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Short Story: A Lover's Embrace


A Lover’s Embrace

by

Trevor Lang Carter




Copyright©2023 Trevor Lang Carter

All Rights Reserved.






Rikkity Schlank stood before his latest masterpiece, a life-size sculpture of his dearly beloved, Elara, who had passed away only months before.

A wretched life was his since her passing. He sought solace in the forbidden—an ancient magic that he had once learned from shadowy figure named, Zanos Barkootra—a strange man with magical talents. Elara had forbidden him to use the magical charm given to him by Zanos. She demanded that he return it to him. Rikkity, vexed by the enchanted medallion, could not relinquish it back to the dark magician. He kept it hidden in the basement, locked away, where Elara would never find it.

For six months, Rikkity had resisted the urge to use the charm. He never told Elara what its true purpose was. But as time passed, he became more and more disenchanted with life. He yearned to embrace his beloved again.

Rikkity retrieved the charm and hung it around his skinny neck. He drew upon the mystical force emanating from the charm. He could feel his body become invigorated by it, pulsating with ethereal energy; it surged through his body like electricity, jolting his every nerve. His hands trembled as he moved them onto the sculpture. The cold clay developed a lively warmth as his hands pressed hard against it.

Rikkity’s eyes widened as he watched the clay turn fleshy. He could feel the new skin undulate with magical rhythm. When he felt the last of the ethereal energy leave his body, he retracted his hands and stepped away from the sculpture.

Within seconds, the magic had imbued the sculpture with new life. It turned its gaze toward Rikkity.

“Elara,” Rikkity called out in a tremulous voice. “You’re … alive. My sweet, Elara.” Tears wet his cheeks.

Elara looked at her hands and her body. Her face was etched with confusion.

Rikkity skulked back up to the sculpture. “Is it really you, my love?”

Elara, with her mouth gaping, nodded. “It is I.”

Rikkity sobbed.

Elara embraced her husband.

Rikkity pulled back and palmed Elara’s cheeks, looking deeply into her piercing blue eyes.

“How did you…?”

Rikkity grabbed the charm dangling from his neck and held it up in front of Elara’s face.

Elara’s hand raised and touched the magical medallion. She then turned her gaze to Rikkity.

“I kept it, my love. I’m sorry I lied but I could not face the thought of losing you forever.”

Elara’s eyes moistened. “Is this real?”

“Yes. I have given you life again. Death be not proud…

The room was filled with echoes of laughter, the symphony of a beautiful reunion.

Rikkity retrieved a record and placed it on his old victrola. From the speaker came an elegant piece of music that had a soft, inviting melody with dreamy strings and the velvety voice of Ella Fritzgerald. It was their song: Embraceable You.

The couple embraced and swayed to the music as they had done many times before.

Days passed and the house was filled with utter joy. But there was a pernicious dread in the back of Rikkity’s mind; dark tendrils of doubt kept creeping into his consciousness. Try as he might, he couldn’t resist them.

The realization of Rikkity’s dread manifested a week after he had given his beloved a new vessel.

Elara became ill. She could not find the strength to even sit up in bed.

Rikkity, fearing that she may die again, searched for the man who had given him the charm but he was nowhere to be found. He wondered if he had misused the charm in some way. The next day, he located a sage named Cora Elos, an elderly woman known for her wisdom in matters of magic and divination.

“You have trespassed into the forbidden realm, Rikkity Schlank,” Cora warned. “The line between life and death is sacrosanct. Death is not to be meddled with.”

Rikkity, utterly distraught and laden with guilt, pleaded with Cora for guidance.

“If you do not retract the enchantment, your beloved Elara will be lost in the void forever.”

“How do I undo my perversion?”

“Place the magical charm on Elara’s forehead. Once her body has turned to dust, you must destroy the charm.”

Rikkity, overcome with grief, found it nearly impossible to place the charm on Elara’s head. But he could see that she was suffering immensely; her body quivered; her skin paled; from her mouth came unrelenting groans. Finally, he relented and placed the charm on her forehead.

Elara opened her eyes and looked at Rikkity as her body began to wither. “I love you. Don’t be sad, my love. We will be together again…in time.” Her eyes closed. Her body faded. Her spirit soared.

Rikkity destroyed the charm and tossed the crumbled pieces of it into the river behind his house. He then returned to the sage to thank her.

“Life and death are threads woven into the fabric of existence, Rikkity. Your attempt to alter their course caused you and Elara unnecessary suffering. Your grief became even more profound when you brought her back. I hope you have learned a valuable lesson.”

“Truly, I have,” Rikkity said with tears in his eyes.

Cora placed the palm of her hand on Rikkity’s chest. “Elara will always be with you. Love transcends the realm of death.”

Rikkity went back home. He was filled with inspiration. He began constructing a new sculpture. He worked feverishly on it for several weeks before it was complete. It was a true masterpiece. As he added the finishing touches to his sculpture, he played Embraceable You once again. He looked at his work with a glint of hope in his eye.

It was an exquisite sculpture—two lovers, forever embraced in a dance—a reminder that one day, he would join his beloved once again.



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