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A short story about a family of Nymphs. The name kinda gives it away I think, but I hope not...
I've never written this many characters into a story, so let me know if it's confusing in anyway. Comments are always very welcome!
The girl is lying in the middle of a circle of statues. She is looking up at the stars sprinkled across the dark of the night. The moon just a sliver, hides among the trees, scattering long shadows across the snow. The light makes the snowflakes sparkle, like a reflection of the night sky. All is quiet outside the circle. Inside the girl sighs.
“I don’t want to, Avarice, and you can’t just come here and make me.”
One of the statues, reacting to her statement, twitches to life.
“If your mother were here, this wouldn’t even be a discussion.” It stretches, and steps down from its pedestal. “I just want to be able to watch over you, like she wanted, but I can’t do that if you’re not with me.”
“I’m fine here by myself. And I come to see you all the time…. There is absolutely no reason for me to go.”
Another statue comes to life. It simply sits down, and turns toward its sister. “I don’t think you should make her. Prosperity lived here just fine.”
“Stay out of this Temperance. Prosperity only met her fate because she choose to live down here among these mortals. I don’t know how you stand it…what is so funny?”
The other statues are awake now. They all stretch and move about the snowy lawn. One of them drops down by the girl, laughing.
“She only met her fate…don’t you get it,” the laughing statue asks.
The girl, catching the joke, blushes and looks away. The rest of the statues sit on or near their pedestals. There are nine in all; Chaos, Delight, Despair, Validity, Temperance, Modesty, Victory, Avarice, and Melancholia.
“Look, you’ve hurt her feelings Delight,” Humility says.
“Delight’s bound to do what she wants. There’s no stopping her…trust me,” Despair, Delight’s twin, replies.
The girl stands up, and begins pacing around the middle of the circle.
“When you all get together,” she says, “it’s terrible! A complete mess….”
“Mess? You mean chaos, don’t you,” Chaos asks her, smirking. “It’s okay, you know. I don’t mind it at all. In fact, I enjoy these get-togethers.”
“She just feels bad, like it’s her fault, about Prosperity…,” Validity says.
“And she should. I mean, look what happened to her mother! You probably should come with us,” Melancholia mutters.
“But she isn’t dead,” the girl shouts.
All the statues stop moving around and stare at her. The look in their eyes is frightening to the girl. Modesty and Temperance break their glares first, they move toward the girl, and sit down pulling her next to them.
“Have you seen her recently,” Victory asks, moving closer.
Avarice sighs and sits down. “You might as well tell them. They’d find out eventually.”
The girl shrinks away from Victory, hiding behind Modesty.
“She should be allowed to return; like Avarice was,” the girl whispers.
Despair and Melancholia laugh. Delight turns toward her twin, and youngest sister, but says nothing. Chaos is practically trembling from the electricity in the air. She walks back and forth between her place, and Victory, unable to stay still.
“Have you seen her recently,” Victory repeats, still glaring at the girl.
“She came to visit me…she said it wasn’t as hard to get here from…that she didn’t need that statue anymore, anyway.”
“It’s not that we don’t want to see her anymore,” Temperance begins.
“We can’t see Prosperity again,” Despair spits.
“But Avarice was allowed to come back; I don’t see why my mother can’t.”
“We might have let Avarice return,” Chaos says, “But it was a long, long time before that happened; a long time.”
“And she’s not the same anyway,” Melancholia adds. “Charity was nicer.”
“Oh, and I bet you think you’re so special, I’d hate to see you after the Change,” Avarice shot. “I’d hate to see how Melancholia would get worse….”
“Avarice,” Delight looks at her with warning in her eyes. “She might not ever change, or she might become something better.”
“Yeah,” Victory says, “Not everyone needs to go through the Change….”
“If you and Prosperity hadn’t decided to stay back here in the first place, none of this might have happened,” Despair moans, and moves back to her pedestal. “I’m done with it.”
“You know, she’s probably not the same, it’s a part of the Change. The core of a nymph is what is altered,” Validity hugs her niece as she speaks. “You shouldn’t think of her as your mother anymore.”
“I don’t care what you all say. She’s still my mother to me…it’s different for us.”
Validity smiles again, before freezing back into place on the pedestal. The rest are quiet for a long time. The moon travels across the sky; it seems to wait above their heads for a long time, before beginning it’s decent. Melancholia eventually returns to her pedestal, and waving goodbye to the girl, freezes. Temperance and Modesty are still sitting with the girl, holding her.
“We need to join them soon; if we’re not frozen again when the day breaks….” Modesty speaks quietly, after the long silence. “I hate to leave you like this though.”
“I’m fine,” the girl says, “I understand it’s different there.” She turns her head away from her aunt.
“The plains are beautiful,” Delight says, leaning in towards the girl. “You’d love it there, among other nymphs. I’m sure we could get permission to bring you…if you want.”
“We should just bring her now,” Avarice mutters.
“Just, let us know, okay?” Delight touches the girls’ cheek, and moves back to her pedestal. “Come on Victory; we need to leave.” The warning is back in her voice.
“Goodbye, little one. But don’t think this is over…and just…don’t see her again. Alright?”
Victory and Delight take their poses. Chaos moves around Victory’s pedestal, and then kneels next to the girl. “I just want to know…,” she trails off.
Temperance stands up, moving to Chaos.
“It’s okay, Temp…I just was wondering, what name she chose, for after the Change, you know? I just wanted to know.” Chaos glances at the girl, hopefully.
“Distress…. It’s not as pretty as Avarice, but I like it, don’t you?”
The girl looks into her aunts’ eyes, and nods. “I think it’s pretty.”
Chaos smiles. “We should go. The moon is very low in the sky now.”
The other three nod, and they all stretch one last time. Modesty holds the girl for a second longer, and then moves with the others to their respective pedestals. They smile at the girl, as the sun breaks the horizon. Then they are frozen.
The girl sits in the circle for a while longer. She doesn’t move until she hears the crunch of footsteps in the snow behind her. She turns around to see a women standing above her.
“Fortuna, what are you doing there?”
“Nothing, mother, I’ll come inside.”
|A Snowy Night|