Puppet Strings

Madelyn Webb 4/15/14

A bright day

A joyful day

A day not yet awake

She ran, leaped, and danced

Under canopy of emerald

A soft bed of evergreen needles

The air crisp and fresh

Then she stopped

Froze on the spot

For there was a man

A thin twig, tall oak of a man,

On a single leg

She stumbled forward

Touching his face

Jerking back in surprise

Face, a wooden mask

No eyes, nose, no ears

Just a grievous grin

Then the man shook

Stepping forward

Both legs firmly planted

Bowing low,

To the ground

That same freakish grin

All alone

She fell back

Plummeting to the ground

And with a single gloved hand

Not a single hushed whisper

The man pulled her up

Back up on her feet

She stared in awe

At the scarecrow of a man

Clothing once vivid and random

Now faded and limp

On his towering frame

“Who are you, my dear fair maiden?”

His voice rasp and whimsical

Like the wind in a willow

“My lips are sealed, but yours seem loose.”

She straightened

Tall and proud

Odd enough, the man laughed

A willow laugh

“A pretty voice for sealed lips,

I am Jester,

A bidder of your wishes”

Jester then ran, leaped and danced

Among the towering trees

Laughing his willow laugh

Calming her soul

Teasing her laugh

Then she gasped

The air leaving her cold

No sound

Dead silent

A chill running up her spine

“Mr. Jester! Where have you run, leaped, and danced?”

Not a single whisper

“Mr. Jester!”

“Now, now my dear, no need to yell”

A murmur on her neck

A murmur without a gasp

Or intake of breathe

No air, no breathe

Fear grasped at her heart

Long, bony fingers, clawing at her soul

“What are you doing Mr. Jester?

You gave me quite a fright!”

She could not move

Not a step

For he stood stalwart just behind

A laugh, a willow laugh

A bloodcurdling laugh

“A fright? Why that’s a specialty of mine!”

A glove, wrapped around her neck

Gentle but unforgiving

“such a pretty neck

Almost like my lady long ago”

“What was she like, your lady?”

His grip tightened

Extorting air from her, and then relaxing

Jester moved

Just out of sight

“She was beautiful and strong

In and out

Like silver

And wise among her years

A great queen”

Now Jester stood

Close and in front

Nonexistent breathe

Clouding her face

“So pretty was she, my dear

Ever so pretty

Just like you”

A shadowed day, a sinister day

A day who awoke and now sleeps

She stopped, froze, and cried

Tears colored crimson

Against the arms

Of a smiling jester

A puppet who loved beauty

A beauty that no longer

Ran,

Leaped,

And danced

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