A bit of fantasy for your Wednesday morning, inspired by this picture (no really, click it open)….
The moment Clarissa saw the forest, she knew. She knew it in the shadowy hush that clung to the spired evergreens; she knew it by the tingling that crept down her spine. The world she’d always sensed, the Otherness that hummed in the back of her mind, just beyond her senses, and beckoned her to escape an unfriendly reality–that world was here, waiting for her.
Her room faced the forest, not the fjord that lay at the base of the steep hill. The innkeeper apologized, but Clarissa barely heard him. The water wasn’t what drew her. As soon as he left, she opened the window and inhaled the odor of enchantment: fresh like clean air, spicy like evergreen, cool like water, plus something vaguely cinnamon that must be magic alone.
For years she’d tried to find a way to bridge the gap to that shimmering existence just beyond her senses. She’d almost given up finding the gateway. If it didn’t exist here, it didn’t exist at all.
She slept with the window open, and when she woke, it was to the sound of rain tittering on slate. She donned her rain slicker, anxious to escape the enclosing walls. The front door creaked loudly, echoing through the silent building. Shivering with anticipation, she darted barefoot into the rain.
The trees stood like towering sentinels, inky against the hunkering sky. Beneath their shelter, the rain filtered down, muted. Her feet padded soundlessly on a carpet of fallen needles. The sense of enchantment grew stronger the farther she walked. It tingled her skin, then danced away again. It teased her senses, shimmering in the periphery but disappearing when she turned to look.
The rain tapered off, leaving only the muted drip of stranded water droplets sliding off evergreen. Hesitantly at first, then with confidence, the crickets began singing. The hum intensified until the very air seemed to tremble.
As dawn drew near, Clarissa could feel the magic in the forest growing stronger, its time approaching. She stepped lightly, her bare feet tamping down the soft, wet grass. Her toes lost all feeling, but the prickling in her skin was constant. It was very near, now. She could almost see the shimmer in the air, a flurry of wings half-visible in the growing light. A cool, clean breeze tinted with cinnamon raised the fine hairs on her face. She pushed back the hood of her slicker. Show me, she whispered. The shimmer focused to a silvery line that stretched before her, and the firs breathed, Come.
The trees thinned, the thread warming slowly to gold. She stepped from beneath the shelter of the trees. Far mountains glowered beneath storm clouds, but here the air shimmered. Her breath caught as a gossamer sphere drifted lazily across her vision. It hung there, bobbing. She exhaled slowly, and as if responding to the warmth of her breath, the image in its depth sharpened, an vision of promise shimmering in gold.
Clarissa smiled and reached out to enter her new life.
Only in retrospect do I realize I already used the name Clarissa for a character. This is not meant to be the same person, but somehow this girl just needed to be named Clarissa. There was so much I wanted to evoke about who this girl is, why she’d be so eager to escape but it didn’t want to come through and I’ve learned that when I keep hitting a brick wall it generally means it’s not supposed to be there. Maybe down the road I can do something with it.
As for the image, you really need to click here to get the visual I used as the Write On Edge prompt today. I wanted to use it in my post too but I am very leery of copyright issues, and I just couldn’t find to my satisfaction that the image was okay to use. So please click it!