Are You Haunted (part twelve)

Are You Haunted (part twelve)Are You Haunted
(part twelve)







He stood before a subterranean lake, black as obsidian. But now and again, as though the orchestra tuned its instruments, the shivering note of a violin or a piccolo would coincide with an expansion and compression of the lake’s surface. However, Rohdl thought, he ought not to be hearing Dvořák, but Verdi. He had come to this place at last. For so many years, he had seen it from the height of the balcony. It was Beauty, that which moves the soul, so undervalued…the waltz-like allegro of the symphony in D-minor, that he heard.

And a great chorus must hide here, thus these voices murmuring; they were too deeply ensconced in shadow to be seen. Only Beauty, bathed in white light, waited for him on the lake’s opposite shore.

“You will have to cross to me,” she said. “You didn’t care for the idea when I came for you at the river. But there is no other way.” She looked at him, and though the breadth of the lake separated them, her eyes…her celebrated eyes…seemed to meet his own. And they were not spectral, but rimmed in tears of compassion.

“I,” she told him, “was once very sorry to learn it myself. I woke, and I was no longer cold. I felt well. There was no wind, and the sun shone through the fog. I believed I would rise and walk up the hill. Oh, my beloved, how odd it was…”


Lettie, in the looking glass, looked at Lettie in the bed chamber.

A lifetime of flattery reduced one to a state of docility. She was bored with it. She shifted her gaze to the window, and thought of the river. Away in the distance, she saw a puff of steam, a train crossing the bridge―and that was more promising. This morning the sun had come out. The hills, which had been snow-covered for weeks, sparkled. Beauty. That at least. Her brother Davis said the barometer was falling, and the sky at the horizon had an ugly cast.

“Well, Woolie doesn’t matter.”

Her words had sounded unfeeling. Her father, with his arms crossed, stood against the lamplight. This unhappy talk had taken place in the parlor the night before. Papa had battered her down with his anger and disapproval…and without letting her get a good look at his face.




Are You Haunted
Are You Haunted (part twelve)

More of this piece on Are You Haunted page
Are You Haunted: conclusion (excerpt)












(2016, Stephanie Foster)



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