literature

FFM 7: The Taste of Irony

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knittingknots's avatar
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Literature Text

Lightning flashed in the night, revealing a house set beyond the alder thicket. The rain, rare for mid-summer, poured off the roof tiles and watered the garden beds and grape vines that surrounded it. Inside the building, the rain ran fell into the courtyard, splashing over the tiles there with a gentle, almost musical sound. It should have been soothing, and for most of those who lived in the house of Calypso, daughter of the Titan Atlas, it was. The lady of the house had sent the last of her attendants off to their rest hours earlier, and the sound of the rain and soft snoring ruled her little domain. She, though, could find no rest and stood in her lamplit workroom in front of a large loom, separated from the courtyard by only a half-drawn linen curtain. Even the clean, cool air, free of the stickiness of the day couldn't ease her. She sought release in the rhythm of her weaving, her braceleted arms working the fine threads with a practiced ease.

Suddenly though, the quiet was shattered as the front door opened and someone stepped in. A small gust of wind flickered her lamps. Calypso knew who it was, who it had to be and sighed at the sound, feeling an unnamed tension pass out of her body as he shut the door behind him. Still, she forced herself not to turn as she heard him come in, and instead, continued to stand at her loom, pulling the heddle bar up before passing the shuttle through one last time. As she beat the thread into place, she could hear him drop his weapons near the entryway. He cursed softly as he fumbled for something there. Metal clattered on the floor. But after that, he quieted and then began moving silently through the house.

One of her girls, not yet fourteen, was stretched out on a pallet in the workroom. Hearing the noise, the girl sat up. "Mistress?" she asked.

"Don't worry, Ianthe. I'll deal with it," Calypso said. "Go back to sleep. It's just Odysseus coming home."

The girl looked at her lady with a gentle, thoughtful look, as if she were about to say something, then nodded, and snuggled back into her pallet. Her servants of late had been giving her many such looks. Caring concern.
She thought about them, mortals all, the women of her household, Ianthe, Phyllis, Alea, Callisto who had chosen to grow old on the island rather than return, and the others. She was their goddess, their mother, their protector. The idea that they might see her in need of protection made her frown.

"I am the daughter of Titans, a goddess in my own right. I have the power and the beauty and the wisdom of the gods," she said, as she wound red thread on a shuttle with a certain vehemence. "What is the concern of mortals to me?" She put the shuttle aside. "But yet..."

Straightening her shoulders, she left her loom and walked through the quiet building, past where her maidens lay fast asleep in their curtained off chambers. If not for them, she would be alone. She had no way off the island, thanks to the politics of her father and the policies of the gods on Mount Olympus. Once every ninth year, a ship would come, bearing offerings from the mainland - cloth and trinkets, oils and spices, play things and petitions, and nine young women, girls really, who were sent over to receive the blessing of the goddess. And seven or eight or nine would return to the mainland.

She asked the girls why they did it. They told her that it was considered lucky to have the blessing of the goddess, and the girls who returned were sought after as brides because it was believed those women would have long and happy marriages. The irony of that had amused her once. Now, living with a man who avoided her and mourned for another, it tasted bitter.

The ship would pull up to one sheltered cove marked off by red posts driven into the ground.

Past those posts, no man had ever stepped on her island. Except for one, who now waited for her behind her own bedroom door.

Closing her eyes briefly, she took a long, deep breath and went to face him.
This is a piece inspired by the Odyssey about the nymph Calypso.

Calypso, daughter of the titan Atlas and niece of Prometheus, lived on the island of Ogygia. Odysseus, on his way home from the Trojan War, was washed up on her island, where she shared his bed and promised him immortality and eternal youth, but she could never get him to relinquish his longing for his wife Penelope and his home on Ithaca. She kept him with her for seven years. Forced by Zeus, to let him go, it is said she mourned long after his passing.
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Comments16
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Fluxicity's avatar
Intriguing aspect of mythology, with the characters being placed and reacting to a seemingly soap-opera style foreground. I like the fact that throughout the wind plays such a big part in eminating sounds through the house, and positioning coming depths of texts neatly. Whole piece works very well :+fav:
knittingknots's avatar
Thank you very much! This is one of my favorite pieces of flashfic that I've written. Appreciate the comments.
Fluxicity's avatar
I would have to agree with you, even though I've not read your other fan fic pieces :p
DailyLitDeviations's avatar
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DLD (Daily Literature Deviations) in a news article that can be found here [link]
Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article.

Keep writing and keep creating.
knittingknots's avatar
Thanks very much!
somnomollior's avatar
A sombre and sad telling of the myth from Calypso's side.
TheCuriousWriter's avatar
Really enjoyed reading this...you have a grasp on writing which kept the whole thing interesting and fresh throughout...
ElysianWings's avatar
This is great, and I'm definatly having a look at your gallery now!
knittingknots's avatar
Thanks! Glad you like!
CollectorsCaravan's avatar
:D I'm going to dig through your gallery.
Are you mainly interested in only Greek and Roman mythology? (I can't tell the difference except for their names.)

This piece just shows quite an amazing little moment. I don't remember the Odyssey as much as I would like to, but this certainly strikes up an interest for me to explore in Greek mythology again. (I got obsessed about the minor gods during winter. XD)
knittingknots's avatar
No, I like all sorts of things....I have an strong background in the Greco-Roman stuff, I've written a large amount of not quite run-of-the-mill (at least I think so) InuYasha fanfic; I have used that as practice for expanding what I am comfortable writing. There's a smidgin of stuff that pulls from Celtic folklore and then just the stuff I write cause I want to, and there's the stuff I call He and She, light romantic fluff I write just for fun. Poetry goes from nature poetry to ghost stories to introspection...It's a mixed bag. With some nature photography thrown in. Right now, I'm really having a good time with the Greek myth, though.
CollectorsCaravan's avatar
(Man.. This piece makes me want to write a myth inspired flash fic for today. Okay, that's done and said. XD)

Hm.. Well I think I'm going to enjoy your gallery and your style then. :D
(So don't be surprised when you see ten bazillion favorites and comments in the near future.)
knittingknots's avatar
That's more than cool! And if I can inspire anybody to do something mythic, now that's extra cool! Go for it!
CollectorsCaravan's avatar
Lol. That's for tomorrow. (I think) I'm almost done with today's piece.
When I was really young, 5-8 I had been really interested in Greek myths. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to read or listen to anything about them, especially considering the fact how young I was, I'm sure my mom didn't want me to know some of the tales. Now that I'm older, and mainly from your stories, I find them so much more interesting.

Keep writing Greek Myths! It's really fun to read them and compare them to the messes cartoons and movies make them. I'll tell you when I get the Odyssey!
knittingknots's avatar
Calypso really grabbed me...There's a piece I'm not putting up yet; I may weave it into something I'll try to get published...but I've finding the old myths very inspiring right now...

Not sure when I first started reading the stories...I got exposed to the story of Orpheus trying to bring his wife up from the underworld quite young...but by 8 or 9 I was reading kid collections of myth...and have been reading them ever since...old friends, you could say.
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