Guardians of the Keep
By Graylin Fox
They move smoothly for stone, guarding the keep. Faces that once struck fear in the hearts of Mongols now smile, laugh, and cajole amongst themselves. Agile for large beings, they balance on the walls of the towers, walk across catwalks, and fly over courtyards to keep their castle safe. This has been their life for centuries, working in tandem with the family who has lived inside the castle for generations. Careful to respect and avoid the others worlds, until now.
Lyka wanders out on the catwalk at night, mind clouded with sleep, driven by desire. Her nightly sojourns usually limited to the rooms within the castle, this night she desires more. Guided to where stone lives, guards, and loves. The first time they met, he caught her as she walked off the catwalk. Stone arms cautiously and carefully rescuing soft pink skin. Rattled awake by the catch, she fainted upon seeing her rescuer. He laid her inside her window and flew off believing he would never see a face so beautiful again.
Then she began sleepwalking more often outdoors, no longer did her nightly sojourns take her to the kitchen or dining hall. For a year, she fainted each time she saw him. He began to invade her waking hours, flashes of his arms about her causing her to stumble, images of bright caring eyes dazzling her so she walked into walls. The doctor recommended bed rest and medication. Her drugged sleep still takes her out, only now she does not faint from fright when she saw him. A fascination has grown in her mind so strongly in her mind that it built fullness in her heart and need in her soul.
Tonight will be the test, for today the medication stopped. Previously unknown fear grips Drake’s soul of stone with such intensity he does not joke with his companions. Pulled back from the catwalk lest he break it, he waits. This time as she appears, there is clarity in her eyes he has never seen. With a quick intake of breath, he gives himself away.
Slowly, she walks toward him, unable to stop her motion or take her eyes from his as she crosses the catwalk. On the brink of contact, she falters and despair flashes across his eyes. She studies him, in each detail so thoroughly he might’ve blushed, had he been able. Tentatively, she reaches to run her hand over his arm. Fascinated by the warmth, she moves her hand to his cheek. The image that has long haunted her mind now stands before her clearly. No longer timid she takes his arm, leans in, and kisses her dream.
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Graylin Fox began writing poetry in 1993 while working in Information Technology. In 2008, while in graduate school getting her Doctorate in Psychology, she began writing short stories. Her characters are built with an understanding of relationships and behavior, and then set in fantasy and science fiction worlds. She lives in the marshes outside of Savannah, GA.
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