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|A modern fairytale, based on 'Beauty and the Beast'. It was written around the same time as my poem 'Peter Pan', when I was 18.||
When the night comes, I always dream the same dream. I see a girl's
face. A grotesque, misshapen face. I think I start to scream,
but it's those sad, innocent blue eyes that stop me. I wake up from
this nightmare to no reassurance. In the mirror before me I see my
own face. The silence of a dead world is distant and I am surrounded
by a painful sound that I can only hear. The cry of my own soul.
Damien's coal black eyes gleamed in the summer sunshine flooding the
classroom windows. He was surrounded by the laughter and babble of
his group of friends. He leant back in his chair, content, and closed
his eyes. Hollow and slow footsteps approached him in the uncomfortable
silence that now encircled him. One of his friends, Jamie, nudged
him sharply. Damien frowned slightly not wanting to open his eyes.
The darkness was better. A soft voice severed the silence.
"Damien, I know you're not sleeping."
Damien opened his eyes and blinked in the sudden light, meeting the calm gaze of Callan's warm blue eyes. Damien shifted in his chair.
"Callan, hey. How's it going?" Damien said. A ghost of a smile fleeted across his tanned face.
"You tell me," Callan softly replied.
"I'm sorry, man...really I am," Damien mumbled and dropped his gaze to his table. He idly drew patterns on the smooth surface. A badly scarred hand grasped Damien's hand firmly, forcing Damien to look up.
"You always say that," Callan said. He brought his face closer to Damien's. Damien shrank back in his chair letting go of Callan's hand.
"No seat for me. It's become a daily thing, huh?" Callan said with a bitter smile. Damien shook his head and dropped his gaze to the table once more.
"You're different now, Callan. I...I think it's ...you know...best this way..."
Callan's voice trembled. "It's this right? This is all you can see now?" He gestured to his face. Damien looked up for a moment. Callan saw a flash of his black eyes and then they were back to looking at the table. "That's not true Callan."
"Yeah, I believe you. Like I've always believed you, Damien." Damien looked up pain in his eyes.
"If that's all you see, then you never really knew me," Callan said softly. He felt something crumble to pieces inside him. The last thing he saw were Damien's empty black eyes before he turned away. He heard a choked sob in accordance with his own and he closed his eyes knowing that it would be the last thing two people named Callan and Damien would ever share.
The lone table at the back of the classroom beckoned to Callan. He walked towards it and sat down reluctantly. There was so much space around him now. It used to be crowded with all his friends...He felt the warmth of the sun embrace him, but all he felt was the coldness within him. The sunshine shone on his dark blonde hair issuing forth a halo of hazy radiance, but to the right hand side of his face, enhanced the reptilian look and texture of his burn scars. A half of an angel and half of a monster was fused together to make what Callan's face looked like now. He reached into his school bag and found his half mask. He laughed hollowly. "Always wondered what it would feel like to be the Phantom of the Opera," Callan said to himself. His hands trembled as he fitted on the mask that nearly, but not quite matched his skin colour. It was painful to wear this mask. It felt heavy to him, but at least it stopped the stare of others that caged him.
At the end of class, Callan watched everyone rush out. He looked
around the classroom. In the cool shadows of the other side of the
room there was another isolated table. A girl with long, raven black
hair was still gathering her books. Callan didn't know her very well.
She had always been quiet.
"Josette, right?" Callan asked hesitating. He was ready for some form of rejection, but the girl looked up and smiled at him. Her beautiful blue-grey eyes held him in a trance and made him feel as if he stood alone on a smooth white beach listening to the roar of the sea as the rain, salty as tears, fell all around him. He closed his eyes, feeling a gentle wind caress his face and heard his name whispered in an ethereal way. "Callan..."
When Callan opened his eyes, Josette had vanished like a dream.
He gathered his books and his bag and walked out of the sunlit classroom
to the darkened corridors. His lone figure was soon engulfed in the
darkness leaving an echo of loneliness behind.
Silence and sunlight danced together dappling the pavement with drops of gold and from the shadows there emerged a slender individual. She walked with a regal air as if her plain school uniform were a beautiful ball gown with a long, sweeping train. Her delicate ballet steps did not intrude on the silence, but rather intermingled with it. The trees overhead whispered and sighed and she looked up, gold in her ebony hair, her blue-grey eyes large, wondering.
To many people, Josette was a nobody. A shadow from the shadows. If she was with people, she was behind, her eyes downcast. If she was in front, there was no one behind. It seemed no one had the time to know who she really was. No one at school, besides the teachers had ever talked to her except for this day. Callan had talked to her. He knew her name and that in itself, meant a lot to her. His sapphire blue eyes had looked deep into her eyes and he had seen something. Josette was sure of it. Had he seen the rain falling?
Josette arrived home to the noise of her younger sisters, Kara and Leigh. She saw their grins as they chattered, like chipmunks, a meaningless babble of what happened at school that day. Josette acknowledged all they said with a silent nod, a small smile and disappeared into her room. She put down her bag and lay on her bed.
Pictures she had drawn surrounded her. There were pictures of fairytale castles, chivalrous knights clad in their steel armour with their beautiful ladies in their exquisite gowns beside them, mermaids either swimming in the watery world or sitting on moss covered rocks in the silvery moonlight, princesses, kings and queens, dragons breathing tongues of fire, fairies dancing, vampires in their elaborate black and gold suits in vaults of darkness, graceful elves with their pointed ears and silver hair drawing their arrows or revelling in a joyous midnight escapade. All of these and many more pictures of fantasy were what Josette put her heart and soul into. Amongst these were statuettes and other ornaments all originating from the other world around the corner of the mind where dreams come true and reality is the intruder, imagination the only key.
On the wall beside her bed, Josette's eyes held the picture of a beautiful princess on her throne. A silver crown all resplendent with white diamonds and sapphires rested on her head. Josette closed her eyes and saw the crown in her mind. She held it aloft as she danced on a large, smooth rock to the musical roar of a great waterfall behind her, the frothy, crystal water swirling towards the lakes and streams. Josette opened her eyes, music still in her ears. Deep inside her, she saw her anguish. The truth that she held no love for herself only scarred her more inside. Amid the smiles of the pictures, tears slipped out of her blue-grey eyes, and the sun held them in his hands and looked at her with golden eyes and dried her wet face with warm kisses. The sun embraced and cradled her in his arms, carrying her in a dream of flight to the sky and clouds where a soul danced, white and shining with a crown upon its head.
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