One of the prompts from Search Engine Stories this week is painting a full moon.
I have done a little story about princesses and knights…..
I have an enchantment on my head. It imprisons me as soon as the sun goes down.
My father, the King is the cause of it. He banished Imelda the sorceress from the Keep on grounds of treason. She claimed innocence and vowed vengeance.
The vengeance took a strange, perverse turn as whimsical as Imelda’s changeable nature. I cannot venture outdoors at night or I will turn to dust. Only the palace walls can protect me.
It is a cruel and brutal fate. I am of an age when thoughts turn to marriage and I, Alene, only daughter of the King, wish to travel to balls and parties and faires. But I cannot, confined indoors at night indefinitely.
At first I disbelieved the enchantment. I scoffed. I would not be bound. So I ventured out into the gardens when the moon was full and slowly, ever slowly I felt the bones in my arms and legs begin to crumble.
I was bedridden for three months. My father’s physicians, soothsayers and healers worked through many days and nights to save me. I am healed, but one foot turns inwards and my left hand is so twisted I can no longer play the lute.
I am deathly afraid of the night. I fear the enchantment may change so that even a glimpse of the night sky will be my undoing. Despite this, I crave the sight of the sky at night. I want it. I dream of the lake turned silver by moonlight. Of my mother’s rose bushes quivering under white light. Of starlight. Of a deep purple sky at twilight. Of midnight blue clouds collecting around the moon as if holding hands.
Despite my isolation, my malaise, I have a suitor. Larick. He is one of my father’s most able Knights and claims undying love for me. He has asked me to send him on a quest so he can prove his love. I have not sent him away to find me rare jewels or the feather of a phoenix as he expected. Instead I have asked him to grant me something to ease the longing in my heart. I have asked him to paint me a picture of the full moon.
Larick comes from a family of artisans. His paintings imitate the way sun slants on water, the indulgent smile of a mother as she cradles her infant babe. My maidservant, Heidi, relays how his work is progressing as the full moon hangs like a bulging pearl in the sky.
She comments less on the painting and more on his appearance claiming the moonlight bedecks him in gauzy finery and that his silhouette sweeps the ground in a grand and magnificent manner. I suspect Heidi is a fledgling poet.
After the full cycle of the moon the painting is complete. It is more than I had hoped for. The moon stands solitary in the night sky, throwing lines of silver blue shadow over the lake. I can almost see nymphs carousing in the water, cloaking themselves in translucent muslin light.
The gardens are empty. Glittering with silence. The hedges lean, shadowy, eloquently peaceful. Flowers curl in the dark, snuggling like children.
Stars burst through the clouds. I weep as I gaze upon them, for it is their twinkling faces I miss the most. A bird sits in a shadowed oak, his tiny head under his wing. One of his feathers has fallen. It lies at the base of the tree, turned upright, an offering to the moon.
I place the painting on the wall beside my bed. When night falls and the curtains must be drawn the painting eases my burden.
My love for a man capable of reproducing such beauty grows stronger than my longing to gaze on the moon. Through his eyes, his hands, I can see. Imelda’s spell no longer seems like it will tear me to pieces, for if my love can paint the full moon, I can still see in the dark.
Now that’s the way to fight spells. And the story was enchanting in itself 🙂
Beautiful, rich, and resonant. You’ve done it again, Selma.
Once again Selma, you’ve dazzled me with your range of writing talents.
How inspiring it is to stop by and see what’s new at Selma’s. Is it any wonder why yours is one of my fav blogs???
Hugs, G 🙂
“I have an enchantment on my head. It imprisons me as soon as the sun goes down.” An enchantment, not a curse; very fitting.
Have a great weekend, Selma.
I loved it!
I loved it too. Ir reminded me of O.Henrys story ‘The Last Leaf’- in that both stories have a protagonir who are given hope, the will to live, by s painting. Good work. Thanks, DavidM
romantic gesture, a painting of the moon, quite a lovely story
Beautiful and hopeful.
Selma, You are such a talent. Really. How is it that you are not published — worldwide? I swear, one of these days I’m going to appoint myself your and Paisley’s literary agent, and get your writing to the places it needs to go to been read by the masses.
Oh, and…beautifully spun fairy tale, btw. 🙂
So how does she break the enchantment? 😀
I enjoyed this very much – I like the way you can write in first person. Sometimes I start out in first person, but I find it so limiting. I want to show all points of view… but perhaps that is the challenge – we find the other’s truth as the main character does… hmmmm.
lol, and this has nothing to do with your beautiful story, except I thought it was alluring. 🙂
Lovely story as always – very intense compelling imagery throughout.
“A bird sits in a shadowed oak, his tiny head under his wing. One of his feathers has fallen. It lies at the base of the tree, turned upright, an offering to the moon.”
Just wonderful – the picture of this will be in my head for a long time.
I really loved how this piece raises the issue of how crippling it can be to be driven by wants for things we cannot/do not have. Lots to enjoy and think about here – thanks!!
ANTHONY – the power of love, eh? An indomitable force at times.
KAREN – aww, thank you. But I have to say I think everyone did an excellent job this week. I think we are all growing as writers, don’t you?
GERALDINE – you’re making me blush. I feel the same way about your blog!
LINDA – you really are very astute. I didn’t want to say curse because I figured a curse suggests there is no hope. Hope you’ve had a lovely, restful weekend!
TBALL – I am so glad. That makes me feel really happy.
DAVID – I haven’t read that story but I’m going to check it out. I have actually met a lot of people recently who gain inspiration/meaning from painting. I am actually quite fascinated by painters. To see something and then paint it – what a gift!
LISSA – wouldn’t it be a lovely painting to receive? Something special.
GROOVY – awww, thanks, hon. So great to hear from you!
EPIPHANY – now that would be a dream come true (you as my literary agent, I mean). And to be linked with Paisley – well, I am in awe of her talent. Sometimes it can be hard to describe how her writing makes me feel. I think that’s what real talent does – it makes you pause for a bit. What a lovely thing to say, Epiphany – thanks so much!
TEXASBLU – it’s interesting you should say that because I used to feel more comfortable writing in the third person too, but now I just slot into that first person most of the time. It’s a peculiar shift. I don’t know why it happened.
KAYT – I actually saw a little feather lying at the base of a tree, turned upwards like that and thought :’I’m going to use that in something.’ I thought it was imbued with meaning, you know? Cheers for your kind comment!
Just beautiful! And it has such a lovely ending. I’m glad she didn’t send him on an arbitrary quest. I think they’ll “live happily ever after”.
DAOINE – I think they will too. Just because you’re enchanted doesn’t mean you can’t be happy, does it? I do like a happy ending!
When are you going to be a famous writer? and moreover, why aren’t you ALREADY a famous writer?
What a fantastic piece of writing. A gorgeous story. I’d go to this movie.
I hope you understand my meaning when I say this cause I would blush if you mis-understood but, it needs to be said girl! “I freaking LOVE you!”
MELEAH – Well, I think the same thing when I read the excerpts from your wonderful book. We’ll just have to make a pact to keep on writing and not to give up so we become famous together. Now that would be cool!
PUNATIK – how kind you are. It’s funny, when I wrote this story I wasn’t sure about it. I felt it fell a little flat. I guess I’m more comfortable with a slightly longer short story format – maybe 3,500 words – but that’s a lot of text on a blog entry so I always try to limit my stories to under a 1000 words. As a result I often don’t feel happy with them. I really appreciate your positive feedback. You’ve made me feel better about it.
NECTARFIZZ – you really are a character. I love you too!
heh heh heh…