Dust motes danced in the single shaft of sunlight that lit the dim interior of my studio. Their carefree swirls moved to the same melodious voice that rang within my heart, for highlighted within the beam stood the marble prison that contained My Love.

My hand shook as it traced over the rough surface. I snatched it away and forced my breathing to calm. I would not allow my excitement to blemish this joyous work. Once more with steady hand I reached out and caressed the stone. I could feel her, trapped within, her quiet pulse beating warmth through the cool surface.

I caressed the stone with my lips. “You will be free, My Love.”

I do not know how to express the power that had come over me when I first laid eyes upon her, standing proud in the quarry. The instant I beheld her stone prison, her cry for freedom captured me. Her voice, a melody so clear and sweet I nearly died of joy and grief. Only the absolute certainty that I must be the one to bring her out into the light sustained me.

My blissful state granted the quarry-master an advantage in bargaining the price of her freedom. I knew by the gleam of greed in his eyes and the coarseness of his laughter that he thought he had gained the better of me. But, truth be told, I would have paid the price again threefold, for I know in my heart that she is worth my life in total and infinitely more.

Now she stood before me, still and quiet, yet glowing with quiet anticipation as I reached out with hammer and chisel. A soft chik and my first blow was struck. Bits of stone flew glowing through the light. I stared at the new blemish, struck by my hand and determination girded my heart, for I knew I could not stop until I beheld My Love’s true form.

I knew I could not stop until I beheld My Love’s true form.

Chik.

Chik.

Chik.

Steady and sure my hammer rose and fell as the column of light shifted and flowed with the passage of time. When the sun forsook me, torches bathed My Love in amber glow. In silence, I continued as I watched her dance within the stone.

Chik.

Chik.

Chik.

Her graceful right hand emerged, grasping upward toward the light. Her fingers stretched out and for a moment I ceased my work to intertwine mine with hers.

“You will be free, My Love,” I vowed. Then returned hammer and chisel to hand.

Chik.

Chik.

Chik.

Blow by blow, chip by chip I worked, following the lines of her upraised arm to her shoulder. When her right ear emerged from the stone my silence was broken. Words poured out of me, telling of my life, so that she would know the man who freed her.

Chik.

“As a boy I would stare at the clouds and dream of what lay hidden within their billowy folds.”

Chik.

“My master told me that as an artist it was my duty to surrender myself wholly to the vision that lay within the stone. Until I met you, I didn’t truly understand.”

Chik.

“I once thought that I might travel the world, to find what would make me whole. I know now that once you are free my life will be complete.”

My tongue fell still behind my parched lips. But still I worked on. She stood before me, a graceful angel reaching toward heaven, face upturned with eyes closed in exultation.

I know now that once you are free my life will be complete.

Chik.

Chik.

Chik.

Hammer and chisel slipped from my fingers, their work complete. With the last of my strength I lifted my hand and caressed her warm cheek.

“You are free, My Love.”

A smile crossed her lips and her eyes opened and found mine. She cupped my weary head in her hands and with a first and final glorious kiss took the last I had to offer. Then, as dust, I danced in the single shaft of sunlight that pierced my dim studio, for My Love was now set free.

 

For more art and romance, check out the November 2017 edition of Spark magazine.

 

Meet the Author

Stuart Vaughn Stockton is the author of the award winning science fiction novel, Starfire.  He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife and fellow author, Tiffany Amber Stockton. Together they have two incredible children who bring new adventures every day. You can follow Stockton on his Facebook page.