four red walls: january

four red walls: january

A Chapter by An owl on the moon
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Chapter one of my first novel: "An owl on the moon..."

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     Words... Words... Words... What are mere symbols and shapes on paper to describe the shattering apparitions I have seen and the stinging sensations that have pierced my life’s shackled shadow? Yet even as I weigh and measure these coarse characters on this page, pallid cold clouds swift over my remembrance of the inn above the cliffs of Aesacus. Pounding waves carry my intentions to sleep and baleful, thundering storms still wake me in the depths of the night while the echoes of the vanishing angel’s voice whisper on. 
     My mind now fills with the restless, roaring ocean. Reefs of jagged, black rock rise like lone pillars. Trying to crawl from underneath the swelling sea, they are ever forced adown under the relentless onslaught of the pounding green waves; deep green waves that rise up like arched wings, then fall and shatter upon themselves in foamy ruins. Above this salty thunder, black wooden fingers fasten upon the perennial, gray rock that towers over. This ancient matted structure is Idler Inn.
     Unstrained, I sit and gaze,
                                 glare,
   survey,
           stare
through barred windows encased in embroidered steel. Pearly frosted dust obstructs the channels of light, leaving only small pillars of fire, arranged in disordered fragments. The antiquated sallow walls are stained with crimson braids that wreathe and scuttle about the rimes and rifts.
     From a mist of shaded silence I hear footsteps.  The rhythm is simple and even. The door breathes open as they approach, and a raven shadow appears in the corner of my eye.
     “My face is wet from weeping. Can I find a shelter here?” I hear her solitary causerie. This voice, all too familiar, walks through me.
     “Dry your eyes,” I hear me say. “This is no place for tears.”
     Stiffening silence.
     Then, as a single snowflake flares and flickers upon voicing its final breath, so two eyes make silent conversation with mine. A face as iridescent as candle-fire purls verse and poetry. My eyes read her every intent as a wave of recollections floods my senses.
     “It is our tears that make us human. But no more of that, my old friend. Do you have a place for me to rest? The road has been so long that I have traveled on to return me here.” The light cheers and carols across her eyes as she speaks.
 
I arise from my resting place
to gaze upon the colorless face
of an angel in tranquil disgrace.
 
    “Why would you want to stay here at all?”   I utter this knowing that a seraph would not cherish a soiled and coarse cradle.
     “Mind you,” she mocks, “I do not wish to be a burden, so I will make this only a moment.” Her pause causes my heart to stutter and lose itself. Perhaps, perchance, she thinks I might melt into the molding and inlay if another moment passes, and so she speaks.
     “Will you give me a room in your inn to view the sea?” At this I perceive a crystal vision quivering in the corner of her eye. A porcelain hand wipes this away.
     A voice sings, “Friend.” Another chorus, “Friend.”
     “The sea is rough here,” I say. “You’ll find no peace in the portal of this sea.”
     Her eyes, a sallow olive hue, veiled and opaque, fix on the vision of the sea beyond the barred windows.
 
Emerald and azure,
whispers and foam,
collide on the sea shore;
see pathways alone.
 
     “One room,” I say. A hushed stillness. “There is one room available on the crest of the sea. Will it be yours?”
     Her dark hair drapes her lily face as she turns. Her hand grasps a pen and moves to write out her name. Though I know she writes more, my eyes see only “Sarah.”
     “One night. That is all I’ll need. One last dreadful night of sleepless dreaming.”
     The key to her room glides across the counter and slips to the ground, making a discordant tone on the tile floor. Her hand grasps it up as the entry opens to the clamor and prattle of rambling guests. Before another breath is mine, she disappears past the top of the stairs. Her sweet, fragrant perfume lingers for a brief moment.
     Upon the creeping edge of night I seal up the materials of my office and enter the muted darkness. I hear the distant waves dancing on the seas’ sand as I enter my cabin, and glancing back toward Idler Inn, the last light flickers out.
     Darkness stirs and shifts outside my window as I prepare my cot for rest. I stand in isolation staring out at the eyes of Orion. The mute hush is startled by creaking floors and pounding wood as footsteps approach.
     “I heard the waves and thought of you. Could I ask a question before you sleep?” I turn to see the angel in my door. Her eyes prick and pierce my rest, and her white dress shivers in the wind as if she has crystalline wings.
     “What can I do for you, Sarah Selene?” I say as I secretly shiver. “Why have you come back to this forsaken place? And after so long?”
     “You have lived by this ocean all your life. I have gone and come again,” she whispers.   “Does the sea still have so many faces?”
     “As many as you have, I would imagine. Maybe more. But your face seems more weary, while it looks ever defiant.”
     I stand in stillness as a stream and current draw her across my dusty, shadowed room. Her sounds sting my heart.
     “My life has been of alabaster and ivory, but now I want to hear the ocean sing. I can’t feel the thundering trumpets or the striding drums. I can’t even feel the soft cymbals; the tune of wind and water. This ocean, your life, is barren to me.”
 
“Sarah, I have lived so long at the oceans’ side,
there is nothing new to reveal.
I’ve been bruised and buried in the oceans’ tide,
abandoned, no life left to feel.”
 
     “May I stay here a few moments?” she says. At this I turn toward the window, my lips immobile.
    “I won’t stay long,” she says. “I’m just newly unfamiliar with you. Away too long to remember well. Please, help me remember.”
     “And what have you to remember of me?” I ask. “It has been nearly twenty years since you left this place.”
     “True, but you have been missed,” she replies.
     “Perhaps, I was mist, but what of him?” I ask. “What of the one your soul confided in? The one who disappeared one day, but no one knows where.”
     “His love for me was stillborn,” she whispers. “His affections were a serpents’ cloak.” 
     My fingers part fabric and lace, exposing the darkness. Veiled ebony crawls and creeps through the night sky revealing glimpses of the glowing, amber orb hanging in the heavens. Her face is reflected as I speak:
 
“In freedom you form in utter disgrace,
the bars of my prison this night.
While you drift on currents of seraphim heights,
it is I who deserve to take flight.”
 
     “Why are you jealous of me?” Her eyes speak with haunting grace. “My homeplace is the wind and no soft pillow. Would you be such a fool to trade form for fiction?”
     “I would trade my shackled form for anything but this,” I say, motioning to my musty, unfinished room. “You had all the wealth...of money and prestige. What I had is all I’ll ever have; poverty of purpose.”
     Two feet between us; a freezing crevasse.
     She speaks. “Mine is a different poverty. Only the context is changed and the brevity with which it is enjoyed.” Her tone intensifies. “We are not so different. How we both drink deeply of life’s paining cup, and long to find a friend to take it from us.”
     “But why return here? Why come back to a passionless home?”
     “There is no home like a child’s home. Perhaps, I still search for a buried treasure on this shore. Or maybe I seek to bury something even deeper still. Can one find a doorway in the darkness or search while standing still?”
     “Where is that searching child? Is she visible to the eye?”
     “It was such a different time back then. When we were growing up, we walked with no shoes and let the sand swift our feet. I was so alive then.”
     “Perhaps, you merely felt alive then, and now you have a certain idolatry of discontent. Go haunt some other memory,” I say. “Let me have a little peace. I truly pray that you will have peace, as well.”
     She strides and steps through my silent door, leaving behind a scarlet paper with a white heart. I lay here numb and still. I close my eyes...
 
     Reeds grabble and grope on a distant shore; long since washed away. Smells, at once sweet and repulsive brush the air. Deep emerald vines weave tapestry and lace across the sand.
 
Playful footsteps, a child’s footsteps
dance over mud and mire.
What seems a horror to eyes of age,
brings joy to a child’s fire.
 
     She, clothed in her tiny gown with her tiny hands and glinting eyes, stares out to sea. A woven bonnet, filled with daffodils and daisies crowns her black curled hair. The reeds seem to
carry her across the marsh in an unhindered dance.
 
“If I could know now what I will,
or see now what I shall,
oh, what a wonderful vision of hope it would be.”
 
     Spinning and laughter fill her mind as she turns toward the blazing sun. Before her stand four stone walls:
 
Scarlet to think by;
crimson to grow;
cardinal to dream by;
ruby to know.
 
     On each wall, a crystal door. Through each door, a sacred path. In silence she grasps at the way.
     “What if I choose poorly?” (Scarlet.)
         “How can I know what will become?” (Crimson.)
   “Do I hold good or evil in my hand?” (Cardinal.)
        “Will I sing or weep?” (Ruby.)
     Her answer cries, “Piercing silence!”
 
This dream, a life;
this life, a dream.
Immersed in darkness,
I hear her scream.
 
     The sphere of golden light plunges beneath the waves as the winding breath of the earth caresses sky and sea. Her small fingers grasp for a door and swing it wide. “Darkness will be your closest friend,” a still voice speaks. Her eyes widen as ebony engulfs her. In the shifting sand she etches “God, help Sarah.” Her fragile hands grasp for the salt and shells of the sea.
     There is caged blindness in the air and a shrieking laughter. Chains clasp on wisps of raven smoke.
     The waves as drums beat in repetition as their rhythms violently assault the shore, though they never advance.
 
     My eyes open...
     Out my frosted window a red beam pierces the clouds as quilted, gray blankets cover the earth. She is there, on the shore, her figure wrapped in the wisping gray.
     My window shrieks as it opens and the sharpness of sea and salt fill my mind. The circling birds swim the currents of air and cry to one another, as the whispering seafoam drapes the sandy shore.
     My heart ceases as she glances at me. For a moment, I cease.
     The sand colored wood claws at my feet as I move toward the sea, and toward her piercing gaze.
 
This morning I breathe iced air,
and wander toward the waves.
For a moment I live without care;
a moment all my heart craves.
 
     The earth turns to reveal her lily face. There is no longer ocean, only olive green eyes, and she speaks.
     “We are far too alike. Our dreams have more meaning than our waking times.” 
     “You walked through my dream last night, Sarah. You were a frightened child.”
     “What was I afraid of? Or did you know?”
     “The birth of tomorrow and tomorrow’s children. How their faces tick on time, and their hands swivel ever ‘round.”
     I stand silent for a moment and she speaks. “I, too, dreamed of you, in my moments’ rest. You were afraid, but I don’t know what of.
 
What fills your heart with fright?
Is it brilliant day or darking night?
The howling sun consumes,
the paling sparkle of the moon.
With step on step you find,
the tortured banter of your mind,
now clouds your shifting sky...
Awaken, dreamer, it’s time to die.”
 
     The waves erode the rocky cliffs and strip the sandy shore. These violent thunderings hush as she speaks again.
     “The child born of each new day strides with crippled wings. Do you sense her struggle?”
 
“I can taste the salted suffering,
and smell the sorrow there.
But I cannot help this child,
for I don’t know how to care.”
 
     She crosses in front of me, and even the sea is lost behind her gaze. She speaks.
 
“The ancient Janus redefined.
Each new beginning fragments the soul and mind.
The hittlering-hellish hatred of doorways cold and dark,
and visions all tormenting: bloody, bleak, and stark.”
 
     With her words, I weep, and in my clouded vision I whisper my reply.
 
“O, the sorrow of us all,
to wander the earth in a shell.
And looking to the heavens,
we lay to rest in hell.
The suffering of the innocent
in the midst of Jacob’s well.
How the miles fled between us,
and that distance is still great.
Though on the same shore we now sit,
in temporal quietude to wait.
The moon is our bright witness;
it will lead us to the gate.”
 
     “Oh, that the sand were our sufferings to be cleansed by the shifting waves.” With her words, all falls silent as I sit beside her and view the sea.
 
 


© 2009 An owl on the moon


Author's Note

An owl on the moon
My first book, born amidst a long-term period of depression...

My Review

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Featured Review

"four red walls:January"
An owl on the moon,
Inner honest feelings given life. That's what this writing feels like to me. Within an important season of your life I see beauty. It was a pleasure to be able to enter your dream.
It's hard to pick on part having read it twice but I did come away with the idea that each of us is so different in how we express and what.
Blessings to you.
Kathy

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Kathy Van Kurin

2 Years Ago

All I can say is it was inspiring and very intellegent.
An owl on the moon

2 Years Ago

Hoping to have a Goodreads contest soon. Would love for you to win the novel. :)
Kathy Van Kurin

2 Years Ago

That sounds great but my stuff is not something that would win anything but someone will earn it I k.. read more



Reviews

You are a born master. You take us into unimaginable beauty with your poetry that is weaved with care amungst the dialogue and description. I too have never come across this style or format before. I am so glad that I have now. You are truely gifted and I am so lucky to have you to learn from. I will be off to the next chapter in a few moments. Simply wonderful!

Posted 10 Years Ago


I was very curious to read this, and now I find that you are much too kind to let us read it for free. :) I've read only this chapter and I already want to own the entire book. You obviously have a gift, and I don't mean that in any joking way. I don't believe I've ever read anything before that mixed poetry and novel. I've been very deprived! I feel like I've been pulled into the story, and that doesn't happen very often with most books I read. The good ones stand out; they are the ones I can remember. I will certainly remember this.

Posted 10 Years Ago


I was very curious to read this, and now I find that you are much too kind to let us read it for free. :) I've read only this chapter and I already want to own the entire book. You obviously have a gift, and I don't mean that in any joking way. I don't believe I've ever read anything before that mixed poetry and novel. I've been very deprived! I feel like I've been pulled into the story, and that doesn't happen very often with most books I read. The good ones stand out; they are the ones I can remember. I will certainly remember this.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is astonishingly beautiful. I didn't think I would like it. I tend to gravitate towards more traditional fiction. But this was magnificent! I can't wait to read more. The poetic verse amidst the narrative, which is poetic in its own right, gives this story a feel unlike any other I've read. I do have a few qualms about some of the language, but as you've already finished this and are on the publishing path, it would probably do no good to express them. Beautiful!

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig,

You inspire me (yet again!) to try that which previously I'd sneered at. A friend who offerd to help me publiish told me HER friend "didn't DO poetry," but I might consider combining elements of my poetry into a Novel format (pun intentional!), they'd look at it. I thought the idea ludicrous...Then I discovered "An Owl On The Moon", and I now see it's possible, not only to do it, but to do it beautifully! Is it available on paper? I have difficulty focusing on a screen for that length of time...
Damn you, boy! The work you've created for me!! (lmao)

Posted 11 Years Ago


Tell me what kind of feedback, if any, you are looking for.

Posted 11 Years Ago


I read a chapter ahead before this and I can't help but regret it. Not that it wasn't good, in fact, this is one of the best books I've read so far on this site. It just spoiled part of the end. Now all I can read is the buildup and already know (what I think is) the climax.

Amazing at putting images in your mind. You don't just visualize ther story, bu at parts you feel it. You can smell the ocean and feel the crashing waves. Beautifully written

Posted 11 Years Ago


I thoroughly enjoyed reading this chapter (well, the whole book actually). Found myself questioning a lot about where my life had been and where it was going (if anywhere).

A great piece. And a must read for all!!!!!

Josie

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Reading this chapter left me more than stunned. I can write a story, I can write a poem, but I cannot combine the two of them together. You sure can, and the result is astonishingly, strikingly beautiful.
And the images it creates in my head when I read it are so vivid and explosively descriptive... "It was such a different time back then. When we were growing up, we walked with no shoes and let the sand swift our feet." I can really feel the sand between my toes when I read this part.
The mystery that you slip between your poetic words leaves me hanging. Some parts confuse me, I have to admit- I am not enlightened enough to such a profound language, but reading more of this may help me.
There are no words existing to explain how I enjoyed reading this.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

i love how poetic this is. beautiful!

Posted 12 Years Ago



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Added on February 7, 2008
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An owl on the moon
An owl on the moon

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2018 was a journey through my poetic novel, An Owl on the Moon. 2019 found me goinging back to a deep inspiration for me... Wonderland...2020 will whisper itself over the seasons... Come walk the worl.. more..

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