I continue to work each evening on my novel and I’m making slow and steady progress on the concluding chapters. I finished this weeks’ writing with a total of 5,946 words added, which is good going since I had one evening where I went back and re-wrote the previous day’s output; I simply hadn’t been happy with it as I was writing it. As the week closes, the novel stands at 113,916 words.
But for today I wanted to take you on an excursion into a short fictional piece that I wrote back in July 2017, inspired by the writing prompt “You’re in a courtyard”.
You’re in a courtyard in his dream, with the strong Italian sun piercing through in javelin shafts. You’re in the shade and he wants to take your photo so you move obligingly into a patch of light which sets your auburn hair on fire. Not literally, because this is one of his romantic dreams, unlike those ones where strangers conflagrate for no apparent reason. Although, it’s early days and we can’t safely assume how this is going to end.
You’re wearing a dress strewn with exotic leaves in shades of ginger and rainforest green. I think he has seen it in a magazine. My magazine. He is taking dresses out of my magazine and clothing dream-women in them. Dream-women who are not like me. I need to warn you about him and his dream-women. You deserve to know that, whatever he says, however romantic the setting and erudite his words, this is not going to end prettily. You will not get away with your life. He will wake up.
I see you have agreed to go for a coffee with him. Well, we’ve all done that. He has smiled his self-effacing smile and you have sensed in him a total lack of danger; a man who can be an easygoing friend or a considerate lover. Thus far, you neither know nor care which.
You are walking to the café past gaudy shops, trying to stay in the shade and failing. You have stopped to point to pretty or interesting trinkets in windows and he has gazed at them, thrilled by the view of life through somebody else’s eyes. He wants to buy you ribbons to tie up your bonny brown hair. No, it is auburn, my mistake.
How old are you? Younger than me, I think, but not by much; no more than a couple of hundred years. Yet there you are, being charmed by him, falling for all that bluster that comes so easily in his dreams.
Now he stirs uneasily beside me, feeling the probing tendrils of my mind and I withdraw until he settles back into the deeper realms of sleep. You have danced away from him in the twilight and he finds himself in a shop trying to buy a scarf for a lady with red hair, but he cannot remember you well enough to choose the right one. It is only when he emerges into the lashing November rain that he knows this to be a different dream and turns to carry the scarf home to me.