The Gift: A novel

My project for A man finds himself alone on a paradisical island where has has no need to work to support himself. His life is spent transforming the island.

My Photo
Location: Los Angeles, United States

I am an awkward, stubborn, slightly insane woman who would rather talk Plato than Prada, rather watch Frank Capra than Carrie Bradshaw, and rather listen to Norse myths sung in Icelandic than anything currently on the radio. Yeah. Told you I was weird.


Monday, November 29, 2004

Chapter 29: Beati quorum tecta sunt peccata

One half of the clearing was carpeted in white flowers, reflecting the brilliance of the morning sun; the other half was covered in flowers as blood red as any rose, though neither man was familiar with the exact species of flower. The clearing itself was surrounded by figures of fantastic shape and form, of many brilliant colors.
A handful of trees, standing in pairs, had been joined together at the top to form leafy arches at the edge of the clearing. In each arch stood a tall golden pole, topped with a golden torch. From each torch sprang carved flames, coated with sap and dye, flaming red and orange in the morning light.
On every side stood the trunks of trees, but trees that now had human shapes. Though the human form was recognizable in the form of the tree, they stood rooted firmly in the earth, vines and flowers sprouting in natural crowns from their brows. No paint was visible on them, but the faces were polished and shining in the diffuse light.
A monolith stood at the far end of the clearing, and they could clearly see two sides of it, though the third and fourth were hidden from their view for the time being. On one side was incised the head of an ox, surrounded by six stylized wings, and eye motifs in every inch of free space. On the other side, an eagle, also surrounded by wings and eyes. In the center of the clearing stood a sled, created of green wood that had been tied and propped to achieve the desired shape. Harnessed to the sled was a creature with the body of a lion, carved into an old tree stump; sprouting from its back were two leafy branches that had been allowed to remain on the tree. Its leafy wings swept back, swaying slightly in the breeze.
Three young saplings stood by the right wheel of the chariot, their supple forms dyed in brilliant colors and braided together inseperably. One tree trunk was a vibrant red, another green, and the third one was almost pure white, though exposure to the elements had dimmed its brilliance slightly. By the left wheel stood four other trees, the outer three braided around the inner one, and all dyed a deep and royal purple.
At the rear of the chariot stood the figure of a man, holding a scroll in each extended hand, and standing between the red and white flowers. One scroll, the one that hung over the white flowers, was inscribed with the number "39;" on the other, hanging above the sea of red, the number "27."
But though surrounded by strange and enigmatic figures, neither man could take his eyes off the figure in the center of the chariot.
He lay in the midst of the flowers, exhausted. He had felt his time growing short these past few seasons, and so was exerting himself to finish his work. It required every waking moment of every day, but after his year of rest, he had been ready to give everything he had, every ounce of energy. The clearing and the forms it contained had taken three years to construct, but he had finally completed it.
He ate more often now, needing the extra energy to complete the task he had chosen. But it seemed to be going well, and he was content.
He moved his head slightly, turning to stare at the empty chariot. This, he knew, would require the last drop of strength; not strength of body, but strength of heart and mind. He did not know if he could do her justice, nor if he could bear to see a thing that was her and yet not her, staring sightlessly at him every day, but he knew that he could do nothing else. He had to find his way, had to see what he sought, and he could not do it without her.
He rolled onto his stomach, leveraging himself onto his knees. He remained there a long moment, head hung low, almost brushing the grass, then looked up into the rising sun. "Sing, Muse, of the man of many twists and turns..." He exhaled deeply, murmuring, "the man of sorrows." He stood, slowly, and moved to the center of the clearing, determined to finish the task he had begun so long ago.

copyright 2004 Elizabeth J. Weaver


Post a Comment

<< Home

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by