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Thrice Upon A Misty Eve

Novel By: Jennifer Brighton
Literary fiction



Aerie has a secret that becomes even too big for her to keep: At the outset, Aerie--the main character--sleepily lounges around the house. After a moment of forcing herself to stay awake, she gives up and decides to go to sleep. Soon, she becomes suspended in a dream involving a handsome suitor... Or is she having a nightmare about a stranger from her past?


There may be a slight problem with the formatting (line-spacing and indentation)that I cannot seem to fix... but I tried, vehemently.

[constructive criticism welcome] View table of contents...


Chapters:

1 2

Submitted:Jul 19, 2012    Reads: 19    Comments: 0    Likes: 1   


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Chapter 1
As Aerie sat on the floor of her scarcely furnished apartment, leaning against the couch and eating the last oatmeal cookie from a brown, paper bag, she slowly began to realize that she had entirely too much time on her hands. She sat the cookie--now half eaten and shaped like a crescent moon--down upon the bag and stretched her arms out over her head.
After gently pressing the tension out of one side of her long, slender neck, Aerie leaned back against the couch. And after deciding that catching sight of the waning sun was reason enough to yawn, she decided to go to bed.
Reluctantly, she stood and made her way to the bedroom. She was too tired to change, and therefore turned out the light and collapsed onto the bed wearing the very clothes that she had worn all day. Her arms went one way and her legs went another. And, Aerie's russet hair was strewn across her shoulders and back.
It sure felt nice to lay down after such a long Friday, filled with doing nothing. Tomorrow, though, will be even more mundane.
As Aerie's tired body sank down into the soft sheets, her mind did something else entirely. It drifted. Her muscles went limp and her mind, far away from her now, was now upon the cusp of entering a new world--the dream world.
Aerie tip-toed quietly through inch-high blades of grass and glanced up. The sun was high in the afternoon sky, and it was sweltering.
There was a man up ahead who appeared to be standing underneath a tree. That was a smart thing to do on such a hot, summer day, Aerie thought. He waved her over, and Aerie began to walk towards him.
A chilling wind crept inside of Aerie's bedroom window. But in her mind, there was no such chilling wind--but a cool breeze that was sweeping across her stifling body. And beyond that, there was the man, the cool man underneath the tree, who was waiting for her. But presently, it was too hot, and soon, she was too tired to go on.
She knelt in the grass and another chilling breeze blew across her warm skin. Aerie looked off to the side and dark clouds seemed to be gathering upon the horizon. Then, she looked up ahead, and the man--the man in the shade--seemed to be walking towards her. She lifted her hands, which were now much cooler than before, and eagerly waved him over.
Aerie rubbed her arms, for now she was freezing. She looked around once more and saw that the sky had turned the most awful color of grey. And there in the backdrop was the man. Yes. The handsome man--the nice man whose face was draped in shadows--was still walking over.
Only now, his steps became less fluid--less natural, and he seemed to force himself to stand upright. He advanced slowly, though some fright in her person didn't want him to take another step. Did she dare conjure up his face?
She imagined a creature, dead yet animate--a creature be-riddled with rot and decease--hobbling towards her.
His hands were withered yet reaching, And his face, his horrifyingly handsome face, slowly but surely lost its frightful charm. His lips, once dripping with cherry-like
fervor, and his face, once ruddy with health and vigor, was drained of its color in a single instance. His skin became a monochromatic grey, and his once healthy figure was now distorted--emaciated.
He opened his mouth, though he wasn't close enough to be heard, and spoke. She couldn't physically move. She was stuck in a mire of disbelief.
The creature, skin peeling from his flesh and dripping off of his stark-white bones, whispered again. And this time, Aerie was sure she had heard him. He had breathed a name--her name. Did she know him?
He leaned forward, inching towards her face so closely that she could scarcely breathe for the strong cloud of death on his putrefying tongue.
"Aerie…" he whispered hoarsely.
An unwilling Aerie answered him back saying, "W--what do you want with me…?"
"The mists," the animate corpse hissed between cracked teeth, "the mists will tell."
"What do you mean?"
The man, both incongruously dead and alive, whispered, "The mists can keep no secrets… It will tell all."
He looked up, and Aerie followed suit by looking overhead as well. A drop of rain splattered across her wan cheek.
"So little time," he whispered, a broad smile splayed across his fantastic skull.
Then he lay his head in her trembling lap, grinning as only a skull free of flesh could, and collapsed.
Horror-filled, Aerie jumped to her feet. Almost simultaneously, a towering slump of bricks appeared in the distance. She gazed at the tower of bricks… Was it--could it be--?
"The courtyard--" she gasped, and made a sudden, wild dash for the poorly-built structure.
She struggled to get uphill, blatantly ignoring the crumbling ground around her. She took one step, another, and what seemed like a third, but to her horrific realization, her foot fell through the air.
She plummeted--rather ungracefully--through a gaping hole in the ground, twisting and tumbling on the way down--spiraling precariously through invisible, black gusts of wind as if she were a mere fragmented speck of a bit of loosened rock--debris.
Aerie panicked and shrieked loudly. And, her frantic screaming swelled with intensity as she drew nearer to the ground. She threw her hands in front of her wincing eyes and braced for impact. The floor of the abyss grew closer and closer, until she finally crashed into the ground.
Shrilly, she cried out in pain. And almost immediately, after a moment of shock and confusion, Aerie realized that she wasn't dead and that she wasn't in as much pain as she ought to have been. She had only been dreaming--
"Damn floor," she hissed while rubbing her reddening face.
She had fallen out of bed, head first in fact, and the side of her face had absorbed the majority of the impact. Now fully awake, she stood up, cradling the injured portion of her face in both hands, and walked over to the window. Well, she limped. The wooden floor wasn't very merciful to her hip.
She peered outside, and figured that it was going to rain soon. She could tell by the light rumbling of thunder echoing in the distance. A cool but gentle gale blew inside of her room and made the skin of her arm prickle, leaving portions of her skin spiked and resembling raised dots. So, she pulled the window shut.
Aerie looked down, as if to shake her head in amusement, and smiled--with a hint of sullen distaste at the turn of her lips.
"I guess this is your way of telling me I've been away too long, hm…?" Aerie said aloud and seemingly to herself. She was clearly smiling now, though there was not a clear explanation for her sudden, dark jubilation. "I guess I'll have to come see about you tomorrow, then…" she said with a deep sigh, walking back over to the bed.
She laid her aching face on the cool pillow, and slowly found sleep again.




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