Wednesday, August 24, 2011

THE MIRROR WITHIN THE FLAMES

        THE MIRROR WITHIN THE FLAMES
 

A SHORT STORY (979 words)
BY L.J. HOLMES

Long ago and far beneath the Castle Lore, deep within a pristine cave of the Sagetop Mountains, his legend began. Here where time and fantasy knew no boundaries, his presence was whispered on the shaky lips of young and old alike.It was not easy being the last of your kind, misunderstood, feared, and given a berth so wide that only the very brave or very foolish would dare place themselves before you.


He had been created, eons ago when the stars and Cosmic Earth had first collided. A child of the sky and a prisoner of the land, he was granted the very powers that simmered in the life's blood of both elements.Soaring over all that is, he and his others were, at first, the fiercest friend and ally to those transplanted here from far off worlds to flourish and grow. Light from the ever sparkling jewels of his eyes, illuminated the shadows and brightened the encroaching tendrils of nighttime.


His breath, a mighty back draft from the eternal flames burning in his belly, kept them warm against the icy fingers of season's change. For lifetimes, he and his brothers and sisters lived in symbiant harmony with the progeny of the original landed ones.


But, over time, as often happens when a quest for battles and enmity looms up in the jaded hearts of one or more of the landed ones, what had been perceived as a mutual respect and inter-relationship, becomes steeped in lies, misdeeds, and illusion. A gift of caring, becomes a threat of destruction, and long standing friends become hunter and prey.


Now, alone, the last of his mighty breed, hidden from the questing eyes of those fools and misguided champions, he longs for the end, when time removes him and carries him back into the skies, to join, again, with the eternal souls of his kind.


Into this void steps the one who could offer him change. He paraded, sure of foot, into the sadness, his flowing garbs made of iridescent night magic, the air sparkling with vibrancy when he spoke. With but one wave of his mighty crystal wand, the one who could call upon the energizing alchemy of the Creator offered him the change...the change that could bring him out from the cave, into the meadow where once more he could hear the dainty songs of the fluttering birds, the gossipy chatter of the forest life, and the sweet seduction of the Maiden Beauty, her voice raised in happy melody.

Looking down at his massive body, he contemplated the changes. The bold red texture of his skin seemed to ignite beneath his scrutiny. Spreading his wings, his elegance filled the very depth and width of the caverns internal space. Imagining the powerful warmth of his Forever Flame brought forth the raging twin fire blasts from his mighty flaring nostrils.

To walk upon the two limbs of the landed ones, he would have to give up much. Instead of mere inches, he would be diminished by feet. Instead of breathing heat into the cold, misty morning, and dark, frigid night, he would lose the fires forever, and never know warmth again...and for what?


His mind's eye created the image of the fair and gentle one, her hair falling like a waterfall of golden rays, her eyes the color of the endless, cloud-free sky, and her voice, a call to something old and longed for beneath his breast. She would be his, promised the one with the powerful crystal wand. She would take one look upon the he, he would become and share a love that would fill every gaping void within his soul...all he had to do was become who he was not. All he had to do was allow the legends of his proud brothers and sisters die with him turning his back on his blood family.


"What did he do, Papa?" asked the wide eyed child many years later.
"From the sky," the father continued in his Mesmer's voice, "came a great wave of love from the souls of old that reached into all the corners of the land, and yes, even into the very depths of that long ago cave within the hills and valleys of Sagetop Mountain, and found a home in the breast of that old dragon.


'Rise up on your legs' the voice of Love bespoke, 'Rise up and know the hours of day as man. Claim the one to share your soul with, but come the deepening shadows of nightfall, return to all that you have been, and never forget no matter what creature you be, deep inside, where our true love flames live, we are all of us Seeds of the One True Love.'


The dragon, as man in the day's span claimed the maiden as his one-true-mate, but at night, he must kiss her good-bye and soar the skies as his ancestors had, the last, but most remembered of his kind."
The silence that followed the story's end was profound.


From another room in the rear of the stone and thatch hut, the mother approached, her long tresses like a waterfall's golden rays, her tender eyes, that came to rest upon her husband and child, the vibrant color of the endless, cloud-free sky. The sight of her ignited the eternal flame in the belly of her continually enchanted husband.


For just a moment, as her skin brushed his in reaching to lift their child to carry to bed, the flames licked and what was flesh-tone darkened, reddened, and spread.

Watching his Beloved and child disappear down the hall, he rose with a contented smile, stepped into the night, spread his ancient wings and lifted into the sky with a love-softened roar.

In change we seek growth, but in growing, never forget
who you are, for you are first and foremost
Perfect Love.

3 comments:

Antonia said...

Awesome Story Lin!

zxcvbnm said...

Each time, I say "This one's the best one yet..." and then say it again, the next time around!
Tanja

gail roughton branan said...

A true treasure. An absolute classic.