Creative Writing

Short Story Extract – Captivity of the Lark

I have nearly finished a short story in response to a story in Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber. Furthermore, I’m trying to ignore the fact that I’ve not posted in almost forever, I had prolonged Writer’s Block.

The Captivity of the Lark

…She seized me in a flash and cradled me in her long clawed fingers; I thought I was done for. Her grip was not so loose that I could flutter away, yet not so tight that she would crush my hollow bones.

I was stolen from the world I was born into and made a captive in her great nest of night.

The strangeness of it all – the lady’s cold hand, the plunge into darkness, the locked door behind me – sent me into a surge of blind panic; I quite forgot myself. I threw myself incessantly against the bars of my prison, squirming and flapping, ruffling and pulling out my beautiful feathers, for you see, my only desire was to be free from the semi-lit cell and to bathe my quivering body kindly rays of sun once more.

Meantime I had exhausted myself. My young captoress opened the door – salvation! – yet my fragile body was too spent to move. She placed a cup of water and plate of plentiful seeds in my cage and went about her own business. I drank greedily, for I had made myself thirsty with labour. My quick avian eye adjusted to the dinginess so I could observe my surroundings; a card table, windows hung with heavy drapery to defend my young mistress from nurturing natural light. And odd box in the corner, just big enough, I mused, for my young lady to conceal herself within. A light in the corner, with just enough glow to illuminate her white ancestral dress (I say ‘ancestral’ as it has yellowed in places and looks much older than the one who sports it). She knelt by her table and looks hard at me with eyes blacker still than mine. I thought She wants me to sing for her! I am a bird of good breeding, I shall oblige her. I thought perhaps if I sang a most heavenly melody, the only one I knew, she might be well pleased and liberate me. Yet, at length, another figure entered the room, gestured to the box into which my mistress folded herself. Her cage without bars. This silent, scrawny, stooping figure was my lady’s keeper, just as she was mine.

Some nights my lady’s keeper lets her out in the rose-walled garden (I can only assume it’s night, or else why would my lady seal herself into the gloomy nocturne of her castle?). The first time she returned, weeping with a face smeared with blood, I thought for an instant of the abhorrent creature that dashed the blood from my helpless nest-bound brothers and sisters. She wailed and paced her boudoir and sat down at her table and shuffled her cards and threw them down exasperated. She was beside herself, yet I knew she meant me no harm since I shared her loneliness  She strummed the bars of my cage, as though urging me to speak. Chantez-vous she murmured through her tears, chantez-vous, s’il vous plait, mon seul ami. I sang to soothe her, finally she slept. …

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