Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people or entities, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2020 Laura Pol
All rights reserved.
BELIEVING CRIMSON’S TRUTH
It is said a Phoenix rises from the ashes.
I never did.
And to escape my pain, I dance.
I make the music my mother taught me, a sworn gift from those who harness the power of fire, of life. But what is life if the one who taught you is gone?
Don’t dwell on it.
So, I close my eyes, a brief lift of my lips gracing my face, and hum to the flute-like music that comes from my fans.
A flick of a wrist moving upward, and a high note merges with the sounds of the lapping water and birds singing in the trees behind me.
Another flick downward, and a low note sings with the light breeze brushing my cheeks.
A synchronized stepping of feet.
A twirl and leap.
I open my eyes to behold the beauty my ears can hear, but an orange haze greets my eyes. My smile vanishes as quickly as water poured on dying embers, but I can’t stop the dance even if I want to.
Music is its own being. My mother’s voice from long ago echoes in my memory.
Only it was not that long ago, was it?
My hands tighten on my fans, and I swiftly pull each fan in a downward arc and thrust them back up to complete the circle.
Like the circle of life.
I flick both fans outward, my feet still moving with the internal harmony I wish could silence.
Yet here I am doing the dance she taught me in this very patch of meadow.
But now I dance with my pain.
Every twirl of my hands…
Every movement of my feet…
Every gentle sound I hear…
…is one more reminder.
I close my eyes to drown out the fiery orange that wants to consume my world and cleanse my pain with its warm hues.
Is it wrong to still grieve for you, Mother?
My chest begins to burn with the desire to shift, but I won’t stop my hands from moving.
The Phoenix nature is calling me to let it heal, to let it set free.
In my memory, Mother embraces her beautiful Phoenix form and urges me not to be afraid. To let the fire cleanse my heart and mind. To let the crackling flames which ignited over her body ignite over my own.
The orange haze that first robbed the joy of my dance now penetrates my closed eyelids and leaves a sensation like that of blisters forming over the skin not covered by my purple and orange kimono.
My internal melody responds— Please. It weaves and sings, nudging at me to part my lips, even slightly. Let us show you the truth.
I won’t let you take me like you took my mother.
We didn’t take her. The voice pulls at me like tiny sparks floating up into the night sky.
Yet I lunge forward with an aggressive twist of my fans and clench my lips tighter.
Just a few more steps…
The pain will end…
Keep pushing through…
I will myself to keep moving faster and faster until I feel as if I will fly off the ground without aid of wings or flames, simply with my song, my dance, and my memories to carry me.
You must let go, the gentle voice whispers in the core of my being.
My eyes fling open—
And my world ignites with the colors of fire and ash.
I drop my fans as flames blaze across my body like a hungry inferno. My hands become tips of wings, feet become claws, and mouth becomes beak.
I lift my bird head up to scream to the One who created me this way, but instead of my anguish releasing, what pours forth is my music. Its windy sounds fill my ears, even as the melody I had created moments ago poured out like wrath unfolded.
But it’s not my wrath! It’s my sorrow! I cry out in my heart, my mind…my soul.
My eyes burn from the blaring red, yellow, and orange which have become my world. Except…
When I look down, the once green meadow that has been the highlight of my childhood—my memories with Mother—is now black and grey.
And my fans—her fans—are gone.
This pain is too great…I will never dance again.
I lift up my head once more and will my wings to propel me faster, higher.
Anything to escape the disaster I have created.
Anything to escape me, the burning Phoenix that I am.
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