Prometheus lost. Light fires for him.
Author’s Note: This is a story I wrote some time ago. It was written for a specific theme that I don’t suppose will ever return, so I thought I’d post it for you. I hope you enjoy it as it was one I was always proud of writing. Yet another I’d rather post than leave to fester in a file on my laptop.
She bathed in the waters of the midnight sea unlit by the vibrant moon. Mysterious in her dark allure, she radiated a misting shade far beyond that of the night. An ebony presence outlined by rivulets of flowing stars, her slender figure slipped through the surf in silence. Even the sea gods shied from touching so divine a darkness. Her purity demanded it.
Almost spectral in those quiet hours, I observed her from behind the sand dunes. She gave no acknowledgement of my presence, or any other, so there I remained unable to tear my eyes from such exquisite a form. She made slow passage through the shallows taking her time as though savoring every delicious moment. I prayed she did it to tease me; a wishful fantasy. Unhurried, she passed my hiding place in slow, undulating strokes, fearless of those creatures that lurked near the ocean boundaries. Then again, why need she, the night was she and she the night.
And so it was I lingered on her horizon as I did each night since first spying her. Drawn to her elemental majesty, I watched from so near, yet so far. However long I dallied it seemed never enough and always over too soon. Time can play tricks on a person in such situations. How I yearned above all else to hold, kiss, love her; tell her I watched over her. But I could not. The coward in me prevented it and the coward within that proved too scared to speak up.
And so it was I made my peace in being content to look but not touch, listen but not speak. Still, what I wouldn’t have given to see her eyes just once. It would have been worth the risk to know the color of perfection, would it not? The same question every night. I must have asked it myriad times from dusk to dawn and back again. There was never an answer to quench my thirst for her.
Time moved slower than usual, or so I imagined. The October moon hovered in an obsidian sky, a diamond set upon a ring of night, and never once looked like descending. The silver orb cast its light upon the ocean, but could not touch she. That saddened me. Such beauty deserved so divine a spotlight more than any soul I had known. And so in a moment I would eternally regret, I revealed myself. Shattered, our tryst lay in tatters.
No sooner did I rise from my eastern berth like a dawning sun, at first slow just peeking above the dunes, then faster ever rising, did she depart. In a haze of smudged charcoals where the pair of us collided as sea mist, then fog, she vanished. My heart felt ripped from its all too mortal cage.
Cursed to never know the one soul I wished, I paced the dawn beach ashamed of my timidity. By the time the tide had swallowed her damp footprints, I had forgotten her. Or so I told myself. By night those thoughts would change.
Once again my midnight would consume me, and the heartache would begin anew. For I, a lowly fisherman did not deserve a goddess for a bride, though I hoped. If I could have talked to her, held her in a tender embrace, then perhaps she would’ve known and wanted me. Perhaps? Sometimes, I thought she already did. Sometimes, but not often.
“Does he have to come?”
“I can’t see any reason why he shouldn’t.”
“There’s only one of him.”
“That’s hardly his fault. If we were to base the future of the planet on copulation, I think we’d be doing everyone a disservice.”
“That’s what I’m saying, he can’t.”
“He can just not with another unicorn.”
“God has spoken, Noah.”
“I know. I know. But it’s in the interpretation, isn’t it?”
The unicorn watched from his berth at the prow of the ark. He didn’t like arguing and especially so over he. The other animals regarded him with downcast faces and shaken heads. They pitied him and that made him sadder. He listened as Noah came up with suggestion after suggestion, but didn’t hold out much hope. He knew eventually the decision would be his to make. ‘C’est la vie,’ as the skunk had said to the black cat.
“We could cut off his horn, then he’d pass for a horse,” Noah continued.
“Hm, maybe not.”
“He can’t stay.”
“But we’ve already lost the dragon, the minotaur and misplaced the wendigo. We have to draw a line somewhere, it’s what makes us human.”
Noah wiped away a tear that merged with the rain he’d not even felt.”
“I know,” said Noah. “I know.”
The rain came down like an overturned bath. The heavens let loose such a storm as to make the world tremble and Noah grit his teeth. His choice was made as the ark lifted from the ground: the unicorn had to go.
They searched everywhere for the single-horned wonder that was the unicorn for three days and nights. The ark was big but not so big as a creature could hide that well.
The answer came with a constipated lion. What he passed was conical and comical. At least, to the hyena. The unicorn was gone. And the world Noah loved, lost another unique gem.
Myths and legend
Never to be forgotten
They glimmered like raindrops exposed to moonlight; she captured the night in her tears. I watched from behind a hawthorn hedge, mouth agape, eyes wide. She was so beautiful, so alive.
A deer nuzzled her shoulder, an owl hooted from her wrist, and I crept forth like the little mouse I was timorous no more. She glanced my way and offered her hand, which I took, and led me into the midnight pool, the water cold, refreshing. All the animals she’d collected followed her in: the badger; a wolf; several bats and a beaver. I couldn’t explain it, who could’ve? Perhaps she loved us all the same, perhaps she was just hungry. Either way, when her tongue tasted my skin, her palm pressing me beneath the stilled surface, I’d have died for her over and over. If I’d got the chance, anyway.
Lost in reflection. In reflecting lost.
Within a valley of frosted field,
where oak did twist beneath West wind,
a sea of grass did hide a prize
of fragmented Faerie Kingdoms.
A child made stumble fell and span
and in a heap did land, a wreck.
And one whom should have held her peace
not risen from that vaulted door
did so; she broke the pact, and would again.
The child who cried and spouted tears
as though in pain of anguish deep
did silence at the shimmering girl;
the one who saved her soul that day.
The mystic one made solace sweet
and swept the child away.
But o’er brow beyond clashing slopes
a brother saw his sister’s saviour.
He witnessed well the Faerie girl
with silvered wing and snowflake breath,
but chose that day to keep his peace.
N’er has a boy kept secret locked,
nor stoney silence not forgot,
as this poor boy of parent’s ill,
who bid his sister fare-thee-well,
knowing all along that given choice
of Faerie Kingdoms or earthly world
there was no competition true.
For all would wish for Oberon
and elegant Titania’s grace
if given even but a breath of hope
of finding so emerald lands.
Goodbye dear sister, he did say.
I wish you well, my only friend.
Perhaps, when on my deathly bed, I
do sit and cogitate this life,
then you’ll return to guide me home.
Of that I wish into this gorge.
My words will sit and wait through time
and memory’s breath or wind or mist
shall carry you your brother’s passing
and you will fetch me, aid me, take me
through said immortal door.
There, I’ll be rested in the lands
of sparkling departures.
I pray it. Hope it. Believe it, dear Rose.
Your brother, forever.
One by one the gods descended dressed in the accumulated splendour of the ages. They shone with the reflected colour of life, but brought only death.
The battle was short; who could defeat a god, not we. And as the last mortal perished beneath the sword the Immortals smiled.
They placed a child beneath an oak and blessed it. “Innocence,” they said. “We’ll try again.”
They scatter, fauns and satyrs, nymphs and dryads, for England’s night is full of fire. Scared away by explosions of colour, myths and legends exit before holidays of our own making. For one night we celebrate our own folly and devious machinations at the expense of true fable. How odd.
In the flinching of the willow straining from the axe,
I witnessed your fear.
As fresh water surging back to the ocean,
A greedy tide unwilling to share secrets meant only for mermaids and the drowned,
I viewed your retreat.
But worst of all,
The nail in my coffin-encased heart,
Was your joy at the distance between us.
As you took sanctuary in the day you would never leave,
I felt myself dragged back to the depths of an obsidian Hell.
Yes, we shared a love that no other could have felt, nor explained.
But in that sharing, we lost a part of ourselves
Still, when next I awoke,
We would try again,
(Stunning image of Hades and Persephone courtesy of sandara on deviantart.com)