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.

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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 32: In Te Domine, Speravi: Asperges Me

They stood on the mountain top, wind whispering through the trees, staring at the figure before them. She towered above them, not frighteningly, but with a sense of power and authority. Though they had seen the scroll in her right hand, her left hand had been hidden from them, due to the angle at which they approached the statue. Now, standing before her, they saw that her left hand pointed subtly to their right, towards the spring from which the two rivers flowed.
They moved toward the fountainhead, neither speaking, and neither daring to question the experience for fear that it would fade like a dream, or turn into insanity.
A short distance upstream, they came to a tree. It was perfectly pruned and symmetrical, its beauty unequalled by any tree they had yet seen. It was covered in blossoms, flowers as bright as violets and deeper of hue than roses. They smelled so sweet and rich that two men were moved almost to tears by the very scent. It reminded Cobb of his first true love, and the scent of her hair as they kissed. To Dranger it was vaguely reminiscent of his mother’s perfume, hanging about her in scented clouds as she put him to bed as a very young child.
The blossoms dropped slowly from the tree, carpeting the ground with a rich tapestry. On the tree was tied a scroll of smooth bark. Carefully, Cobb untied the scroll and stepped back, untying it. He unrolled it, and read silently, holding it so that Dranger could see the text as well.
"Deus venerunt gentes, but now is meant
Not a usurpation or raiding,
But a grace that is heaven-sent,
The grace that was your aiding.
So give thanks for the love that lead,
And leads you, never fading,
And showed you the path to tread."
She lead him gently, to where a barren tree stood by the side of the river and bade him sit. "You are wondering how this can be, when I am dead, ‘passed beyond the veil,’ and you are not?"
He nodded silently, unable to take his newly strengthened eyes off her face. She began to speak, talking of the mystery of the communion of the saints, but he hardly heard. Her words seemed to be casting a spell over him, and his eyes, though still firmly fixed on her face, began to grow heavy.
She smiled, and beckoned him to his feet. "The time for talking is done," she said. "It is time for your final work, and then you will see; see clearly, and see as you have never seen before!" As she lead him away from the tree, he did not notice that it was no longer barren, but blossoming profusely. She took his hand and lead him to where the second stream flowed from the fountainhead, and cupped some of the water in her hands. He moved to do the same, but she stopped him, and brought her cupped hands to his lips. He drank the water, and felt his lethargy melt away. Laughing, he straightened up, feeling younger than he had in many decades.
"Come," she laughed. "I have one last place to go before I show you what you have longed to see." She lead him away from the fountain, back downstream to where her image stood in the chariot.

copyright 2004 Elizabeth J. Weaver


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