As you can see by the monstrous title, this post will be a conglomeration of contest entries. I combined the AAWC and CWWC prompts into one story, which I think turned out really well! (If you wonder what all of these acronyms stand for, click on their linked names to find out. 😀 )
First, the story. Misty, I used the word prompt (“Fade”) and my team mascot (“Swan”) in this story. Loren, I used all three prompts. (Click here to see the prompts for CWWC #1.) I had a lot of fun writing this, and incorporating some poem-ish things into the prose.
Duh-duh dun! I present…
Beyond the Looking Glass
Tonight rain and moonlight are tap-dancing together on the roof. Mademoiselle Trumente hates the rain because it will not obey her rule of absolute quiet. I slip out of bed in bare feet and steal silently over to the mirror. I have had much practice in being silent, for if I make a noise, Mademoiselle Trumente will be up the stairs in a moment, a silent apparition of doom. She will stand there in her threadbare slippers, strands of her greasy hair trembling and quaking about her thick red face as if they too, are afraid of her wrath. Her anger is a fierce fury, hotter than any fire, sharper than any sword, and deathly quiet. Everything in this house is deathly quiet. Even her punishments are quiet.
Down to the cellar for a day and a night;
No food; stale water; darkness; silence.
But tonight Mademoiselle does not appear at my door. I carefully avoid the third floorboard which always heaves a long groan of sorrow if I so much as touch it with a toe. I snatch up the lit candle and hold it in front of me as I gaze into the mirror. A girl’s face stares back at me from the gilded frame on the wall.
Long tangles of wavy, red-brown hair.
Pale face; drawn and thin and colorless.
Chocolate brown eyes with flecks of gold.
Small nose. Thin lips. Sharp chin. Black dress.
The mirror is unforgiving, but I want it to forgive. It will not show me what I need it to show. I have to know who I am.
I gaze far down into the depths of the dark eyes, pulling with all my might, willing secrets to come to the surface. There! Far down in my eyes, something moves. I concentrate, grasping the thought with my mind until the picture fills the eyes of my reflection, then my face, then the whole mirror. It is a beautiful scene. Torrents of water tumble over boulders, crashing into milky froth where they leap into the lake below. Pearly swans glide on the lake by the dozens, preening, eating, swimming. Graceful willow ladies and strong, ancient gentlemen trees stand shoulder to shoulder by the river. And… there it is. The familiar picture of two silhouettes sitting on a log-bridge. One of the figures is a young girl reading a book. The other figure is strange and fantastical: a cross between a dragon and an enormous bird crested with swirling plumes. The dragon-bird is listening intently to the girl as she reads aloud.
My mirror is a window to another world, a world guarded by strange dragon-birds called Ferrymen. How do I know what the dragon-birds are called? How can I see this land behind the looking glass? I do not know. I only know that I belong there. The girl swinging her legs on the log-bridge is me, I just know it. And the dragon-bird… I strain my mind, rifling through memory files that stretch back 16 years. As always, I come so close to solving the mystery. My mind clenches the memory, but cannot rip it open.
Why, why, why am I here?
Why do I live in this dark, old house?
Why must I always be quiet?
Who is Mademoiselle Trumente,
And why must I obey her?
What is the spell hanging over this house,
And how do I shatter it forever?
But mind is too weak. It lets go of the memory, and the picture in the mirror begins to fade. But this time I will not let it go. I cannot live like this, with my life shrouded in heavy clouds of mystery and loneliness and silence. I squint my eyes hard and force my mind to keep the picture before me. But it is no use. My legs are weak, and my mind is weaker. I cannot hold the picture. Wait! I need you to give me the answers! Don’t go…
Suddenly, I am angry. Angrier even than Mademoiselle is when I drop something and it clashes to the floor. I will not let the picture go until it answers my question. I will not let my mind give up until it finds the memory.
The picture comes nearer and nearer. I can hear the faint roar of the waterfall reaching me through the glass. I can hear the murmur of the girl as she reads to the Ferryman. What is she saying? Will it solve the mystery? Why, why, why am I here? My brain is churning. The picture is fading again. No!
If my mirror is a window to another world, I will break the window-panes and crawl over the windowsill. In desperation I pick up the wooden chest on my dresser and hurl it at the mirror. The glass shatters with a tremendous explosion. All I can think is Mademoiselle Trumente will be up the stairs now. How long will I stay in the cellar this time? Three days? A week? The rest of my life? I close my eyes and crumple to the ground. I give up. I wait wearily for Mademoiselle to glide over to me, outraged. I don’t care what she does. I give up. I have never been so tired in my life. Still Mademoiselle’s shadow does not fall on my face. With an effort, I open my eyes.
Broken shards lay scattered on the ground beside me, but I pay no attention to them. My eyes are fixed on something much more interesting.
CLIFF HANGER! 😀 I’m probably going to continue this story later. Somehow I tend to write in the first-person point of view for contest entries. What do you think – which POV is your favorite to read?
Okay, now for my BIBPC entry:
Story behind the picture: These strange flowers are called Dutchman’s Breeches. Don’t they look like puffy pairs of pants hanging on a clothesline? 😀 I took this picture when we made a trip to the Arboretum. There were SO MANY pretty flowers there! (See my flower overload posts here and here.) Did you know Dutchman’s Breeches are related to bleeding hearts? (I mean the flower bleeding hearts, not literal bleeding hearts. 😄 That would be funny if the flower names were literal: pants are related to bleeding hearts. 😄 😄 )
Phew! I hope you enjoyed that super long post! It’s really, really fun to do these contests, but next time I might not do so many at a time. 😉
P. S. And before you go, you absotutely posolutely MUST check out Hayley’s amazing ATC trade if you like art! (And maybe even if you don’t. 😀 ) Basically, it’s a way to trade mini works of art with bloggers and people all across the country. I’m so excited to be a part of it!