Fanned out over purple pillow, dark hair glistens in sunlight. Powders color serene face. Black dress, snug in the middle, flows in folded waves meeting toes. Something Mora might wear dancing barefoot in a moonlit meadow.
Lost to shadows, Mora is a shifting haze crawling from the depths taking on the details of the woman resting on purple enclosed within the glass casket.
A purple procession enters the stone chamber. Memor glides before them, but their eyes ignore him. They watch the glass casket. None ever remember his passing, forgetting him in an instant if they notice him at all.
A young man speaks silent words. An older woman bows her head.
Approaching the man, Memor reaches out tasting a memory. Sounds come alive, water dripping, voices murmuring. He feels the warm dank air, a castle, the linking memory tells him. The man is a prince. Memor drinks in a memory finding more. Kira sleeps within the glass casket.
“My dear son,” says the queen. “The girl is a doll.”
“Kira will make a wonderful bride,” says the prince.
Searching for the clue, Memor consumes memory. Shooting up from the abyss, a bubble spears into another, memories transforming. Caught within the flow, Memor rises. Birds chirp. Leaves rustle. In a breath, the world falls silent.
Memor stands at the edge of shadows between his world and the other. Clouds float in pale blue, sky dimmed by the shadow-side. On a nearby tree, leaves wriggle dancing to a spectral breeze.
Others stand beside him, all apparitions. Memor is barely a shadow in their world, and they are phantoms on the shadow-side.
The prince bows his head.
Memor watches the casket lower into the ground, shade eating away at the glare on the glass. Kira rests on purple, arms over chest. Black dress, serene face, midnight hair remind him of Mora. Body lowers, dress blending into darkness, but the face brightens, and Memor sees it, a trickle within.
“She’s alive,” says Memor. Nobody hears him. He shouts again.
Stepping into the grave, Memor peers into the casket. He imagines Mora lost within overcome by sensory bliss. The dead harbor no memory. Kira is alive. The trickle of memory drifts within beauty, subconscious thought. Eager for a taste, he reaches out.
The stream is so calm.
Peering at the serene face, he sees the gleaming smile of Mora, her dress flowing as she dances in the meadow. The moon floats in the sky. Frost speckles the fir trees circling the meadow. From within the waving grass, snow rises into mounds, winter eating autumn. Frost kisses the dark dress and flowing hair. Mora dances kicking up snow.
Lunging, Memor bites into Kira. He takes it all inside, filling himself with frosty air soaked in warm blood. A linking memory carries him to a forest, a cottage covered in snow.
Standing before the cottage, Kira holds a broom. Her hair waves in the breeze, but she is a statue. Slanted eyes peer at Memor.
Memor glides over snow, untouched. Kira shrinks back, expression slamming through uncertainty, fear, surprise. Memor locks his gaze with hers.
Kira swings the broom. “Keep back, wraith!” Her voice sounds distant.
“You see me,” says Memor.
“Yes, I see you!” Lunging, Kira swipes the broom passing through Memor. “Thief.”
“I seek another,” says Memor. “She is Mora.” He considers describing his love, but stumbles realizing he has no idea how Mora might appear to Kira. Another taste, he considers.
Lashing out, Memor grabs hold. He drinks. Chills scramble down. A tree groans.
Standing in snow, a shadow defies the light nearly like a reflection. The slender wraith reaches out, smoky wisps trailing in the wake. Within the hazy edges, shapes rise from the darkness forming a cloaked man with face full of sadness.
Kira recalls the shadowy creature. A memory wraith she calls him.
Fear crawls deep inside. Memor drinks it in.
A torrent rises, memories splashing together. A sensory explosion floods over: chilly air, sweet flowers, singing birds. Following the storm, he passes memories so vivid, so delicious, he samples each one tasting fear, surprise, love. Floating on euphoria, he rides the wave splashing in on itself diving deeper into bliss.
Mora! He tastes her, the rhapsody to his melody.
Memor consumes memory.
Frost bites flesh. The memory wraith, Memor, stands in the snow with his arm reaching, claws digging. Like peering into a mirror, he sees Kira. Frost weighs down her dark hair, blood trickles from her mouth, face frozen in fright. Her eyes stare like death.
Within the memory mirror, he sees another. A wraith stands in place of Memor. Long smoky hair floats defying breeze. From his side of the shadows, Memor sees Mora reaching into Kira reflecting his own touch, both consuming memory.
Kira falls back, snow puffing. Warmth wraps around. Gray sky turns blue.
Memor claws for freedom.
“She’s not dead,” a voice says.
Memor releases hold crashing into silence.
Standing half in the grave, Memor watches men pull on ropes. The prince falls to his knees. The glass casket rises into sunlight, reflection blazing. Memor drops back stumbling on the shadow-side.
Wrapped in the arms of the prince, Kira awakens. Peering back, her gaze finds Memor. The fierce eyes tell him to stay away, forget. The crowd falls in around the couple, sweeping them across the graveyard.
Memor watches them take his sweet Mora away, a memory within a memory. Departing apparitions, each one fades until Kira walks alone. Then she fades away, forgotten.
He remembers the meadow, moon floating in the sky, and falling in love. Mora is his memory.
740 words. Originally published in Soft Whispers anthology, Deadly Love, Be Mine, for Valentine’s Day 2010. A longer version at over 2000 words by the same name resides within my story collection, Shadow Memories. (Free download this week with coupon code: FB62D.)
I prefer the longer version as the content cut loses a bit of meat helping the story arc. Longer or shorter, this was a challenge to write at the time. Memor has much in common with other wraiths I’ve shared, primarily in Kandy Fangs series.
Happy Valentine’s Day.