I stroll through the cool, green shade of the forest, thinking absently of this and that. A tune come to my lips and emerges as a whistle. Everything is calm and serene. Stepping out of the trees, I find myself at the edge of a cliff, and below me is such a sight that I can hardly describe.
A white building stands in the center of a clearing, worn by time but still majestic. The building has three tall spires, though only one still stretches towards the heavens. A soft glow seems to be coming from the structure. Seeing it fills me with the deepest serenity. I feel I could float.
I make my way down the slope, as carefully as I can with my eyes still on the building. Though the structure itself is breathtaking in its architecture, it somehow holds a deeper beauty, as though the stones are emanating all the goodness and loveliness of the world.
With my eyes fixed on the building instead of my feet, it is inevitable that I should stumble. I find myself on the bottom of the slope much more quickly than I would have preferred. Getting to my feet, I brush myself off and look up.
In its full height and glory, the building is even more magnificent. Its great, white-stone doors stretch high, and one is slightly open, as if inviting me inside. Without a second thought, I take the invitation.
There are wide, crystal windows in the ceiling and these let in the day’s bright sunshine. I make my way across the long, marble floor, examining the carvings in the pillars that I pass. Each holds a scene of serene beauty – a landscape of a forest, an ocean, a mountain rage, and a desert.
At the front of the room is a statue, seemingly untouched by time, of the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. She lets off the same glow as the building itself, but this seems stronger and more focused, as though meant only for me. I stare into her soft, lovely face, which is tipped upwards towards heaven. She has smooth features, and long hair, which has been carved so masterfully that I half expect it to move in the breeze.
Finally managing to wrench my gaze away, I notice at her feet something which does not quite belong.
It is a box made of a bronze metal and encrusted with amethysts. Although lovely in its own way, surrounded by pure white stone and crystal it looks shabby and cheap. As soon as it is in my hands, I want to put it down. I move to do just that, set it down and walk away, when I hear a voice, or perhaps only have a feeling.
It seems the box gives a little jump as I think this, and more than ever I feel the desire to set it down and get as far away from it as I can. I think for a moment of throwing it, but can’t bring myself to do so. Instead, I simply move to set it down again.
Please, break it.
This time, I am almost certain I can hear a voice, though it is so faint that I wonder if I am only imagining it. I examine the box in my hands, but notice nothing exceptional about it. The craftsmanship is ordinary, the metal cold in my hands. I try to lift the lid, but it will not budge. Again, I decide to just put it down and walk away.
It seems just an ordinary box. There seems no reason to break it. But as I think of doing so I can feel a sense of longing that is not my own. The box definitely gives a shudder. Another voice enters my head, clouding all other thought.
Put it down and walk away. Just WALK AWAY.
The new voice is deep and threatening. I can just feel the presence that wants me to break the box, full of hope and longing, over the strong desire to put down the box and run for my life.
This last cry for help is so plaintive I cannot ignore it. As I make to throw down the box, a shock goes through me, seizing my muscles and making me incapable of movement. I let out as much of a strangled gasp as I can while my body is not answering my mind’s commands, and am left standing there, the box held out in front of me. With all my power, I concentrate on my fingers, forcing them to pull apart, away. I can feel them begin to tremble, but my hands are refusing to do as I tell them, and as I try searing pain rips through my arms. So long as I hold onto the box, I am fine, but every time I try to pull away, it is pain. At last I attempt to take a deep breath, find that I am unable, and put every ounce of force I have into pulling my hands away from the box.
It slips from my grasp and falls to the floor. As it hits, the spell binding me in place is lifted. The box shatters into a thousand pieces, as though made of glass.
A golden glow fills the room. The statue in front of me gives a little gasp and stumbles, catching onto my neck to hold itself upright.
For a moment, I am frozen in place again. However, this time, no spell has been cast, I am merely as shocked as any man can be. Then the statue pulls away, and I receive another shock, which might just be one too many.
Instead of stone, the statue seems made of flesh. Her hair, now a deep chestnut brown, moves in the breeze, and as she tosses her head back. Those smooth cheeks are now slightly flushed, and her lips are a deep pink. When her eyes meet mine, they are full of joy and gratitude, the vivid blue sparkling and bright.
“You look just as I imagined,” she says, and her voice is like sunshine: bright and warm and happy.
I find myself incapable of coming up with a response for this, and so stay silent.
“Except your clothes,” she continues, “Though I suspect some time has passed. Is that the usual garb of a knight?”
I manage only to stare at her stupidly.
“Well, that hardly matters. The point is, you saved me and I couldn’t be more grateful.” She smiles, a breathtaking smile that knocks any semblance of thought I might have had clean out of my head. Her smile begins to waver. “Is… is something wrong?”
Today's Novel Idea Prompted by: "A jewel-encrusted box is found in an ancient abandoned temple. Describe the box, whatis inthe box, and the temple. See where it takes you. Courtesy of Creative Writing Solutions.