Posted: December 29, 2013 in Uncategorized
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I’m a writer of supernatural fiction. There will be stories and discussions about writing here. To start off, here’s a little thing for you. Readers from my lost site may have read it already


Black is the Colour

His brand of magic was quiet and close up.  He didn’t want to impress with flash and fire.  He liked to tell a story, keeping his voice low so that his audience had to still themselves to hear.  He told stories of the world at its birth and the pain of growing while his clever hands told stories of their own.  Sometimes when the magic was done, there was a moment of silence as the people came out of the spell he had woven and realised what they had seen.  Those were the best moments for him; seeing them light up like children, with delight.  Magic was about finding the miracle in the mundane.  He used string and candles, cards and handkerchiefs to seize a dulled imagination and make it fly.  For a long time, it was his only joy.

He knew he was a plain man.  He was 5 foot 8, with thinning hair and boring clothes.  When he tried to change his clothes or comb his hair differently, he felt, and looked, he was sure, foolish.  He knew what he was.  He also knew who he was.  He was a magician.  That was more than enough.

He gained moderate success and travelled alone.  His little show made people laugh and clap their hands.  When each trip was finished, he thumbed through his pocket diary, torn and grubby from his travels, to find the next place.  Santa Monica appeared on the 1st of June.  After, he remembered it standing out as though embossed.  At the time, he went there, expecting nothing but the simple pleasures of a new place and a new audience.

When he called for a volunteer, Lorena came up.  The lights played in her black hair and he was so entranced by her that he almost made a mistake.  He pulled his attention back and was rewarded by her delight.

He didn’t know how to be with women, but Lorena didn’t care.  He saw her coming towards him backstage and tried to think of something to say.  She just took his hand and everything else went away, just like when he was telling his stories.

They made love in the sand.  The magic of it made his act seem like a feather in a storm.  He felt like a true magician then and thereafter when they were together.  He loved her voice and her slender body, often naked under simple dresses.  She laughed when his clever hands made magic of her.  He listened to the rhythm of her speech and to her stories about her mountain home in West Virginia.  He learned the Scots-Irish song Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair and sang it to her while he was practicing his magic.

When she wanted to go home to visit her folks, he tried to stop her.  She thought at first that he was jealous and possessive.  Before she left, he made her see that he had a bad feeling.  She forgave him for it and kissed him, but went all the same, with promises to always love him.

She called him from the airport when she arrived, just before she boarded the small plane that would take her into the mountains.  The Appalachian woods swallowed the plane so deep that no one could find it.  He waited all through the searching, waited in her home town, met her family and waited.  When the world confessed that it couldn’t find her, he stopped waiting.

He knew nothing about the woods.  Lorena’s mother showed him poison ivy so that he could avoid it.  Her brother gave him a gun and taught him how to use it so that he could feed himself when his supplies ran out.  They equipped him and said goodbye.  Their eyes were like hers and he knew he would never see them again.

In the beginning, the black flies bothered him but the deeper he got into the woods, the less he cared.  All he could see was Lorena’s shining hair and the brightness of her face when she looked at him.  The first night he camped out, something heavy lumbered through the woods near his tent, cracking branches and pausing to lap water from a stream.  He held still until it passed and then he slipped into exhausted sleep, dreaming of her.

He walked and the days blended into each other.  He seldom looked up at the canopy of trees but watched his boots tread after each other.  When his food got low, he tried to watch for a deer to shoot, but couldn’t face even the thought of firing upon one.  He ate less and walked on.

He knew he would find her.  It was no surprise to him when he raised his eyes to study the track the plane had made through the trees.  It had shed pieces of itself as it crashed.  He followed the broken trail until he came to the wreckage.  The plane had skimmed the earth and come to its devastating rest under the heavy canopy.  He walked around it and saw Lorena lying on the ground, her black hair spread about her head like a pool.  She had either been thrown clear or managed to get herself out.  He got on his knees beside her and looked at her perfect face.  It was close to sunset and the black flies were swarming around him, trying to fill his nostrils and the corners of his eyes, but they didn’t touch her.  Nothing touched her.  She was perfect, her skin smooth, her body unharmed.  He took her hand and the flies left him.  She looked so unhurt that he felt for a pulse. Nothing.  He looked around in some useless instinct, seeking help before he realised that he was the only one.  No one else would ever come.

He leaned over and kissed her lips and then stood to shed his pack.  He spread his arms to the sky and let the feeling of magic fill his heart the way it had when he had made love to her.  He gathered it around him and breathed it in. It smelled like the forest; moist life quivering under the canopy out of sight of human eyes.  He pulled it in to him and with everything he had ever learned about magic, thrust it out again, thinking only of her.  In the half-light under the trees, he saw it spark out of him and fly towards her.  Her body jerked and he felt like she was helping, sucking the light and the life into her.  He started to tire and the light began to dim.  When he fell on his knees, she sat up and looked at him, her eyes full of glittering gold and green lights, like the forest in dappled sunshine.

He held out his hands to her, crying and struggling for breath.  She was sucking all the oxygen out of the little grove.  The leaves around the broken perimeter began to turn brown as she pulled the vitality from them.  She stood and whirled and he touched her leg as she came close to him.  His fingers scorched at the touch and he jerked back.  She leaned over him and he saw that she was something more than the woman he loved.  Lorena was there, but there was something in her, made of the woods and the dark and his own magic.  He was afraid of her and when she smiled at him, the green forest light that shot from her like static made him scream.  She laughed and he scrambled up and ran.

He could hear her coming after him, a woods beast intent only on drawing in what life it could.  He threw a look over his shoulder and saw her, clawed and furred and eager for him.

He ran, remembering the simple magic of quiet movements and delighted faces.  He drew the last of his magic to him, concentrated it and then sent it out again.  It tore free with a sudden pain, ripped from its hidden roots.  The ground dropped from beneath him and he turned as he fell.  He saw the magic wrap around her and transform her.  She spread wings and soared over the cliff edge, crying out in the thrill of flight.  The sky was hers.  He fell toward the white water below and watched her joy, her freedom, and knew it was enough.

 I love my love and well she knows,
I love the ground, whereon she goes,
I wish the day, it soon would come,
When she & I could be as one.

Black is the colour of my true love’s hair,
Her lips are like some roses fair,
She’s the sweetest smile, And the gentlest hands,
I love the ground, Whereon she stands.

Traditional love song.