It’s a new year and I want to try something different. I will post on my blog short stories illustrated by the great artists I discovered.
Let’s begin with a « Once upon a time… » story and one Inktober drawing from a great storyteller artist: Dimitris Pantazis.
“And how did it start?”
“Like a very ordinary spring morning. When you open the shutters, when the light caresses your naked body, when the mild and sweet smells just make you want to lie down, to leave the windows opened, to let the spring sounds take over the room, to invade your head, to feed you more surely than breakfast. Light invading this dark room, bathing it in an unreal light, making you forget who you are.”
“And you did not know who you were?”
“How could I have known? I was barely awake. I was alone, without memories. On the outside, everything was sweet, voluptuous. I opened the window a little more, stepped over it and found myself naked walking in this garden. The soft morning dew, the bright sunlight, which lit up the foliage with glowing reflections, the first fallen leaves that began to cover the ground, while the branches were covered with flowers whose smell intoxicated me. I heard the sound of a nearby stream and could not fight the irresistible urge to go swimming there.”
“Glowing foliage? Leaves fallen to the ground? Autumn?”
“A spring autumn when the first cherries were growing in the trees, when the daisies were carpeting prettily on the heel and tickled the soles of my feet. A gentle warm wind caressed my body as I hugged a tree, a shower of fragrant petals clung to my hair. And, all around this garden, as far as the eye can see, button roses.”
“The vestiges of the evil spell…”
“Evil spell? Enchantment, perhaps? I woke up, after that long night of sleep, in this place so sweet and welcoming. You talk to me about evil spells, you talk to me about Dark Ages, but I don’t remember any of them. For me it was nothing but a long rest, a dreamless sleep. Barely if I remember this woman, this witch. I can almost feel the sting of the spindle. I saw the spinning wheel in the adjacent room. None of this makes any sense to me. Well, this is the 21st century, a smartphone seems less cumbersome and much less dangerous… I could have taken pictures of this wonderful garden. And this guy wouldn’t have had to face a thousand dangers to get to me: crossing a bramble forest, knocking down a dragon, waking me up, spending an unforgettable night with me before I disappeared.”
“You remember him, but his disappearance does not seem to affect you. Earlier, however, you said: ’I was alone, without memories.’”
“All of this looks just like a dream. I woke up this morning, I don’t know if I slept one night or a century. I don’t know if I spent a hot night with this Prince Charming. I am answering your questions and it seems like I am spinning you a tale.
The curse may have risen on its own, the bramble forest that imprisoned my house turned into a rose garden, the poison that kept me in a deep sleep may have finally faded. What should I believe, who should I believe? My house doesn’t look like a princess residence, and I haven’t had any faith in Prince Charming for a long time. Everything I know about these dark events is what you told me. All I remember is this wonderful garden, the caress of the wind and sun on my skin, the fresh feeling of water on my thighs when I plunged into the river.
I don’t understand why you’re asking me all of this and I don’t want to answer anymore. I want to return to my room, to watch the soft light coming from the garden, to feel the soft warmth of his body beside me, to cross his eyes and smile at him. To watch him gently bring his lips closer to mine, hear him whisper to me: ’Beautiful, it is time,’ and to wake up from this the unbelievable tale.”
Short story © Dominique Poulain.
Drawing © Dimitris Pantazis.