Where Art Thou Muse….?

Today’s prompt for Carry On Tuesday is #73:

Where art thou Muse….?

All the students had left, it was my last class of the day – the last class before winter break.  I picked up my notes and placed them in my briefcase.  I turned to erase the words of Shakespeare that I had printed there when I heard her voice behind me.   I turned to face her and did a double-take.

“Professor, if you have a minute, please,” she spoke anxiously in a foreign and unfamiliar accent, “I need to speak with you.”

I continued to erase the board.  “Are you taking this class,” I asked, knowing full well she wasn’t.  Her beauty defied forgetting. 

Her emerald eyes locked onto mine.  “No,” was all she said.  But the tone told me that I wasn’t going to get any more information from her. 

“Walk” – my voice cracked in that funny way it does when I am flustered.  I coughed hoping she did not notice.  “Walk with me to my office,”  I said.  I closed my briefcase.  “How can I help you.”

“I” – she stammered, “I would prefer a conversation with you in private.”

Her words echoed in my ear like some forgotten dream.  Walking briskly in silence, her stride matching mine, I glanced at her from the corner of my eye.  The light fabric of her blue dress caressed her ivory skin in the warm  breeze as we crossed the lawn towards Thornton Hall.  

Her fiery red hair billowed out beneath the hood of her gray cotton cape which she wore despite the unseasonable warmth.  She looked so otherworldly that I wouldn’t have been surprised if she twirled into the air and flew beyond the campus tower.

We entered Thornton Hall and went up a flight of stairs to my office.  A note was taped to my door.  Without reading it, I quickly ripped it off and stuffed it in my pocket before I unlocked the door.  Pushing it open, I allowed her to enter and closed the door behind me. 

“Have a seat,” I said as I removed the pile of books from the seat in front of my desk.  The room quickly filled with the floral scent of her perfume.  I sat down at my desk and opened the mini fridge behind me.  “Care for a drink?”  I offered.  I pulled out two bottles of water. 

“Yes, thank you,” she said as she reached out to take the water.

She unscrewed the lid and removed her hood before she took a long drink. 

She set her bottle down on the desk and pulled out an envelope from her satchel and clasped it in her lap.  She closed her eyes and breathed a heavy sigh. 

“Keith, I know you don’t remember me – it’s been a very long time.  But still I had hoped you would remember.  Somehow.”

I searched her face for a clue of some forgotten memory.  Her lip began to tremble and a tear rolled down her cheek.  “Even though I should have destroyed it,” her voice trailed off.  From the envelope she pulled out a photograph, yellow with age and placed it upon the desk in front of me.  I saw myself standing beside her on the porch of some old farmhouse.  “This isn’t me!”  I protested.  The age of the photograph was clearly older than myself and I had no memory of it.

I pushed the photograph back across the desk and shoved my fists into my pockets.  I reached up to run my hands through my hair when I saw the note that had been taped to the door fall to the floor. 

“Where art thou Muse  .  .  . ?”  was all that it said.  At first it had no meaning.   I bent down and retrieved it.  By the time I had returned to an upright position – a flood of memories of a lifetime ago washed over me. 

“Scarlet,” my voice sounded strange and far away.  A cool mist swirled all around and the world faded to black. 

~~~~~

Honest feedback-grammar Nazis welcomed!

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Published in: on October 4, 2010 at 10:40 PM  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Really terribly unfair. I was getting comfortable for a good read, and the world went black. What a delightful tease this is. And love the way you worked in the prompt.

    Elizabeth

  2. Compelling photo, so apt for the story that follows.

  3. Was he musing too?? The story was so well narrated I was hoping it would continue… Definitely left me pondering :)

  4. Maybe. :) I might just have to continue this one . . . Thanks for the comment!!

  5. Thanks, Elizabeth!

  6. Wow, I loved this, you totally hooked me! More please. :-)

  7. Interesting story, one that begs to be continued…

  8. Thank you all for your words of encouragement, it means a lot to me!


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