May 24, 2008

Through a Moonlit Window

Jacquie at Calliope's Coffee House has come up with a brilliant new challenge called The Calliope Experiment. She will post a picture on Saturday to inspire the imagination. Then the participants have a week to write a 500 word story to go with the picture. You can go here for more details, and go here for this week's picture.

May I now present my story:

Through a Moonlit Window

She slowly came back to consciousness from that hazy place called Dreamland, where an indefinable image still rested like a mist in her peripheral vision. She lay there a minute longer trying to recapture it and bring it back to a place of recognition but it was too dim, too far gone. Perhaps she didn’t really want to retrieve it. There was a slight residue of fear in her mind. Maybe it was another one of those frightful nightmares that her subconscious was so keen on concocting for her. She wondered why she was so prone to nightmares. She wondered why she dreamed at all.

She realized that it was no use trying to remember. She was too awake now, lying there under her pink floral comforter on the top bunk of the bed she shared with her sister. Celia was probably enjoying some adventure that involved dog sleds in Antarctica or chasing pirates in hopes of a sword fight Peter Pan style. Celia was like that, always active, always doing something interesting. Abby longed to do things too, just not the same kinds of things as Celia. Abby dreamed of being a dancer, a poet, a mother. She had quiet aspirations that usually involved a small but loyal array of admirers.

As she turned over in bed she looked toward the room’s one large window where could be seen a bright shining moon, clouds gliding past, moving swiftly in front and behind. It had been raining most of the day but it appeared to be clearing now. Her eyes wandered around the room looking for something that would lull her back to sleep. There was a box full of dolls and Barbies in the corner, a drafting table she had received last Christmas that was covered in drawings and colored pencils. There was the closet where Celia hid her Halloween candy so she could eat it slowly throughout the year. Abby’s was usually gone within a week.

Her eyes finally rested on the old Queen Ann dresser. In the mirror above was an image that didn't belong. Her heart froze. After a full minute it resumed its beating but with twice its strength and at three times its usual pace. A woman in a gauzy white gown was floating next to the bed. Abby could see no feet, just a smoky hem rippling as if in a summer breeze. The woman’s hair too was wisping around her shoulders. She was looking down toward her hands where rested a large book whose pages were turning of their own accord. But what truly frightened Abby was not the woman’s presence but her lack of presence. There was no lady in the room but there she was in the reflection in the glass. Abby closed her eyes tight to clear her sight but upon reopening them she saw the woman still, seemingly inches from her head.

As the blood drained from her veins Abby became cold as steel and heavy as lead. She lay still, unable to call out or even to think clearly as the ghostly lady’s eyes met her own in the mirror. In a lilting voice she spoke five little words. “You are in the book.”


Laura said... DEFINITELY need to continue that story! I just got little goosebumps when I read it!

Jacquie Reaville (The Book Imp) said...

I loved it, and I'm with Laura you really do have to continue this story.

Thanks for participating in the challenge.

LisaMM said...

More! More!!! I'm so glad you did this experiment!

Great job!

Petunia said...

As a storyteller by nature, I adore hearing those words. Perhaps I'll give it a bit more thought and write a second installment. I'll let you all know if I do.

trish said...

Yes, please! Your "storyteller by nature" definitely shines through.

Petunia said...

I realized I might sound conceded above. What I meant was that I can embellish anything no matter how mundane. I have a much harder time creating a story from nothing.

Trish said...

Petunia - that was fantastic and left me wanting more!! Do you think you are going to do the November thingy (write a novel in a month--can never remembered the acronym). Anyway, thanks for posting!

Petunia said...

Yes, I am planning to do NaNoWriMo. I've been reading a book called Building Fiction in preparation for it. Writing these stories has shown me what my writing voice is and what I like in a story. It's been eye opening.