Creative Writing: Reflection by Rosie

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The frozen lake a dark pocket

Hidden deep within the forest

Looking beyond it’s depths is like looking in a mirror on the wall

A faraway look within my eyes I do not recall

Within those hollow eyes I see somebody else

I see the eyes of somebody that is not myself

The winter wind it calls me home

To a place where I am not alone

Suddenly in my hand there is a stone

I threw it and the mirror broke…

***

 I stand high upon the windswept hill surrounded by a landscape devoid of colour, barren fields spread away encased in frost that glitters under the curtain of twilight that falls across the evening. The land below reflects the skies above both are wan and blanched as the grey fingers of dusk begin to snake their way across the horizon. All around me the sky begins to darken, all life leached from it by the sinking rays of evening winter sunlight. The few clouds that linger are streaked gold and marbled crimson by the blood of the sun’s dying aura, they hang low to the frozen earth trees   silhouetted against them. At the base of the hill begins a labyrinth of dark woodland, trees hunched and menacing fiercely guard the hillside their branches crooked and coiled as if ready to strike at anything that dare attempt to breach their line of defence, to reach the imposing stone structure that crowns the top of the hill; the only thing that’s seldom breaks the emptiness in my solitary surroundings. The crumbling ruin before me may have once been a castle, alas the only indication that it has ever existed are weathered, disintegrating stone walls and a decaying, towering spire that hopelessly claws it’s way to the belly of the darkening sky above. What debris are left of the long abandoned remains now barely stand, marred with age, mottled with fractures and scars left by vengeful storms. It is a shattered mirror image of it’s past, it is broken and what shards are left are hanging onto this world by a thread. A bitter wind rolls across the highlands, it barrels in with bare teeth and icy jaws, it laments it’s mournful ode to the desolate remnants of what has become the centre of a fragmented, forgotten kingdom forever entombed within a sepulcher of solitude and silence. Shadows begin to lengthen, I stand still but my sombre reflection moves on to follow the last rays of the setting sun. After reflecting for some time I do the same; I follow my shadow I turn away and follow nightfall’s journey over the west side of the hill.

***

Veils of cloud drift over the vast expanse above, partly obscuring the cold fires of thousands of silver stars that flicker against velvet darkness, they glisten alongside the moon that is tossed like a ghostly galleon upon cloudy seas. The moon is a mirror that hangs high in the sky, a mirror for the golden sun it shines it’s pale light throughout the cold, bleak night until the dawning comes. Gnarled branches somewhat eclipse the view of the starlit sky; they desperately tear at the air as they are mercilessly tossed on an unforgiving tempest that snarls and relentlessly hurls itself upon the forest. The ink of night seeps into the woodland, gleaming moonlight drips through the bows of trees and pools upon the frozen earth. As I pass wearily through dense thickets of foliage guided only by the silver flames above a swift movement catches my eye. A bird perched high in a nearby tree feathers of both night and day adorn it’s body, it scowls at me as I pass. My reflection is pale in it’s eyes of liquid night; I bade it good evening for misfortune will befall me if I do not. I regard the bird’s ominous presence as a reflection of misadventure, disadvantage and at worst mortal peril. Me thinking so is a reflection of my superstitious nature. Further ahead a creature stops in my path. It is nimble and quick darting through the forest as keen as a hound but I notice despite it’s pace it’s gait is somewhat laboured a scarlet gash blights it’s leg; a reflection of what the hound has done to it. Amber eyes that twinkle severely in the darkness and a coat of copper wildfire are bright in the moon’s lurid grin. It bears me a grin of it’s own revealing razor sharp fangs like blades, glistening and flecked with blood that is presumably not its own; a reflection of how the hound has paid for it’s actions.

***

I reach it at last; a frozen river that weaves it’s way through the woodland like a ribbon of mercury, ice has stilled it’s journey to the lake, without the whisper of the river’s ebb and flow the woodland is still and silent. However I have not yet arrived at my final destination so I pursue the river downstream, sharp twists and turns ruthlessly slice their way through the woodland. At last I reach the lake that has too been frozen by the sharp arctic chill that sinks it’s claws into the winter air. The lake reflects the sky above both are hollow and dark, stars seem to swirl in the depths that are still and serene. I gingerly touch the glacial surface, frost so cold it burns sears my fingertips even though I scarcely made contact with the icy exterior. I stand and suddenly I distinguish a fleeting glimpse of movement beneath the surface. The longer I look the further I fall, absentmindedly I feel for an object concealed within the folds of my cloak it is polished and cool against the palm of my hand. A vision under the ice unexpectedly rouses me from my trance, I pull my cloak tighter around me but not from the biting cold. A woman under the surface; face up, in a blur, sleek raven hair a dark stream, dress a white watery billow, ashen complexion white as a lily and porcelain smooth, the woman flowed. She seems familiar like I’ve seen her a million times before yet never remarked her as if she has gone unnoticed like old worn paintings in gilded frames; faded into the background barely even heeded. Any memories I have of her are indecipherable like old discarded letters no longer clear or intelligible. Her eyes open and reflect the violet in the sky, the ice imperfectly clear veils her features. I back away but I cannot tear my eyes from such a spectre. An echo that seems faraway destroys the silence in splintered shards, I don’t recall hurling the stone at the ice and shattering the surface, shards gleam in the moonlight and speckle the sea of molten gloom, ice-cold water spatters my clothing it’s icy touch harshly cutting. She grins at me; a callous, mirthless gesture that is somehow a twisted, unnaturally beautiful thing. But the smile does not reach her eyes instead I see a flicker of resentment within them, her smile warps into a scornful, derisive grin full of malice, something sadistic and full of scorching fury burns in her eyes as she pulls me under and ice and darkness claw at my skin. She speaks but her whispers do not reach me for the otherworld has claimed me at last.

***

The winter wind that beckoned you here

Paints the very portrait of your fear

Alas, how could you fear me?

And forget the faraway look in your eyes I see

For I am you and you are me

But you are nothing but a spectre that haunts this land

A vision of what once was I hope you understand

Fragments hanging onto this world by a thread

A reflection of the shattered, the, broken, the forgotten, the dead

It is sincerely that my words are true

I can see you just like you can see me too

I speak as a reflection of a more living form of you

 

By Rosie S

If you have any piece of creative writing you would like to share please e mail to mbridges@stjulies.org.uk