Gone Away ~ The journal of Clive Allen in America

Burnt Sienna

After my last post with an excerpt from my daughter's fairy story, Burnt Sienna, many commenters asked to see the rest of the story. Boogie has given her permission for me to post it, so here it is:

Burnt Sienna

1. Edge of the world.

There is a little known place that had once done much. Dry broken roots hung off crumbling buildings and pathways; this was a city that had fallen into slumber. In the air hung the magic of the past, a thick atmosphere of invisible dust, coating everything in city. Settling and swirling in hidey holes, in the fine linings of the smallest mouse's ear, and resting on the most delicate branches of spindly saplings. It was this dust that made the occupants drowsy and the character of the city seem eerie and uncaring. To outsiders who stumbled upon this place it felt strangely isolated and the inhabitants made them feel uneasy. Very few stayed for long if they could help it. Visitors did not understand the city, they did not understand how the past had made the present. They had not been raised with the dust sifting through the backdrop.

Maybe the inhabitants did not understand either. They failed to notice the symbols scratched onto statues and building's walls by ghosts. It could have been because no one had told them, but the dust was part of them, collecting in their lungs, resting on their sleeping faces, part of the very fibre of their beings, an invisible education.

Outside the city, tree roots twisted tightly together, sealing in the enchanted metropolis; inside, shadows grew and unknown things drifted through the nights. The outside forgot about their deeds, the inside forgot who had built the buildings and statues, who the ghosts were; essentially they forgot what had made them. This was the forgotten city.

2. The girl with the third eye.

In the forgotten city lived a pixie, a young, fragile pixie named Sienna. She had fiery red hair which flowed long and loose around her clear skin. Her skin was so pale that you could see her violet veins flowing through the thin white casing. Woven into the pixies crimson strands were red roses, their buds blooming into the most exquisite flowers. Many stared with awe at the roses intertwined in Sienna's hair. Sometimes Sienna longed to pluck one from her head and give it away, but alas she could not. They were attached to her so that even if she tried to remove one they caused her pain. She felt each touch that brushed those petals like a stab to the heart.

Sienna had another defining feature, a vivid blue eye branded on her left arm just above her wrist. She did not choose to have this tattoo, in fact she had no notion about how it had got there. When she was younger she has just presumed other pixie children had one too. Only when she had grown had she realized that this was unique to her. When she looked down and met that blue eye's gaze she felt truly alone.

3. The mask.

Who really knows when the mask came into existence? Like the people she walked past regularly on the streets of the forgotten city, she couldn't remember.

She had created it herself, strived over it. Sawn for hours at the table that faced out towards the window. Orange shafts of hazy dust-filled light gave her the vision to see each stitch. However this was no ordinary mask. No this was magic., Sienna was very skilled at the pixie magic passed down through her heritage. Her faded red wings flapped lazily creating a draft in the humid room as she stitched another jewel.

Why did she make the mask? Things in the forgotten city had started to change. There was a new smell, ripe and frightening. It made people's eyes wild; it made their actions irrational. It was the stench of primal fear, and when it rained the smell fell, soaking fear into the citizens' bones, drenching them, seeping into their minds and routines.

Sienna at first had ignored this. It was only at night when the cries of the unknown things shifting past her windows woke her did she start to smell not just the scent of the people's fear, but her own. The petals on her roses wafted out the sickly perfume. She awakened to hear those strange twisted voices.

It was another fear too. Her blossoms, she had to protect them to stop the shudders and aches anytime somebody touched them.

She sat by that window and stitched.

4. Light from the craters.

Sienna went into the old pits, deep ashy craters. It seemed no one knew how these smoky holes where born. She crept deep down into their depths, an enchanted handkerchief to her mouth. When she emerged she was covered in soot, the handkerchief clasped around her lips still as pure and white as a fresh daisy. Sienna smiled triumphantly, for in her cloak was hidden a phoenix feather.

The fire from the flames of the feather went into the forging of the mask. And it was finished.

5. Becoming one.

Sienna had filled the mask with nothing but good. However, sometimes you have to sacrifice things for that good.

Sienna and the mask welded together. When she wore it, it gave out a great aura of happiness and pleasure, it drew people near her but kept her and her roses secure.

In the dark secret hours alone Sienna would remove the mask. Sometimes she would find that it had burnt her, other times she would notice how the thorns on her roses had grown. She forgot where she began and where the mask ended. And the burns and rose thorns became a part of her everyday life.

6. Black and white.

Ivory was neither all good nor all bad. Nothing is that black and white.

Ivory was a queen, a queen that did not rule over a kingdom. Ivory ruled over people. This was one queen how wanted to be pure white or to give out the illusion she was.

To many she was a champion of hearts, with her cream, dainty dresses and colorless curls. Ivory seemed to bewitch people with such an eager fascination that when she started to speak her companions, whoever they were, held their breath, watching her lips move.

Ivory had a limited knowledge in spells , and used it to shower herself with fairy powder. The gold sparkly dust made her fly, which delighted her admirers even more.

But Ivory's heart was the bleakest black. It was Ivory that not only knew what the unknown things that ran the cities nights were. She knew why they screamed and cackled hideously. The diamonds attached to her luscious dresses were tears. Tears of suffering. She collected them, they fed her, they filled her with delight, they gave her power.

Ivory dealt in the desperation tear drops of others.

7. An invitation.

Slipped under the door of Sienna's door was a thick piece of bark. Already in her mask, Sienna went to the front of her home (a hollowed out tree, with roses painted on its walls - now the paint was faded where once there had been vivid brush strokes) and gingerly lifted the bark.

It was engraved with gold calligraphy, she ran over it with her finger. A fine layer of gold coated her spindly finger tip.

‘Cheap fairy powder' Sienna thought, ‘used for altering emotions slightly'. She rubbed the dust between her fingers ‘ah happiness, but why does this person want me to be in a good mood when I read this?' Sienna wondered. The invitation read:

Dear Sienna,

I hardly ever send personal invites. I thought I'd make an exception for you. I'm sure you'll have heard of my lavish parties. We have such a wondrous time and I have heard lovely things about you. I would be grateful if you would attend my latest gathering.

Best regards,

Queen Ivory

PS You may bring one person.

Sienna gratefully patted her mask; she had heard much about those parties.

As she drifted up the stairs little stars fell from her pixie fingertips. The stars collected at the bottom of the steps and glowed with delight.

8. The feeding.

Ivory was perched on a throne watching her guests enter the ballroom. Pixies, elves, humans and a few dwarfs- all members of high society only because Ivory had said so.

Sienna took a deep breath before she entered the ballroom. Viridian, her best friend (who was a human with some fairy abilities because of her father being a fairy), stood by her side, savoring the anticipation of seeing someone as well known as queen Ivory. The pixie and half fairy entered the ballroom. They gasped.

Hung from the ceiling were baby stars giving out a dim light. Round the center of the room were silver pillars, up these were growing vines. The walls where covered with hangings made from elven thread which glowed blue like moon beams. There were tables filled with exotic food and a female elf sang a clear, haunting song.

Ivory saw Sienna enter; she put down the wine glass she had been swilling idly. Her eyes sparked green and her pointed tongue slowly licked her lips. She observed Sienna walking arm in arm with Viridian, practically glowing. The two girls mixed with the crowd, talking to people who approached them. Ivory noticed the goodness radiating from Sienna; it made her ache, she longed to have that goodness. Desire and envy enveloped her, and a rare snarl briefly passed over her face.
Then she noticed the mask. Her hunger for misery increased. Quick and sharp her mind flickered.

‘I have to expose her,' Ivory thought ‘make her weak and vulnerable, and when she cries I shall have her rare diamond tears. They shall be my crowning glory . . . . and I will have the mask. Since it is obviously the source of that happiness that trails behind her like a waft of perfume.'

Watching Ivory rising form her throne, one of her entourage noticed how green his queen's eyes were and he smiled to himself adoringly.

For once the smile on Ivory's face was real, this was the bit she enjoyed, provoking the tears was almost like a game to her now.

Briskly walking towards Sienna, Ivory noticed her devotees turning to see her.

"Sienna." Ivory said in her sing song voice.

‘Smile,' Ivory thought, ‘look welcoming.'

"I love your dress, I think I made a wise choice inviting you."

"Smile," the mask whispered, its hot breath at Sienna's ear, "look friendly."

Sienna followed its instructions and said a firm thank you.

"Sienna dahrling I think that you and I should have a talk, since I know so little about you."

"I would be delighted to." Sienna replied.

"Good." Breathed the mask.

Talking Sienna's wrist, Ivory led her away down one of the corridors; onlookers stared enviously at the pixie the queen had chosen to talk to. They didn't blame her - there was something nice about her they couldn't put their finger on.

From the one of the many doors at the back of the hall, Ivory led Sienna down a long twisting corridor. Sienna was eventually shown into a little bare room filled with strange equipment.

"Right!" beamed Ivory, locking the door.

"Don't be afraid," the mask said. "She's nice."

But Sienna's petals knew and released their perfume.

In one smooth movement that took Sienna by surprise, Ivory turned and took Sienna's arm, twisting it behind her back. With a pair of sheers she snipped at one of Sienna's roses. Although the power of the mask would not let the stem break, Sienna screamed with pain.

"Fine, I'll take your mask first," laughed Ivory. And she snipped it at the back of her head where it was tightly tied. Then something happened that the queen did not expect. Sienna swung her leg round knocking Ivory's feet out from underneath her. Then Sienna rammed the door open smashing the faulty lock. And she ran.

Dragging herself to her feet Ivory followed, she did not care about people seeing her, she was starving and needed a feed.

9. Laid open.

Frantically Sienna burst into the long ballroom, knocking people aside as she scrambled to get away. Many who had been pushed violently aside followed her, angry and appalled . Then came Ivory. Her body blazing across the ballroom. Strange noises like those of the unknown night creatures howled from her mouth.

Sienna scrambled up onto the table; there was food all around her feet which was quickly grabbed and thrown at the advancing queen. It did not slow her down. She screeched more and climbed onto the table too. Sienna was so close Ivory could almost taste the tears from her victim.
While this was happening the mask started to fall from Sienna's face. It had been stuck to her features by its own fire. Nobody noticed as it slowly slipped to the floor.

"You're exposed," it whispered; then it fell silent.

For a second everyone stopped, nothing moved and no sound was made. Ivory fixed her eyes on the mask. Victory was hers.

Suddenly the room burst into flames. The mask had powerful magic in it and the fireball sprung from it. Fire ate at the great ballroom. Floods of people ran from the building, running, yelling stumbling to get out of the entrance.

They all made it into the safety of the night. Except for Sienna.

10. From the rubble.

The crowd gasped as magic flames reached high into the air illuminating the area for miles around. Then they disappeared as quickly as they where born. The whole building disintegrated into a pile of smouldering ashes. In the center, crouched Sienna.

The unknown night creatures had silently gathered around the pile of ash; they had seen and smelt the blaze and had swiftly made their way to the scene. Ghosts too had gathered, mingling with the mass of city occupants and night creatures. This meant little to the crowd for they could not see them.

Standing tall on some rubble; Ivory cackled, crazed with the misery hanging thick around her. The night creatures recognized their queen and joined the laugh, waiting for the cruelty to begin. The people in the crowd gasped as the laugh alerted them to the presence of the creatures.

They no longer recognized Ivory as their queen. She was of the night creatures, eyes crazed and disturbing like black moths in jam jar. Her white dress was singed and torn. From her chest a black heart could be seen clearly throbbing , filling veins with black traveling around her body, like a complex series of liquid, onyx roots spreading under her skin.

Slowly Sienna's tears plopped to the ground, as Ivory approached her.

For the first time everyone looked at Sienna. She was unmasked. Her face was covered with burns where the mask had scorched her fragile casing. The flesh which was not covered by cloth was marked with a intricate pattern of fine white lines which had mysteriously appeared. The eye on her arm shone so brightly everybody had to gaze upon it.

Even though the mask had protected her, it made her in another way vulnerable. When she was out in the open it made it more painful. Sienna was bare.

Night creatures surrounded her to steal her tears, Ivory leading them.

Sienna looked up to the turbulent smoke-filled sky. Slowly she spread her sooty wings and started to rise. Her face was soaked with tears and her body was covered in the white lines.

The onlookers watched mute, as Viridian too ascended next to Sienna, their wings flapping in unison. They rose up and up until they disappeared from sight. Still the mass stared at the sky in deep silence.

Then slowly lots of red objects drifted down from the clouds, twisting and turning gracefully, finally coming to rest on the rubble. They where red rose petals.

11. End of the world.

That night the fear rained down mixing with the city's heavy dust. The past and the present mixed and ran in streams through the lanes of the forgotten city.



Is my blogging of a high quality for my age (I'm 16 too)?
Date Added: 06/07/2005

Excrutiatingly beautiful.
Date Added: 06/07/2005

I think you are a very creative blogger, Glod. And I was impressed with Android's new blog as well.
Date Added: 06/07/2005

Gone Away
If you're 16, Glod, your blogging is truly excellent.
Date Added: 06/07/2005

A good tale, well written....congrats Boogie. Its also pleasing to know that Boogie has inadvertently (or maybe deliberately) picked up our sense of humour.

Ivory was perched on a throne watching her guests enter the ballroom. Pixies, elves, humans and a few dwarfs- all members of high society only because Ivory had said so.

Genius boogie
Date Added: 07/07/2005

Gone Away
LOL Keef - I hadn't noticed that one! :D
Date Added: 07/07/2005

Hi Clive, I'm busy blogging the London terrorist attacks right now, but I'm looking forward to reading Boogie's piece when I've got a moment.
Date Added: 07/07/2005

Gone Away
It was your blog that alerted me to the attacks, John. I've ben watching the television since.
Date Added: 07/07/2005

Clive, this is wonderful. :)
Date Added: 08/07/2005

It's got real personality and verve. She's too good to blog, that's for sure :-)
Date Added: 08/07/2005

Gone Away
Thanks, Jodie. :)
Date Added: 08/07/2005

Gone Away
Actually, she has a blog, John. But it's all top secret - I'm not allowed to see it... ;)
Date Added: 08/07/2005

Bloody hell! Boogie wrote that? That was - in parts - amazing.
Date Added: 03/08/2005

Gone Away
Indeed so, indeed so...
Date Added: 03/08/2005

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