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Valine K

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Member Since: Dec, 2011

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Excerpt from A Story
By Valine K
Tuesday, December 20, 2011

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An excerpt from a story published by Southern Gothic. I worked on this story for many years before submitting it for publication in 2007.

 . . . One Sunday morning, around the bend of a bayou, lush with rotting moss, Rose took a walk to church, a favourite haunt of hers.  She liked the little white temple with its pointed steeple and clean cool floors.  She often prayed on her knees to those saints she had been taught about not very long ago, by her mother Sophie Belanger, God rest her soul.

It was on one of these pleasant afternoons that she had been treading the green grass, which glistened from the rain.  Corn stalks rustled behind her and footsteps trudged through mud.  Rows and rows of stalks separated them but she heard a lone whistle.

Shading her eyes, she peered beneath her white hand.  Drunk on the summer heat.

Even if she already was as beautiful a young woman could be, with yellow-red hair and hazel eyes, her young and goodly nature made her all the more radiant.

He removed his hat as he entered church.  It was her gentleness that enticed the most.  Taking her wrist in his, he pinned it gently behind her back and brushed a leather-bound fist against her cheek.  In God's own house he embraced her as the good saints wept.  She felt something now, the reeds all around her, and the sharp cat tails, and her breath was heavier still.  One, two, three, she was awake again.

Next Sunday, much on a day like this one, he stopped to give her a present:  a book of poetry by Baudelaire.  Lover of poisoned flowers and gardens of evil.

One poem in particular, caught her eye, and it name:  Obsession.

Leroi often read to her in church.  The rain kept falling but they would stay dry inside by flickering candles and flickering hearts.  He would turn to her, after reading, and she would drink deep of sea-blue eyes, touched by hints of green, and always like glassy marbles, or emeralds.  Something about his gaze reminded her of the green emeralds of her dreams.

In the reflection of his mirror-like eyes, others gleamed soft amber and green against her features.  She resembled, with her fragile bones, Boticelli's Venus, sexless like the angels, but still more beautiful than any woman he had ever known.  Still, and more.

. . . One Sunday morning, full of gloom, it was said Leroi Levesque had finally been seen once more, this time, it was certain.

It was at the white church, under a dream-led daze of sunlit fog, creating an unreal reality:  the long elegant form of Leroi Levesque floated across the corn field, and close and closer he came to the church door, now ramshackled.

And a young girl was said to be kneeling inside, on her knees.  They say she has a lifeless gaze.  They say Leroi spoke words to her, only backwards, and the girl, thought dead, was not yet alive either -- for she closed her eyes now and seemed pleased somehow.

Leroi Levesque made her dream again, her favourite dream.  She still saw herself on a porch of a white plantation, waving at Leroi on his white stallion.  She did not see much else.  Day and night were all the same to her.

Leroi Levesque could not give her back the one thing she needed most:  her soul.  It was cold in her grave, green and mossy.  She slept and dreamt, repeating-like, till her head was as much a stone as the gravestone her pillow.  She was a shade.  "Une revenant," they said.

So she raised her eyes to him as if seeking sunlight, and he said nothing.  Only the coldness of the years wore at him, until he too turned into a ghost of nothingness, with nothing on his mind but ugly thoughts, and ugly faces looking back at him . . . the memories of those long dead, turned into the living dead, until at long last he couldn't find his own way out of the labyrinth.




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