Thursday, September 20, 2007

Queen of the Misty Country

I see you making your way to the middle of this country you’ve recently discovered. You believe it is in your own world and you alone have found it. But others have come before you, each of them thinking they were alone and that they were the first.

You have met the citizens of my country. In your world, you have called them fictional characters. But here, they exist. The fairies and the imps, the ryls and the knooks, the pixies and the nymphs, the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit, the hobbits and the elves, the assassins and the mercenaries, the unhinged geniuses, the golden-locked maidens and un-maidens, the sorcerers and enchantresses, the dark and the bright ---- they all exist.

You have followed a convoluted path through the regions of my realm. Now, I feel you coming closer to my tower. I can sense your very human energy pulsating like a star in the dark. I can almost taste your lifeblood --- earthy and metallic.

You do not know it yet, but you have come for me. You understand nothing of your desire to come to my country; you can hardly remember how you came. But it is me you seek. And I know what will happen once you have laid eyes upon my face.

It will shake the foundations of your firm beliefs. It will unnerve you to the point of insanity. It will terrify you. Without a doubt, you will realize you have fallen so deep down an unexpected chasm filled with mist.
You will take a step back. Two steps back. You will think of escaping the gilded cage that your emotions presented. You will flail upon the invisible latches that closely snapped upon your wrists, but it will be too late. You have seen me and that is enough for you.

But enough. You are at the foot of my tower; I can hear your breathing, rapid and shallow. I know you have found the door and your steps as you made your way up echoes through the hall. I stand facing away from the door. Any minute now you will come bursting in, calling out for the lady of the tower, claiming you have come to save her from the evil enchantment. But there is no enchantment, this is not my prison. This tower is my palace and I built it myself. It has protected me for so long. The door does not open for everybody. I have allowed you to come this far, this hour….

“Lady…” you called out from the top of the stairs. I do not turn around just yet. For it is only now that I am realizing that I have called you here. I may not have known it, but I pulled you here by sheer force of my desire. For I have loved you without realizing why.

“Go away.” My voice sounded hoarse, unused.

“But I have come to rescue you.”

A sudden anger fills me. “I have no need of rescuing!” I whirl around. Your plain face registered the shock of seeing mine. As I knew you would, you took a few steps backward. If your countenance is unhandsome, mine is monstrous. Sequestered in this tower, there was no need to maraud the country with my unbecomingness. But now, you are here and my whole self feels as if it were raw. My heart might as well be laid bare under the sharp blade of sword.

“I have seen you long before, in a country not unlike this one; one I visit when asleep,” he said.

I laughed sarcastically. “Then you were frequented by nightmares.”

“No.” he steps forward. “What are you hiding? You must have known that upon seeing you, the love that bound us will be utter and complete. Your face is just an elucidation of specifics. But the love I feel was sowed long before, a time when we ourselves might not have been born.”

“You must not love me.” I shook my head, disbelieving.

“But I do, my Queen. I have seen the country of your imagination. I have traversed it, I have known your creations. I have never seen anything or anypeople, as mad, as ingenious, as dark and bright and as real as they are. You, they are yours. You have made them. They live in you, the woman that has stolen my heart.”

It is now, the only time that my words have failed me.

“Well then?” he asked. “What need you in this tower? Let me get it for you and leave.”

“I need nothing from it. Once I step over the threshold, the whole thing will crumble to dust.” I cast a glance around my world, my ivory tower. I knew it would be my last.

“Take my hand, Queen, and let me lead you back to the open spaces of your realm.” His palm was held out towards me and his smile was one I have known ages ago, before even time knew it existed.

And I took a step towards him.

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