Short Story: House on the Hill

K and I are co-creating. I doodle on ArtRage, and he writes a little story for me. It makes us happy.

***

Painting Title_019We hold hands, our backs flat against the smooth rock as the stars drift silently overhead. We are drifting also, two pilgrims aboard a giant ship that sails a deep, vast, black ocean. The moon, our constant companion, glows bright tonight, illuminating the way ahead. But I do not know where we are heading.

She raises a finger and traces the cool mountain air.

“I don’t know any constellations,” I tell her, my gaze tracing her fingertip. “Which one are you looking at?”

She turns and smiles at me. “This one has not been named, yet.” Looking back up at the pinpoints of light scattered across the night sky, she draws thin, invisible lines across galaxies, bridging millions of light years with each thoughtful stroke. She is an artist, and the universe has become her canvas.

She lowers her hand, and I ask her to tell me about this new constellation.

“This is Mais, the House on the Hill,” she begins. “See it?”

My eyes follow her fingertip as she retraces its path, more deliberately this time. I can make out the angular shapes, even though I do not know which stars she is pointing at. There are two storeys in this house, and perhaps some kind of balcony suspended in between. Then she pulls up a little chimney, her fingers drawing out tiny wisps of smoke with a gentle brush of her hand.

“It was built a long, long time ago, by a man whose beautiful wife was taken away by a jealous god. He built it out of diamonds hewn from the neighbouring mountains, and set it on the highest hill in his town, so that she could see it glowing in the night if she ever escaped. Every day, he would stand at the edge of the rooftop, looking out, always hoping that she would come running back to him one day.”

“And did she?”

“No,” she replied, wistfully, shaking her head. “Maybe she could not find her way back. Or maybe… maybe she has been gone for so long that she has already forgotten her past.”

She falls silent for awhile, then takes a deep breath. “Anyway, the man grew old and died a broken soul, and Mais the diamond house was so filled with sorrow that it tore itself out of the earth and flew into the stars in search of the girl, believing that if it found her, their love would bring the poor man back to life again.”

“It’s a beautiful house,” I whisper, looking at her. I can see the moon in her eyes, shimmering faintly.

She sighs, peering into the distant sky, where Mais continues its quiet, eternal search.

“It’s true, you know.”

Written by Kenneth
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