Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lady of Deep Waters (Scene 1) (Blog Version)

by Jodi Ralston

Mr. Niccla Ayers did not find hope in the east and truant dawn, but in the north, where flecks of light, connected with sound, made his swollen tongue ache: Water. Sprinkling. It came from, yes, a lighter form that loomed apart from the surrounding dark: a statue, something whose angles looked man-made. That must have been too much for his legs, for though they ached, they carried him across the desiccated field to find out more.

And more he found. A man-made statue? Oh, how inadequate were these words. She was as beautiful as the dawn, perhaps a mythic, blasphemous goddess thereof. She was stooped, so her hair fell in ruby-red sheets down her sides like the welcoming arms of a lover. An ancient lover at that, garbed in a pale tunic that was as full of simple elegance as her smile. Her arms held an amphora, and from it she poured her life-giving water into the small, waiting mouth of earth at her bare feet. A pagan goddess of the dawn indeed.

Mr. Ayers was ready to be converted.

He straightened his limp cravat, smoothed the wrinkles in his breeches, and for once did not care that his bare hands succeeded in only smearing about more dark filth. His benefactress did not judge, he was sure, and so he thrust himself under the sweet-smelling shower and laughed. She seemed to laugh with him, or the water did, tickling down his arms. He tilted back his head, mouth open, and drank.

It tasted like watermelon wrung into his mouth.-

He drank more.

Then he began to hunger for something substantial. His goddess, she was a beauteous fountain, so that meant an owner. . . . He glanced about. Yes, there: A spark farther north, a light from a candle or lamp set in some window. Perfect.

He smiled a smile fit for his benefactress, and gladly he carried its weight with him toward the beckoning light.

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