Just for Fun: The Lyre

Orpheus and Eurydice. 1861, Edward Poynter. Public Domain.

Orpheus and Eurydice. 1861, Edward Poynter. Public Domain.

The Lyre
by Rebekah Postupak

“To the ends of the earth,” you say. The glow of your eyes burns like my father’s sun-chariot. As the king settles the ring of daisies around us and the mountain roars its approval, for a moment I almost believe you.

“To the ends of the earth,” I say, and it is done.

You have written me a song. At least, you say it’s for me. Your fingers strum the lyre expertly as you circle the glen. My sister-nymphs faint as your golden voice caresses their ears. Tears glisten even on the cheeks of the gods; your music is too pure for it to be an act. Why, then, does your glance seek everyone else’s eyes?

I am not completely unnoticed, however. You are serenading the queen and do not hear your friend’s low, hungry song. Your sparking eyes devour the banquet, the gifts, and do not see me flee. You do not see me trip on my wedding gown and plummet into the vipers’ nest. You are not there as they strike again

           again

       again

             and Death scoops me up into his arms, murmuring as we descend into the earth, his eyes soft as doves.

“Perhaps he will give his hand to the vipers and follow,” say the shadows.

“Perhaps he will fling himself from the cliff,” they say, “and our lord will bring you your lover himself.”

They do not know you.

 

—I

 

 wait—

 

Then your song bursts like a bonfire in the darkness. You have done the unthinkable: unwilling to surrender your power, you have come here a living soul. Your warm fingers are dancing across your lyre.

“You cannot have her,” says Death. His hand on mine is cool but firm.

“Ah, but I will,” you say. Gold tinges your voice and eventually he yields, as they all do.

“Do not look upon her until you reach the Overworld or she is mine forever,” he warns, his voice ice.

Ascending, you laugh at us both.

Ascending, you turn impatiently to bid me hurry.

Your laughing eyes meet mine for the first time.

And

    the

             last.

Death meets my eyes

smiling.

“Goodbye, lyre,” I say.

♦♦♦♦♦

 

359 words for the Flash Frenzy weekly flash contest, posted with profound apologies to Orpheus who, I’m sure, actually turned back to look at Eurydice because he adored her. Yeah, that was it.

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