Friday, December 04, 2009

Careful what you seek

"You should know better than to ask that."

The voice came, quiet, resonant, from the darkness by the bookshelves.

"I've been through all the literature, the stories, the myths," said the researcher. "What I want to know is whom, really, they're talking about." The researcher paused, then defiantly, "I'm not afraid."

Laughter, like the chiming of far-off, silver bells, greeted the defiance. "And yet, did I not see you jump when the lights faded?"

"I was startled, that's all. Please, why won't you let me see your face?"

The researcher stood up to move toward the bookshelves. A hand emerged from the darkness. The skin was honey-colored, fingers long, the nails filed to points.

"Stay where you are." A pause, the length of two heartbeats. "You say you have 'been through the literature'." There came the softest of sighs. "Can it be you learned nothing?"

The researcher was dismissive. "Salt, stone, madness? Yes. I've read about these...'consequences'. You hardly expect me to believe them, do you? I'm quite capable of discerning fact from fiction."

Again, the light chiming of bells. "No, I don't suppose I expected you to believe. But, I had to give you the chance."

The researcher's voice blended hope and uncertainty. "Then, I may see you? After all I've read about you, all the time researching the myths."

"Tell me. In all you read, did you find a poem by that Celtic romantic, 'The Song of Wandering Aengus'?"

The researcher's breath caught as the other stepped out of the gloom. Light shone on a face of unutterable beauty.

"Do you mean to tell me that you couldn't distinguish the fact from fiction there?"

The woman softly touched her lips to the researcher's cheek and moved away with light,  silent steps.

The researcher stood, breathing raggedly.  Her skin tingled where she had been touched. Her lungs were full of the scent of the woman.

And she knew. She could never rest until she'd found Lilith again. 


  1. This had a nice biblical feel to it when reading and great dialougue

    Good stuff

  2. And now she's doomed to 'wander', trying to find Lilith again.

    Excellent pace and dialogue, Kevin.

  3. Your story also brings to mind the adage attributed to St. Teresa of Avila about being careful for what you wish for.

    Lovely piece with smooth dialogue, Kevin.

    Oh! I love Yeats!

    "Though I am old with wandering
    Through hollow lands and hilly lands,

    I will find out where she has gone,
    And kiss her lips and take her hands;"

  4. Beautifully written, Kevin.

    Forever a fan,

  5. Lilith seems very sad and lonely, too. I love the otherworldly feel of this piece. So like us humans...never satisfied :-)
    Nice one.

  6. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. This is an "aspect" of a character who's been with me for some time, in a variety of guises.

    I am so glad the dialogue worked for you. It went through some revisions and I was concerned that I had "overcooked" it.

    @shannon Nice catch. Yes, there is something lonely, or somber, if not sad, about the Lilith character. Too much time, too much experience, too much insight into others perhaps.

    And, as must be clear by now, I love Yeats.

  7. well written. the image of fingernails filed to points (loved this!), then the mythical, beautiful woman appears, with both woman seeking something they can't have. wonderful.

  8. You took me back and forth in my expectations... the darkness made me think "evil".. the bells made me think "good"...the sharp pointy nails made me think "evil" I was surprised when all was revealed.
    Nice job!
    Karen :0)

  9. That you for reading and commenting.

    I used the image of fingernails filed to points in another story - partly because I suspect the two characters are the one - just different "aspects" of the one as I suggested before.

    And there is just something about that image that works for me.

    As to moving back and forth between "good" and "evil" - I think the character is neither (or both). It may be more our reactions to her than anything else.

    Glad you enjoyed the story.

  10. Some very nice turns of phrase in this. I like!

  11. Good story, Kevin. And thanks for the link to the Yeats poem. I had never read it (please don't hate me for that).

  12. Lovely description, I like your writing style.
    Being careful what you wish for was great write about :)

  13. I like the simple approach here, describing just enough and leaving the rest for the reader's imagination. The Yeat's poem fits in very nice.

    I like the extra spacing between paragraphs. Easier to read when sitting back.
    -David G Shrock

  14. This story has a richness I really like. Clean prose, with a slightly fabulistic feel. Title spot on.

    I so love Lilith stories... Peace, Linda