each night, the same mud that was clinging to the man flailing around in front of her.

“Get out into the water,” she said wading out to her knees, holding her dress up high. The old witch would have plenty to say about her having dripping wet hem.

He finally understood her and waded out into the water and around to where she stood. She went back to the bank quickly, as he sloshed up behind her.

“You must be quiet,” she shushed him again. “If she catches you here, I’m not sure what she will do to you! You need to leave now!”

“Not without you!” he said grabbing her hand in his wet one. “You’re her, aren’t you?? The kidnapped princess?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” she hissed at him in a whisper. “And I told you, be…”

“Girl! Where are you girl?” the old woman was on the porch now. The eagle dropped its fish and immediately flew down to his older mistress.

The young woman snatched her hand away and ran towards the shack. The jester dropped into the bushes and watched as she made her way, barefooted, but quick, back to the impatient witch. The old woman banged her cane on the porch rails as the girl made her way up the steps.

“What are you doing girl?” she scolded.

“I thought I had stepped on a wasp, so I went down to the bathing pool to wash it. It must have been just a sharp stick. I’m fine now.”

“I don’t care how you feel!” the old woman yelled. “Do as I asked and get this bird his pouch!”

The young woman glanced behind her, relieved she couldn’t see the jester crouching in the bushes. She hoped he had left like she had asked him to, but he was still there in his camouflage clothing, hiding among the bushes and waiting.

She moved quickly to appease the old woman and was rewarded with a lukewarm supper. While she ate the witch made her way down to the bathing pool in the waning evening light. She sat on the edge of her chair waiting to hear any kind of sign that the jester had stayed and been discovered.

She let out a deep sigh when the old woman came through the door holding out her soiled clothing. She took the dirty clothes and went to get her own clean dress to change into.

By the time she made her way down to the rapidly cooling water, the sun had sank completely below the horizon and the sky was turning dark gray. She listened intently for the stranger she had left in the woods.

30f5fc152381ec6f8723492885cfacff

Not hearing anything she went to the pool and stripped off her dirty gown. The water got considerably deeper the further from the bank you got, so she was up to her neck within a short distance.

The pool was protected by a spell that the old woman had cast over it and nothing was there but her and the crystal clear, cool water, flowing gently around her.

This was her favorite time of day.

The only time for her to relax. The only time for her to be completely alone.

That’s why when a hand grabbed her foot, as she floated on her back peacefully, sent her sputtering under the water. She came to the surface, spitting and cussing. The jester surfaced in front of her, a sheepish smile on his goofy face.

“I couldn’t go without you,” he whispered. “You give me butterflies the size of bats.”

She giggled at the thought, but then splashed him in the face.

“I told you to leave you idiot. If she finds you…” she glanced around suddenly paranoid.

“Don’t worry about her. She snuffed the candle a few minutes ago. Your old mother snores like a bear.”

She smothered another giggle, glaring at him over her hand.

“I told you to go!”

“I can’t! I’m smitten!”

“You don’t even know me. That’s not my mother in that house and she’s a very dangerous woman!”

“Then you are her!?”

“Yes,” she sighed looking down into the water, she realized she was only in her undergarments so she sank back to her neck again.

“You’re the kidnapped princess?” he hissed in a whisper.

“Well sort of,” she replied. “I am the kidnapped princess’s daughter.”

“How can that be?”

“Well men like you show up and babies are made,” she said with a big grin.

He looked at her in disbelief. She laughed behind her hand and then looked at him seriously.

“A curse slows the aging process. It prolongs your torture this way. I was only five years old when the witch brought me here. I have only aged twenty years in the two hundred we have sat here in these woods. The time passes the same, but my body only grows a little each year.”

For some reason, this explanation made more sense to the jester. He took her hand to his lips. She did look like a healthy twenty-five year old. Though her hands were red and rough from the thousands of loads of laundry she had done in her long life, she was soft and beautiful with glossy brown hair that had been hidden beneath a head kerchief earlier that day.

He couldn’t tear his eyes away from her royal blue ones. He knew that color, the color that looked back at him when he spoke to his king. Those same eyes that filled with such glittering light when he laughed until tears poured from his eyes.

This blood line of royals had a liking for good jokes. The jester saw it as job security, he was full of them.

“Shhh…” the woman said, looking around suspiciously. “That damn bird is awful.”

She turned to show the jester a raised scar on her shoulder, the precise shape of an eagle’s beak. He moved forward and put his lips to it gently. She sighed and leaned back against his bare chest.

“You have to come with me,” he whispered in her ear.

“Why?” she breathed as he wrapped his arms around her. His hands tangled in her underdress and he turned her to him.

“Because I can’t leave you.”

“Then stay here,” she whispered as his lips touched hers. She giggled as he flicked his tongue across her bottom lip.

“I can’t. She’ll find me eventually,” he gave her a soft kiss and she closed her eyes.

“I know, but I can’t go. She will come after me.”

“I will hide you.”

“Who will take care of me? She has been my only companion for two hundred years. Her generosity keeps me alive.”

“I will take care of you.”

He kissed her again, before she could ask another question.

“I will love you.”

She melted into his arms and into his kiss. He tickled her with his soft funny shaped beard. He rubbed his hands up and down her tired back and whispered little jokes into her ear, as they floated around the pool, cuddling and kissing quietly.

There was a squawk and her feathered watchman landed on a nearby branch, sending the jester beneath the water and away to the safety of an overhanging willow tree. The young woman glared up at the bird.

0a13804deed98d654317397636b88f44

“What bird brain!?” she yelled at it. “You want to nag me too.”

She flung water up at the magnificent eagle and trudged out of the water slowly. The bird fluttered its wings, gesturing its head towards the big basket sitting on the dilapidated porch.

“I have until morning, you feathered idiot. Go away and leave me to my bath.”

The eagle squawked at her, cocking his head to one side, he glared at her with a cold golden eye. She flung more water up at him before picking up the thin linen sheet to dry herself. He finally flew up into the trees, perching briefly to glare at her again and then took off up into the dark sky. She sighed and dressed, soft sounds of the jester making his way back to her.

She was in her clean dress by the time he made it to the bank. He grabbed her hand again and pressed it tight to his lips.

“Pack your things. Meet me here. I will get my horse. We can disappear together. My king will give us whatever we need.”

“I will,” she whispered.

He pressed his lips to hers again, taking her breath away. She laughed softly again and ran away to get her bag.

His horse was still waiting patiently and quietly in the bushes. He led her quietly through the brush to the spot beside the bathing pool. He had changed out of his wet clothes and when she came down the trail, he was already on top of his horse, his hand outstretched to help her up with him.

His old nag groaned to have the extra weight, but she obeyed him, eager to get away from the witch’s shack.

They went quietly and slowly until they made it to the path. The dark had come on sudden and the path was hard to keep in sight. Many times they had to stop and redirect the horse, who was growing tense in the darkness.

“Maybe we should stop for the night,” the young woman suggested. “I have a blanket I brought with me. We could make bed in the leaves and start again in the morning.”

170dc9f70d6ff23bed6fd94819d6f3ef

The jester agreed and they bedded down, wrapped in each other’s arms.

**********************************

The morning came quickly and it wasn’t very long before the witch realized her worker had flown the coop. She furiously screamed for the eagle to come home from his high perch in the nearby mountains.

He swiftly flew in and landed on the porch next to her.

“You idiot!” she shrieked. “Where is she?!”

The eagle squawked and regarded her with his golden eye. She slammed her cane into the wood of the porch.

“Find her! Now!”

The eagle took to the sky with a shriek of frustration.

The washerwoman heard the shriek and leapt to her feet. She snatched up the blanket, rolling the jester across the ground, covering him in leaves and dirt.

“Quickly, quickly! He’s coming!”

“Who?!? Who is coming?” the jester asked, scanning the forest.

“That damn eagle!”

“Shit shit shit!”

They jumped up on the startled horse and kicked her into a gallop. She was more surefooted now that the morning light lit the path. They broke out of the forest, into the clearing with the castle just within sight. The jester relaxed a little, seeing home, but it was short lived.

The wide shadow of the eagle stretched out over them. He felt the grip on his shirt tighten as the shadow seemed to bear down on them. Then she was being ripped from his back. Her fingernails shredded his shirt as she was pulled away by the big, strong talons of the eagle.

He turned in his saddle, flinging his arms wide to grab her, but he was too late and she was already disappearing into the sky. The bird and girl dropped behind the tree line and he forced the horse to skid to a stop.

He whirled her around several times before deciding to go to the castle and ask for help. He galloped towards the gates, yelling for them to open them. As he passed through them his heart stopped, a woman’s scream rose from the forest. It ripped through his heart, turning into the haunting call of the eagle and settling into silence.

When the eagle slung the young woman down at the feet of the witch, she felt as if every bone in her body had cracked. The pain of her landing could not prepare her for what the witch had in store for her.

“No one ever leaves without my permission!” the old woman growled into her face.

She leaned forward and glared into the frightened blue eyes before her. Her cane tapped impatiently on the ground. Her cold, steely eyes narrowed.

“I won’t tolerate this! You ungrateful brat.”

The cane came down with a crash again and the young woman’s body coursed with pain and fire. She curled on the ground, screaming as her human body died. Feathers sprouted from her slender back and claws pushed their way out of her bare feet. Her scream twisted and a beak poured out the shriek of pain.

The eagle hopped around in the tree, before taking off, startled enough by the magic to lose its obedience to the witch. She didn’t care. Before her was a slightly smaller eagle, trembling in fear and pain.

She pointed to the basket of linens and the bird obediently took it to the creek. Overturning it with its beak, it began to painstakingly drag the linens through the cold water. The witch twitched her head and banged the cane one last time before returning inside her home. The new eagle looked back sadly at the shack and continued its work.

************************************

The jester begged the king to help him, but the jolly man just kept laughing. He thought the jester had made up this preposterous story as an entertainment for him. He packed his pipe with his special tobacco and stared at the jester, chuckling through watery, red eyes.

“Please sire,” the jester started again.

“Guard! Don’t forget the eagle is coming for its payment soon. Take the fish to the guard tower before it is too late.”

The jester had an idea. If he could catch the eagle, maybe he could gain some sort of leverage with the witch. Maybe his washerwoman was okay and just being held captive. He ran for the guard tower and came out on top of the wall. The other guards looked at him as if he was crazy but shrugged and continued their conversations as he watched anxiously over the wall.

Soon the great shadow lifted out of the forest and the bird he thought he was waiting for came closer. Then he noticed something about the eagle that was off. It was smaller and more timid. It carried the basket as if the weight was completely new to it.

When the new bird landed he knew instantly it wasn’t the original. Something was not right and as the bird lifted into the sky he was leaping down stairs to make it to his horse.

He jumped up onto her bare back and she gave an angry humph in return.

“Let’s go girl! Hurry!”

And they set off after the eagle, who had already sank over the tree line. He knew where to go this time though and he made quick work of the journey. He wasn’t quiet this time. He crashed into the thicket surrounding the shack, leaving his horse behind.

The eagle sat perched on the porch, looking around timidly as the old woman moved around the garden slowly. He charged at her.

How hard could it be to kill an old woman and break a curse?

But she, of course, was not a normal old woman, and she stopped him with a sweep of her hand. She turned on him, her old face twisted in fury. As his neck began to snap and twist on his shoulders the eagle was moved to anger and she flew at her old mistress.

Her golden claws gouged the woman’s eyes and shredded her old face, but she stopped when she heard the sound of the jester falling to the ground. She was too late and though the old witch lie in a pool of blood, groaning in pain and clutching her face, the jester was not breathing, his neck broken and his body still.

The eagle hopped towards him, her head down. She stood on his chest and looked down on him with one dark blue eye. No movement from the rapidly cooling body below her. She squawked and lifted off him to take to the sky, her sorrowful shrieks piercing the evening air.

**************************************

The eagle returned with branches to cover her lost love. She even dragged a white linen sheet over to cover him. She worked as the night darkened the sky.

She nestled by his cold body, watching as the witch slowly bled out and finally made one last moan. She thought that, maybe, as the witch died, she would be free of her curse. But her body was already forever transformed and her love was gone.

The silence of the night reminded her of how alone she was now.

Then a small splash made her small, sleek head perk up. Her beady eyes looked around the yard and she took to the air to find the source of the noise. At the bathing pool a great splashing was taking place and she spotted a great eagle flopping around in the cool air.

For a tense moment she thought maybe her jailer’s guard had returned to vex her, but this eagle was different.

He was more slender than the other and obviously less graceful. She squawked at him and startled him enough that he took flight out of the water, sending a spray towards her.

She squawked again, knowingly this time and he cried back to her in recognition. Picking at her with his beak as they wheeled up into the sky, she let out a joyful cry.

d86ef7d5a8cf9400233d4976a75eb968

The two eagles soared over the castle walls, where the guard lugged the basket of linens out to be picked up. He threw his hands wide in confusion as they kept flying into the rising sun.

Now free of the toils of curses.

~MCMB

a Mad Cow Mob Production- 2016

Lucky Girl

See-The-Good-in-The-Day

(Picture Credit Link: http://hdwpics.com/feeling-lucky-hdw1976061)

Lucky Girl

She’s so very lucky

He’s so damn great

He’s got the good looks

Got his head on straight

She’s so very lucky

To have a man so kind

He’s so funny and hardworking

He’s such a great find

She’s so very lucky

But don’t they see

She may be so lucky

But so is he

Back in their home

Where no one can see

This stay at home mother

Who is so very lucky

Making his lunches

Cooking his food

Raising their children

For this man they call good

His luck has no substance

They see only the nag

The one who controls him

The bitchy windbag

They’ve never seen

The tears she has cried

Her white knuckled grip

As she hangs on for the ride

Lost is the knowledge

Of all the hard times

When she put on her broken wings

Which his halo outshines

They see all the times

Where she fell over her feet

When her emotions bested her

And knocked her out of her seat

His life was not easy

But did she make it harder?

She has stood by his side

Encouraged him to be a good father

She’ told him “never give up”

That he can do anything

And although she’s not his queen

To her he will always be king

She’s prayed in his bad times

And in his good she showed pride

And when all the world hurt him

It was her tears that were cried

When he was angry and hurtful

She stood her ground

And when he walked out the door

She stuck around

She is so very lucky

But it truly hurts

When nobody sees

His luck is equal to hers

~MCMB

Raging Love

imagesRJFEAMY0

Raging Love

I have a rage in me…

A cold heartless rage…

A thoughtless madness of passion…

A sensual heat of violence…

Words of hate

broken dreams

Rage that burns the blackest souls…

But there is love….

Ignorant silent love…

Caring thoughtful embraces…

Sacrificing hopeful fancies…

Hopeless romantic

broken heart

Suffer the raging love inside my heart…

Facebook-20140306-022054

Picture Credit Link:

http://jmountswritteninblood.com/tag/literature/

Mellow Morning

goth-chic-dark-fantasy

Mellow Morning
Sitting with the lights on low.
Sitting with no place else to go.
Won’t you be my good time to talk.
Not a good time to take a walk.
Look me in the eye and tell me what’s on your mind.
Because deep inside you aren’t the leaving kind.
Say the words deep in your head.
You know it is all about what you said.
Sitting with the lights turned off.
Sitting where the world turns hot.
Come on be my good time to talk.
Please don’t be my reason to walk.
Let me tell you exactly what’s on my mind.
Because you know I am not the leaving kind.
I’ll say the words right out of my head.
It’s always about what I never said.
Sitting with the lights turned on.
Sitting here knowing you’re already gone.
There will be no good time to talk.
Decided it’s best just to take a walk.
Never got to tell you what’s on my mind.
Never thought you’d be the leaving kind.
All I can remember is what you said.
Now I can’t get you out of my head.

Photo Credit Link:

http://www.layoutsparks.com/pictures/dark-goth-0

The Princess and the Water Dragon

Suggested Pandora Station: Lindsey Stirling

The Princess and the Water Dragon

By: Abby Adams MCMB

Water_dragon

The small cry rang throughout her room waking her from her sleep. She slipped out of her large satin covered bed and followed the tiny shrieks sounding below her bedroom. Slipping on her robe and slippers she opened the door to her room very slowly on its creaking hinges before sliding through a slender space into the cold hallway. Straight ahead of her she heard the trickling of the water that ran below the castle through its long unused dungeon.

The heavy warped wooden door hung open, the sound of the river that swirled beneath the staircase drew her down the stone steps until her slippers soaked with the cold water. She slipped them off and placed them on the step behind her. The piercing sound echoed off the stone walls again as she shrugged her robe off and folded it on top of her shoes. In her trance she waded out into the water until she stood in the middle of the dark dungeon.

Sliding through the water swiftly, flashing his spines above the water briefly, a water dragon made lazy circles around her. She laughed as he leapt up like a dolphin from the dark water. He finally floated up in front of her and she scooped him up with both hands. He stretched his scaled nose up towards her, his mouth almost smiling as they stared at each other, the only sound ringing through the dark dungeon was the trickle of the water from his tail flipped over her arm.

“What a beautiful creature you are,” she whispered.

Justinwaterdragon
Story Inspired Artwork by: Justin Goodrich

She brought him up to her lips and kissed his cold nose. A flash of light made her gasp and drop the dragon back into the water. He swam away glowing through the water into the far reaches of the dungeon following the swollen river out of the castle. She waded out of the dungeon and back up the steps to her room. She watched out the window as she changed her night gown. The river winding through her small island kingdom to the ocean on the horizon stretched out before her. Just beyond the castle the river glowed brightly in the woods.

She leaned out the window straining to see what caused the light. Hoping the water dragon had made his way safely out of the river. A shriek startled her away from the window and she stared stunned as a massive blue black dragon burst up from the woods into the moonlit sky. She stumbled over to her bed and threw the covers about her watching as the creature flew off towards the sea, tumbling and shrieking. She burrowed into her blankets and soon trembled herself into a deep sleep.

***************************

The bell clanged early in the morning waking the princess suddenly with a gasp. Activity bustled outside her door as the castle staff awoke and went about their business murmuring rumors of the tragedy that had befell a nearby village the night before. She drew on her robe again and left her room before her ladies came to dress her. She skipped down the stairs in a hurry to get to the kitchen where the news would be abuzz and out loud. She could sneak in a door and listen unseen for a time before the servants would discover her.

“A dragon…” one maid whispered as the princess passed. The two maids curtsied with rags in hand and went back to polishing the giant mirrors of the ballroom as she strode past them. Their whispers renewed as she slipped out of sight and down a secret hallway to the great kitchen, filled with noise and loud voices.

Instead of testing her luck and the creaky door at the end of the dark hallway she crouched before it and listened intently. She was rewarded with the loud voice of the cook on the other side.

“The whole village gone,” the cook exclaimed. “No one left to tell the tale of how it happened. But there’s some who say it was a dragon. One fellow says he saw it taking off towards the ocean last night in the wee hours. Sapphire blue it is. Water dragon for sure.”

The rest of the cook staff murmured replies. The princess sat heavily against the door and put her head in her hands. She thought of the little dark blue dragon in the castle’s dungeon and then of the flash of light that had followed her kiss.

“Oh my, what have I done?” she whispered.

She got to her feet and hurried back out of the secret hall and up the stairway. She glanced at the door to the dungeon as she made her way to her room. It was closed tight and latched this morning. She wondered if her vision had actually been a dream caused by the shrieks of the water dragon that had terrorized the land last night. But as she burst into the room she saw her maids holding her water stained slippers and still damp nightgown.

After they helped her dress in her riding dress and piled her hair up on top of her head she dismissed them and picked up her cloak. She looked out of her window for a long moment towards the area where the dragon had appeared in the sky the night before. She turned and left the room her long skirt flying out behind her as she swept through the front hall and out into the courtyard. The stable hand had her horse waiting on her.

She could barely contain herself as she was helped into her saddle and arranged her light blue velvet long skirt across the back of her horse.  She guided the white stallion, prancing on his impatient feet through the castle gate. He danced a little more as she reigned him, feigning the decorum of an educated princess as the stunning pair made their way into the forest for the princess’s daily ride in the forest land around her father’s castle.

Peace had reigned for as long as she could remember. She could leave the safety of the castle walls without a guard, and her father had not seen her before the news of the dragon attack had reached him, so today was no different. The stallion would protect his rider to the death having been raised by her loving hands, but he was a high spirited horse and the two long time friends loved to run wild and free through the forest.

She slid her leg from around the pommel on the saddle and grasped the quivering horse with her thighs, clad in the leggings she had slipped on under her dress after her maids had left her dressing room. The pressure made the stallion stop in his tracks just as they disappeared in the tree line. She felt his muscles bunch in his shoulders as he readied for the command that always came next. She sunk low over his neck and buried her hands in his silken mane.

“Go!” she whispered in his ear. The energy quivering in his muscles burst through the both of them and the forest began to whip past her.

With her cloak spread wide behind her and her upper body crouched over the neck of the glimmering stallion she looked like strange blue wings coming out of the horse’s strong back. His feet pounded and as they burst through the woods into the meadow she leaned back and tossed her head flinging her arms wide, trusting the horse beneath her who ran in wild zig zags and loops around the meadow. He threw back his own head tossing his mane letting out neighs of joy at the daily exercise, his muscles stretching taking the distance in seconds and doubling back across the open field.

After crossing and looping the flower covered meadow several times she took up the reigns again and pulled the flighty horse back into control. He obeyed although his muscles still twitched and quivered with adrenaline. She turned him towards the woods again, where the river ran across the length of the island. She knew every inch of the lands belonging to her father around the castle.

1453509-bigthumbnail

As they entered the woods again and she heard the bubbling river, a groan came from the direction she was heading, a small very quiet groan, followed by a splash. She slipped from her horse, tying his reigns to a nearby tree and unclipping her long skirt from her waist. Without the volumes of material she was free to climb through the brush in her short skirt, thick leggings and leather boots that she had tucked her dagger into before leaving her room.

She no longer looked like a frilly pretty princess, and when the man lying on the river bank saw her, he thought he was seeing a warrior princess come to kill him with her dagger drawn. He gasped and tried to escape tripping and falling into the river further. His head submerged and he came up gasping and choking on the muddy water. She let out a loud laugh and put her dagger away as the naked man continued to try to trudge through the sludgy water beneath his feet.

“Stop,” she said as he stumbled and fell again, thankful he was waist deep in the cool water. “I am a friend.”

He stared at her for a moment, silent. Then he moved towards the shore, making her turn quickly as he exited the water.

“Wait right here,” she said keeping her back turned to the silent man behind her. “I will get you something to cover with.”

She went back through the bushes to her horse who waited, dancing and huffing at her impatiently. She pulled the long skirt off his back and patted his neck as she took off back through the bushes keeping her eyes on the ground. When she returned the man had gotten back into the water and was busy washing himself, once again waist deep.

“Here you are,” she said startling him. He turned and stared at her. “Who are you?”

He shrugged and returned to washing, a grimace crossed his face as he gently washed a wound across his chest. She frowned and sat to watch him finish bathing. As he moved back to the shore again she turned her head and when he cleared his throat she looked back to find him wrapped in her long skirt. She smiled and got to her feet. He smiled but still stood silent.

“Can you speak?” she asked. He shook his head opening his mouth. A small gasp of breath came out and nothing more. “Oh dear, okay. Well my horse is on the other side of the bush and he can carry us both. Would you like to come with me? Get clothed and that wound tended?”

He nodded slowly his dark grey eyes riveted to her face as she spoke. She took his hand and helped him through the bushes. He grunted and whimpered once as he stretched to avoid a thorny vine. She held his hand as they approached her startled horse. The stallion snorted and stomped around the wounded man, but when he got close enough to lay his hand on him the horse calmed suddenly and stood still as the two mounted. The horse grunted a little at the extra weight, but being the fastest and largest horse in the kingdom he was accustomed to his mistress and several of her friends clinging to him on mad dashes through the meadow they had just crossed. None of the princess’s friends’ horses could keep up with her stallion.

The stallion made his way out of the woods carefully with the taller rider seated politely behind the princess. He had piled the excess of the long skirt between his half naked body and her back and sat back with his arms crossed against his bare chest. She sat further up on the saddle, wrapping her leg around the pommel and arranging her short skirt around her upper legs, sitting side saddle. She looked the part of a warrior princess returning with her knight from war as she entered the castle walls.

The people came and stared as they made their way to the castle steps to meet the stable hand that anxiously waited for the princess to return. As the stallion trotted up his head flung high in the war horse pose he was born to, the man leapt down keeping the blue velvet wrapped around his body as the stable hand’s servant ran to fetch the king. The people gathered as their princess slid from her horse and mounted the stairs with the tall bronze naked man wrapped in her skirt. No one gasped about her attire, all knowing her carefree spirit and habit of wandering the woods in wool or cotton leggings instead of her proper long skirt.

The man was the cause of the murmuring through the crowd. He was sleek and shiny, his skin was tanned dark as if from many hours in the sun. His mop of blue black hair looked as though it was still wet as it glimmered in the morning sun. He was muscular and strong, his shoulders were lined with defined muscles. The princess and her silent guest were met by the castle staff and half the royal guard when they entered the hall. Her father was mounting the top of the stairway, her mother clutching his arm, her face bright white with panic.

They strolled down calmly for the sake of the staff but as soon as her foot reached the bottom step, the queen flew across the hall to her daughter and wrapped her arms around her. The king followed strolling quickly, a serious look on his face as he came to stand before the man beside his daughter. The two towered together over the smaller women. The king was no small man and had his share of war and trouble before he had brought peace to the island and his daughter was born. He glared at the silent man who defiantly stared back with his steely grey gaze. The princess put her hand on her father’s arm.

“He is not a bad man, father,” she said glancing up at the quiet stranger. “He cannot speak, but he understands us and he has been wounded. I had to help him. Maybe the dragon did this to him.”

At the mention of the dragon the man jerked around and looked down at the princess wide eyed. She caught his gaze and was suddenly reminded of her strange night in the dungeon, of the little water dragon’s small black eyes rimmed in steel grey. She almost gasped and stepped back but caught herself. Was this what her kiss had done to the creature? She unwrapped herself from her mother’s arms and eased closer to the now trembling man.

“It will be okay. You’re safe here,” she took his arm and her father motioned for the servants to help her show the man to a room to be clothed. The castle physician was called to tend to his wound.

The princess left him to the care of the castle servants and went to her own room to change her clothes and rearrange her hair. She dressed carefully in a grey and white silk dress that swirled around her in soft waterfalls of fabric. She carefully brushed her hair and had her maid pull it back out of her face, curling the tendrils with her hot iron. She put on a dark blue sapphire necklace and made her way out of the room and down to the dining room to have the noon meal with her parents and their guest.

He was already seated, looking dashing in a grey suit of clothes. His chest was bandaged underneath but he sat tall and straight in his chair as though no pain ran through his body. He was not smiling as he stared at the sun pouring on the floor from the high windows in the dining hall, but as she entered the room he looked up and his face lit up with a broad smile. Again she thought of the smiling dragon from the night before and grinned brightly back at him.

He quickly rose to his feet and pulled out her chair. Her father chuckled at the man’s politeness to his daughter and the warmth between the two young people. They both smiled at each other like a couple courting and as he took her hand to help her in her seat she covered his with her free hand and smiled up at him sweetly.

“Welcome guest,” her father’s voice boomed over the din of the servants moving about preparing the meal for the royal family and their usual company of family and friends. The man smiled and nodded around the table and then returned his attention to the princess seated beside him.

The day went by quickly with dancing and entertainment that would keep the castle booming with life until the sun sank below the horizon. Though the princess and her stranger did not speak it was as if they had silent conversations with their eyes. They danced together and played games with the other guests of the castle. The man offered to help struggling servants from time to time as they served up the food in large quantities and also helped to feed the fires that raged in all the fireplaces.

He swept the princess into a waltz around the grand ballroom as the king called for the musicians to play again. The two turned and twisted as others joined their dance. She kept her eyes locked on his, their fingers locked together as the music swirled around them. She smiled softly and he smiled back. His hand on her back held her tightly against him. The crowd seemed to melt away as he looked down into her blue eyes. They felt like they were alone on the dance floor and it seemed like their minds spoke to one another, but her smile melted away from her face as she heard what he was saying in her head.

“I must leave from here,” he whispered in her mind.

“Why?” she thought her eyebrows gathering in concern as they gazed at each other.

“I am dangerous, my love. Very dangerous,” his rasping voice said inside her head. “I must leave from here.”

“No. Don’t leave me. I feel safe with you. You can’t be dangerous. You will never hurt me, I know it,” she thought shaking her head and breaking their gaze. The spell broke and he frowned as their connection was broken.

The crowd returned from the haze around them as she laid her head on his chest for the rest of the dance and closed her eyes to the pitter patter of his heart. He held her hand hard as the steps quickened and they spun into a fun country dance. He caught her attention again, spinning her around eliciting giggles and smiles. She laughed and whirled with him and the crowd clapped and laughed at the young couple enjoying themselves. The happiness of their meeting returned and she thought nothing more of the whispered warnings in her mind.

They stopped as the music ended and he led her out to the gardens surrounding the back of the castle, attached to the ballroom. She held his hand as they walked out into the fading sunlight. He looked toward the sunset and frowned. She looked up at him concerned at the change in his mood again. He turned to her and gathered her into his arms. She melted into him tossing her head back, not understanding this sudden bond they shared.

Brushing her hair from her face he gazed down at her again and caught her eyes. She closed them as he cupped his hand beneath her chin. This time the words poured into her head. Thousands of different languages, all professing love for her and telling her how beautiful she was, all whispering urging her to hear him and understand. She didn’t know the languages, yet she understood the words perfectly, she felt lost in his love. Her whole world glowed around her as he kissed her and her arms wrapped around his neck as though she were clinging to the edge of a cliff.

“Don’t love me,” he whispered suddenly in her head. She broke away and stared into his eyes again.

“I can’t help it,” she thought back.

“It’s not safe for you to love me,” he whispered. His arms tightened about her as she tried to step back.

“Love isn’t safe. It’s wild and free and dangerous,” she thought her eyes filling with tears.

“I am too wild and free and dangerous,” his voice rasped pleadingly.

“I am stronger than you think,” she whispered out loud. She rose up on her tiptoes and kissed him again. He clutched her to him and held her tightly as his body began to tremble. The sun had sunk below the horizon and darkness began to fall over the castle grounds.

He trembled in her arms and suddenly began to push her away. She fell back as he shoved her hard a low growl rumbling in his throat. His eyes flashed and he roared out in pain. She scrambled to her feet tearing her dress as she stood. He was shivering all over and it looked as though droplets of water glimmered around him. He looked at her with fear in his eyes.

“Please run!” his voice exploded in her head.

She shrieked and ran inside as a flash of light engulfed him and inhuman shrieks issued out of the light. The crowd inside had huddled together staring at the exit to the gardens, the men surrounding the group of ladies their hands on their weapons. When she stumbled in alone, they started forward until she threw her hand up and rushed forward.

“The dragon is coming!” she yelled as they all gathered around her.

That caused the group to disperse. They ran to their places in the castle, the women to their rooms to hide and the men to find their weapons and armor to fight. The shrieks of the dragon burst through the castle sending the princess running back to the exit to the garden. The royal guards caught her as she tried to run out into the cooling night. She gasped as she saw the giant blue black dragon shrieking amongst the roses and flowering trees. It snorted and growled and when it caught sight of her being held, struggling against the guards, her hair streaming around her face and her dress torn, it roared in fury and stretched out a scaled claw knocking the men and the princess to the floor.

Stunned she laid on the floor staring at the dark sky. Blood poured from a scratch that extended from her shoulder across her arm and breast. His claw had brushed past her as he had knocked the guards away like flies. She sat up clutching her tattered dress to her. She stood silently still listening to the heavy breathing of the creature above her. Even in the presence of this giant scaled fearsome dragon she still felt warmth and love. She wanted to stretch her arm out and touch him, but as her arm came up he let out a whimper and swung his head away.

She let out a little sob turning her own head away. The dragon hanging his head in shame didn’t see the archer come to the castle wall, he didn’t see the trembling guard, who had never seen a dragon in his life notch his bow and arrow and aim it at the dragon and the princess below him. The princess was gazing up at the heavy breathing creature when the arrow struck her in the back. Her breath caught in her throat causing the black and grey eyes to swing back to her.

Rage and pain rocked the creature as he watched her crumple to the ground below him. A roar of madness shot out of his mouth and as he took to the sky a sudden barrage of arrows came flying at him. His blue black form shot across the darkening sky, shrieks of sadness and sorrow sounding throughout the castle and across the land. He came back down with a vengeance, fire pouring from his mouth and nose, his claws outstretched towards his assailants who poured from the castle to defend their king.

The queen screamed from her room high above the garden as she looked down at the grey mound of silk that was her daughter. Her maids held her back from the window as she tried to climb out to get down to her little girl. The dragon swooped over the castle grounds again swatting at the soldiers that wielded their swords and shot arrows into the air at him. The king, astride his daughter’s white stallion, shouted commands at the soldiers, unaware of what had happened to his daughter at the hands of his own archer. That same archer was struck from atop the castle wall with one swift blow of the dragon’s claws.

SciFiFanMatthewStawickiDragonAttack

As the dragon landed amongst the soldiers and king’s guards his feet smashed knights in the full armor. Though the gash across his chest still gleamed with blood from the night before the arrows they shot at him bounced off his scales and their swords merely scratched him. He was ten times bigger than he had been the night before and tonight he was not confused and lost, he was outraged. His fury poured out of him as he fought the soldiers and then swung around face to face with the king himself.

Suddenly his outrage melted away as he faced the father of the princess he had loved. He stood still, his scaled chest heaving as he prepared to give himself to the king’s sword. A whispered moan came through into his mind and his head swung in the direction of the garden and the pile of silk that was slowly turning crimson as it soaked with the princess’s blood. She moved a little and he took off from the ground knocking the king from the horse and tumbling the stallion over on his side with a shrieking cry.

He landed just feet from the princess who was writhing on the ground now. Light was illuminating her shoulder where she had been scratched and she clutched it tightly. Her blue eyes searched wildly around and when she saw the dragon before her she calmed and though her whole body still shivered, she laid very still. The dragon stretched out his large clawed hand and very gently gathered her up. She sighed and closed her eyes as he held her to his chest and took off up into the sky.

The queen shrieked out the window after the disappearing dragon and her wounded daughter. The king mounted the stallion and rode out into the night. He searched for days but came back without even seeing the dragon, although he didn’t sleep through his whole journey.

The kingdom wept for their lost princess, but as time passed the grief calmed. The dragon did not terrorize the people of the island again, but those who braved the night in the following years told tales of a strange reptile looking woman resting on the cliffs at the edge of the sea, watching with her giant dragon lover sitting beside her. Keeping guard over the island and protecting the land the princess had loved.

1092010__3d-wall_p

Picture Credit Links:

http://need2read9.blogspot.com/2012/08/fantasy-pictures.html

abstract.desktopnexus.com

wallpaperweb.org

www.hdwallpapersinn.com

Fire of Insanity

 hd-wallpapers-princess-fantasy-art-download-wallpaper-1024x768-wallpaper

When pain takes over common sense and loneliness whisks away love from your heart and your bones… When the blinding light of hope tears your sight from tear stained eyes and makes you blind to all that is good in the world… When nothing seems to make sense and tears are the only thing to douse the fire of insanity…

My tears cannot put out the flames…

Forgotten desires… Hidden meanings… Stale honeymoon…

Expectations high… Fallen down amongst the fall colored leaves…

Swirling in the river… Lost in the sea… Floating among the clouds….

No need for fairytale dreams… No happy endings wait in the wings… You are not the princess…

No damsel in distress… Stronger than life’s toils… But not strong enough to survive alone…

Pain robs your happiness… Strength takes your sweetness… Doubt steals your sight… Sadness silences your words… Love breaks your heart… The fire of insanity burns your soul to ashes….

The Vampire and The River Spirit

Suggested Pandora Station: Goyte

The Vampire and The River Spirit

By: Abby Adams (MCMB)

Facebook-20140410-061332

Original Artwork By: Justin Goodrich

 

In agony he lay on the floor, writhing in the pain of hunger. His cold flesh sucking the blood from his veins. He could feel them collapsing under his skin. He cried out dragging himself across the hardwood floor. He struggled to his knees and tossed the side of the maroon Oriental rug covering the trap door. He pulled on the ring holding the heavy wooden door and let out a roar of pain as he tossed it open with a crash resounding through the dark mansion.

His breathing was ragged from the struggle to make it to the top of the dark stairwell. He lowered himself into the hole reaching over and grabbing the door. When he let go of the latch of the trap door he tumbled the rest of the way down the half rotten wooden steps. He landed with a groan on the hard cold ground below, his body wracking with pain.

The air turned cold and wet around him, as the dirt and rocks dug into his chest. Cold damp hands touched his face, rolling him over, caressing his cheeks droplets of water splashing over his face and hair. He opened his eyes a tiny bit, looking through his eyelashes at the pale face above him. Her features were perfect and porcelain smooth. Her watery gray eyes blinked prettily and he closed his eyes surrendering to the hunger and the darkness.

imagesCA73QXAU

*************************

Two weeks before….

imagesCA1MX0GQ

The blonde woman in the corner of the room straightened her back, uncomfortable in the corset that cinched her waist. She twisted and turned in the seat watching the crowd of people undulate, dancing around the ballroom. She understood the need to move around in the bone surrounded in silk tied tightly about her waist. When one sat for a period of time the hard spines of the thing dug into the rib cage and the tender parts under the arms.

There was a man across the room watching her as she strained upwards trying to settle the corset down onto her hips. He smiled and got up from his own seat, making his way through the dancer to come before her with a bow.

“May I have this dance, my lady,” he asked holding out his hand.

She sat back looking him up and down a moment before taking his hand. He was tall and dark haired, dressed in the latest fashion of the 1830’s. His clothes were obviously silken and European made. She glanced down at the bright pink silk dress she had acquired from some southern Belle’s airing porch. It was just as fine as his suit made of gray and black heavy silks. She took his hand and stood letting out a sigh as the dress settled back where it belonged.

“Umm, yea please,” she said unsure how to act the part of southern aristocrat.

He swept her out onto the dance floor, looking down into her eyes with his hazel gold eyes flashing in the candlelight. She felt dizzy as they turned around and around to the waltz. Soon she realized she was standing on a balcony in the cool night air. A frigid breeze swept across her bare shoulders and ruffled the lace across the top of her borrowed dress. She stopped dancing and pushed back from him.

“What is the meaning of this?” she demanded. “I’m not that kind of lady, sir.”

He let out a roar of laughter, slapping his knee. She stood back her arms crossed and realized one barefoot stuck out from beneath the long dress. No one had noticed until now. The couple being alone on the balcony he was the only seeing that she really didn’t belong at the ball amongst the rich well-dressed women and men. She blushed bright pink and he struggled to stop chuckling looking down at her dainty toes gripping the ground.

Finally as he calmed down he swept his jacket off and placed it around her shoulders. He touched her cheek and chuckled a little more.

“It is okay, your secret is safe with me,” he said taking her hand. “I wanted to get to know you a little better. I could see you didn’t really fit in here. Neither do I.”

She glanced over at him as he gazed off across the fields behind the mansion.

“But you are well-dressed. You have a lot of money…..” she started to say, listing the things that made him belong in the group of people in the ballroom.

“I own this house…” he added making her gasp and turn to him.

“No you don’t?!” she gasped backing away.

“Yes, I do. What is the matter with that? Isn’t it a beautiful house?”

“Umm it’s not really the house,” she said still backing away as he came towards her. “I live nearby here and my folks have told me the owner of this house is… ummm… well… not human.”

Suddenly the laughter hit him again and she blushed hard yet again. She was nothing but a country bumpkin, she was star struck by this man who owned most of the land around her home. Everything but the river, no one could own the river. Stupid words were tumbling from her mouth.

“I’m so sorry. I know it’s just a story,” she stuttered gathering her dress ready to flee her embarrassment and go back home where she belonged.

He reached out and grabbed her arm as she turned to run. He spun her back towards him wrapping his arms around her gently. She melted into him looking up with bewildered gray eyes. She couldn’t decide how to feel. His mouth descended on hers suddenly and she sighed on his lips. The kiss transformed the air around them, warming and cooling at the same time.

She became damp in his arms and suddenly disappeared in a soaking dress in a puddle around his feet, steam rising and flying away towards the woods. He jumped from the balcony as he saw a streak of glowing flesh run through the woods towards the river. His reflexes caught him as he hit the ground two stories down leaving behind the music and the chatter of the ball.

His senses picked up her running form, half solid and half steam. She was hundreds of yards away now but no match for his speed. The stories she had heard were true, he was a vampire. But what raced through his mind at that moment was what exactly was she?

She pushed through the trees and bushes. The leaves slapped straight through her body shaking droplets all over the ground as she ran ahead. Her naked form streaked a blue tinged glow through the woods ahead of the vampire following her.

Suddenly the sound of rushing water made her heart skip a beat and she plunged ahead her feet leaving the ground as she vaporized through the last remaining bushes. She rained down into the river rushing below the clay red cliff. The vampire skidded to a stop at its edge.

She formed in the water and chanced a glance up at the man whose bellows of laughter echoed around her. He waved his arms and she slipped below the water disappearing from sight. The vampire chuckled and turned back into the woods. His body glowed as the tears in his clothing and the ripped skin underneath closed. His suit and sanity intact he straightened his coat and walked calmly back to his plantation house and his guests.

The vampire had lived in the sweltering heat of the south in the United States since the early 1800’s. He had made the voyage from Europe on an unfortunate ship of pilgrims, all ready for the excitement of a new world and opportunity. None made the trip alive, at least not in soul and the ship arrived carrying a pack of new vampires, more savage than the Indians that already called the New World their home, and a deck stacked with the corpses of less fortunate “meals”, who the vampire told officials had died from natural causes.

He took to the countryside before morning and wound up on the porch of an old plantation owner. The old man took the vampire in and in trade for eternal life the man gave the vampire his estate and set out on his own to see the world. He donned his cowboy hat and winked at the vampire as he headed out to the “wild west.”

The vampire held huge parties in his new house, surrounding himself with rich old southern families who thought he was the old plantation owner’s son. The southern belles melted at his charm and quite often became a snack in the night air on his porch. Never enough to kill them, but most the girls in town had a strange hickey after attending the vampire’s parties.

He never saw the other vampires he had created. Most perished in their first dawn after changing, but the others took to other colonies or back onto ships to rejoin the dark society of Europe they had left behind as humans. Vampire senses enhanced every sense and the bright alive colors of the colonies made many of the uncomfortable.

This vampire however lapped it all up, enjoying the fresh moist air and close heat. He liked all the shade of his yard where he could stroll even at high noon and not feel more than the satisfying warmth through his normally cold body. He enjoyed his life amongst the southern bourgeoisie. They accepted him with his slight accent readily.

His stories intrigued the men folks and made the women swoon at the dangers he told of being a missionary in a treacherous world. His grand galas made the town’s single women rush around in a tizzy buying new dresses and accessories. All scrambling for the bachelor’s attentions, though none succeeded in more than a stolen kiss and lusty words with his face buried at her neck.

The vampire stood on his back porch gazing out into the forest behind the manor house.  As the last guests staggered down to their carriages, his mind wandered to the river spirit who had made her appearance at his dance the night before. How had she known he was a vampire?

None of the town’s people talked about him that way and neither did those in the neighboring towns either. He made sure to keep informed of all the happenings of his surroundings. But of course this young lady was not a young lady from any human colony. She had made that quite clear with her strange and wild escape from his amorous embrace the night before. She stirred something inside of him with the kiss he had stolen and his mind could not shake her image flitting away from him in the woods.

He hadn’t known what to do with the sodden pink silk dress, so he hung it on the line behind the house. Now, as he stared at it, his mind didn’t think about the coming dawn, the one time of day when the sun was able to creep across his lawn. The rays touched his hands first and he jumped back from the rail of the porch and scrambled into the house, up to his darkened room.

He lifted the heavy velvet curtain and peeked out at the stained pink dress that flapped in the morning breeze. It lit up in the morning sun and a glowing fog rolled across the lawn. Suddenly there standing by the dress was the naked girl. She snatched the dress from the line, glancing around quickly she dashed into the woods. The vampire chuckled and went to his bed to lie down now knowing what he would do to capture the little creature’s attention.

The river spirit tucked the dress under her arm as she hurried through the forest. She glanced behind her as she ran expecting the vampire to materialize behind her. She sighed as she slid down the bank of the river to her secret cave. Slipping on the mud in her solid form she made it into the cave holding the dress high above her head.

Inside the cave bits and pieces of furniture were set up like a living room with a small table and chair in the corner. Hanging from the ceiling were a couple of tattered dresses, one stitched together from pieces of cloth she had found and smaller articles of clothing she had stolen from the banks of the river while their owner’s swam.  She had a makeshift bed made from a cot she had found washed up on the river bank with a mattress of old sacks stuffed with stolen cotton from near fields.

She hung the now water stained silk dress carefully in the driest part of the cave and stepped back to the hard chair. She looked around at her little trinkets she had collected from the real world of the humans. She sighed and sat down putting her head in her hands. She would never be part of the world she admired so much.

She knew how they lived and she watched them from afar in her makeshift clothes. Last night had been the first time she had been able to get that close to the humans of the world around her. No one knew her but she had looked like them, all made up in her stolen finery. If only her bare feet hadn’t given her away. She sighed again and looked down at her bare toes.

She would have to steal shoes next time. She stood and looked in the mirror. The blonde hair would have to go. He knew what she looked like now. She shook her head violently and droplets of golden water sprayed the walls of the cave. She looked again in the mirror and smiled satisfied with the new dark brown atop her head.

beatiful-painting-woman-nude-sensual-girl-female-art-design-soul-life-spirit-sprite-311x485

She turned and left the cave dropping down into the rushing water. Now she had to hunt for a pair of shoes and a new dress to wear.

As dusk came the vampire headed into town. He was besieged with women the minute his horse trotted down the street. They called to him waving their lace handkerchiefs. He nodded and waved to them smiling. He hopped off his horse at the tailor’s shop.

The women giggled and whispered as he disappeared inside. The tailor hustled him into the quickly darkening workroom. The jingle of the vampire’s gold made him very attentive as the rich man told the tailor his strange clothing requests.

“Yes sir, we can do that for you,” the tailor said counting the coins in his hand before stashing them away in his jacket pocket. “Come back tomorrow evening.”

The next night the vampire once again rode into town nodding and smiling at all the dazzling pale ladies. Their skin had failed to tan since his coming to town, though the sun used to scorch them all as dark as the Indians who had lost their land to the settlers. His packages were ready at the tailor’s little dark home and the vampire smiled gratefully when he opened the dress box and looked down on the lilac satin dress.

After passing some more gold coins into the tailor’s hand he took off on his horse back home to hang the dress in his back yard. He rushed back inside as dawn turned the horizon golden. He had been sitting by the dress all night long and had not seen one leaf rustle.

He strode across his pitch black room to the window and peeked outside. From the woods the girl stepped out and tip toed over to the dress. He couldn’t see her over the bright glow of her skin shining like water catching the dawn’s first rays and stinging his eyes. She reached out and touched the satin, softly taking it into her fingers. She glanced up at the window before snatching the garment down from the line. He chuckled as she disappeared again into the forest.

 ***********************************************************************************

The river spirit watched the vampire from the forest every day. She couldn’t stay away from his grand house. He left a pair of silver heels lying next to a tree one morning and a hat the next. Before the end of the week she had a beautiful gown with all the accessories. As the weekend neared she readied herself to visit his house for one of his grand parties he threw every weekend.

She entered the house wearing the lilac satin dress and silver heels. She looked around surprised to only hear music and no chatter of people. As she swept into the ballroom she gasped to see the room darkened romantically with only candles lit in the corners and the fireplace blazing. A small quartet played and out of the shadows the vampire stepped forward into the empty room.

He held his hand out and she took it sweeping along with him into a waltz. He gazed down into her eyes and she melted up against him. He smiled and kissed her forehead before turning her wide, sweeping the shimmering dress around the ballroom floor. Letting go of her hand she giggled as she spun away from him and then back into his arms.

101_0164_r1

They turned and twisted in the candlelight. The vampire could almost feel a heartbeat within his chest holding her close. She had laid her head against it with her eyes closed as they swayed to the music. As the song tapered off and quiet came over the room she straightened and looked up at him her eyes wide.

Taking his hand she pressed it against his own chest her hand covering his own. He felt it there, a slow steady beat. A feeling he had not felt for almost one hundred years. He closed his eyes against the stinging tears and broke away from her his hand still on his chest. The beat ceased just as suddenly as it was there.

“How could….” He said shaking his head.

“I don’t know,” she said stepping back.

The vampire waved his hand at the quartet and the musicians got up and left the ballroom. He walked across the room quickly to the bar. The alcohol numbed the ache in his chest. He drank the whiskey directly from the bottle draining it in one long gulp.

She shrank back across the room and sank into a chair next to the fireplace. He strode across the room quickly and stopped in front of her. She shimmered a little, the fabric of her dress darkening with the sudden moisture.

“Don’t you do that again,” he said dropping to one knee in front of her. “How did you do that?”

“I don’t know,” she whispered.

He grabbed her hand and pressed it to his chest. The flutter of a heart beat stammered in his chest as she snatched her hand back. He grabbed it again this time wrapping his other hand around her waist and hauled her up out of the chair. She gasped as he pressed her up to him, his hand on his chest, his other arm holding her tightly against his body.

His ragged breathing startled her as he waited for the beat to strengthen. She could feel it against her own chest now. Her feet dangled from the floor as he closed his eyes and wrapped both his arms around her. He listened to the beat of his heart intently. She just held very still holding tight to her solid form as her flight instinct struggled to stay buried.

Then he was kissing her neck and she was burying her fingers into his hair as his now warm lips travelled the collar of her dress. His arms tightened and she leaned back into them allowing his head to bend forward sending shivers through her.

“Please….” She whispered, her vision blurred as she shook out her long auburn locks.

Their lips met with their eyes closed and the kiss rocked both their bodies even closer. She sighed as his kiss deepened his heart finding new strength in her touch. She trembled as his hands ran across her back settling on her buttocks and pressing her harder against him.

He straightened her and looked into her eyes. “You make my heart beat, little river spirit. You make me human again. You can’t imagine how this feels.”

Her eyes filled with tears and suddenly the dress felt softer as her solid form dissolved into sobs.

“No I can’t,” she sobbed as the mist floated out of the room and he was left standing holding an armful of wet satin hanging over a pair of silver satin shoes filled with water.

“We told you pain will only come of this little one,” the elder spirit said floating alongside her in the river.

His sea green skin gave away his ocean origins, but he, like many other elders, could adapt to fresh water. She dipped under the water and away from the other spirit. Alone in her cave was where she wanted to be now.

She formed on the small sandbar and slipped inside the cave. She let out a howl of rage. Everything she loved surrounded her. Everything that was part of a world she would never belong to, everything that screamed, “Human!” She couldn’t bear to look at it anymore and she began to rip apart the makeshift dress. The pink satin followed the remnants of the other out of the cave into the river.

She tossed the chair against the wall and kicked the already rickety legs out from under the table. Her trinkets were tossed into the shadows of the tunnel leading underground from the cave towards the manor house. She shredded the makeshift bed, pieces of cotton flying into the darkness after the sparkling jewels and pictures.

She turned away from it fearing the dark and stepped out into the sunshine. In front of her the pale pink dress floated lazily in the water rippling with the waves. She laughed and dived in to the water swimming underneath. The sun streamed through the fabric turning the water pink underneath it. The river spirit swam ahead of it and left behind the human world, this time she vowed, for good.

The vampire walked slowly by the river sticking closely to the shadows as the sun threatened him from the sky. Sometimes he had to retreat into the woods and bury himself in leaves and rest, but he stayed by the river day after day, wandering and watching the rippling waters.

He would hear a giggle from time to time but mostly he could only hear the hard beat of hunger on his veins. He had not fed since the river spirit had left him crying out in his ballroom. He wandered the banks of the river day and night. He risked the rays of the sun watching for her on the sandy banks of the river.

As he circled back past his home travelling in the opposite direction, he came across a cave and the pale pink dress caught in the brush close to the opening. He climbed down into the cave, the sun burning him as he slid across the mud and plunged into the darkness. He stumbled past the remnant of a wooden table and chair and reached down to pick up a pale pink cameo necklace.

As he straightened he noticed other little bits of jewelry littering the entrance to a tunnel. He walked ahead his eyes adjusting quickly to the dark. The tunnel led him underground for a good five minutes before he came upon a rickety set of stairs. He climbed them and pushed up on the trapdoor above him.

It resisted and he had to push with all his strength to force it open. When he did he realized he was in his own home, in the front hall, the Oriental rug lying there was now folded away from the trap door. He climbed out and lay on the floor for a moment gathering his strength.

He crawled to the foot of the stairs and slowly made his way up to his room on all fours. The hunger sucked at his body and pain throbbed through to his old brittle bones. He groaned as he laid his tired body on the big satin covered bed. His thoughts on the smiling face of the river spirit, he closed his eyes and fell asleep his heart trying to flutter in his chest just from the memory of her touch.

She floated with the blue green ocean spirit and the dark spirit of the Black Sea floating alongside her. She had lost herself in the flow again. She had floated for days listening to the whispered advice of her elders. But her thoughts were constantly on the vampire. She could feel his pain close by, lingering on the banks of her river.

“You are young,” the dark spirit whispered.

“You will lose your place on the spiral, little one,” the blue green salty voice called below her.

She just twisted and turned with the river current crashing against its banks and letting her thoughts carry her. Her wake scared the creatures resting on logs and banks down the river. Turtles jumped from their basking spots into the turbulent water and a great blue gray heron took to the air from his hunting spot in the shallow water as the water slapped at his long, spindly legs threatening to sweep him away.

She pushed against the current and the other spirits fell behind her. When she knew they had left her waters she stopped and turned with the current. As the clouds floated above the twisting spirit in the murky river water they whispered down to her in unison.

“Be careful little river spirit. You will lose your place on the spiral. You will have to start over in a mortal form to give him mortal life again. To give him a heart you must lose your power and lose him at the same time. You may never find each other again.”

The river spirit closed her eyes, hearing the same words they had whispered to her over the last lonely days. The warning that if she gave her spirit life to give the vampire a beating heart she may be demoted to a lower life form, that she may have to live many more lifetime to become human and she may never find him again. Then as the clouds disappeared she opened her eyes and surfaced in her solid form, her auburn hair clinging to her body in ling wet strands. She dived into the river water and swam swiftly towards her cave. She crawled quickly into the dark cave just as a roar of pain ripped through the tunnel.

She found him lying there, breathing hard holding his chest. She fell to her knees and gathered him into her arms pressing her body against his heaving chest. His eyes flickered open and he sighed. As his breathing calmed his eyes opened and he looked at her clearly this time.

She looked pale in the darkness and she had her eyes closed tight. Her breathing was shallow but she held tightly to his hand her lips moving in a silent prayer. His heart had fluttered to a steady faint beat. Her eyes opened slowly.

“I can only give you mortal life, my love,” she whispered. “You will begin again. This life is over. I have given you a higher spot on the spiral in exchange for my own. We will meet again. Maybe not in this life but know I will love you and only you in each and every lifetime, until I find you again.”

Her hand tightened on his as the cave lit up around them. His heart began to pound, but the hunger was sucking harder with every beat of the tiny amount of blood in his body. He had not fed and he had no blood for the newly beating heart to pump. It began to fail and the river spirit began to fade as his heart struggled to beat.

“Thank you,” he whispered. “I will find you again. You make my heart beat even when my soul is dead. You have given me new life. I will find you in any life. Any form. My love will never die, my spirit. My soul.”

The river spirit put her wrist to his lips and encouraged him to bite. The hunger took over and he drank. Her blood was like thick water, pouring through his entire body. His heart pounded harder as she pulled away from him. She bent down and kissed him slowly melting over him in slow waterfall of warm water. He closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

“Master!” the voice called down the stairway.

The butler came down the stairs slowly and saw his master lying on the floor his eyes closed, his entire body soaking wet. The old man ran to his master’s side and kneeled beside him. The man was breathing and when the butler touched him the younger man sat straight up. He sat for a moment with his hand on his chest and jumped up from the ground.

His heart racing in his chest as it pulsed new liquid blood through his dry veins. The feeling of life filled his body, a feeling he had lost so many years ago. He shook the water from his hair and ran down the cold dark tunnel towards the room at the end. He called for the spirit frantically pushing forward, the taste of oxygen burning in his long unused lungs.

The destruction that greeted him brought him to his knees. The river water poured over into the cave as the rain outside flooded the river and threatened to fill the spirit’s little human haven. He slowly picked up the soiled pink gown and made his way back to the mansion and his bewildered butler who had started to stumble down the tunnel after his master.

The vampire turned human climbed the rickety stairwell back into the mansion. He wet footprints were all the butler found when he finally made his way out of the hidden tunnel and into the mansion. The front door stood open with sunshine pouring in the foyer. Outside his master had mounted his horse at the stables and still clutching the soiled pink dress took off across the front lawn towards the coast.

When the newly revived man made his way through the southern port city his clothes were tattered and he was bone tired. The ladies barely looked his way not used to seeing him during the daytime and certainly not in shambles as he was now. He slid wearily from his horse and made his way to the ship that had carried him to the colonies. He boarded the ship and with the application of a hefty purse the crew immediately made ready to sail.

He disappeared below deck until the ship was well on its way out into the ocean. Dawn of the next day he made his way to the deck and stood at the rail. The sun peeked out from below the horizon shimmering in deep rose and gold tones. He still held tight to the pink dress, saturated with the earthy smell that reminded him of her. In the distance a figure leapt from the ocean. At first his heart leapt for joy at the sight of the womanly figured that glimmered in the rising sun.

As it drew closer and he leaned forward he noticed it was dolphin frolicking in the water below. As he pushed back from the rail the dress slipped from his grasp floating down to the water lapping at the sides of the ship. The dolphin sped over to the scrap of fabric and caught it with its fin, twisting and diving under the water, a flash of pink in the great blue and golden sea. He leaned over trying to catch sight of the only memento left of his lost love.

There below the surface her face shimmered up at him and he let go of his newly acquired humanity and the rail of the ship. The crew didn’t hear the splash as the man plummeted into the salty water. Only the gentle waves from two playful dolphins stirred as they twirled together at the side of the boat, gently nosing each other for a moment before plunging beneath the surface and disappearing into the rosy reflection on the ocean of the dawn.

118866890

Picture Credit links: