A short story based in my fantasy world of Arcady, about a Statue who is so beautiful that she is alive. Alive, but trapped in stone, she is freed under unusual circumstances. To further understand the world of Arcady, read this first.
In front of the keep on a summer evening, the chimes of church bells washed across a grassy knoll in the Third Eyrie of Arcady. An echo of thunder was the only reply from the sky, now that the rain was spent. In front of the keep atop that hillock, the statue of a teenage girl had danced a single pose for millennia, oblivious to bells Catholic, Baptist or Door. Her visage towered over the keep of the Third Eyries so high that a watcher from any of the other Eyries would have seen her on a clear day.
Oblivious to the people that dwelt in the Third Eyrie, and oblivious to the pagan hearts of the birds that perched on her shoulders, she pearled her carved tresses with rainwater. Her fingers were steepled and her back was arched, and her face maintained an expression of joy as ancient as Arcady.
As the rain trickled down, it was clear that the clouds of Arcady had fashioned for her a choker that would have shamed its prize jewelers. Those boulder-sized pearls were more beautiful than pearls born from captivity, because their oyster was the sky and the sky never ends.
Around her base, beds of dandelions exploded from the ground in sharp tangles. Her shadow lengthened with the day, but did not dwindle like it.
The Church festival was made of color, in deep contrast to the monochrome Eve towering over them in that mockery of Eden. The garden swayed to the sound of church bells settling to quiescence. Arcady prepared the great Song of Summoning, to summon God from His own world for the night. Without the Song, He would never come. Without the song, Arcady would perish.
The waning church bells tilted churches on end and spilled mobs curious for any change mild or wild. Pew-stiffened crowds streamed around the knoll and became a relaxed parade as the fair – blasts of brass, flushes of velvet and a roof of fancy hats – fluttered past.
The statue moved to the tolling of no bell and did the bidding of no man or God, for this was no ordinary statue. This statue had been alive ever since the last chip of stone had been coaxed from her form by a long-dead maker. This sculptor had crafted a figure of such immense perfection that it could not help but be alive.
The people of the Third Eyrie ignored the life within her just simply because she did not move. On the platform, the girl trembled with life for all those who cared to see. Every now and then, like a great baroque Athena, her eyes opened to look down, to search the vicinity for life, to watch as the Song was Sung. She was fascinated by the Song. It touched her just as it touched every Arcadian, but unlike them, she had never had the insatiable urge to Sing it. With jaws of stone, no one can sing.
In a mirror of her maker’s dying breath, the dying of the bells blew a wind onto the knoll. The Song was everywhere now. The gust of wind washed a cloud of dander into her face, and a sneeze was barely discernible as she twitched and twisted. Although many believe that her soul arrived in the pollen, it is more truthful to say that the Statue sneezed its soul free. For the first time since the Arcadian God had awakened beneath the Eyries, the song was to give birth to another life.
A multitude of bright eyes, the parade moved as it Sang. With the languid pace of a mammoth shuffling, the tune took shape and turned into solid shapes around the statue. For hundreds of years, the only desire the girl had was life, to join the thunderous applause of feet and the raucous din of Arcady. On that day, her will to live translated into life itself, into splashes of color, into a flowing yellow mane of hair and apple red cheeks.
The transformation complete, she moved, and that rumbling was punctuated by screams of wonder and terror. The earth shook heavily and the battlements rained a hail of mortar and rock as she stepped off the castle and fell into the sea. It is told that she sank to the very bottom, and although none know if she perished in her dive, there is a telling that she walked out onto a distant beach many leagues away.
The Third Eyrie was since rebuilt, and the cost was dear. There is one who would not begrudge the prize. Athena dances free. At night, you can feel her footsteps in the distance, thumping like an immortal heartbeat.