Sunday, January 3, 2010

Desire's Necklace

At the edge of a great forest, there was a town. People said that the forest was haunted, and indeed, no one who ever went in came out again. Just on the borders of the forest in the town lived a husband and wife and their four sons. They were happy enough, but what the wife truly wished for was a daughter. She convinced her husband to try for one more, and she prayed to God, and her prayers were answered. A daughter was born, and she named her Tressa. She was the favorite of the whole family, for she was fair to look at, and she was smart and funny. The youngest son, Chris, especially liked Tressa, and it was rare that one of them was seen without the other. Aware of the dangers of the forest, the parents warned all of their children time and again not to stray into the wood, but despite all their warnings, Tressa wandered into the forest when she was only eight, and did not come out again. Her parents mourned for her as though she was dead, but her oldest brother, Michael, swore to find her. So three years later on his sixteenth birthday he slipped into the forest to search for her. After a few hours of hiking, he came upon a table with enough food for a feast, but no one was sitting at it. He wondered at this, but continued on. The next day, he came across another table like the first with food on it. Five or six people were eating from it, but he did not stop. That evening he ate the last of the food he had brought, and began to get hungry. The third day Michael saw another table with food. It looked very good, and he was tempted to go and eat from it, but he resisted, suspecting it was enchanted somehow. But by evening he was starved, and as he had no real proof that the food was enchanted, he sat down at a table and began to eat the food. It was the most delicious food he had ever tasted, and soon he began to forget why he was in the forest, but thought only of how he could get more food into his stomach.

Several years went by, and his parents heard no word from him. The next oldest, Joshua, turned 16, and he also went into the forest to search for his sister Tressa. He too saw the people eating at tables and came finally to Michael. When he saw his brother, he ran up and shook him, and tried to get him to come away with him, but Michael would only pause long enough to say, "Come and eat with me, stranger! The food is good, and there is nothing here to bother my soul!"

So Joshua sadly turned away from him and continued on for days. He was nearly famished by the time he saw a castle in the distance. With this sight, his hope was restored and he gathered up his will and clambered on toward the castle.

He arrived at the castle and strode through the gate into a courtyard. Seeing no one, he called out, "I am Joshua, and I seek my sister Tressa. Will you help me on my journey?" Instantly a tall, beautiful woman walked into the courtyard smiling. Joshua was transfixed as he gazed on her form, for he had never seen anything more perfect.

"Welcome, Joshua wanderer, to my court. I am Ishana. Come, let me look at you." Ishana moved toward Joshua, who could not help but stand still. When she reached him she bent down and looked into his eyes and ensnared his soul with her powers. She took him by the hand and led him to a prison cell. Only when she had left did he stir from his trance and realize how he had been trapped.

So his parents never heard word from him either, and they mourned. But the second youngest, Tristan, decided to learn all he could about the forest. He found that the oldest man in the town had actually been in the forest and yet had lived.

"In the heart of the forest," he told Tristan, "There is a witch living in a castle. The necklace she wears is magical, and gives her power over the entire forest."

Once Tristan heard this he was struck with the desire to own this necklace that he might rule over the forest. But he hid this from the man, and simply asked "How might I overcome her power, so that I can rescue my sister?"

The man grew frightened at this question, and said sternly, "Do not enter this forest, for she is too wily for such a young man." But when he saw Tristan was in earnest, he said sadly, "Beware the tables she spreads in the forest, for they will ensnare you. Beware also her gaze, for none can withstand it."

Then Tristan returned home and told his younger brother Chris what the old man had told him. Chris saw an unusual glint in his eyes, which made him uneasy, but he said nothing. The next day Tristan filled a backpack with as much food as he could carry. He took a pair of old contact lenses, painted them black, and put them in his pocket. Then he set off for the castle. When he arrived at the castle gate, he put on his black contacts, so that he was blind. Then he entered the courtyard and called for the witch. When she appeared he looked toward her as if entranced, and she came to him thinking he was under her spell. When she bent down to gaze into his eyes, he reached forward, grabbed her necklace and yanked it off. Then he took his contacts off. First he saw the most beautiful woman looking at his with utter shock, then she grew old in a matter of seconds before withering away into dust. Smiling wickedly, he put the necklace on himself and rejoiced at the power he felt within him. He tested the necklace, and stretched forth his mind, and found that he could feel all the people who were eating at the tables in the forest. He felt their desires, and realized that while he wore the necklace, he could wield Desire itself, giving it to whom he chose in order to bend their wills to his.

Back in the town, more and more people began venturing into the forest. Each one claimed that he was just curious about what was in the forest, and that once satisfied, would return. But none ever returned. Chris tried to ignore his fears that Tristan was to blame, but his worries for Tressa finally grew so strong that he too set off into the forest to find Tressa. As he passed by the people eating from tables, he was dismayed at their plight and several times went to the tables and tried to drag people away from the food. But none would have it, and all fought him viciously, as if their very lives were at stake. After many attempts, and many bruises from the scuffles, he gave up and plodded on, beginning to lose hope. But as he passed by one table, he saw a beautiful girl eating, and he wondered at her, for everyone else he had seen could only stare at their plates, but she was looking around as if trying to find an escape.

When she saw him, she cried out to him, "Help me, please! Get me away from this table!"

Immediately he rushed up to her and dragged her away from the table. She resisted him fiercely, but he held firm, and took her away to where she couldn't see the table, and held her tight, hoping that the enchantment would pass.

"Take me back!" she screamed, "I changed my mind! I want to go back!" She yelled frantically for an hour trying to persuade him to return her to the table. Chris was at a loss for what to do. Then, on a sudden impulse, he leaned forward and kissed her swiftly on the lips. Suddenly she became still and just looked at him.

"I'm so sorry," she said, "Please, never, ever let me go back to that table."

"Of course not," he answered, still a bit stunned at his actions and the sudden change they caused. "What's your name?"

She opened her mouth as if to reply, but stopped, and looked at him terrified. "I don't know! I've forgotten it. I've forgotten everything! All I remember is eating at that table."

Chris frowned, but he thought for a bit, and then said, "I will call you Hope. You did not give in completely to the enchantment, but hoped for a rescue, and were rewarded. I despaired of ever overcoming the enchantments of this forest, but you have renewed my hope. And I feel also that soon in great peril you will be my only hope."

After this they hurried on to find the castle. Any time they saw a table, Hope would look longingly at it, but then she would turn away and fix her eyes on Chris, and she would fight the desire to run toward the food. Finally they reached the castle and walked into the courtyard. There Tristan stood, and Tressa was at his side.

"Well met, Chris, my brother. You have been searching for Tressa, well here she is. Just look into my eyes, and you may take her away from here, if that is what you wish." Tristan walked forward and looked into Chris' eyes. Chris stared back, and Tristan was surprised to see the intensity of his desire for Tressa, for it was old, and had grown with distance, and it was mixed in with anger toward Tristan, and fear, and the joy of seeing her face. This wild desire Tristan could not control, and he grew frightened. So he mustered his full power through the necklace, and let his mind gather all the power from all the people in the forest. And so it was that Hope standing right next to him completely slipped his mind as he grappled in his mind with Chris, and so he didn't notice when she reached for his necklace and simply took it off him. Immediately he fell down dead. But Hope stared at the necklace and thought about all of the power she could have wearing it. She started to put it around her neck, but Chris quickly grabbed it from her, threw it on the ground and took a heavy stone and smashed it into pieces. Suddenly all the forest seemed to shudder, and all who were under the spell of the necklace were released.

Chris, Hope, and Tressa returned to the town. Over the next few months, everyone who had wandered into the forest meandered back to the town, including Michael and Joshua. Hope could not bear to be parted from Chris, and so they got married. The parents, though saddened by Tristan's betrayal, were overjoyed to have their sons and daughter back and all of them live happily for the rest of their lives.


  1. Hey! This is beautiful, I really enjoyed it.

  2. awsome, i love it. you should read this at writing club