Monday, March 12, 2007

The Maids of the Mist- a short story by me

Have you ever wondered why it is that ever so often the clouds come to earth and settle on the streets like a big fat cat exposing its belly for a rub? I know that some might talk of "humidity" and "barometric pressure" and other phrases and gobbledy gook as being the reason, but I will tell you the real one.

Way up at the top of the heavens is the normal place you will find white, puffy, sometimes feathery clouds. These bodies of mist and smoke are not beings unto themselves. You see, they are merely the underbelly of the home of young, lithe, female spirits. All through the day these spirits engage in laughter, flirtations, dancing, singing, hilarity, and jubilation. They leap from cloud to cloud, running and hiding among the hills and crevices of pure white fleece. They twirl around with colorful streamers, and make conversation with birds as they fly past. They take turns braiding each other's hair, telling stories to one another, and serving twinkling drinks to each other made of bottled moonlight. They laugh from pure joy; they shift between unbridled playfulness and affectionate embraces and kisses. Their lives are the composite of every little girl's ideal of the perfect life. Out of the cotton of the landscape they weave magnificent garments of every color, using the rainbows as their fabric dye. They are unconscious of pain- all they know is happiness and amusement, and grateful reflection.

You must be wondering by now what these wondrous sprites have to do with the evening fog of humid spring nights. Well, it happens like this: These young maids have very little memory. They live purely in the moment, their feelings constantly engulfing them. While they are in the clouds and engaging in merriment, they feel light and happy, so they stay up in the heavens. Every once in a while, though, one or two might become disenchanted with the game and happen to look upon the earth from their high perch. As they look down, what do they see? They see mankind, scurrying all over the place, busy as beavers. They see cars, trains, airplanes, adults jogging, families picnicking, and children playing, and they are delighted.

As they focus on the earth, they begin to come near, their cloudy pedestals drawing closer, so they can begin to see and hear what all is going on. As they listen and watch, they begin to notice more than just the delights of the earth. They see the suffering, the hunger, the misery, depression, desolation. They see children being forced to hold guns, being forced into wars. They see women treated as slaves, beaten by their employers and paid nearly nothing. They see husbands and wives divorcing each other, and the sad children caught in between. They see men with disease, and little boys without fathers to protect them. As they see all the pain, and the way humanity treats one another, they become sad. Forlorn, they sink to the ground. They weep, cry out, and rip their beautiful dresses. These broken-hearted spirits wander along the streets, trailing their mists alongside them, sobbing over the fate of their human brothers and sisters.

Desperate to find something worthy on the earth, they peer into windows, watch people walking along the street. They trail along mournfully, searching for relief from their overwhelming despair. Eventually they calm themselves to listen because very faintly they can hear singing. They wander until they find the source of this music, and they finally see, in a rocking chair lit by the twinkle of a nightlight, a grandmother holding her precious grandchild. The grandmother sings a sweet, low tune and holds the child to her chest, calming, soothing, and lulling the child to a peaceful sleep. As the maids listen, they too are brought peace.

As their hearts are soothed, they hold one another, repeating and extending the song, and slowly drift back up to the sky.


Lita said...

That's beautiful.

I really love that, Cristy.

Cris said...

Thank you very much! Have you ever had a moment when it's like there's an itch in your soul, waiting to get out and speak to you? For some reason this story told itself to me on the drive home from my mother's house, and I felt it important to take the time to write it down. I'm so glad you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.:)

Lita said...

I'm glad you wrote it down.

I usually get an idea of something quirky that plays with a stereotype or sometimes a glimpse of a situation or mood. I'm not sure I've ever had one come to me fully like that, though I've heard of that happening (and been jealous). The closest I can think of is once, reading a psalm, the tune and slight rearrangment of the words came to me basically done. That was pretty cool.

You should really think about working on that and submitting it somewhere. Maybe a story with pictures. I don't know much about publishing and audiences yet, but I think it would be really good.