Impromptu short story: The Guardian
Inspired by another artists landscape, I created a character I simply titled The Guardian. This image is the color version, but back in our Forum, www.visadj.com, I had posted a thread with the original pencil drawing and asked if anyone could imagine a story in which this character could find a place.
I was pleasantly surprised this afternoon to find just that, a short story about this character. I’m sharing it with you. Read on:
Because you asked..
The Guardian: The Beginning…
Nixie couldn’t swim. She hated the beach, despised the river, and would fight to skip her nightly bath. Her mother was Angeline who spent most of her time amused at her six year old daughter fighting so hard to be a six year old woman.
It didn’t help that their residence, a little more than a cottage, was snuggled close to a large rocky basin which faced out to the sea.
Their mornings were seagulls in the distance and sailors launching in the surf. Their afternoons were kids gathered down by the hammock of trees near the weed-covered old-wood docks and their parents laughing in community with small cooking holes set upon bricks circled to smoke, grill, bake, and pray over the catches of the day.
Their nights were different.
Nixie often watched her mother hide her tears, sit with loneliness, and confide in solitude. She didn’t understand it, but she knew that she missed her father as much as her mother, even as tomorrow constantly whispered to her that things would become easier with each new sunrise. Sometimes it seemed that it didn’t.
Her mother helped people all the time. She cooked for the Edgeworths, cleaned for the Thompsons, watched the children of old Mrs. Windhelm down by the train station, even though her kids were grown. They fought over everything and Nixie watched her mother solve their disputes one-time after another with wisdom and fairness.
She would always tell them sea stories with a moral at the end as Nixie recognized them as the stories her father used to tell her.
Age continued to visit her mother and as the years past, but age seemed to forget little Nixie. It seemed as if the three years that walked by their cottage to visit her mother didn’t affect Nixie leaving her the size of a normal child of seven. It was ten years beyond that before she had the traits of a ten year old little girl.
Her mother kept her away from others as rumors began to develop about the seventeen year old little girl who lived in the body of a ten year old. There were whispers of dark magic being practiced in their cottage and curses from the howls of the sea crashing into the rocks down the small cliff from their home. Her clients slowly separated from her mother one ‘no’ at a time until depression and sickness became the new family member in their home.
Nixie escaped each night to the large Rhine-rock pointed to the sea in order to stare into the gleaming water below for an answer to her curse.
The sea didn’t answer. The sea never answered. She hated the sea.
Age became the abusive mate of her mother, beating her feeble and stealing her esteem. Memories became one with her love which was lost. Her only joy was the comfort of her daughter who reminded her aged self of an old black and white photograph taken in a small western town just before the cottage became their final home. Nixie’s father held her in the picture.
It was the last thing she spoke of before passing away as an eighty year old woman with a daughter appearing barely twenty-one. Age still had difficulty finding presence within little Nixie.
There was a night that this daughter became tired of the loneliness and hurt.
There was a time when she had no more rage for her small town; nor pain for her father… gone. There was a time that standing at the edge of the Rhine-rock behind their house felt right because no one cared. There was a time when holding her hands out and leaning forward in to the wind over the cliff felt right. There was a time when Nixie no longer wanted to live. She Jumped.
Nixie couldn’t swim.
She never felt the rocks crash into her body nor the cold of the sea stealing away her soul. Instead, she felt peace.
Her arms flowed with the current, her breath was not there. Her body moved within the darkness and yet everything around her was clear. She could see… she could see fishes. She saw seaweed, shells, and a fluttering of thousands of bubbles churning just below the surface of the sea with the collision of each wave. She was underwater… and she was alive.
She moved as an angel through the heavens above, darting from surf to depth as ink squeezed into a cold glass of water. She raised her hand before her face wishing that she could be as afraid as she knew she should be, but she couldn’t She was in wonderment. She could see through her hand as if it was one with the water itself. Her body was the same and her movements were effortless. She felt like a spirit and yet she was real.
Nixie held still for a moment and merely floated within the depths. She was a thing of the sea. She gathered her thoughts and hummed softly to herself.
Her music beautiful… as beautiful as she.
Her self… majestic, as majestic as her memories of her mother; for she was complete.
With the opening of her eyes and twist of her body, she propelled herself through her age-old nemesis, the sea and pulled herself onto the shore.
Her body shook but not from cold; it shook from transformation. Her form was once again flesh and her surroundings once again dark as her eyes adjusted to the night. Her smile was the only thing out of place and yet welcomed as though it was supposed to be there. She sat against a rock to stare back out into the sea.
The waves came towards her toes and crawled back out into the surf as though they were daring her to return. Nixie giggled to herself, thought about her mother, her father, and her life then stood back up and took the dare offered by the sea.
If there was one thing she wasn’t worried about, was her fear that she couldn’t swim.