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Author: Syrinx
ASL Info:    16/F/US
Elite Ratio:    6.16 - 35 /30 /12
Words: 3553
Class/Type: Story /Misc
Total Views: 1431
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Hallo everyone! My computer is finally fixed after FOUR MONTHS!!!! This is a sort of distorted fairy tale..i've done a lot of work on this and i am thinking of sending it in to a teen literary magazine so please be as brutal as possible in editing it, but tell me what you think, what parts you liked and didn't like and what you thought in general. I'd love some suggestions for a new title if you have them, i'm not sure this one fits. Hope you enjoy it!


There was a crack in the sky.
It started straight above and meandered across the clouds, then split, like a fork of lightning, and dwindled into white, seamless sky. It wasn’t grandiose, as you might think a rent slashing through the heavens ought to be. It was something you might dismiss, something you might not notice if it wasn’t glowing with a bright, white light, as if it was in fact a lightning bolt frozen in time. Not sunlight leaking through. Not even blue, a break in the endless cloud-ridden sky. Just white light, brighter than the clouds but otherwise indistinguishable.
It was snowing again. It was always snowing. First you would feel a slight tremor through the soles of your feet, then the ground was shaking, everything was shaking, and the ground tilted. The ground tilted, tilted and shook but never split in two. It stopped as suddenly as it came, a silent, phantom earthquake. And then the snow began to slowly, steadily pour out of the sky. If you didn’t know better, you might think the snow was falling out of the tear in the sky, falling from some other world into this one. It wasn’t. The snow had always been there, but the crack in the sky was new. At least, Wisteria thought it had always been there, which didn’t really count for much because she had not always been there herself. She was sure, though, that the crack was new. Which also didn’t count for much because she was never sure of anything.
That wasn’t her name, Wisteria. She couldn’t remember her name, if she had ever had one at all. But all things, she reasoned, must have names, or else they would simply cease to exist. Wisteria was the name of the tree in the middle of the courtyard. It crept out of the chocolate soil, twisting and turning and swirling upward, a cacophony of incongruous red and white stripes. Its branches seemed to be wandering vaguely through the air, weaving and turning and coiling back on themselves, as if looking for something but unsure of what, exactly. Dangling from the ends of the branches like fingers on an outstretched limb, hung delicate sugar-spun leaves. As the snow grew thicker and thicker and settled on its knobby shoulders like a cold white cloak, the leaves would spiral slowly toward the snow, a few at a time. Wisteria (the person, that is) was standing ankle-deep in the snow on a winding pathway made up of millions of shards of some smooth translucent hard candy. It was the same material that made up the windows, like disjointed stained glass, or a jigsaw puzzle where the maker had cut and bent the pieces so that they would fit together, without really making any sort of picture at all. Wisteria was watching the snow fall in feathery drifts, cascading downward like little pieces of sky. It gathered on the eroded gingerbread stones of the candy-studded citadel looming up around the circular courtyard, a mass of spiraling towers and narrow bridges arching between them. The roofs of the towers, swirling and turnip-shaped, were like the roofs of domed masques, or jeweled snakes coiling into tight spirals. The snow caught in the black licorice that rimmed the roof and towers, curling upward like spidery eyelashes.
Eyelashes that never blinked to rid themselves of the snowflakes settling between them.
The snow stopped as suddenly as it had begun. Wisteria turned away from the sky, cracked or otherwise, and began to trudge through the quiet courtyard, through an avenue of sugar-spun sculptures with peppermint eyes. It was a forest of frozen mythological creatures, unicorns in mid-leap, mermaids with outstretched arms and snow-flecked hair, nymphs and satyrs and centaurs, all with skin of intricately woven sugar, sparkling in the diminishing light of a darkening sky. Wisteria followed the stained-glass path, circling around a fountain with four dragons, all jettisoning water that had frozen in midair. For some reason this saddened her, she wished that the water had at least reached the frozen pool. She could see coins in mid-fall, frozen beneath the surface. She thought for a moment that they were real, metal coins, but they were only chocolate, covered in golden foil. She opened one of the enormous double doors and went in. Here the path widened into a hall, and her footsteps rang faintly behind her, the ringing of some huge, resounding bell heard from far away.
She had never eaten it, any of it. She supposed that someday she would, would have to, but it seemed that to even break off a piece of the wall would ruin it, all of it. She wasn’t really hungry, anyway. She passed through a labyrinth of archways and hallways, inside and outside, twisting and turning until she turned into a room she recognized. It would take a lifetime, she thought, to know it all by heart. If a lifetime hadn’t already come and gone, however long a lifetime was. The floor was soft and slightly sticky, carpeted by something like gumdrops, cut up and stitched together, and her bare feet left footsteps that were always gone in the morning. She climbed into a vast four-poster bed, shivering and rubbing warmth back into her feet. She ran her fingers through the mass of dangling icicles, smoothing it out until it was nothing but her long, long hair, which she wrapped around herself like a blanket. She closed her eyes. Then shut them more tightly, and waited.
The wind snuck through the crack under the huge double doors like a exhaling breath of air, whispering through the labyrinth of archways and hallways, inside and outside, twisting and turning until it turned into a room it recognized. It swirled softly around the room, gently tousling Wisteria’s hair and touching her eyelids with icy cold fingertips, murmuringmurmuringmurmuring.

it whispered,
………Tiptoe, tiptoe………
As it had every night, every single night for as long as Wisteria could remember.
She shut her eyes tighter. The whispering voice stayed all night, swirling in gentle eddies around the room and prodding with its icy cold fingertips.
It was gone in the morning.

It was snowing again. First a tremor rushed through the floor, shuddering up the four bedposts and waking Wisteria abruptly from an uneasy sleep. Then the room tilted, tilted and shook and she was thrown off of the bed and onto the soft, sticky floor on her back. It stopped as suddenly as it had begun. Wisteria was staring up at the underside of the bed, so dark and elaborately carved and looking so much like wood, if it wasn’t for the heady smell of gingerbread. There were marks, sharp vertical marks, all over it. The meaning of them had been lost, maybe the very first day, because sometimes she would find herself scribbling five or nine or twenty in a day, or none at all for long intervals of time. She couldn’t seem to remember to put one mark a day. Maybe it would have helped if she had scratched the marks into the huge double doors at the entrance, or in the headboard of the door rather than the underside, where they could only be seen by looking directly up at them. She thought of doing it, but never did. She didn’t want to ruin it. She scratched one sharp, vertical line with a sharp and jagged fingernail and got up off the floor. She wanted to see the snow before it stopped. It was the only changeable thing in this place, besides untrustworthy time. Sometimes it would snow all day, off and on, the ground constantly shaking, or not at all for days on end. It never lasted more than a few moments. And there was that mysterious crack in the sky.
Wisteria scurried through the faintly echoing halls, stopping only to heave open the enormous double doors to the inner courtyard. Oh, she’d been out of the castle often enough, there were no harsh metal padlocks on the doors leading out of the dreamworld candy castle. Wisteria was free to leave through the many carved gingerbread doors with their beautiful little peppermint doorknobs, anytime she liked. But she very rarely did so any more. You see, there was nothing there. Nothing but white, blinding whiteness as far as the eye could see, so that you could scarcely tell where the snow ended and the sky began. So Wisteria went to the inner courtyard, with its perfectly sculpted sugar-spun statues and its winding stained-glass path and the licorice eyelashes rimming the walls that surrounded it. The last snowflakes were falling. And the crack was still there, no more and no less than it had been yesterday.
There were five towers in all. They were all the same, platform upon circular platform all the way to the top. And each had ladders of every kind stretching from one to the next, swaying rope ladders made of licorice, ladders that left your hands and feet covered in melted chocolate, slippery rock candy ladders and colorful soft candy ladders that buckled beneath you. Wisteria had climbed to the top of four of them. The entrance to the fifth was just at the other end of the courtyard. It was taller than all the others, and Wisteria was afraid of heights. They were all the same, anyway.
She stood near the frozen fountain, staring up at the kaleidoscope of crazily swirling snowflakes raining down, growing thinner and thinner and diminishing into nothing. There were two words echoing around her mind over and over, like a ringing in her ears that refused to go away quietly.
whispered her mind, (or maybe it was her memory)
………Tiptoe, tiptoe………
It wasn’t the words themselves that were so familiar. It was the way they were said, in a sort of resounding singsong voice reminiscent of something so close to memory, almost close enough to touch. A rhyme, a song, maybe, that she knew, or… had known. She walked to the doors, her bare feet, red and chafed, leaving two trails in the powdery snow. She wandered the gingerbread halls, like a wistful wraith, or a wide-eyed lost child, thinking. Forgetting, maybe. It’s growing dark, said untrustworthy time, and she believed him, if for no other reason than that it was true.

The wind snuck through the crack under the huge double doors like a exhaling breath of air, whispering through the labyrinth of archways and hallways, inside and outside, twisting and turning until it turned into a room it recognized. It swirled softly around the room, gently tousling Wisteria’s hair and touching her eyelids with icy cold fingertips, murmuring murmuring murmuring.

It whispered,
………Tiptoe, tiptoe………
………Tiptoe, tiptoe up the stairs………
Wisteria opened her tightly clenched eyes. Every night, every single night for as long as she could remember, she had only heard one meaningless, tantalizing word, over and over and over. Nothing ever changed. It snowed, again and always, and the ground shook and tilted, again and always, and there never was anything outside the walls but whiteness, as far as the eye could see, again and always, and the wind whispered the same word every night, again and always and again and again. It was a song. Only the words were different. It was a song about…diamonds. Diamonds in the sky.
And it wasn’t the wind.
Wisteria tiptoed through the halls, dimly lit by some unseen light source, (or perhaps it wasn’t unseen at all, perhaps it wasn’t there, and the halls were simply lit by nothing). She was wading through air, a subtle stream of air rushing along on either side of her, murmuring murmuring murmuring. It was coming through the crack under the enormous double doors to the courtyard, whistling, a stream trickling through to flood out a castle. She opened the door, only a crack, and slipped out. Mist was rising in wispy tendrils from the snow-covered ground, like smoke from a candle that has just been blown out, and gathering in a thick white fog near the spiraling roofs of the towers. Wisteria walked through the forest of sugar-spun statues, watching as the wind circled the courtyard, blowing the snow off the statues in gentle gusts, and blowing delicate sugar-spun leaves off the peppermint wisteria to settle on the ground at its feet. It didn’t have many left now. Wisteria crept along the discordant puzzle-pieced path, trudging through ankle-deep snow in bare feet. Peppermint eyes glinted dully all around. Diamonds, diamonds in the sky up above the clouds so high. She stopped at the door to the fifth tower. It was louder here, she could almost make out words. She opened the door and went in.
It was stone.
Not gingerbread. The walls were made of damp, moldering, eroded stone. There were no candy ladders in the tallest tower of this charming candy-studded citadel. Instead, there was a wide stone staircase, climbing up and up in a tight spiral. Words were echoing down the spiral staircase, sang in a singsong voice that resounded strangely within the stone walls.

Tiptoe, tiptoe up the stairs
Silent graceful dancing bears
If you should slip or make a sound,
Will the stairs come tumbling down?
Tiptoe, tiptoe up the stairs
Silent graceful dancing bears

The last word trailed off, echoing until it grew fainter and fainter and finally faded away. Wisteria stepped onto the cold stone staircase and tiptoed. The singing echoes dimmed to a soft resounding humming, humming the simple little tune that was so, so close to mind, almost close enough to touch. The stone was cold against her bare feet, cold and wet, much colder than any other room in the candy-studded citadel, or even outside, standing in the in the ever-present snow. Even so, the coolness felt good on the chafed and bleeding undersides of her feet. She could feel the humming through them. The whole tower was vibrating, pulsing gently with the humming. The staircase went on and on in a never-ending, circuitous spiral, up and up and up and where was the top? The staircase was growing narrower. It had started out wide, wide as the halls in the castle, and was growing narrower and narrower, closing in as she ascended. It ended, up ahead. Ended in something. Or nothing. No, not nothing. Certainly not nothing. Wisteria stopped at the top stairs, before they turned sharply and ended. She wasn’t terrified of what she would find, she was terrified of what she wouldn’t find. Of how relieved she would be if there was nothing, nothing at all in the top of the tallest tower, murmuring in the night. Hopeful and terrified, she turned the corner.
There was nothing. At first. But then the stone hallway turned into a tiny circular room, with nothing in it but a single sugar-spun statue. It was a griffin. It had huge, furled wings. The tips of the wings were sugar, spun sugar, crawling upward toward its magnificent red plumage tipped in gold, wings furled like a vengeful angel’s. It was crouching on its back legs, with its front talons resting before it. The wickedly curved nails of its talons and feet were made of delicate sugar, beautifully spun, crawling up its legs and formidable eagle talons where it stopped. The lower half of its body was encrusted in rock candy, a formation like a heap of shimmering diamonds, diamonds in the sky. It’s back, its powerful shoulders, it’s haunches and all of its upper body, it’s long, wild mane, was a mass of luxurious fur, the color of tarnished brass. Its ears were small and backswept, its lion’s face narrowing into a wickedly curved hooked eagle’s beak, below its swirling peppermint eyes. It stopped humming. It turned its great, strange face toward Wisteria, its swirling peppermint eyes shifting to look at her, wordlessly. She was shivering, hugging herself with her stick-thin arms, her long, jagged fingernails digging into her flesh.
“How long have you been here?”
Her voice was all wrong, quavering with the cold, small and hoarse and barely a whisper, barely a sound. It was like the rustling of dead leaves. She couldn’t remember the last time she had spoken, even to herself. Maybe she had never spoken before. She couldn’t stop shivering. She felt very small.
It spoke, in the whispering voice, the murmuringmurmuringmurmuring of the wind.
“You don’t ask me my name. Why don’t you ask me my name? It’s just as well. I don’t have one. A name. I never have.”
Wisteria’s head was pounding. All things must have names, she thought, or else…or else…
“ I have been here for twenty-nine years, sixteen months, twenty-three weeks, eleven days, ninety-four hours, two hundred and forty-two minutes, and seventy-nine seconds. As of now.” he whispered.
Wisteria couldn’t breathe. Its immobile peppermint eyes were gazing directly at her.
“Twenty-nine years, sixteen months, twenty-three weeks, eleven days, one hundred and twenty hours, nine hundred and sixty-seven minutes, and fifteen seconds. Twenty-nine years, sixteen months, twenty-three weeks, eleven days, five hundred and thirty-one hours, and fifty-six seconds.
Sightlessly. It must be gazing sightlessly. How could anything see with peppermints for eyes?
“Twenty-nine years, sixteen months, twenty-three weeks, fourteen days, sixteen hundred and seventy-six hours, and two seconds. You must forgive me if my counting is a bit off.
Time passes so slowly. “Twenty-nine years, sixteen months, twenty-three weeks, twenty-one days, two hundred thousand and seventeen hundred hours, and ten hundred and eighty-four seconds.”
He didn’t have any eyelashes.
Wisteria headed for the stairs. She wasn’t merely trembling now, her skin was jumping all over. Her nails were making tiny, bleeding indentations on her arms.
“Have you tried it yet?”
Wisteria stopped and slowly turned around.
“Tried what?” rustled the leaves, crackling and trembling in the wind.
“ Eating it. Have you tried eating it?”
Wisteria stared at this strange nameless creature with the beautiful, wistful face and sightless peppermint eyes.
“No. No, I-I….I didn’t want to ruin it.”
He nodded, very slowly, with great effort. And whispered, not unkindly.
“It’s just as well. You can’t, you see. Eat it. It‘s not real.”
Wisteria turned and ran for the stairs, shuddering uncontrollably. Her skin was alive. The gentle, whispering voice stopped her.
“It’s not so far away, you know.”
She turned to look at him one last time, to see his tarnished brass mane fall back, his sightless peppermint eyes looking upward. She said nothing. He whispered.
“The sky. Almost close enough to touch.”
Wisteria turned and ran down the stone steps, often losing her footing and slipping, running down the damp stone stairs in a flurry of echoing footsteps. But neither she nor the stairs came tumbling down.
It was snowing again. Wisteria was on the floor, sinking into it and making and making an indent like a snow angel without wings. She was staring up at the underside of the bed, at the hundreds and hundreds of crooked, scratched-in markings covering it, sharp vertical marks like some alien language. She had ruined it. A whispering voice wafted down from the fifth tower like wind, murmuringmurmuringmurmuring, very faintly.
“Twenty-nine years, sixteen months, twenty-nine weeks thirty-seven days, seven thousand and four hours, and six million and sixty-three seconds.”
Wisteria raised a hand, a fingernail, to scratch out the hundreds upon hundreds of jagged markings marring the gingerbread.
“Twenty-nine years, sixteen months, twenty-nine weeks, fifty-six days, seventy-two thousand forty-four hundred hours, and eight million and fifty-one seconds.”
Wisteria scratched and scraped, faster and faster. She wasn’t making a dent in the soft, heady gingerbread she had torn up so easily before.
“Twenty-nine years, sixteen months, twenty-nine weeks, fifty-six days, nine thousand eighteen hundred hours, and ten million and ninety-nine seconds.”
She stopped, and brought her hand slowly to her eyes, turning it over. Her fingernails were spun sugar, crystalline and beautiful. She was hungry. She was so hungry.
It was snowing again. It was always snowing.

* * *

The little boy smiled. He picked up something off the smooth mahogany shelf. It was a snowglobe. Gently, not rigorously like most little boys would have done, he shook it. The snow fell in feathery drifts, swirling around the snowglobe, cascading downward like little pieces of sky. The snow fell on a tiny, beautifully crafted gingerbread castle. It had five tiny candy towers, swirling upward to meet the sky and a tiny circular courtyard with little white statues and a little peppermint tree with a pile of sugar spun leaves at its foot. And inside the castle, he could barely make out the little figure of a person, sliding around as he shook the glass globe. He started to shake it again, then stopped, frowning. At the very top of the globe, not far above the narrow bridges arching between the towers, just above the point of the tallest tower, was a very small crack. The little boy frowned.
He would have to fix that.

Submitted on 2006-05-01 18:21:50     Terms of Service / Copyright Rules
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  I love the ideas you come up with! Just the imagination behind this is wonderful! I can't think of anything to critique right now. I think I saw a spelling error somewhere in the middle, but I can't find it now. Well, keep writing! You're stuff is so whimsical!
| Posted on 2006-05-07 00:00:00 | by HaldirLives | [ Reply to This ]

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