Welcome to Spot Writers! This month’s prompt is “statue” and this week’s story is contributed by Kathy L. Price.
Little did they know, the mundane, dreary people who passed by him every day, but he knew. He knew he was there, trapped forever in this coat of bronze. He could see them, sense them, hear them. If any of them happened to notice him at all, he could feel their touch if they placed a hand upon his leg or grabbed his arm. What had it been now, four hundred fifty seven years? Or was it eight? It really didn’t matter. He no longer felt the need to keep track of time. In fact, he tried not to give it much thought at all. In the early days, of course, it nearly drove him mad but he had long ago resigned himself to his fate. He would remain there forever until the statue was either melted down or some other grand catastrophe destroyed the world.
“Look, Mommy,” said the little girl, pulling at her mother’s hand. “Look at the statue. He’s alive.”
His frozen features could not change but her words sent a jolt of electricity directly to his soul. When the little girl reached out to touch him, her caress was like fire. If she could tell he was alive, did that mean the spell was weakening?
“Don’t be silly, Cassandra,” the mother said sternly as she pulled the little girl away. “Of course it’s not alive. It’s just a statue.”
“I know you’re in there,” whispered Cassy. “I’ll try to get you out.”
How cruel it was, the hope. Had Merkenla sent the little girl to taunt him? Did she think he had become too complacent in his prison, that it had ceased to be a punishment? His mind raged against the injustice. How could he endure? Yet, he had to. There was no other option. He practiced the control he’d perfected centuries ago, to become calm and still, without thought. Time moved on.
Seventeen years later, he had almost forgotten the incident when he saw a beautiful young woman enter the park. Her long blond hair was a cascade of waves spun from gold. She was tall and graceful, perhaps a dancer or a gymnast, he thought. It was something he did from time to time to keep himself amused, to try to guess what people did with their lives. She looked, somehow, familiar. Not just her physical appearance but her soul seemed to speak to his.
“The moon will be at the dark tonight,” she said to him. “Be ready,” and she lightly put her hand on his arm.
Again, the electric jolt of her touch awakened his desire to be free. Who was this girl? He felt he knew her and yet, that couldn’t be possible. Be ready for what? Did he dare hope?
The afternoon dragged on. The sun finally set and evening cast the park in deepening shadows. The lamps that lit the numerous paths of the park blinked on causing shadows that danced in the wind.
He tried hard not to think about the possibilities, of what might lie ahead. What did the girl have planned? What day was it? he wondered. Try as he might, he could remember nothing of significance to mark this day, nothing that made it any different from any of the others. If it meant his freedom, though, he would remember it forever. Would something happen tonight? Again, there was the cruel hope of release.
A hateful, familiar chuckle sounded in his head. “Don’t even think about it, my friend. You will be encased for all time. But then again, perhaps inflicting little bit of hope once in awhile adds a special touch to your meaningless existence. I’ll have to think about doing it again sometime. Ha! Your little witch thinks she has the power to undo my spell. She will find out soon enough there is no way she can match me.”
Suddenly, the lights scattered along the numerous paths in the park went out, wrapping everything in the darkness of the night. What was that coming down the path? Because he couldn’t even move his eyes, his view was very limited. It was so frustrating. He could hear them coming though, a slight rustling of footsteps on the path and a low volume chant.
“Perhaps I should let you see this,” Merkenla mused. “See how I destroy her. See how hopeless your situation really is. While you have languished here in bronze, my powers have grown well beyond what you could have ever hoped to achieve. Watch, and tremble.”
Suddenly, he could move his head. He could blink his eyes and open his mouth. Oh, to be able to speak again. He quickly realized Merkenla had made a major mistake and instantly shielded his thoughts from her. Perhaps his little witch and her companions did not have the power by themselves to undo Merkenla’s spell, but if he could speak the words and add his voice to theirs, maybe, just maybe there was a chance.
Members of the Spot Writers:
Catherine A. MacKenzie
Kathy L. Price