The tower was older than the city. Much, much older. Where the city’s walls were of finely cut stone that was yet to show wear, lichen and moss covered the pockmarked, ancient grey stone of the tower.
A single door at the bottom of the tower had long ago been shut and locked and a spell woven about the lock so that it could never be unlocked until the world had wholly changed.
There was one window high in the tower. The pattern of the lead could not be seen from the ground, but some, if they squinted in just the right light, could see that a few of the panes had been shattered by storms during the long, long years.
Some even said that they saw a figure at the window sometimes.
She sat at the spinning wheel while the world went scurrying about beneath her window. The city spread out like a tapestry beyond the window of her tower. Houses, businesses, and squares had formed through the years and, though they lived in the shadow of the tower, most forgot that it was there. It was simply a strange part of the landscape.
The wisps of straw that she spun into the finest of yarns and knotted into patterns were coloured by snatches of voices and music that drifted up from the city, by emotions that she remembered, by the birdsong and thunder and wind and rain and other nature sounds that drifted in through the broken window — blue, silver, and gold.
The dark clouds came without warning and, with it, a foul air that made people dash inside, locking their houses and peering in fear through the windows as a figure of pure midnight approached. There were no stars anymore, no moon, no night sky with wisps of silver clouds.
On the darkest night the figure came to the door of the tower and hammered on it.
She rose from where she had been kneeling and knotting the fine threads, went to the window, and pushed it open for the first time in a hundred years.
She peered down at the void the figure left. “Think you won this time?” she called out to the figure with its large eyes and long beak.
A laugh that emanated from the bowels of the earth shook the city. “I've won. The darkness is complete. You will bow to me.”
She stepped from the window and then, with a flash of light, the threads she had woven fell from the window and rose with the winds to cover the darkness of the night sky.
And the woven stars shone.
Welcome to the first Fiction Sunday!
I hope that you enjoyed reading “The Woven Stars”.
It was written just as the COVID-19 lockdown started in South Africa in March and seems quite hopeful about the whole thing, it seems. The story was actually part of a challenge that the writing group I’m part of did.
By then I’ve already come up with the idea for “Where the Stars Used to Sing” — sometimes faffing about on Pinterest does turn out to be productive! — and I wrote this as a sort-of introduction to the feel that I wanted for the stories.
I’ve since then edited it a bit and that is the version that you see here.
Have a great week! And keep safe!