Frame of Soul

Frame of Soul

A Story by silent tempest
"

A short story about a man who paints... I won't say more, just read through ;)

"

Artist’s Despair

The gentle waves were washing the lake’s shore like a lover would fondle the hair of his beloved. Little wisps of foam swayed as wind touched the calm cerulean mirrored surface. There were long and wide stretches of woods surrounding the lake, slowly creeping towards the peak of a large solitary mountain which rose sky-high, almost touching the late afternoon sun.

Like an axe splitting a piece of firewood a long and narrow pier reached out into the water. It could fool many by its looks for it was painted grey and the wooden construction was rough and raw, yet the planks were flat and smooth as if made yesterday. In the middle of the pier lay a dog. Mind you, it was no ordinary pooch, it was the majestic breed of husky, tilting its head as the curious ones do, as if it was trying to understand an abstract dialogue of two astrophysicists. Its cyan eyes were radiating “wisdom” so convincingly, you’d almost think it could.

A little further inland there was a cabin, but you’d only ever see one wall and one window of the cosy abode - which could hold a full family of four and the clever dog as well. There was one more thing, positioned between the pier and the house, a kind of soul binding void of yet blank canvas.

 

You see, Matthew didn’t know how to continue the painting. He knew exactly what should fill the eye-hurting abyss. The idea was rather simple " a girl. But he didn’t know who the girl - more so a young woman " should be, how she should look like, what should she feel and be like.

Matt never met her " apart from a long forgotten dream. There was an ephemeral feeling inside him, his perception of “Her”. For days he was trying to come close to it. And as he was creating the scenery and “Wolf” as Matt named the dog, there finally rose a more tangible vision, still just a flicker of her looks, but he had finally came to know the basic aspects of her appearance.

First came the eyes " the ones he has always subconsciously searched for on the streets - blue eyes with drops of rainbow. Vivid and kind, frisky yet smart. Later on he had decided about her hair, natural brown which varied in shades depending on the mood and angle of sunlight. There was no particular reason for this colour, except that Matt couldn’t think of a hue more fitting “Her”. Yes, “Her”, that’s how he called her, for to think of a name was beyond his wildest of dares.

 

And so, after countless period of time he had spent starring into the void, Matt began to sketch the simplest of curves. He let his hand draw them, rather than willing the hand to draw. She appeared slender, a shadow of the wind, waving and writhing as he was unsure of the figure he set to create. Absentmindedly he drew her hands gracefully touching each other and resting on her belly, right palm entwining left hand’s thumb " one would think it insecure, but in Matt’s vision it was a sign of purity, kindness and loyalty. He painted her in a white summer dress and let her legs bare to touch the soft of grass.

By now he had already made a foundation to build details on, but it still felt like a cool shade whirling under heat, he needed to breathe life into her. There already was a lot about her which he craved - the slim shape of her body, appearing fragile, yet somehow reminiscing of survival; the cuteness of her pose and the forming smile upon her not yet finished lips. Slow and steady Matt began to shape her real.

 

But such task was nearly impossible " fully in Matt’s mind. Desperate about his failure of even thinking about her facial contours, he began to drink. A shot of honeyed whiskey followed up by a long sip of beer, shook it off and drank some more. Starring into what was to be “Her’s” face, his frustration didn’t cease to rise. No amount of liquor seemed to help, but Matt didn’t want to give up, not when he was so close, so close to finally get to know how she looks like " and so he drank on and on.

Insomniac, agitated, drunk and on the verge of rage. Despair took its toll as he resumed his project. Matt wouldn’t admit it, but he was still getting over a break-up. It had been more than half a year and though it was him who had decided to end the relationship, his soul was filled with guilt, his mind full of “what-ifs” and his heart darker than the depths of universe. The reasons why he had done it are unimportant to this story, the only thing that matters is that the painting was to be a sort of relief, to ease the pain. “Her” should have taken the place in his mind instead of “her”.

His wretched mind, intoxicated and ever-doubtful now awoke to a state of fury he’d never felt before. He hit the canvas violently, stroke after stroke, madly trying to capture the perfect beauty of “Her’s” face. And so it happened that Matt broke through the linen with a sudden silence so deep it made him shiver to the bone and crumble with fear. But the alcohol in his veins didn’t like fear, it pushed his mind and made him cry out loud in agony, scaring the neighbours. In the last attempt of a broken will, Matt took the painting and wanted to throw it against the sealed window. And so he would have done " were it not for his dizzy alcoholic highs " and so he would have done " not forgetting about the picture still being mounted " and so he … and so he lost his balance and began to fall, spotting the blur of waves and trees and dogs and girls as he was about to hit the floor. And he did. He did hard.

Until there was but blackness.

The Lakehouse

Time was not. Light was neither. All Matthew could feel was a slight tickle of cold on his feet, but he was not yet awake enough to know that he was him. Sunshine broke through his closed eyelids and a wave of chilly water washed his legs up to knees. Matt opened his eyes for a brief moment, only to close them again from the tremendous brightness. His head was buzzing and aching and he didn’t want to get up for nothing, even though his white linen pants were getting soaked. But then came the sudden realisation, which made him sit up quickly " this felt like a blow of hammer into his brain. Yes, it was the hangover and yes it was the painful fall, but soon enough, Matt put all those thoughts aside. The only thing on his mind was " where the heck he was? Mesmerised by the wonder in his sight, a mountain, a lake and a man standing over him, smiling.

For quite some time, the two men were just starring at each other. Sound of wind howling through the conifers and over the surface of the lake filled the silence. Matt couldn’t take the stare anymore - though it was comforting in a way. He couldn’t tell why, but the man seemed familiar. Upon smelling wood logs burning, Matt searched the surroundings and found the cabin, which’s chimney was puffing peaceful fumes of smoke.

“Sir, are you all right?” the man finally broke the nature’s quiet symphony.

Matt wanted to say something back, but found the inside of his mouth completely dry. “Yes, I guess,” he said after clearing his throat.

“Really? You don’t look all too well,” the man exclaimed as he scanned Matt from heel to toe.

“Actually, no. You’re right. I feel like…” Matt shook his head confused, “where? Where am I?”

“Why, you are here. That’s where we are!” the man laughed at him as if it was an all known fact.

“And where’s ‘here’?”

“Don’t you see for yourself?”

This made Matt look around again. Of course he knew where he was, but this was also impossible. Somehow a quote rose in the back of Matt’s mind “If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”, but Matt didn’t see the place as being true. It felt real, more real than walking through streets crowded with strangers. No, Matt couldn’t believe that, he chose to think it a dream " and so he pinched himself to wake up, to no avail.

“Do you need any help, or are you ok just by yourself?” the man asked and looked around as to leave.

“I am confused. This is your house? Who are you anyway?”

“My house?” the man asked and let out a feral yet cordial laugh. “No, it is not my house, though I live nearby. But that house,” the man pointed at the cabin near the lake,” that is your house.”

“My house?” Matthew said to himself and finally got up on his feet.

“Yes, yes. Now if you excuse me, I have things to chase after,” the man said and trailed off into the woods.

 

Matt watched him disappear and chose to go towards the house - instead of blindly following the unknown and quite awkward man. Large garden lay to the right of the estate. The building itself was mostly made of grand wood logs, but it was no shack. Matt stepped up onto the porch with a pair of rocking chairs. Then he tried the handle and upon finding the door unlocked, slipped inside into the warmth of the house. It smelled like aged wood, fire smoke, non-perishable food stocks and fresh cloth " but most of all, it smelled like home. Somehow, Matt knew his way around.

The first floor was an open space mostly and the windows were letting a lot of sunlight in " making the room look even more spacious. There was a door leading right to a modestly large bathroom. The floor were blue coloured wooden planks and the tile wall a mosaic of blue and white shaded squares. Next to the bathroom door was a straight wooden staircase. The left side of the open room was divided by a dining table into kitchen and living room - which continued to the far right corner under and behind the stairs. A kitchen isle surrounded by link and glass-doored cabinets and cupboards composed the food preparing area, though it didn’t look as it had been used much " yet. The living room began with a large bookcase under the staircase and a set of couch and two armchairs of the same light brown texture. Opposite the couch was a wall-mounted HDTV and next to it, in the middle of the far wall, were French door leading to the backyard of the house. Left side of the living room was nearly empty, with just a grey-bricked fireplace in which lazy flames played a game of shadows.

After taking in the cosy and friendly environment Matt simply said ‘Hello?’, but heard no answer and so he went upstairs. The door to the right led to a huge bedroom with a double bed " empty " and another set of door. Those led to a spartan decorated study, just a bookcase to the right and a large desk overviewing the lake. The view was spectacular as the sun was slowly setting near the edge of the mountain, colouring the sky vivid red.

Matt went back to the hallway of the second floor and tried the door opposing bedroom, those opened to a small bathroom. Further the hallway there were two more door. Small bedrooms " yet unfurnished and likewise empty.

 

Matt was on his way downstairs thinking about making himself some food - since there was nothing to do and he was getting hungry - when he heard a whisper of laugh. He stopped and tried to listen " nothing. Matt went outside through the backyard door and looked up into the trees, then he heard it again, coming from the deep woods with a blow of fresh air " a female laugh. Of course that his first thought was of “Her”, though excited, Matt was also scared. If he had somehow really gotten into the painting, who was she? For he didn’t finish painting her.

Fairy of the Lake

Matt began to regret not to take additional clothing before wandering off into the depths of the forest. His hands were bruised and with only the last of sunrays he was slowly getting cold. The terrain was quite harsh and Matt struggled to walk up the hill. The laughter was distant, but it seemed as if he was headed in the right direction. Birds and crickets accompanied his stroll through the rain excavated path, which led easily up the hill and so it happened that he caught a glimpse of glowing white dress. Matt stopped and stared in the direction he thought she was, but then he saw movement more to the right. “How fast is she?” He wondered. Blood rose to his limbs and made him warm as “Her” took a peak from behind a tree. Her eyes " even from the distance " were blazing and piercing him straight to the soul. Matt was speechless and so she just smiled and then let out a slight laugh before speaking.

“Hello there shy-one. What a lovely evening we have. There will be full moon, I feel it in the air and ground. It will be bright and bind the world in a silver haze. Would you like to watch it with me?” Her voice was godlike - soft, teasing and inviting. She came from her hiding and held hands behind her back, moving from her toes to heels, barefoot. It seemed as if she was always lost in thoughts as she kept looking around endlessly. Curious about the details of the world. How the leaves of a bush were growing, how the bark was crumbling and how the twilight made parts of the trees eerie. It seemed to Matt that she was part of the scenery rather than human invading the untouched nature.

Matt swallowed and said: “Yes, of course I would, but it’s getting cold. There’s a house not too far from here, let’s take some clothes from there. We might as well watch the moon from there.”

“Oh my dear shy-one. Don’t you worry about the nightfall chills! I have better things to warm you with than clothes. Just you wait until we reach the place. Come now! We shan’t miss the moonrise.” And off she was into the dark. Matt ran after her. Somehow all the worries were gone. His focus was only on her, all of his senses and thoughts sailed towards “Her”.

Each time he was nearing to get close to her, she ran a bit, laughing and panting. It was a game and it was getting faster and thus harder for Matt to reach her. He had to sprint and found himself laughing like a child. Driven by the trail of ardent scent “Her” was leaving behind. A natural fusion of strawberries and wheat, summer dreams and heat. Suddenly she stopped, but Matt was too excited, completely immersed in the game and smell, he hugged her from behind " and it felt right. She fondled his arm and pointed in front of them with the other hand. They appeared on the edge of a vast meadow with a tall oak in the centre.

Her smell was so intense it made him grow and he wanted to stay like this forever, but “Her’s” nature was different. She liked to tease him and so she broke free and ran towards the tree. Matt was still enamoured by her heat and it took him few seconds to chase after her. He found her stretched in the soft grass near the oak. Her dress was torn in places and dirty, but he didn’t mind " and neither did she.

“Will you stand there all night or will you warm me with your presence here beneath the sky?” Matt didn’t hesitate and lay close to her, still catching breath.

“I have to ask, my lovely fairy. Who are you?”

“Who are you?” she asked in return.

Matt thought of an answer for a while, starring into her deep blue eyes with a smile he couldn’t hide. “Well, I am me. I am a man. And my name is Matt.”

“I’m glad to have met you Matthew,” she laughed again and stared into the millions of stars above.

“And how do they call you?”

“How does who call me?”

“Other people.”

“There are no other people. Just you and me and the starlight. Soon the moon will arrive, but we have yet to wait a bit.”

“I don’t mean right now. What about your parents?”

“I don’t remember.”

“So you don’t have a name?”

“You called me a fairy before. You can call me that. Though I am no fairy.”

“Is that so?”

“Sadly, I possess no magical powers.”

“Oh I think you do.”

“Really? And what are those?” she asked and smiled kindly.

“I shall keep that to myself.” Said Matt and took her closer to himself.

 

“Why are you here?” she asked in a whisper.

“I don’t actually know.”

“And do you like it here?”

“This place is perfect. Where are we exactly?”¨

“Near an old oak. Under the starlit sky. On a meadow.”

“Somehow I knew you would say that.”

“Oh, do you think to know me so well?”

“No, I don’t. Actually I don’t know you at all. But each time I ask something, you elude with answer.”

“Let’s play a game.”

“Which game?”

“You ask me a question and if I will not want to answer, something nice will happen.”

“What will happen?”

“Something nice, you will see. My turn. How many stars are up there?”

Matt looked up and knew he couldn’t answer correctly. “A lot.” Then he wanted to come up with a question she wouldn’t want to answer. He was curious about that ‘something’. “Where do you live?” He asked and knew it was not the right question.

“All around. The meadows, the forests, the mountains and the lake,” she said as she waved her hand, then folded it on top of his chest. “Where do you live?”

“In a city.” He took her hand into his. “Who lives in the house near the lake?” Matthew began to doubt what he wanted. To know the ‘something’ or to continue these teasing questions, building up the excitement?

“A young and handsome man. Where is the city?”

“A man? I’ve met a man before. He was quite weird. Do you know him?” Matthew asked and ceased to stare at the stars.

“Now, now. You didn’t answer my question, you have to do something nice!” And so Matt stroked her hair out of her face and gazed upon her pale skin and gleaming eyes.

“I have only seen him before. Never spoke to him. Are you trying to ask me a question I wouldn’t answer?”

“I may be. Who is the handsome man?”

She gave him a soft, warm kiss on the cheek.

“Who do you think it is?” She asked with a wink.

“Is it me?” Matt asked and laughed holding both her hands in his. She kissed him again.

“How could you find out?”

“I could ask again. Is it me?” And he was rewarded by a kiss on the lips.

“Do you know what that ‘something’ is yet?” And Matthew knew, but didn’t answer. Instead he leaped on top of her and began to kiss her passionately.

The ground shook and the stars span in circles and wind howled the lover’s moans away. Moon slowly moved above them but neither of them looked. They were in the eyes of the other. Then the fairy rose on top of him and she looked at him from above and Matthew fell under her spell while holding her firm breasts. She resembled a goddess to him and he felt to be a god to her. Her palm went down his chest in a slow motion and he lay his hands on her bottom. He fondled her back and pulled her the closest he could and whispered in her ear: “You are mine and I am yours,” then spun them again…

 

They were entwined together, warm from the love they made. Silver tendrils of moonlight covered their faces and the owl sang the night. Matt still couldn’t get the image of her on top out of his head, she was a goddess no doubt.

“Those are the magical powers you have,” Matthew said as he was continuously fondling her back.

“Well then you are a sorcerer.”

“Am I now?”

“For you have truly enchanted me.”

 

“Is this just a dream?” Matt asked with a slight yawn.

“How can one distinguish real from dream? Do I feel real to you?”

“Very real. And yet, not at the same time. I don’t know.”

“Then worry not about such things. Just let the moon soothe you.”

And so Matt did. He listened to the nightlife around, the heartbeat of his fairy goddess, the wind caressing the tree and to the inner peace and bliss he felt.

 

When they began to feel the dew, it was time to leave. They slowly and quietly left the meadow hand-in-hand. “Her” knew the way to the lakehouse and the moon provided with light. The house was dark and empty with only embers flickering in the fireplace. Matt stoked the fire and rekindled it to life. The fairy found a bottle of wine and Matt moved the couch in front of the hearth. Sipping on the crimson drink it didn’t take long for them to realise how weary they really were. And so they covered themselves in tender embrace and went on to different realm of dreams.

Eternal Elusion

Matthew woke up in a cold bed. His head hurt like hell. The painful realisation that he just dreamt it all hit him hard. He wanted to get back. Get back to “Her”. To the perfect place, to be with the perfect one. But such was not his fate. He had to live on. Repaint the piece perhaps. He knew how she looked like now. Did he? No. No! No! No! He had forgotten her already. He couldn’t remember her face. Just her eyes and not in great detail. Why, oh why didn’t he pay more attention to her? Why didn’t he watch her more closely?

Matt looked from the window and saw the sun rise, but it was a very cloudy morning, icy, lonesome. Something else was off as well, something he didn’t notice yet. His head was dizzy. What was he missing out? A sound. No, the silence. It was not adequately quiet for his flat. There was an almost inaudible noise somewhere. He sat up in bed and stared towards the narrow beam of yellow light coming from under the door.

 

“Honey, have you seen my towel?” she asked from the bathroom…

 


 

Epilogue

This story was written because one person wanted me to write about “a dog that became a man for a day” and a “painting that would become real”. And it so happened that I was waiting for results from my statistics exam (which I’ve passed) and only having pen and paper I have decided to prepare for my English CAE exam by writing this story.

It took me nearly 2 months to get myself to re-write the first chapter from paper to Word and then a whole summer and half of autumn to finally get my butt to finish it.

Somewhere along the way I have decided to finally capture the “lakehouse” with words. The lake house is a place I would like to live in. To raise my children in (the empty bedrooms). It is my dream a life-long wish if you will, towards which I am willing to strive and it is the perfect place for me to spend the rest of my life at.

The soundtrack for this short story could be “Skyrim Atmospheres by Jeremy Soule” for if there is a song in which I’d like to live, this one would be it.

And later on I realised - though I knew it partially from the beginning " that this story really is about our pursuit of perfection (which eludes us eternally). We give so much to it. Yet we so rarely realise that such thing is impossible to achieve, to gain, to find...

 

Actually for me there are two ways how to look at perfection.

 

A.      Nothing is perfect.

B.      Everything is perfect, because it is the way it is - natural.

 

Either way, pursuing perfection can only lead to disappointment or false beliefs.

But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive for our better selves " in a healthy way, it is mandatory.

 

Don’t be afraid, get yourself confident enough to allow yourself to fail. And who knows, maybe you’ll succeed.
Only one way to find out " do your best!

 

Lukáš Lazar

(silent Tempest)

© 2015 silent tempest


Author's Note

silent tempest
Excuse my English, it's a language I have yet to master :)

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Added on October 19, 2015
Last Updated on October 19, 2015

Author

silent tempest
silent tempest

Prague, Czech Republic



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I like to write even though I don't think I have the talent. more..

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A Story by silent tempest