Sunday, October 12, 2008
Hide and seek
When she next opened her eyes, she was lying on a high, soft bed. She turned slightly and felt a piercing pain in her back. “Don’t move,” said a deep voice to her right, “Nothing’s broken, but still, don’t move.” She did move, despite the pain, and found herself straining to see a figure in the far corner of the room. She could see a large dark mass, and it was holding still, but then every so often wavering, becoming slightly smaller and then larger again. The dark mass made rustling sounds once in a while, and then a clicking, very tiny click, click, clicking. Then it laughed, very softly, to itself, and made a scraping sound, and rustled over and over again until it was suddenly standing right in front of her, beside the bed, in the shape of a tall woman in a long black dress and a peacock mask, holding something very small in her right hand, and smiling.
“Now listen to me,” said the peacock lady, “and listen well, for we have to be quick if we are to succeed.”
“What did you just say?” the injured woman whispered.
“You heard me, I know you did.”
The injured one furrowed her brow and grunted slightly as she tried to understand.
“Now listen here,” the creature continued, “In a moment, you will give me your left hand, and I will place a ring on your fourth finger, and then you will forget everything. It will be, for you, as if this meeting never happened.”
“What?” The injured one pronounced the word, and instantly the creature shushed it away.
A ring was placed on the finger as was predicted, and just as predicted the injured one forgot everything. It was just as well she did too, because the very next second there was a great knocking on the door of that grand bedroom, and then a doorknob was turned and a crowd of men with concerned masks of fresh-faced affection came rushing at her from all directions. She laughed, and then cried out at the pain in her chest, and several of the men came forward claiming to be doctors, only too willing and able to heal the lovely lady. However, as luck would have it, the hostess of that grand masked ball, owner of the grand house, and concerned friend of the woman currently ensconced in the guest bedroom, bustled in and quite delightfully waved away the lovely lady’s many suitors, insisting that only one of them was needed, the one who was tallest and strongest. This chosen man would help the lovely lady out of the bed and into the waiting carriage, a carriage which would carry the lovely lady back to her own home and her own little bed. And that is exactly what happened.