Entries in VMFA (1)


Duty and Solitude

So I'm taking a weekly short story writing workshop at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which was to be a painting class but at the last moment when I saw the opportunity to write a little fiction, I was compelled to run with instead.  I'm sort of loving it now. This week's short story was the result of being told to write a story about loneliness.

Duty and Solitude

   It has been many mortal lifetimes since last I spoke to another, those who knew my voice, my touch, the smell of my hair, have long since returned to dust to begin their great journey again. This is the cost of the oath I have sworn to uphold, for I am the Toth Farah, the chosen one. The Farah is all that stands between the things of beauty and grace in our world and the ancient horrors, writhing with tentacles and bereft of eyes, that will one day rise to reclaim the Earth and return it to the darkness from the time of its birth. Until then, the whole of this world is my prison where I walk among you, neither seen nor heard.

   I was not always as I am today, I too was once mortal before I accepted the burden that I was born to bear and chose to perform the sacred rite of the Farah. The memories of that life, thousands of years gone now, remain ever sharp. I drift in hauntingly clear visions of my longhouse, filled with my children, their laughter the soft sound of raindrops on bells, their small, cool hands held tightly in mine as we walked at dawn in the mist filled meadows.  My sisters and I beckoning the sun to rise with a song, and drinking the moon to sleep each night, all there in perfect clarity, yet gone forever. My beloved husband wore the title and trappings of warlord and chieftain and for our perfect days together he was, of the two of us, the one that knew and embraced battle; I cared nothing for his brutal art, the murals of red and the sadness each stroke bore on black crow wings.  Yet ages later, it is I, not he, who is destined to lead an army and, though the coming battle has always weighed heavily on my heart, I will not waver in what must be done in duty or sacrifice.  None may hear my voice or know that I walk among you, or the rite will be broken and I would fade from this world with no one to carry my mantle.

   I walk freely among all the people of the world and neither door of steel nor wall of stone may bar my passage as I fulfill my duty and gather the discarded teeth of man's young. I have done so for years beyond counting, bearing silent witness to the rise and fall of kingdoms.  My work continues with all the love, passion and drama of the ages denied me as I garner my forces. When that dark and prophesied day comes, I shall draw them forth and sow them as tiny white seeds of hope in the rich black earth where the dazzling light of our sun will bear witness to our gambit.  From the teeth of the innocent our greatest army will spring from the Earth to drive back and imprison despair’s foul forces, securing the hope and prosperity of mankind until the wheel of time spins again and all of these events begin anew, with another Toth Farah chosen to prepare for battle across the ages to come as have I and those that came before me.

   Until that fateful day, my ceaseless work remains fodder for your legends, your name for me ever on your lips but my sacrifice, and depth of solitude, unknown to you.  So leave still the teeth of your youth beneath their headrests and one day I shall stand by your side on the ashes of that vanquished army of the dark where I may once again share your wine and share with you all the full tale of your Tooth Fairy.