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(MSWC) The White Lady

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posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 09:54 PM
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The mountain mists briefly revealed green stone cliffs, deeply carved by wind and rain, as it drifted by in ragged shreds. Manfred, his face drenched with morning's moisture, looked sullenly outward, hoping for a clear view. Three days now, the steady drumbeat of heavy tropical rains had pummeled his tent. Everything was soaking wet. Not even the sealed plastic food bags were immune once opened in this thick dampness. Rivulets of water gurgled past him on either side on their journey to the valley somewhere hidden far below. Other than occasional distant thunder through the raindrops, it was the only constant sound he had heard.

There'll be no moving on and the resignation to a fourth day in this humid hell set in. Zipping the tent closed, he curled himself into a fetal position in the couple of square feet of groundsheet that did not hold a puddle. Naked, his clothing abandoned in a soggy heap, Manfred's mind wandered once again into an inner landscape where the sun glowed gold upon desert sands. There, in his mind, he found the only respite he could muster, amid the imaginary palms of an oasis he had never known. As the minutes turned to hours, the daydream filled with details. There ran two darkhaired girls, dressed in long skirts and curious dark blue jackets, laughing as they skipped and circled in play. A stately man strode by, ignoring the children, his face set upon some distant object and his hand on the hilt of an ancient scimitar.

A camel, sitting on a patch of grasses with its legs tucked neatly beneath, serenely munched a cud in the pecular way that camels do, the jaw moving back and forth sideways as if completely unhinged.

Four birds, of an unknown species, rustled noisely among the fronds, letting out musical calls: 'so-sweet-paw, so-sweet-paw-teet-teet-teet'. Manfred's lips moved silently to mimic the calls they made.

Deeper and deeper he fell into that now familiar scene. Within the shadows beneath those bright leaves, he could once again make out the mud huts in the near distance. There were 5 of them in a huddle around a well. Men and women, some sitting, some moving about but all dressed in the same bluish black garb interacted with each other, gestulating, flashing the whites of their eyes and teeth like diamonds in the night. Sometimes, a sound would drift from the group, unintelligeable and mixed with the raucous calls of the birds. It reminded him of piano notes struck by a toddler, the notes disjointed and random, yet alluring. He strained to make sense of them, to make them bend to something he could at least identify with.

Out of the hut on the very left, a woman emerged dressed in white. Manfred was shocked. He had not seen this figure before and her regal stature, head high and back straight, fired his imagination. Her hair was covered with the same blindingly white material as her dress and, now, as her image became clear, he noted a band of silver held it tight to her skull. Her slender figure belied an obvious inner strength. Even at a distance, he knew she held great power over the gathering around the well.

The birds suddely ceased their constant calls, or, at least, Manfred no longer heard them. The camel gathered itself upward, back legs first, then the front, to stand, it's muzzle no longer working the cud as it swung its head towards her. The clutch of people, now silent, rose and gathered to encircle her. The moment was electric. Manfred could hardly breathe and his heart pounded in his chest as he watched her right arm slowly raise to point a single finger towards him.

She took a step forward, and then another to stand beside the well. Picking up the rope, she slowly hauled up a bucket of water, setting it upon the ground. Then, she took a ladle and dipped it in. He saw the diamond drips flashing in the copper sun as they fell to the dusty sands. Once again, she straightened and turned towards him. Manfred's adam's apple bobbed up and down as he tried to swallow the dust in his mouth.

Slowly, she moved towards him, ladle carefully cradled in two hands. Step after step, he watched her advance in a fluid motion so feminine it almost broke his heart to behold her. She was the ocean tide, the unstoppable rhythm of moon and water. As she came closer, the features of her face clarified, her smooth high cheekbones supporting dark eyes beheath a high forehead. Her wide lips, red as blood, accented the ornate silver circlet above.

She stared directly into his eyes, yet showed no emotion as she drew close to him. Her lips parted as she hissed "Be gone, spirit" and splashed the water into his face.

Manfred was suddenly thrown back onto the thundering echoing mountain, shivering in the dank heat of his tent and gibbering like a lost fool.

[edit on 27/8/09 by masqua]




posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 01:06 PM
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I loved the story. I was there my friend, I could feel the wetness inside the tent and then the heat of the desert. I actually laughed out loud at the ending because I wasn't expecting anything like that.

Great job!

[edit on 29-8-2009 by mrwupy]



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 04:37 PM
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Happy to hear the visuals were effective.
It was important to have as distinct a seperation between the two realities as possible, so wet and miserable to dry and happy did the trick.

The White Lady was a nod to Robert Graves, whose book, 'The White Goddess' remains one of the most treasured on my shelves. If you've never read it but are interested in all things spiritual, you've a treat waiting for you.

In my neck of the woods, there is an old native legend of a 'white lady' (dressed in white buckskins) who walks across the water on the eastern shores of northern Lake Huron. The legend survived among the Scottish settlers here and, most recently, was sighted by security guards at a nearby nuclear power facility. That sighting was never officially reported though I heard it from the guards coming off night shift the next morning.



[edit on 28/8/09 by masqua]



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 04:44 PM
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Excellent Story Masqua
I also felt it and I think it opened a new door in my mind. Now I have to read that book that you linked to, have you ever read: An Occurence At Owl Creek. Not sure why, but I thought of that when I read your story.

Excellent



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 06:09 PM
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ta , well done , what a delight of the minds eye , phrase master of the writen art



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 06:29 PM
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Fantastic imagery. I, too, was quite taken aback by the ending (rather like----wait a second, where did that come from?)
I felt sorry for Manfred.
Great story. Ability shines here.....



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 10:41 AM
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I don't know how I missed this story. I came across it though, and now I am glad I did. I was taken aback at the ending. The imagery that you flawlessly inspire is incredible. I think I now know how it feels to be stuck in a hot damp tent during some lousy weather. I felt like I was standing no less than five feet from that camel watching it chew. Very good story my friend and I believe you have a talent! S+F because I loved it. I am now going to look for the book you mentioned when I have the chance.

[edit on 29-8-2009 by jackflap]



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 05:27 PM
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Thanks, everyone, for the positive critiques.



I was thinking of the next contest being based on twists like this, whether at the beginning, middle or end of the story.

What do you think of the idea?

btw... I'm asking mrwupy to tell the judges not to pick The White Lady as a winner. The responses here are all the praise I could ever want.



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 05:37 PM
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reply to post by masqua
 


Why not? I like the idea and it would be a challenge to bring a very unexpected twist into a storyline. It still needs a theme though. Which I'm sure you will have no problem creating. I love the idea.



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 05:45 PM
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reply to post by jackflap
 


I'm thinking of calling it the Chubby Checker Twist Writing Contest and havng it based on a hapless gang of criminals.

The basic theme will be how they are dependent upon Lady Luck, who either helps them out or trips them up.

Just an idea... hope there's more out there.



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 05:53 PM
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reply to post by masqua
 


Oh my, I can definitely create some scenarios with that storyline. I would certainly like that. What about the whole swine flu thing that seems to be very popular right now? I mean you don't have to call it swine flu you could say a very strange unknown epidemic has struck the entire world. Our jobs would be to come up with a story as to what the epidemic is and how it is affecting everyone. Given that, I'm sure everyone would think swine flu, but it doesn't have to be that. Just an epidemic that is affecting everyone.



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 07:27 PM
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"Come 0n baby lets do the twist..."

Sounds like an awesome idea for a contest to me. Imagine what would happen if Armageddon arrived and the anti Christ told his father, the Devil, he wasn't going to fight. What if the Grim Reaper fell in love and decided he couldn't take life anymore, because his next prize would be the woman he loves, or Santa clause spent Christmas eve killing everyone on Earth because he was tired of being called imaginary....

Good lord the possibilities are endless.....



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 07:35 PM
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Oooo... a malicious resentful Santa raining death and destruction because he figured EVERYBODY was bad all year.



Classic

The Chubby Checker Twist Writing Contest [CCTWC] is coming alive. The one thing required is that it must contain a surprising twist in it, just as the story in the OP illustrates.

Maybe the theme can be anything as long as the contestants do The Twist.



[edit on 29/8/09 by masqua]



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 08:20 PM
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reply to post by masqua
 


I am certainly down with this! Let's just hope I don't shatter a hip as I'm twisting away! Had to keep on typing as I realized that what I had to add was not going to take up two lines, but yes the Chubby Checker Writing Contest is just what is needed and I am sure of this. Bring it on. Let's do the twist...

[edit on 29-8-2009 by jackflap]



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