She pressed her face against the cold stone, closed her eyes and ran her hands along the soft curves. Unrelenting, the towering mass stayed quiet. She was accustomed to long spans of stillness before her ears heard the voices or her eyes filled with the semblance of that which lay inside. She was equal parts hunter, emancipator, and lover but she feared this was not be found, freed or adored. The inchoate mass sat in the darkness; celestial light glanced off the smooth parts of the stone but could not penetrate the exterior.
The pain in her back slowly crept up to settle in her neck. She moved one hand, pressed her cold fingers underneath her hair and rolled her head slowly against the tension. Her body ached with exhaustion, yet she had accomplished nothing in weeks. Her knees were stiff from the hours spent sitting by the shapeless form, failing to coax it from within. Exasperated, she filled her lungs with the cool air hovering there at the edges and slowly released a whisper, “Speak to me.” There was no reply, no breath, no movement. The stillness was maddening.
She shifted and turned her back to the prisoner, sat with her arms curled around her legs and her forehead pressed against her knees. What had she done wrong? She retraced her steps, but she found nothing unusual. The mass was there beneath the fossil encrusted soil, just like all the others. It was buried deeply and she had painstakingly removed the sediment that clung to it, revealing the remarkably smooth onyx skin. Every morning, she came here to speak her first words, a warm greeting, a gentle smile, a soft touch. In every other case, in different voices, she heard in reply their stories of entrapment. Each one in their own way, lost, forgotten, or betrayed but she gave them life. Never before had she taken so much time, given so much of herself only to be shunned, without even a whisper.
She pressed her back against the muted stone, and raised her eyes to the night sky. “Perhaps it needs gentle encouragement”, she thought and set her mind on a path to that very end. She stood up, stretched and turned to face the captive. She set her hand gently against a smooth edge, followed the tiny veins of silver that ran like rivers along the skin with her fingers, and whispered, “We will start in the morning.”
Up before the spark of dawn, she dressed in loose fitting clothes, grabbed her tools and headed toward the stone’s resting place. When she rounded the bend she stopped to take another look at the sleeping giant, but something was odd. It must be this early light, she thought. The shape appeared different, it was not unrecognizable but she noted subtle changes near the top and the base seemed smaller. She put down her tools, pressed her palms into her sleepy eyes and ran one hand through her hair; she laughed quietly to herself and moved closer. With every step, she could see the changes were not as subtle as she first thought. Her heart slowed and she noticed the air seemed thicker. The last few steps were like walking uphill in a driving rain.
She put down her tools and tried to gather herself. She stepped through her normal routine, a warm greeting, a gentle smile, a soft touch. Nothing came in reply. “Perhaps I should wait for sunrise,” she said quietly. But she was determined, still tired and frustrated. She picked up her tools, and started chipping away at the mass in the ways she had done so often before but nothing changed. The edges of her best tools dulled quickly and the stone was not marred. The soft skin shone brightly in the noon day light, her tools left not even a blemish. She tried a different set, more leverage and greater force, but her blows were met with equal opposition.
She worked furiously through the day’s light until her hands cramped and the glint of stars filled her eyes but the shape remained unchanged from the morning. She stopped reluctantly, wiped the salt from her brow, and chastised herself under her breath, “I am out of practice, I am tired and I’ve neglected my tools.” She picked up her tools and left without another word.
She slept soundly and rose early to recover her tools. She worked a stone against each edge until it sang just the right note, then she moved to the next. One by one, each tool joined the chorus and as she finished the sun rose over the hill behind the shed, filling the small space with a bright yellow haze. Satisfied and clear headed, she packed up and walked down the tiny trail leading to the stone. The day was bright and clear and this time there was no mistaking the changes.
There before her stood an unfamiliar shape. Complex movements emerged – still smooth, flowing and beautiful – but wildly different. New curves appeared in the middle, the top blossomed outward stretching precariously out below the support of the shrinking base. She worried herself that it would not withstand the unbalance and before she could stop them, words trickled from her lips, “Please be careful.” She put down her tools, and curled up against the small base. This time it was her stories that echoed about. She closed her eyes and revealed her deepest fears, her loneliest moments, her loves lost and unrequited passions to the stone. She felt movement, but she dare not open her eyes and she drifted into a deep and comfortable dream.
She knew when to wake. She knew what she would see when she opened her eyes again, the shapes of entangled bodies – love, fear, passion, anger, hope – twisted together in a lustful dance. She knew that from now on, this place would take shape, not from tools chipping away, but from that which was within her soul.
Inspired by La Reve, built by Lash Xevious