A single step changed the woods around her. The boles narrowed as if shriveling in on
themselves. The boughs remained twisted
overhead, but filled with blackbirds.
The looming creatures cocked their heads and sidestepped along their
perches to look at the woman below.
Estelle should have been alarmed by the amassing of them and their leering
presence, but somehow she was not. And
when she started to walk again, into the blackened forest, it did not surprise
her that the birds took flight—all of them, all at once. They flew ahead, swelling toward the eerily
lit sky, then circled back and found temporary perches, waiting for
Have I gone mad? Why, yes, I have. A long time ago...which is beside the point.
There are many little stories creeping around the attics and cellars of my mind. These smallish beasties don't get the deliberate focus of a novel(the type of consistent masterminding nurturing alongside characters with the full intent that one day it shall be unleashed upon the world). Rather, the short stories escape more in the way of outbursts. Suddenly, there they are...loose and in need of sustenance. Do I collect them and return them to their cages, or pretend not to notice their escape? In this instance, I definitely looked the other way while it skittered out the door on spidery legs. Well, I do have a decent excuse; I was busy painting an image inspired by the story and couldn't be bothered to look after the words themselves(see cover art <---).
Monsters aside, this tale is quite grim, a tad dismal, a bit horrific, abundantly surreal, and more than a little psychological(this did escape one of my cabinets, remember). Don't despair. There are stars in this darkness. You'll have to read to catch a glimpse of them.
On that note, I shall leave you with a description and some breadcrumbs a link to follow.
"Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction."
Masque of Shadow
Heartbroken over the premature death of her young sister, Estelle conceives a dark plan to recover Lunette's innocent soul from the thief she witnessed taking it. The price is higher than she anticipated, reaching far beyond the loss of her own innocence when she enters voluntarily into the realm of the Lord of Shadows, into a theater of madness constructed by the souls of the dead.
fancied myself the guardian of these woods once. I challenged the demon when it entered, after
witnessing it poison the trees and the water, and every living thing beneath this canopy. I couldn’t defeat it.”
The lily garden remained as tranquil as it ever
had been. Korsten didn’t know why he
should imagine it would be otherwise.
Ashwin’s presence only enhanced the atmosphere. Though the news Korsten offered was dire, the
Mage-Superior accepted it with calmness and grace Korsten could only attribute
to his many years...his many hundreds of years.
As he sat upon a bench framed by blood lilies, he appeared untouchable. Layers of white gold—from hair, to skin, to
robes—deep green eyes, shining with intellect and emotion, and a face that at
times defied description with its ethereal qualities. His beauty was truly to be marveled at.