Monday, 18 June 2012
03:58:26 PM (GMT)
The scent of sweet, fresh water fills your nostrils. Your sides are bleeding from
the thorny bushes on either side of you, but you cannot move and risk being heard.
You scarcely breathe. From your hiding place amongst the brambles and the rocks you
look out on the girls, a predator watching prey. After all this time, you cannot
believe you found them…but it is even more difficult to believe what they have
found. The lake wasn't supposed to exist. It was a myth, a legend. And yet here
they are… alive, and safe on the shore of the lake of life.
The marble columns have to be at least a few hundred years old. Perhaps thousands.
You aren't sure how to tell. You watch as one of the two girls, the one with the
longer hair, reclines on the smooth marble surface, dipping her legs in the water.
Her wounds no longer appear to be infected. The smile on her face is purely
haunting. Such an expression of pure, simple peace rattles your mind. The other
girl, slightly taller with a crescent shaped scar on her shoulder, lies down beside
her. They breathe deeply, gazing at each other. Secret messages seem to pass back
and forth between their smiling eyes.
Twilight falls, and still they lie by the water. The moon casts a sparkling silver
tinge on everything, and the edge of the their faces are eclipsed by silver, so that
their profiles are visible. The taller of the two cups water in her palms and lets
it drip onto the other girl's wounds. You wonder if the water really does heal. Is
it possible? Their wounds, which had looked fatal before, now appear to be only
minor injuries. The girl with the long hair sits up, and traces her fingertips along
the scars on her otherwise smooth legs. She looks out to the mountains in the
distance with the gaze of a dreamer, and the other girl embraces her, and whispers
something you can't discern.
You are supposed to kill them. Those were your orders. Follow the two children who
had fled into the mountains and kill them quickly. It was supposed to be easy.
After all, you are only a common soldier. A worker bee, a pawn. Uneducated in all
but war. Disposable.
You recall memories of the villages and cities your people have destroyed. It was a
gruesome sight. You try to ignore the images of the screaming women, of babies
trampled in the street… What was it? Oh, yes, the temple: in the temple, there
were statues. They are so visible in your memory you could be looking right at them.
Of all that you saw that day, they are what affected you the most. From infancy,
you had been taught that the blonde haired, blue eyed, ivory skinned people were
disgusting, ugly. As a child you saw a slave girl with blue eyes and wondered how
she could see out of those eyes, when your own eyes were black as night. But when
you saw those statues… You remember two girls, smooth skinned and smiling, their
hair long and wavy, their arms outstretched in a graceful dance, wearing loose
festival garments and barefoot. You tried, truly you did, but you could not deny
that they were beautiful. The most beautiful thing you'd ever seen… So free, so
wild and sweet. Of course, thoughts like this were an abomination. Treason. You
were reminded of this when a fellow solider stepped forward and smashed the statues
to pieces with a battle-ax. He gave you a questioning glance, and you returned his
gaze with a blank expression, before turning and exiting the temple…
The statues could have been modeled after these girls. Or perhaps, when the statues
were smashed, the spirits trapped within them were released and ran away to this
place. Yes, that must be it. How else could they have known where to find the lake
of life, a place only gods were supposed to be able to locate? The must be spirits.
The girl with the crescent scar rests her head on the other's shoulder, and takes a
few stands of their hair in her fingers. You watch as she braids them together. You
do not speak their language, except for what little you know to order slaves around,
but you understand when she says, "I cannot believe we made it."
The other girl takes the braid and ties a knot, then starts a new braid.
"I can. We had to, and so we did."
They sleep, their chests rising and falling in the blanketing moonlight, their soft
breath causing strands of their hair to flutter. The moon looks down on them like a
protective mother. You imagine approaching them now, raising your sword, and being
struck down by the moon and thrown into the lake, drowning, the girls never waking.
You get as comfortable as you can on the rocky ground. Your muscles ache from
staying still for so long, and you are grateful for sleep.
In the morning, you awake to the sound of laughter, and a strange warbling music.
You look up and see the girl with the longer hair cupping her hands around a water
reed and blowing out a high, wispy tune. The other girl laughs. She walks in your
direction, and you crouch lower; but then she turns and runs, and with a wild shriek,
jumps into the water with a splash. Water sprays the girl on the shore, and when the
other resurfaces, they break into fits of giggles.
Later, they sit eating berries and fruit from the trees that grow near the water.
Your stomach twists with hunger. You have a few strips of dried meat with you, but
it tastes like salted leather, and you wish for the bright red fruits the girls are
"Will you sing, sister? Please?" the shorter girl asks.
The taller girl looks out on the water, and swallows her mouthful of fruit.
When she begins to sing, your jaw drops; her voice is like delicate birds being
carried on the wind, like soft rainfall at dusk, like bubbles floating in the air,
like a passionate kiss between darkness and light.
"Come away, come away,
Oh human child…" she sings.
"To the waters and the wild,
with a fairy.. hand in hand..
for the world's more full of weeping
than you can understand."
Her sister rises and begins to dance; it is the same dance that the statues in the
temple were performing. She is graceful and quick, light-footed and fluid. Her
dance is like dried leaves in the wind, like smoke rising from ash, like the
strumming of a mandolin, like one who has been healed and made better than before.
"Where the wave of moonlight glosses
the dim grey sands with light,
far off by furthest Rosses,
we foot it all the night…
Weaving olden dances,
mingling hands and mingling glances,
till the moon has taken flight;
to and fro, leap
and chase the frothy bubbles,
while the world is full of troubles,
and is anxious in its sleep…
Come away, Oh human child!
To the waters of the wild,
with a fairy hand in hand…
For this world is… more full of weeping…
than you can understand."
Tears fill your eyes. You had no idea beauty like this existed.
You look to the sky. Clouds, massive and crashing, push against each other in the
sky, blocking out the moon. As night falls, a storm begins, and the girls hold each
other beneath their beautiful marble shelter. The sky remains light, for the clouds,
although angry and huge, crushing thunder between them, are white; soon black
lightning splits the sky, and thunder seems to shake the world. What a strange place
this is, you think.
You cannot kill these girls.
For over a month you have chased them, and now you cannot kill them.
You must leave them here. You must go back to your people and say that you have
killed them; but why have you not brought back their scalps?, your people will ask.
You pushed them off a cliff and could not climb down it, you will say.
You feel better with this plan. You cast one last longing glance back at the girls.
The dancer's feet move in her sleep, as if she is dancing in her dreams. You try to
memorize their faces, their bodies, their beauty as best you can. You hope this will
be the last you ever see of them, but you do hope to remember.
For the rest of the night you walk, back the way you came. Soft drizzling rain falls
on your shoulders.
You realize you will never forget what you have seen; this beauty will haunt you.
You make your way through the mountains. Then, you see a horrific sight: a group of
soldiers, with torches. These are your people, but you hate them in this moment. If
they continue on their way, they will find the girls and kill them. You cannot let
You must lead them astray. You must lead them somewhere far away. They will kill
you for lying once they realize you are deceiving them, but that cannot be helped.
You have to, and so you do.
Last edited: 20 June 2012