The Festival of Lanterns

The Festival of Lanterns

A Story by 0AudreyClaire0

A short story about a girl forces into a future she does not want.


     I glance down at the shimmering lights reflecting on the river. The lanterns lining the length of it sway back and forth in the breeze, the water rippling in response. It's summer. The air warm and calm. Calm. That word has been almost alien to my vocabulary as of late.  A strand of blond hair falls in my eyes so I push it behind my ear with a sign. I hike up my shimmering orange dress to my thighs as I step into the water, testing its temperature. It's warm like the air. I walk along the bank, ankle deep, as I listen to the voices rising over the grassy hills. The festival is just on the other side.

     I look up at the paper lanterns hanging on the posts. Pale orange and pinks. Each one representing a month of celebration. A month of love. And a month of caring. At least that is what they are supposed to represent. When I see them, I see the life they took away from me. The happiness I might have had if I had a choice. They don't know that, so they continue to sway happily. Taughting me. I push the thought away. This is supposed to be calm, I tell myself. I've been having to tell myself that a lot lately.

     I take a deep breath and continue walking. Calm. The night sky is clear and twinkling with dozens of starts. No cloud in sight. I'm more relaxed than I have been for years. Partly because I have leanred to except the fate that has been hurled at me and partly because I have cried my last tears. I should be at the festival. It is for me afterall. But I don't want to look in my finances' mother's face and force a smile to show her how excited I am to be marring her son, when, in fact, I'm not.

       So I stay at the river. I let its presence calm me, put my mind at ease. I let it take away thoughts of cakes and gowns. Flowers and rings. They are to painful to think about at times. Especially now that it's only a few minutes away. I was told that a long time ago this festival would have been called a 'Wedding'. Now it's called The Festival of Lanterns. An occasion forced on girls my age, only 17.

     It's an honor for most. To have your future ripped away along with any chance of falling in love. When I was younger I never thought about love. It didn't seem interesting. I would watch my parents and how they acted towards eachother and decided that it wasn't worth it to love. Not if it made you angry all the time. Having grown up now I realize that 'love' was never apart of my parents relathionship. All I saw was the two of them tolerating eachother out of necessity. And now it's my turn.

       I will never understand why it became a law to be forced into marriage. The law was enforced so long ago that the true reason for it has been jumbled together with false rumors. Rumors of lies and deceit, sickness and heartbreak all because of love. So how do you fix the problem? Get rid if it. At least that's what they say.

      At least when I was little, even though I didn't want it, the option of falling in love was still there. I take a deep breath. I can not afford to dwell on such things. It would be a disgrace to my family. I scowl at the dress bunched up in my hands. The lights reflect on it causing the effect of a slight glow. Just another remind of my future torn away. Calm, I tell myself again. I never was good at staying focused.

      I glance back at the hills behind, covered in dandelions and wildflowers. The light from the torches and lanterns glow behind it. The sounds of singing and laughing rolls over towards me. It's a haunting sound that sending chills down my back. If I don't return soon, my mother will come puffing over the hill shouting for me to join them. Its just a mater of time and I know I can not stay any longer. No matter how much I'd like to. I step out of the water and back on the grass. It tickes as I wriggle my toes in the long blades.

     I steal one last glance at the river and its shimmering surface. Of the lanterns that signify all the things that will never be. I turn around and square my shoulders and with one last deep breath, I step forward, towards my new life and away from my free past. Calm.

© 2012 0AudreyClaire0

Author's Note

I hope you enjoy. It was just a little idea I had so I thought I'd share it.

My Review

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This is very well written! I really liked it!!

Posted 12 Years Ago

This is amazing! The style and language is very professional and really gets the message across to the reader. I love the way it's in present tense; it really fits with the mood of the story, and it's a great choice. I don't think I would have loved it as much if it was in past tense. The plot is unique and original, and you managed to write it in a way that the reader knows what's going on without all the nit-picky details that make our heads feel like they're about to implode. You captured it at the just the right level of vagueness, (is that a word? Idk.)
Your writing has a voice that is unique and makes the writing a whole lot more enjoyable to read, because it is so much more textured and stylized, rather than being well written but ruined by a flat style. This is an amazing story, and you should be proud! (Btw, did you get any inspiration from Tangled? Idk, just wondering. The lanterns made me think of it!)

Posted 12 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on May 2, 2012
Last Updated on June 9, 2012
Tags: Marriage, forced, future, love, lanterns, river, lights, sad, calm