|  BlueWolf's Howl   | Comics and Art  | Higher Level  | Photography  | Poetry and Stories  |
|  Chess  |  Letterboxing  |
|  2003 Blogathon Archive  |   2005 Blogathon Archive  | 8th Layer Archive  | Blue702 Archive  |

Short Stories

Poetry and Stories

April 29, 2005

Stone Love

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a young and tender woman with a very large heart. Her name was Cora. She loved everyone she met with her whole heart. And though she loved everyone, people thought her love was strange and scary, so everyone was afraid to love her. This created an emptiness inside her that ached until she could no longer stand to live among people. So she moved into an empty cottage deep in the woods.

The woods were a welcome home. There were no other people for quite a long distance, yet the animals were plentiful. Every morning the birds would sing on her windowsill to wake her. Her every step in the woods was followed by a trail of animals. Even those who were known to be natural enemies gathered together in peace when she was around. And she loved them all and they all loved her.

One day, while she was walking with her animal friends, the happy procession thinned very quickly. Cora suddenly found herself in a part of the woods she had never seen before. She was wondering about the disappearance of the rest of her animal friends when she came upon a dark cave. Just as she reached the mouth of the cave, a large and ugly monster jumped out from behind the bushes. The monster roared to frighten Cora. But, Cora was not frightened. She found the monster's roar quite amusing and began to giggle.

The monster was confused by Cora's reaction. The monster had never seen that kind of reaction to her big size and ugliness before. So she tried even harder to frighten Cora. The monster tried waving her arms frantically, and Cora waved back. She tried throwing rocks at Cora, and Cora caught the rocks and threw them back to the monster. Then the monster tried to charge at Cora. Cora continued to smile at the monster and held her arms out for the monster as it charged. The monster stopped right in front of Cora, confused and amazed. After staring in Cora's deep brown eyes for quite some time, the monster began to sniff her. With the first snout of Cora's scent, the monster began to fall in love with her.

This new feeling was so strange. It scared the monster. She didn't know what to do. A soft and mushy feeling was starting in the middle of her heart. The monster's heart had been so hurt, that it had turned to stone long ago. And now this mushy feeling had started and it was spreading. It was turning the stone heart back into a real heart again. All the old hurts that had been covered over with hardness now ached again. The only part that didn't ache was the center of this new mushy feeling. The whole thing hurt so much that the monster roared in pain and anguish.

Cora recognized the pain in the monster's roar. It was a tone that was very familiar. It was the same sound as Cora's cries over the emptiness she had known around people. Without fear, and with all the love in her heart, she wrapped her arms around the monster and whispered in the monster's ear, "Oh, honey."

The monster cried for a short while, and then realized who and where and what she was. This was not appropriate behavior for a monster such as herself. So she pushed Cora away, and ran deep inside the dark cave where none could ever find her.

Cora knew that she could not find the monster in all that darkness. She was afraid that she had scared the monster away. Slowly and sadly, she walked back to her cottage, weeping the whole way. She cried not only for her own pain, but also for the pain that she had heard in the monster's roar and the sadness that caused the monster's tears to rain down her shoulders.

The next day, Cora got up very early. She packed a basket of fresh fruits and vegetables and headed off towards the cave. As she traveled, the animals gathered around her. They could smell the goodies that were in the basket. It smelled so delicious! But as she got closer to the cave, the animals once again disappeared.

The monster had gotten up early too. She had cried herself to sleep and had gone without supper. She was very hungry. So the monster headed out to look for something to eat. It was always so hard to find something to eat. The animals were very careful to avoid the area around the monster's cave. Even plants were afraid to grow there. So, most of the time the monster was very hungry. And that hunger made the monster more ferocious and frightening.

The monster was looking for something to eat when Cora arrived at the cave. Since she did not know the monster's name, she could not call out to her. So Cora began talking out loud, hoping the monster would hear it and return. As she talked, Cora spread out a delicious picnic for the two of them. The monster heard the talking and ran towards the sound. When she saw it was Cora, she stopped in her tracks. She was so surprised that she didn't even notice the food.

Cora's face lit up with joy and excitement at seeing the monster once again. Cora politely asked the monster to join her. Cora could see the monster's pain and confusion, but she could also see the love that the monster had for her. It was a love that filled the emptiness. It was the returned love that Cora had waited for all her life.

The monster's love for Cora pulled her closer, until she finally saw the beautiful picnic. It was a meal like she had never known, full of sweetness. The monster was afraid to eat anything, even though she was very hungry. She was afraid that she would like it too much and then never be able to ever have it again. It touched her deeply that Cora had loved her enough to bring such treats, but she must not let that show. After all, she WAS a monster, and monsters aren't supposed to feel and act in such a manner.

To hide her true feelings and desires, the monster hungrily grabbed up some of the fruits and stuffed them in her mouth. She would taste just a little bit of it - long enough to please her, yet not long enough to be noticed. Then she would spit the rest out on the ground and declare how disgusting it tasted. She knew the food that she would spit on the ground would still be there after Cora left and she could eat it later. It would serve her right and be much more fitting of the type of meal she thought a monster deserved.

It surprised Cora to hear that such delicious food was so disgusting to the monster. She wondered if she had brought the wrong type of foods on her picnic. She sighed heavily as she watched the monster spit the food out and listened to the complaints with sadness. She vowed to herself that the next picnic would have different foods that may be more to the monster's liking, for she loved the monster and wanted to please her.

In just a few minutes, the basket was emptied and the sat surrounded by a colorful circle of spent fruit. The monster tried to scare Cora with stories about what a wicked and evil monster she was, but Cora was not scared. Cora knew the truth.

They sat and talked until darkness descended upon the both of them. Cora knew that it was time to leave. She did not want to be impolite, and so she said a gentle goodbye and promised to return the next day. As soon as Cora was a safe distance away, the monster pounced on the food that that covered the ground. It tasted so good. It tasted like love. It tasted like Cora's love for her. And after all the food on the ground had been eaten, the monster fell facedown on the ground and wept.

Cora returned to the cave daily with plenty of varied foods. Each time the monster would show dislike for all that Cora brought. But Cora kept coming back and bringing the monster food. She loved the monster and could not bear to leave her. And through all the hatred the monster spewed, both at the food and at Cora, never did the monster harm her. In fact, the monster was very protective of Cora.

Once, while they were walking in the woods, Cora tripped and bruised her knee. She saw the look of fear and horror on the monster's face. She felt the monster's helplessness as she sat crying and holding her bruised and bleeding knee. The monster ran over to help, and as their eyes met, there was a deep knowing. They knew that if she could, the monster would have flung herself on the ground in front of Cora to cushion her fall and prevent Cora from being hurt. The love was that strong between them. And it scared them both, for neither had known these feelings before.

In spite of their fear, they spent many enjoyable hours together. They grew close and felt safe with one another. Eventually, it came to the point when Cora's nightly return to her cottage became something that neither of them wanted. So Cora asked the monster to come to her home and live with her. The monster grew more scared than she had ever been in her whole life. She enjoyed the time with Cora, but she also enjoyed not scaring the animals that never came near the cave. She knew that she was frightening. She wanted much more for Cora. She knew that her hideous appearance and nature would change Cora's life for the worst. And she hated herself for selfishly wanting to be with Cora. Scared, she once again ran for the darkness of her cave.

Cora stood in shock at the monster's sudden disappearance. When the shock wore off, Cora began to cry. It hurt to see the monster run from her in such fear and horror. Cora cried until she realized that the monster needed her now more than ever. So she went to the mouth of the cave and spoke to the monster. She did not try to go inside, nor did she ask the monster to come out. Together they sat, Cora outside in the sun and the monster inside in the darkness, and spoke in the language of love. Together they agreed to search for a way for them to be united.

The monster asked Cora if she knew anyone with magic powers. Cora had heard about The Lady of the Lake, but no one she knew had ever seen her. But, there were many stories that showed that The Lady of the Lake had powers beyond compare. Surely she could help them. So Cora set out for the lake. She walked all night through the darkness and arrived at the lake in the early hours of the morning. The lake was beautiful and the water glistened in the early morning light.

She stepped upon the bank and called out to The Lady. There was no response. She tried all manner of asking, inviting and calling, yet there was still no response. Finally she stood with her eyes closed and spread her arms open wide. Without sound, she poured out all the love in her heart she had for the monster and all the desire she had for them to unite. As the last part of her emotions was expressed, she heard the sound of parting water. It was The Lady of the Lake and she was as beautiful and magnificent as the stories about her.

The Lady of the Lake spoke to Cora in soft and gentle tones. Her voice was like music upon the ears. She told Cora that she had heard the sound of her heart and was willing to help her, but in return, Cora would have to make a solemn pledge. Cora was eager to make any vow to help and be with one whom she loved so dearly. The Lady of the Lake promised to turn the monster into a beautiful princess, but Cora would have to swear to love her forever. Cora easily made that pledge. The Lady of the Lake gave Cora a loaf of Sacred Bread to take to the monster. The bread would nourish the monster and give her the courage to come to the lake to be healed. Cora accepted the loaf and thanked The Lady of the Lake. The Lady smiled sweetly at Cora and silently slipped back beneath the still waters.

Cora ran all the way to the mouth of the cave. She was so excited. She called into the cave and the monster responded. She told the monster all about The Lady of the Lake and the Sacred Bread. Although it was a big and scary change, the monster loved Cora and was willing to let The Lady of the Lake try to work her magic. The monster did not think there was enough power and magic in the world to change her into a beautiful princess, but for Cora's sake, she agreed to go. Cora gently tossed the loaf into the darkness of the cave.

The monster allowed the Sacred Bread to fall to the floor of the cave. Although she wanted to eat it, she was afraid. She was quite an expert at being a monster. She did not know how to be a beautiful princess. It frightened her. Would everyone expect her to be noble and kind? She knew that would not be easy. She did not think she could ever be more than a monster in a princess' gown. Yet, a wonderful life with Cora was the one thing she wanted most in her life. This was so confusing. She didn't know what to do. So, she sat down in front of the Sacred Bread to think about it.

Time in the dark, when deep in thought, passes unnoticed. And so the time passed for the monster as she stared at the Sacred Bread. Outside, Cora was much more aware of the passage of time. She sat by the mouth of the cave, silent, while day turned into night. She knew that the monster was trying to make a deep and tough decision. And she knew that the monster must make that decision alone. She sat, steadfast, at the mouth of the cave. She did not prod, but was available in case the monster needed some reassurance or comfort. She could hear the monster's sobs and cried softly at the mouth of the cave. And as she sat and cried and waited, night turned back into day.

With the hope of a new day, Cora hoped that the monster would finally eat the loaf and exit the cave. But that hope was crushed as time wore on and day turned into night and night turned into day again. And then the silence was finally broken. Loud screams of anguish shook the rock of the cave and the ground around it. Cora shouted into the cave to see if the monster needed her help. The monster replied that she could not eat the bread. The bread had turned hard from the long wait. Cora suggested the monster use her tears to soften the bread. The monster replied that she had spent her tears on the cave floor and had none left to soften the bread. Cora rose and took three blind steps into the darkness of the cave. She knelt gently, not knowing where she was, and offered her tears.

Cora's boldness, faith and love moved the monster to streams of tears from a hidden source. As she reverently picked up the Sacred Bread, the tears of the monster cascaded upon the loaf. The monster brought the loaf over to Cora and allowed her sweet, hot tears to fall like rain upon the Sacred Bread. The mixture of the tears of the two lovers softened the loaf and the monster began to eat it. Knowing that life with her would be hard, and that Cora would need as much courage as she would, the monster offered to share the Sacred Bread. Unable to see in the darkness, Cora opened her mouth and the monster lovingly placed pieces of the loaf in Cora's mouth for her to eat.

Together they grew strong and when the loaf was finished, Cora placed her hand in the monster's hand and was gently led out of the cave. They walked in silence for a long time until finally reaching the lake, again just at daybreak. Cora raised her arms and let her heart seek The Lady of the Lake. As Cora sought The Lady, the monster hid behind Cora with her arms wrapped tightly around Cora's waist in a gesture of fear that disguised her love. And as before, The Lady of the Lake heard Cora's heart and gently rose from the lake.

The Lady of the Lake smiled at the lovers and asked the monster to come forth to be healed. The monster was afraid to even look at The Lady, much less let go of Cora's waist. Cora felt the monster's fear and softly put one of her hands on the monster's head and the other was tenderly placed upon the hands that tightly gripped her waist. This caress of love gave the monster the courage she needed to step forward toward the lake. She knew that she would and must do anything she could for her dear Cora, no matter how scary or uncomfortable it may be.

The monster stepped slowly and deliberately into the lake. The water was warm and comforting. She walked deeper and deeper into the lake until she stood in the water in front of where the Lady of the Lake sat in all her majesty. The Lady of the Lake placed her right hand upon the monster's head, and using only her eyes as guidance, silently guided the monster beneath the healing waters.

When the Lady's hand returned above the water's edge, beneath it as a beautiful princess. The Lady looked into the eyes of the princess and the former monster could see in the reflection that she was now very beautiful. The Lady told her that from now on, she would be known as Mariposa. Princess Mariposa thanked The Lady of the Lake and turned and proudly walked out of the waters to her lover, Cora.

The Lady of the Lake watched as Cora and Princess Mariposa embraced and passionately kissed each other. The Lady of the Lake reminded Cora of her pledge, and Cora happily made that pledge again in front of The Lady and her beloved. Cora and Princess Mariposa both thanked The Lady of the Lake as she slowly returned to the still waters.

Princess Mariposa went with Cora to her new home and they loved each other so much, that all the animals were drawn once more to Cora's cottage. The Princess now could greet the animals and they would not run from her. She reveled in his new acceptance. As time marched on, Princess Mariposa began spending more and more time among the animals. She found that now she loved the animals very much and enjoyed their company. And the animals loved Cora, but they loved Princess Mariposa even more.

After some time, Princess Mariposa found that she was spending so much time among the animals in the woods and enjoyed it so much, that she would forget to come home. At first, Cora would worry about her. Then, after a few times of searching the woods and finding her safe and happy among the animals, Cora stopped worrying. She loved her very much, and wanted her to have whatever her heart desired, regardless of what that entailed.

Eventually, Cora realized that the cottage was no longer a place where her beloved Princess Mariposa would ever be happy. And if her beloved could not be happy there, neither could she. So she boarded up the windows and door and disappeared deep into the woods.

One day, while Princess Mariposa was in the woods with the animals, a big thunderstorm approached. All the animals that had gathered fled for their burrows and other shelters. And so it was that the Princess decided that it was time to return to the cottage. When she arrived, the rain was already coming down heavily. It pelted her and stung her skin right through her royal clothes. But the sting was nothing compared to the pain in her heart when she saw the boards on the windows and door of the cottage.

The Princess banged on the door, screaming in pain and horror. But her beloved Cora, who she still loved with all her heart, was not inside. She slumped to the ground in the rain, and sobbed. Watching all this from behind a nearby tree was a small rabbit. The rabbit ran from the cover of the tree and hopped upon the Princess.

In her pain and anguish, the Princess roughly shoved the rabbit aside. She wanted nothing but Cora's loving arms. She wanted no one but Cora. She wanted to be nowhere but to be with her lovely Cora. The pain was too much for Princess Mariposa. She tore her clothes and ran screaming back toward the cave. And the rabbit hopped along behind her.

She reached the cave and stumbled to the deepest and darkest part of her former home. She was no longer used to the cave and had trouble seeing in the dark. But she didn't care. She was in too much pain to care. Ripping off the rest of her royal clothes, she took a rock in each hand and beat her chest with them. She tried to once again get her heart to become stone. But the stones didn't work. All it did was tire her, and she fell to the cave floor and fell fast asleep.

The rabbit slowly hopped inside the dark cave. Trusting her other senses, the rabbit searched the cave for Princess Mariposa. It took a very long time, but eventually she found the sleeping Princess just as she was beginning to wake. She woke to find the rabbit coming into view.

Not wanting to be bothered, and annoyed at a return of the rabbit, she once again roughly brushed the rabbit aside. The rabbit stayed where she landed and did not approach again. Princess Mariposa sat in the cave, deep in thought. All the memories returned of the time she and Cora met. She remembered how persistent and loving Cora had been. And she wondered how that ever could have disappeared. Surely it was something she had done to make Cora run away. Truly, she was a monster in royal clothing.

She remembered how she felt when she first saw herself in the eyes of The Lady of the Lake. She also remembered how happy she and Cora were when they embraced. And then she remembered Cora's pledge. How could she have gone? Princess Mariposa suddenly got very angry at her betrayal and decided to seek justice from The Lady of the Lake. If nothing else, she would demand that she be turned back to her former shape so she could have her heart of stone once more. So, she headed toward the lake, followed at a short distance by the small rabbit.

Princess Mariposa arrived at the lake and stood at the top of the bank and shouted for The Lady of the Lake to appear. The Lady did not appear and Princess Mariposa became angrier. She entered the water, thinking she would either find The Lady or drown herself while looking. And as she began to wade into the water, The Lady began to emerge from the still waters.

Princess Mariposa did not need to complain. The Lady knew quite well what was in her heart. Princess Mariposa pleaded to return to her former appearance, and The Lady nodded. Once again, The Lady placed her hand atop the head of the Princess and guided her with her eyes to submerge herself willingly in the warm, healing waters. When The Lady's hand once again broke the waters, beneath was the familiar form of the monster. The monster thanked The Lady of the Lake and turned toward the shore.

Upon the shore, waiting patiently, was that same pesky rabbit. The monster was determined to scare that rabbit off for once and for all. But, while the monster was wading toward the shore, The Lady of the Lake raised her hand to signal the rabbit to hop.

As the rabbit hopped, she became larger and larger. And as she grew, her shape and form and color changed. And as she felt the changes, it made her hop faster and faster in excitement until all that could be seen was a blur.

The rabbit stopped hopping just as the monster reached her. And there, before the monster, stood the familiar form of her beloved Cora. And once again, without thinking, without fear, without anything else but the love in her heart, she wrapped her arms around the monster and whispered in the monster's ear, "Oh, honey."

The Lady of the Lake smiled at the lovers and slowly returned beneath the still waters.

Posted by BlueWolf on April 29, 2005 08:18 AM