A Perpetual Mimicry
by K. P. Ambroziak
by K. P. Ambroziak
A fire angel is thrown on earth to rot in the decaying body of a man. Plucked of his graceful form and rejected by his maker, he finds himself a helpless captive of the physical world. Finding love, art, death and salvation, he learns what it is to be human. Unfortunately for him, one of these proves to be the very cause of his exile.
Simon was the only being I had heard speak until that moment and I thought I was imagining the voice. But this was no fabrication. As I scanned the horizon, I saw a man coming towards me from across the field.
“Ani!” he called a third time.
He was just a man. There was nothing luminescent about him.
Feeling unprepared for my first meeting with a genuine mortal, I contemplated running away. But as I shuffled my feet, I felt the binding of the ragged leather around them. The two black boots I was wearing gave me the courage to stay, reminding me my true identity was concealed beneath a costume of flesh. I headed in the man’s direction.
Deep lines marked his face and the corners of his eyes were drawn downwards. His countenance was unpleasant and his bottom lip puffed out a little as though his mouth were full. He spat off to the side every now and again as he chewed his bottom lip. Luckily his sour eyes and thick brows gave his face another point of reference. I kept my focus on his stern brow.
“Ya fly home now boy,” he said. “Yer father’s almos’ gone.”
He spat a wad of cud to punctuate his speech. I held my breath.
“Well, what’re ya waitin’ fer?” he said. He gave me a mean stare then spat several more times before looking up at the sky. “Ain’t no rain comin’. I’ll keep an eye on ‘em sheep.”
He pointed a thick thumb at his chest as he spoke and then spat again. I coaxed a nod in an attempt to convince him I understood.
“Better hurry,” he said. “Sarah’s waitin’.”
Sarah? The masquerade suddenly got more complicated. I considered making an exit once again, but Simon’s words ran through my mind: let his instincts guide you. I tried tuning myself into my body’s desires, letting the boy’s intuition guide me. My attempt proved successful when something inside me, an emotion really, made me want to abide by the man’s request. I had a desire to go to Sarah.
The man saluted me as he made his way back out into the sea of sheep. I watched him go and then turned to follow the path from where he came. As I walked into the woods on the border of the pasture, a distinct smell blew through the trees. Smoke. But unlike burnt flesh, this aroma was pleasing. There was a fire burning somewhere deep inside the forest and I could smell the crisp wood as though it were right at my feet. This was not the first time I noticed the intensity of my earthly senses. Ever since I nabbed the shepherd’s body, I had known an increased potency of my faculties.
I followed the scent knowing it would lead me to where I needed to go. I walked through the woods a while before arriving at the origin of the smell. When I found a quaint cottage amidst a clearing of trees, I knew I had arrived. It was the only marker I had seen in the forest and sure enough charcoal puffs of smoke were curling their way out of the roof’s chimney. The modest hut appeared to be fashioned from the trees that surrounded it. It was familiar, for I held a picture of it in my mind. I recognized the little red curtains drawn across the two windows on either side of the door, and I couldn’t help but recall the rows of golden-rays growing along the sidewalls. I quickly realized these recollections were the remnants of the boy’s memory.
I stood for a moment listening to a woodpecker puncture its way into a treetop far above me. Two doves made love with their requited coos, while sparrows chirped incessantly beneath the branches. The symphony echoed up through the tops of the trees, evoking my envy as I stood wingless on the ground. I led myself up the pathway to the cottage. As I got closer, the avian orchestra soon faded into the background and all I could hear was the soft hum of a girl inside. The sound was flawless and delicate, no match for the birds.
I listened, as remembrances flooded my memory. I envisioned what lay waiting inside as I stood outside the cottage. A girl’s face materialized in my mind, a memory of aesthetic perfection. I knew I had gazed on this face before. The oval visage was framed with long unruly tendrils, light brown and soft. I recalled their touch as I imagined them into reality. Her big green eyes were like olives floating in almond casings, and her aquiline nose marked the exact center point of her face. Her perfect top lip was slightly thinner than its bottom counterpart, and her mouth drew downward into a delicate pout. The lips made the shape of a heart when her mouth was closed. I knew this perfect face awaited me on the other side of the door, and just as I reached out to push it ajar, it swung open.
“Ani!” her voice peaked.
You know how you are always downloading free, independently published stuff and most of the time it’s dreck? This is not that book.
It is, truth be told, a small, rare gem. I would say it is beautifully written, but that’s not the right word. It’s more like gorgeously written. For an intelligent reader. You need to be the sort of person who feels a thrill at the use of words like “verdurous”. Better still, all the exquisite prose and poetic imagery are wielded in the service of telling a story that deeply engages the question of what it is to love, to be human, and to be mortal.
I didn’t mind that it was short. You know how a fabulously rich chocolate ganache needs to be served in very small portions? This book is like that. Can’t wait to read this author’s other works.
About the Author
K. P. Ambroziak is a writer and freelance editor. She writes fiction, essays, and reviews at Fields of Twisting Phlox. She is expected to receive her PhD in Comparative Literature in 2014.
K. P. is the author of the novella, A Perpetual Mimicry, as well as The Fifth Empire series consisting of The Journal of Vincent Du Maurier and The Harvest of Vincent Du Maurier.