The Face in the Water – Basilike Pappa

On Free Verse Revolution again, with a re-telling of Snow White.

FREE VERSE REVOLUTION

I am a lake.

I lay myself in the heart of this land where the snow falls soft, the rain sings gray, and the dark is trimmed with the song of the nightingale. I am smooth in serenity or ripple in mirth. The world around is mirrored in me – the traveling clouds, the austerity of the woods, the hills, and on one of them a castle of gleaming stone. I am water, that out of which everything is born. I have a million memories.

She was a queen – tall and sinuous, with black eyes, opal skin and a voice sweet like deceit. She touched me and smiled at the way droplets hung from her fingertips like liquid diamonds. She looked into me, saw her face, and said: ‘How beautiful I am! Surely this lake hasn’t seen a face

like mine. Nor should it ever see.’

I rippled in…

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Take my heart into deep water – Basilike Pappa

On Free Verse Revolution again. Love, grill restaurants and deep waters.

FREE VERSE REVOLUTION

You’d think it would be the fragrance of flowers, the symbolism of doves, or the euphoriaof spice, but it wasa grill restaurant that made me think of us this morning as I was waiting to cross the street. There was nothing special about it except for the hen that proudly posed as its emblem, presenting the world with a platter of roasted chicken. ‘Here is someone who would offer themselves to be eaten,’ I thought. And then I imagined myself being eaten by you. My body torn by your teeth, my blood dripping from your chin, streaming down the marble falls of your flesh. 

Last night the air in my room had been heavy with the carnal scent of our new knowledge. You fell asleep in my bed. But sleep wouldn’t come to me; it stayed away from my clenched teeth. Behind my closed eyelids, tails and scales…

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A Picnic in Oblivion – Basilike Pappa

FREE VERSE REVOLUTION

It was fluffy and green as far as the eye could see, with the bluest sky above. Maro said it smelled like cotton candy.

She had to argue a little about it with Pandora, who was sure it smelled like cream pie. Thea said it wasn’t that important. To her it was honey cookies; the place smelled different to everyone.

In any case, all three agreed it was a beautiful day for a picnic. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the stream sounded like harps, Pandora said. Or Venetian lutes, Maro said. Or flutes, said Thea, tilting her face back to meet the golden caress of the sun.

‘Do you think it ever rains?’

‘I really hope it doesn’t,’ Maro said, taking some fruit out of the picnic basket. Fruit was all that was allowed – every kind except apples. They were a touchy subject.

‘Did it…

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SD Short Story Contest Finalist: No More Than You Can Salt – Basilike Pappa

Sudden Denouement Collective

salt b & w

Show me someone who doesn’t want to make their parents proud and I’ll show you a liar. Or, worse, I’ll show you a weakling who shies from hardship. Or, even worse, a heartless, ungrateful bastard. For it is a truth secretly whispered that, when parents bring a baby into their home for the first time, and the sleepless nights start, and the crying turns to howling for hours on end, one question keeps gnawing at their minds: Why did we do this to ourselves?

Strange as it may sound, no one puts someone else before themselves without expecting something in return. And what better way to make it up to one’s parents  than to say one day: ‘Parents, your sacrifices were not for naught. I’ll make you proud.’

Such is the case with me. I can’t deny the fact that from an early age I had been burning with desire…

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Blush

blush

 

Rowena was hiding behind the rosebush in her garden, watching Julian through his window. He was having his morning cup of coffee. Rowena was jealous of that cup. She was jealous of anything he touched and anyone not too timid to be close to him.

Rowena had been watching Julian since the first day he came to the neighborhood, about six months ago. It was his fault; he had such magnetism it was criminal. He lived opposite her, and she had caught many precious glimpses of him doing this or that. Tableaux of Julian, she called them.

Julian didn’t know she existed, and that had to change. Speaking to him was out of the question, though. She would blush; the very thought made her feel a hot flash. She had to find a way to be seen and remain unseen at the same time. She locked herself in the house for a week, to think.

*

Julian gaped at the duchess strolling up and down his street one Monday morning, dressed in Dangerous Liaisons’ fashion. He looked around to see the rest of some film crew. He saw no one. The duchess passed by him. Behind her heavy face powder he guessed delicate features, and a petite body under her grand dress. The duchess smiled and then walked past him with an air of pride and dignity. Julian watched her disappear around the corner. Then he got in his car and drove to work. There, among files and phone calls, he never gave her a second thought.

But in the evening, when he got home, an old witch was standing outside his door. She was crooked and gray, and looked as if she was waiting for him. Julian’s hands started to tremble. ‘What do you want?’ he snapped. The witch said nothing, but kept staring. And then she smiled all black teeth. Before he could say another word, she pivoted and ran away, disappearing around the corner. That night Julian had trouble sleeping.

*

Rowena was having a great time renting costumes and watching online tutorials on theatrical makeup. She stalked Julian dressed as a pimply pirate, a gleaming ghost, a flaxen fairy, a cloaked monk. Her greatest success was when she dressed as Death. Julian really noticed her. He was adorable.

Soon Rowena couldn’t tell whether she was motivated by her attraction to Julian or by her freshly dug up talent for disguise. She thought about it when she stayed in bed for a few days; she had dressed as a harlequin on stilts and sprained her ankle. She reached no conclusion, but it didn’t really matter.

*

Julian got a new job. He paid his bills, packed his things and moved out of his house – and out of the city. As his plane to nights of peaceful sleep was taking off, he smiled happily to the passenger sitting next to him. It was a woman, a little younger than Julian, somewhere in her early twenties. She was petite, with a delicate face, and her cheeks were tinted by the rosiest blush.

 

***

BLUSH was originally published on Life & Art Magazine, 10/29/2015

 

Basilike Pappa

 

(Image: Pinterest)

Dyserotica-Basilike Pappa

Playing dead today on Sudden Denouement.

Sudden Denouement Collective

He wants me to play dead in a clearing on Hymettos, under the open sky. I lie down on a flat rock surrounded by anemones and chamomile, and he spreads my hair in a fan shape.You are so pale,’ he says, as if he sees me for the first time. He arranges my limbs in different positions, and I can assure you his touch is clearly academic. He walks around the rock to look at me from different angles, talking all the time about aesthetics. His vowels are precise, his sigmas soft and his nus ring of the best education money can buy.

He drags a finger over the childhood scar on my knee, asks how I got it. I could invent a heroic story; but the rock is smooth, the sun gracious, the breeze carries the scent of thyme, so I just tell him the truth: I…

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Incredible Eyes

eye

It was a night like many others. It involved me and an old book of fairytales I wanted to be alone with. The book wanted to be with me too; its leather-clad spine fit perfectly in my hand. I curled with it on the sofa and soon forgot everything else in the world.

After a couple of hours, I looked up and out of the balcony. I only wanted to give my eyes some rest and to get a glimpse of the night outside. The moon looked back at me and I smiled. It was actually a streetlamp, but I liked to think of it as a full moon.

And then I saw him: a midnight-black rooster, with blood-red comb and wattles, and eyes fixed on me. He was standing still in the middle of my balcony, with something of the dandy in his stance. He obviously has a way with hens, I thought. Indeed, the more I looked at him, the more I knew that, had I been a hen, I would love to have him jump on me and peck on my neck. Our chicks would be midnight-black, with blood-red comb and wattles. But I would like them to have my eyes. I have incredible eyes.

Still, I had to wonder what a rooster was doing in the center of the city and of my balcony, where no crops grow and coops don’t come for free. Then it dawned on me that when there is no natural explanation, there must be a supernatural one. This was Mistulet, the evil rooster from the book! He was real and had come to bargain with me!

I started thinking how to play this out. I knew Mistulet could grant me a wish, on the condition that, the next time he visited me, I would be able to greet him by his name. If I failed, he would eat my heart out.

Fair enough, I thought. I’ll accept the bargain. But I’ll be provident. I’ll write his name on a large piece of paper, the larger the better, and pin it on my notice board. I won’t have it as bad as stupid Mariette. Besides, I already know his name.

Feeling confident that I could outsmart an evil spirit, I started to think what to ask for. At the same time, I was surprised by his ability to remain absolutely still for such a long time. And then I saw that his beak was hanging open; his eyes were staring somewhere beyond me, with a lack of luster that could only signify a lack of intelligence.

A prince!’ I exclaimed. ‘An enchanted prince! Who says a prince always comes as a frog? If I kiss him, he will turn human. He will marry me, and life will be all wine, roses and golf, and Olga from work will be so jealous!’

Only a balcony door stood between me and my excellent fortune. I rushed to open it. But, alas! When I did, all I found waiting for me was my black watering pot with its red spout. With spirits low, I took a vow: to see my oculist and check my astigmatism. Incredible eyes can be tricky you know.

***

© Basilike Pappa, 2018

(Image: Pinterest)