Sunday, July 17, 2011

Entry #42

Dante's Descent
by Gef Fox


I plucked Virgil from my eye socket and held him in my hand, where he quivered then sprouted his fiery wings, like saplings reaching for sunlight. The delicate flames tickled my palm as he took flight before me. I noticed with my remaining eye he was pleased to be free from his perch in my skull after so many hours guiding me through the caves. Our bond broken, my vision lacked Virgil's uncanny night-sight. I fumbled in my cloak's pockets for my eyepatch and put it on.

Virgil glowed like a small lantern, illuminating my hand and the mist that stretched across what we hoped was the River Acharon. There was no sign of the Ferryman. We needed him to reach Hades and save Beatrice.

"Stay here," he whispered.

I nodded and he was off.

I sat on a stone slab near the water's edge as Virgil dipped out of sight in the distance like a small sunset. Darkness enveloped me in his absence. I huddled under my cloak, shivering--not from the cold, but from the despair. The voices of the damned, adrift in the river's current, called out to me. Some begged me to save them, others beckoned me to join them. I hardened my heart to them all and prayed for Virgil's safe return.

A voice called out some time later. "Dante, I found him!"

I rose and looked out. An orb of orange light approached, a tall shadow at its side. Virgil had found the Ferryman.

21 comments:

Aerin said...

WOW. Wow wow wow. Fantastic.

And I'm not a huge Dante fan. I think I don't do Italian psyche very well, I dunno.

Good job!

Precie said...

Love the allusions and the atmosphere!

Aimee Laine said...

I wish I knew more about Dante's Inferno to really see this one (but that's me, not you!) I can, however, feel the search and that's more important! :)

j a zobair said...

Powerful imagery and great first line!

Joni said...

I have to agree: The first line takes the cake. You had my attention in 10 syllables.

I want more!

Rabid Fox said...

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Once I had the name Virgil in place, everything else just flowed with it. I thought, if I was going to take creative license with Dante and Virgil, I may as well go for broke.

fairyhedgehog said...

The line that struck me was "shivering--not from the cold, but from the despair." It seems like even with the Ferryman, there's no hope. (But maybe I need to know my myths and legends better!)

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Oh... mythos to be found here. Love it. Hope Dante's descent is successful.

Dottie :)

bluesugarpoet said...

I love the allusions here! Creative take on the prompt! ~Jana

Old Kitty said...

Oh yes!!! What a story!! You got me hooked the moment Virgil was plucked out of Dante's eyesocket!

Fantastic! Thank you! take care

Jade L Blackwater said...

Love your vivid descriptions, and very well paced. Like Old Kitty I was hooked at the get-go.

Peter Dudley said...

I have never read the Divine Comedy, so I don't get the allusions unfortunately. Still, the writing is crisp and evocative. I like it a lot. I do know Orpheus and Eurydice, however, and that's what I had in mind during this.

Rabid Fox said...

I've only ever listened to an audiobook of the Divine Comedy. Much more digestable when read by someone with a sultry English accent. Go figure. :)

Richard Levangie said...

Vivid and atmospheric. I would tighten it just a little here and there, but it's a fine story.

Mikki said...

This is such a wonderful, fantastical little piece. Your metaphors are terrific.

Thanks for sharing!

Aidan Fritz said...

Plucking Virgel is a great opening line that pulled me into this story. The voice felt modern but had charisma; you want to curl up by a fire and listen to this protagonist.

Aniket said...

I'm soo want to steal some bits of it, and put it in a larger work. But I'm not. So you must make a full blown story out of it. You have a brilliant setting and great characters. I liked everything about this.

JaneyV said...

Gef - like everyone else I think your first line was a superb opener. Your vivid imagery continued to hold my attention throughout. Nice and wholly original take on the prompt.

Wavemancali said...

You were in my top 5, glad you made the 40's club. Hope to read more from you next contest.

Rabid Fox said...

Thanks, everyone. I appreciate it. Glad you all liked it.

jason evans said...

That was wildly creative! And I really felt the cold and loneliness as he sat there. Very well done. A high scorer!

A contender. Congrats on Forties Club!