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Thread: The Midnight Children

  1. #1
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    The Midnight Children

    A bell chimes: its peel and echo reverberating midnight. Dust and soot shiver with the clang and fall of soft powder on the upward faces of the children. Their faces are smudged and gritty with smoke: their eyes are bright with knowing. A hush of whispering, so like the falling of ash, smokes upwards and out of the chimneys as with each hopeful chime, their hearts beat. The final bell tolls, revealing the moon, bright and full as she lifts herself clear of cloud and fog to embrace her children. Up they crawl through a lattice of thick brick and dust caked in centuries of dead wood: memories of tree and rock; up through cobwebs thick with choked smoke; up through a whole year of dark. Petals, black and limp, fall and drift past ignoring hands to disappear, forgotten. Up they crawl, hand in hand, their naked bodies thin and grey, whispering of moonlight and gardens: remembering day. Up they climb, limb over limb, ache over ache until out, through the dark and into silver pools of fresh air, they sigh relief and blink.

    Rooftops: stacks upon stacks of chimneys thrust up from the back of the palace, ancient and huge. The chimney-stack children stand entranced, arms outstretched and embrace the sky and the earth. Breathing deep, their eyes drink in the stars and they search for their lost ones among the twinkling clusters. As one, the children sigh. They hold hands and squeeze happiness and relief as they catch a glimpse of a scent, fresh, cool and soft. Memories sparkle, flicker and tug yearningly on their hearts: their feet guide them towards the edge.

    A labyrinth of night, with deep shadows and alleys spread out below them. Walls, hundreds of years old, stand crumbling with stoic wisdom, guarding millennia of secrets hidden in the ground. Everything is quiet, dark and peaceful as the children make their way down, through twisting climbs towards the garden. Centuries of instinct guides their feet towards the yearning tug that pulls them ever more urgently forward. Their breathing quickens, and their eyes widen as they hurry down the halls of budding beach, dark and rusting but heralding spring. Darkness lifts and golden light filters almost imperceptivity through the walls, down from the trees and up from the moss-covered ground. Through this promise of golden light, the children glimpse the towering stone walls, guarded by ancient forms, grimacing from the ramparts. The twisted gargoyles leer and curse but are ignored: this is not their day.
    The golden light falls more thickly, swirls and lifts and swarms together, dancing in the air above the children’s heads. Clustering together, it dances and flickers, separating to become ever more distinct creatures of light and air; golden animals that glide effortlessly on the breeze in a dazzling ballet. They swirl and dance, crashing together with bursts of sparks and reform as something different. Each clash sends fountains of golden sparks down upon the children, each spark chiming a different note as it touches down upon their bodies, bathing them in music and light.

    The children hurry forward, joyous laughter bubbling from their awakening hearts as they approach their garden. Finally, passing through an arch of ancient vine, the children enter. Enclosed within huge walls, the secret garden is alive. Beds of earth, once hardened by winter, are soft and fragrant, each calling to its child to join them in their task. The children skip and dance, as they have always done, to their allotted beds and stare hopefully at the twiggy stems of their sleeping rose. Humming together, they sway and clap, hop and twirl their way around their rose, touching, kissing and blowing music and life onto the leaves and growing buds. The creatures play their part, showering sparks of music down onto the children in their dance and encouraging the roses to grow, blossom and unfurl their petals in a beautiful spring-time stretch. Flowers of pink, yellow and deep scarlet bloom promises, and the children dance more wildly with the flying orchestra conducting their moves.

    Faster and faster the children twirl, singing birth and growth into their roses which glow with a sudden explosion of bright, perfumed warmth. The children fall down exhausted, and calm settles on the garden as the creatures slow and drift apart, floating away on the night breeze. Blissfully, the children climb the stems of their twinned rose and wrap their arms around it in a sleepy and contented embrace. Grateful hands cup a single, luxuriant flower as thorns prick and drink their hot blood. Finally, the children sleep, caught in the tangle of thorn and stem until the sky greys and the birds begin the sing.

    One by one, the children awake and gaze at the coming dawn. Their night is over, their time is spent and their eyes turn slowly back towards the towering rooves where they must return. A different tune stirs from their hearts as together, they pluck a flower from their rose and start slowly to drift away from the garden. Up they climb, slowly and sadly back through the twisted crevasses and walkways, up onto the cold slate roof.

    The sun is quickly rising, and the children hurry back to the safety of their chimneys. They crawl back, hand over hand, clutching their single rose to sit and wait in soot and smoke, remembering their night and dreaming of next year when the moon will invite them back to the garden. Thinking these thoughts, the children hold hands and breath deeply the scent of their rose and slowly close their eyes to the dust.

  2. #2
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    Beautiful use of sensory language throughout, really creates vivid and evocative imagery.

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    Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I really appreciate it.

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    TheFairyDogMother kiz_paws's Avatar
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    I believe that Miss Jayne said it all. I agree 100%
    Well written, Michael.
    Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty
    ~Albert Einstein

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    Thank you very much!

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    Childhood is the only period of our past that holds even more mysteries than our future.

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    It certainly is

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