Monday, July 29, 2013

Prompt: Do you see too much?

Najla’s brush flowed across the paper in smooth, unhurried strokes. She dipped colors and blended them into her painting with a grace that was poetry in motion.

Oyadlen watched from the doorway, drinking in the beauty of Najla’s motion as much as her art. He drew a deep breath and savored the rich smell of paint and wet paper. Najla didn’t turn, but he sensed her smile nonetheless.

“What are you painting today, my young friend?” Oyadlen stood behind her and rested his heavy hands on her shoulders. “Ahh, eagles—”

“They are hawks, Uncle. You should know that. Don’t they look like the hawks in your mews?” Najla said indignantly. She turned and shook her finger, scowling fiercely.

“Indeed they do, little one. But, Najla, I don’t need many more hawks in my aerie. If they get too crowded, they will fight each other. You don’t want that, do you?”

Najla reached up and fingered Oyadlen’s face, touching his brow, eyes, mouth, then patting his cheek. She nodded seriously. “Yes, Uncle, I understand. Do you think this pair and their young one will be all right?”

Oyadlen pressed her fingers to his cheek so she could feel his smile. “Yes, Najla. I think they will be fine. We will let the young one go free when it grows old enough. Until then, you can help to feed it if you want.”

A smile lit Najla’s face as she returned to her painting.

Oyadlen saw papers drying on the table under the window and walked over to examine them. There were three. Rabbits cavorting on a flowery meadow. They looked fat and ready to hunt. A spring festival in the courtyard, with jugglers and dancers, food stalls and a puppet show in front of the fountain. He smiled. It would be a great celebration after the harsh winter. The third seemed to be covered in a gray mist. Oyadlen frowned and pulled it closer. As his eyes began to focus on the images within, a shiver crossed his shoulders.

“Najla, dear heart. Why did you pain this? We have talked about what happens to your paintings.”

Najla stilled. She did not ask which painting. She knew. Hanging her head so that her long blond hair hung in a curtain, hiding her face, she whispered, “I’m sorry, Uncle. I didn’t mean to. I wasn’t thinking, and it just came out. Is it very bad?”

Oyadlen looked at the painting once more. He shook his head in despair. How could he keep her safe, keep them all safe, from the images in her head? He returned to her side and gripped her hands in his own. “It’s a beautiful as all your paintings, dear heart. But sometimes you see more than you should of the world beyond. When you paint it into our world, it’s not always ready to live beside us in peace.”

A tear crept from Najla’s eye and slid down her cheek. Oyadlen brushed it away wish a finger and traced a smile across her lips. “Fear not, dear heart. Continue painting your hawks. Those rabbits will feed them well.”

Distracted, Najla smiled and returned to her painting. Oyadlen left her room and, when he was out of her hearing, began calling for his guards. They would face great challenges with the coming of the moonless night.

Dogs in house:

Time writing:
~40 minutes, distracted

July word count:

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