Tuesday, May 18, 2010
So far I've gotten four superb entries. Two are in the comments section of the original Writing Challenge; one's linked there, and one was e-mailed to me by my friend Katharine. I'm posting it below so everyone can enjoy it. (The mountain where Gary hikes is named Peavine.)
This is a neck-and-neck competition! Keep those entries coming, folks!
“But soon, too soon the lover turns his eyes;
Again she falls, again she dies, she dies!”
Ken was the darling of the gods. It was not simply that he was the son of the King of Peavineae, realm of the immortals. It was his voice. The rich resonance of his singing could awaken the deepest passion and kindest sympathy, and arrest all sorrow, anger, and despair. There was no guile in his heart -– only love for all beings, animate and inanimate.
Though coincident with Peavineae, the world of man lay oblivious to the dimension of the divine. It was a great sadness to the gods to witness mortal lives ruled by anxiety, fear, and hatred. Human eyes were blind to the very brilliance of the air of Peavineae, and to human ears the ethereal sound of Ken’s singing was the whining of wind across the mountains.
Often had Ken observed men and women hiking the mountain trails, exercising their bodies, or looking for nuggets of gold or other trophies. Sometimes groups of young men would bring firearms and set up targets for shooting practice. The rocks would scream with every impact of bullet or shotgun shell. The bushes that were trampled cried out in their pain, and small animals hid, trembling, in their lairs.
One early earth-morning, Ken saw a lovely mortal ascend the mountain trail. At intervals Barbie would kneel to admire the tiniest of flowers, or pause to inhale the peace and serenity around her. Overwhelmed by her beauty, Ken poured out his love in song. She turned her face to the wind, smiled, and brushed the strands of hair from her eyes. Barbie had a favorite rock where she liked to sit and look out over the expanse of the valley below. Day after day, compelled by some deep and inscrutable passion, she returned to bask in the morning sun and feel the alpine breezes in her hair.
Rarely it happens that a fog will descend upon the mountain seat of Peavineae and freezing, gild all vegetation with a lacy frosting of pogonip. At such a time the gods may choose to appear as children of humankind. Ken, in human form and dress, hid behind some bushes near the special rock, and waited for his beloved Barbie. His godly vision found her through the fog far below. She made her way slowly up the path, entranced by the magic of the crystalline landscape. As she sat, pulling her knitted shawl more warmly around her, she heard – or felt as much as heard – a low, sensual sigh. She turned to find the wind, but there was not even the slightest breeze, and the freezing fog deadened all sound from the world below.
The sigh became a song of love, as Ken moved from his hiding place and stood at Barbie’s feet. Instantly her eyes and ears were opened and she knew her lover, the hero of her heart. He appeared very tall and gloriously radiant. The air around them seemed to be electrically charged as if they stood in a vortex of immense energy. Time and space dissolved in his radiance, and she danced wildly to the sensual strains of his voice until the voice and the dance were one being.
As the fog lifted, the frost dissipated in the morning sun, and Ken’s form began to dissolve upward from his feet. Barbie could still hear his voice in the freshening breeze and feel his enveloping presence in the sparkling air. Her joy was so boundless, her mind so distracted, that she did not hear the men approaching, or the sound of the guns. She fell among the rocks, clutching incredulously at her leg until she lost consciousness.
A soft humming awakened her. She looked down upon her lifeless body. It appeared as something artificial, something plastic. She hovered for a time, feeling no remorse, and turned to go. Slowly at first, accelerating to a blinding speed, she felt herself being drawn through a dark space, filled with the specters of her ancestors. She witnessed her life played out for her as an epic movie. No remorse. Then she heard his voice. She turned back and groped passionately with her attention to follow its sound. Desperately she tracked the voice of her beloved, but she could not feel him. Onward. Faster.
There he was, his brilliance, hovering with her above the carnage. There, still, lay her cold and lifeless form. Next to her cadaver breast lay Ken’s human-form head – all that remained of his transfiguration when the maniacal gang opened fire. Ken and Barbie intoned a solemn, unison farewell to their mortal remains and ascended to the bright halls of Peavineae.
The sounds of shouting and screaming rose from the slopes of the world of man. A mob of crazed plastic figures, carrying guns of all sorts, were running pell-mell among the rocks -- brandishing as their battle standard a blood-stained shawl.