Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Perfect Story by E. L. Gross (Part Five)

  At last, John grabbed his notebook and intently began writing. Lilith watched as he went from erratic storyteller bouncing his ideas off her to focused writer. Chuckling to herself, she went back to stirring her stew. As she watched the swirls, the spoon made in the pot another image formed in her mind. Men, at least five of them were coming. She could see them in her mind, clear as day, in the woods. They were searching, the storm had finally lightened, and they were searching for a man. The lead male was wearing a trooper hat; he bent down in the knee-deep snow and then turned to the men behind him. Pointing further into the woods, they trudged forward. They were coming and they were only a few miles away.

  Lilith turned from her vision and starred at the man sitting in her cabin, absorbed in his writing. "It is time." She thought. With a deft hand, she flipped the pot so that the boiling contents spilled out onto her. With a loud screech, she stood, huddled over in pain, grasping her hands to her lap, all the while screaming in agonized cries.
  John rushed to her side. Seeing the blisters that were already forming on her hands and arms he scooped Lilith up and placed her over his shoulder. Swiftly he ran to the front door and pulled it open with his free arm. Laying her down softly at the front door, he gathered up some snow and tried to pack it on to her arms. He lifted her wet skirt gently and saw the ugly red welts covering the lower half of her thighs. Again, he grabbed snow and covered the area.

  Lilith's cries slowly turned to soft mewls. John again lifted her body, brought her inside, and placed her on the pelts. "Lilith, do you have anything here for burns?"
  Through the intense pain, she shook her head back and forth. John left her side and went to the nook. A small basin of water, some roots, and cooking utensils were the only things he could find. Shaking his head and swearing under his breath, he tore through her belongings one more time. "Lilith, I have to get you to a hospital. You have second degree burns." Grabbing the small basin and some cloths, he returned to her side. "Lilith, did you hear me, we have to get to a hospital."

Stay Tuned for Part Six
(Copyright 2012 by E. L. Gross)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Perfect Story by E. L. Gross (Part Four)

  "Lilith, that's a pretty name."
  Her obsidian eyes looked deeply into his. "Interesting, I have never heard anyone say that before."
  "Lilith, I appreciate everything you have done for me but I must be getting back to my home and job." He squirmed a bit and then heard her soft, melodic laugh. Did he amuse her? He realized then, that she was still watching him.
  As John looked back at her, again he felt as if he was being pulled and spun about. Her pupils seemed to grow larger, rotating, pulling at him. Everything around him grew blurry, he felt trapped in a vortex of spinning, black water. The whirlpool seized him, sucking the breath from his lungs. Down he fell in to the dark cylinder. He flung his arms trying to claw his way out. Nausea swept over him and he closed his eyes tight to stop the spinning. In the background, he heard her pleasant-sounding laugh, at first so soothing but then it changed and grew deeper. Opening his eyes, her face appeared within the blackish vortex, smooth and sweet. Her long blond hair was waving about her face while her lips were slightly parted. As her laugh took on the gruffness and deepness of a man, so did her face change. Small lines appeared and quickly became deep wrinkles. The soft contour of her jawline seemed to stretch and become more pronounced and the hair that blew around her was now white. Only the eyes remained their deep, black pools. Her laugh became deafening and the spinning blackness increased speed. Squeezing his eyes tight and clamping his hands tightly to his ears he felt that his head was about to explode.
  Then everything went black.
  When he awoke a few hours later, he once again lay on the bed of pelts. "What the hell was that?" He thought. He sat up and looked around the room. Lilith was in the small kitchen chopping something with a knife.
  When she saw him sitting up, she quickly put the knife down and rushed to his side. "John, Oh my, you had me worried. One minute, we were chatting and then you suddenly looked very sick."
  She reached out a hand to touch his arm but he flinched and swiftly pulled it away. He could not look at her face directly but had noticed her skin was smooth and lovely. Rubbing his head with both hands, he tried to clear his head. "What happened?"
  "Oh, John, you fainted! You were chattering on about something, but you seemed to be growing green in the face the more you talked. Then you pressed your hands to your ears, let out a horrible scream and fainted dead away. I was so frightened! Are you feeling better now?" Her hand still hovered close to him but she did not try to touch him again.
  This time when he looked up at her face, he saw only true concern written all over it. "It was so odd. I mean, it was like I was having a nightmare but I was awake."
  "I am making a rabbit stew; maybe you just need a good meal." This time when she placed her hand on his arm, he did not flinch. "Let me go finish putting the stew together, so I can cook it." She stood up and rubbed her hands together.
  John watched her head back to the kitchen. He could not understand why at times she made him so tense and off-balance but at other times, she was like a mother hen, comforting and safe. His strange dream, or whatever it was, had felt so real, so horrifying, but now thinking back it had to have all been a dream.
  She came back with a medium sized pot filled with her stew. Removing the pot with the tea from the stand, she placed the stew pot on it and began humming, quietly to herself as she stirred the stew slowly.
  Curiously, he watched her. "How long have you lived here?"
  Lilith stopped stirring and thought for a few moments. "I'm not sure how long it has been. It seems like an eternity!" With this, she gave a lilting laugh and went back to stirring.
  "Where is my backpack? I haven't done any writing since the snow started and would like to work on it a bit if you don't mind?" John stood up and looked around.
  Lilith pointed towards the bed. "I tucked it underneath the bed. Go ahead the stew will take a bit. What are you writing about?"
  John began to tell her the work he was creating. She laughed as he became more and more animated with each twist and turn of the story. She was the only person he had shared his idea with and found it exciting to get them finally out of his head.

Stay Tuned for Part Five
(Copyright 2012 E. L. Gross)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Perfect Story by E. L. Gross (Part Three)

  John sat upright to study her closer. Her hands seemed less wrinkled as they cupped the mug closely to her chest. "A trick of the light" John thought. Shaking his head to free any cobwebs he leaned back on one elbow.

  "Is something wrong, John?" She turned her face directly towards him and for the first time he noticed her dark, onyx eyes. So large and so dark, deep pools of obsidian that pulled at him and engulfed him with the mystery buried within.

  Startled, he looked away. "No. No. Well, actually, yes! Could I have my clothes? I feel awkward sitting here naked like this." Again, he pulled the pelts up, closer to cover his chest.

  She placed her mug on the floor beside her and slowly got up. Again, the fragility and stiffness seemed to creep into her movements as she stood. He watched her as she crossed the room, slightly hunched and murmuring quietly to herself.

  It was a small room, fit for one, which held a tiny bed, a dresser and in the right corner; there was a small nook, which appeared to be a kitchen area. Besides the rocking chair next to him, he noticed only one other piece of furniture, a chair. Dried herbs hung from the beams, giving off a slightly sweet fragrance. Pulling open the top drawer, she removed a small bundle from it and made her way back to him. As she approached the light of the fireplace, her posture slightly improved. She placed the bundle on the rocking chair and then headed towards the door.

  "I will go get more wood while you dress." Taking a fur pelt from a hook by the door, she draped it around herself.

  John turned his upper body towards her. "Is the storm over?"

  "No, it has been raging for days now. Don't worry; I keep the wood in the lean-to right by the door." As she opened the door a blast of cold air and snow rushed through the opening, pelting everything in its path. Quickly, she went closing the door behind her.

   John jumped up and grabbed his clothes. They were clean and smelled sweet like honeysuckle. "How long have I been here?" As he dressed, he looked around the room for the wash bucket. He realized that he too smelled sweet. Had she bathed him? He reached a hand to his chin but found that his skin was smooth. It disturbed him that she not only bathed him, but also must have shaved the growth that had started from his few days in the woods.   

  The door opened and the rush of the storm once again forced its way in. Quickly, he ran to help her. As he pushed hard on the door to close it, he saw the that the snow was at least two feet deep. The winds whipped the snow back and forth creating a blinding whiteout. Shoving, with all his strength, he got the door shut and placed the latch on it.

  "This storm is insane! How long has it been snowing?"

  She straightened from placing the wood and began to remove her pelt. Her blonde hair filled with static and crackled as she pulled the pelt from her body. "It had stopped for two days while you slept but it started up worse last night."

  "So, how long have I been here?" Clenching his fists he shoved them deep into the front pockets of his jeans, he walked towards the fireplace. "And why did you bathe and shave me?"

  "Five days. You had a horrific fever, when I found you. I bathed you to bring it down. Since, I was cleaning you I decided to get your face all freshened up also. Really John, you seem to be getting a bit agitated."

  "That's another thing!" He yelled. "How do you know my name?"

   Laying her pelt over the rocking chair, she turned towards the fireplace and placed more logs on to it. Taking the cloth from its peg, she picked up the pot and poured more steaming liquid into their mugs, and then motioned for him to come sit. "You spoke aloud quite often while you were sick. Now come, you are still weak from the fever, sit, and have more tea."

  Feeling foolish, John slumped down to the pelts. "You're right. I'm…I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I guess I am just out of sorts. One minute, I'm outside stuck in a storm the next, I'm here in your cabin." Shaking his head, he picked up his drink and drank a long slow sip. "Well, you know my name so what is yours?"

Peering at him from above the rim of her cup, her eyes twinkled. "I am Lilith."

Stay Tuned for Part Four
(Coyright 2012 E. L. Gross)