Posted July 19, 1997

Living in the Darkness

This story is dedicated to my Mom. Thank God for seat belts, and Damn teenage drivers.

Chapter One - A Song for the Moon

[Author's Note: Now that you know the path Clopin followed after The Tale of a Dream, it is time to see how Samira fared]

Night. The outskirts of a gypsy camp with no light within, set up in a clearing deep in a forest. The cries of a newborn baby are ending.
Samira held the squirming infant against her dark gray dress, cooing to it in a barely audible tone. She caught her breath as she heard footsteps approaching. She instinctively pressed the baby closer to her. She brushed her raven hair out of her face, then turned her blue eyes upward.
A man stood before her, looking down at her contemptuously, with a smug smile beneath his moustache. He brandished a silvery hook where his left hand had been. "Give me the child," he commanded.
"No!" Samira growled forcefully.
"It is not one of us, therefore it should not live."
"I am not one of you either," She spat the word you, "--yet you let me live."
The man grew silent. All of a sudden he lunged at her, grabbing for the baby.
"No!" Samira clutched the newborn with one hand, while in her other she held a gleaming dagger. "You will leave my child alone! She is a part of me and she will live even as I live!"
"She is no longer a part of you! Why do you think I waited for the past eight months?!"
Samira let out a hiss. "It is a she and you will leave her alone, Robuert." She spat his name at him. Then she turned a tender gaze on the baby. "My little one," she cooed. "She is beautiful." Immediately she was back in a knife-wielding stance. "And you will leave now and not trouble me over my child." She sneered spitefully. "I love her, not you."
Robuert stared at her for a moment, fire in his eyes, yet not from anger. "You may leave now," Samira insisted. She pointed the dagger at him. "Or perhaps you would like to replace your other hand..?"
He swiftly left after that. Samira sighed and collapsed back on the pile of blankets, completely exhausted. However, she kept the dagger within easy reach. She cradled the baby against her. "My beautiful little one...You did not deserve to be born in such a place. But, soft, my child, you will not live this way forever. I swear it love..."
She paused, closing her eyes, holding back the tears. Then she whispered, "You must have a name, my child. Y-your papa and I decided on it the very day we both knew you were here. He called you Shiri. I would call you Luna, for the bright moon you were born under. You, my child, are Shiriluna, my moon song."

* * * * * *

"We will call her Rasha."
"You will not call my child the wicked one!"
"She is not one of us--"
"You have given me that speech several times before." Samira narrowed her eyes. "And you know my reply to that!"
Robuert caught her wrist as she started to turn away. "I could have killed her. I would have killed her. But I did not, for your sake."
Samira sneered and yanked her hand from his grasp. "You would never have gotten the chance. I would kill you first before you ever touch her!" Even now she held the baby against her. She added in a growl, "And you will leave now before I make you leave."
Robuert glared at her impudence, then left the tent. Once again she sighed in relief. She began to pace slowly, rocking the infant in her arms. "Two days old and already they want to corrupt you..." Two days without sleep, Samira thought. Yes, she was exhausted, but she had not slept a wink out of wariness for Robuert's threat to kill the child.
"What does the future hold for you?" she asked softly, gazing at the sleepy baby. Samira sighed restlessly. "I wish they would let me see the sky. Then I could stargaze for you and see that there is hope for you..."
She glanced around the tent forlornly. Yes, it was night, but the tent was so...dark. She hated the dark material, everywhere she looked. Then she saw a tiny spot of light, in the back wall of the small tent. A hole, she realized. An opening to the sky! But all she could see was one, single star through the hole. She longed to run over and tear the material so the hole would be wider...but then they would put her where even that unnoticed hole would not be a pinprick. So, she settled for the tiny bit of light.
It was so hard to read a single star. But maybe it could tell her something...hope? Hope at least for the baby. Samira looked down at the sleeping infant cradled in her arms. Then she focused on the star again. She began to hum softly. But the tones did not coax a clear message from the sky. She knew it was hard with only one star. If only she could see the entire sky...
She was confused. The star said King, but it was just one word, and she knew not what it meant. With the baby situated in her lap, she buried her face in her hands and wept.

* * * * * *

A fortnight later there was a meeting of some sort. Samira was overjoyed that she was allowed to come outside -- but was just as quickly disappointed to see that the sky was cloaked in clouds. She sat off to the side under the trees near the other women as the men gathered around the fire in the center of the clearing. A few of the women had small children with them, but none of them spoke to Samira. She was an outsider to them, and she did not care because she disliked them in return.
Samira sat at the base of a tall, thick tree, but she was positioned so that she could see a perfect patch of sky through the leaves. Every time she looked upward for a long time, she pretended to study the tree bark and thought of medicines and herbs. Deep down inside, though, she prayed that the clouds would part, if only for a few moments.
She was heard and a slit opened in the clouds to show the light-studded blue sea. She could not sing, but called with all her heart, hoping that the stars would be wooed by the love she held in that moment. The baby in her arms began to murmur, and Samira smiled, thinking the child would sing for her and not be so conspicuous. She gazed at the stars with her song in her eyes. They shimmered and she read them.
At first she was uncertain...His image had changed since she had last read of him there. It was only a split second before the clouds rushed to cover the hope. There was no time to see if he was dead or alive. But the sign that he looked slightly different pointed toward the latter. Should she dare to hope..?
She felt a tug on her dress and looked down. The baby's blue eyes stared back at her, a tiny hand grasping at the air. Samira smiled and sighed contentedly, but quietly. If only she could have seen some hope for the child...At least she had been able to see something, vague as it was.
Before she knew it, she had to return to her tent. She wanted to stay outside all night, and into the day. But, no, it was right back into that stuffy tent! What was wrong with a little fresh air?
Samira sighed and leaned back on the pile of blankets. The baby lay beside her, dozing peacefully. Samira let her eyes close...She was so tired...But she could not sleep...just could not...

* * * * * *

Samira dreamed. If she could not stargaze, she could at least dream. And so she did.
She was in a regular gypsy camp. The colors were the most important things. She wore her blue dress and held her baby wrapped in pink cloth. She smiled as she felt a shadow fall over her and she looked up. He was smiling softly as he knelt down beside her. She narrowed her eyes slightly as she studied him. She reached out toward his chin. A beard? When had he grown a beard?
She shrugged off the question and held up the baby, who gurgled playfully. "Is she not beautiful?" Samira asked, and he nodded. She held the baby out to him. "She is yours, Clopin."
He smiled and took the child from her. He cradled the little one in his arms, a joyful look in his eyes. The baby giggled and murmured happily. He rocked her gently.
Samira placed a hand on his shoulder and smiled proudly as he turned his head to look at her. "Mine," he said in a voice that sounded like a distant sigh. "My two angels." He grinned.
She leaned her head on his shoulder and they both gazed down at their baby. A shadow slowly crept over them, as if the sun was setting. Samira turned to get a first look at the stars. Instead she found herself facing a hulking shadow. She let out a shriek and turned back to Clopin. But he was no longer there as himself, but a skeleton in his clothes. Samira screamed and tears began to stream down her face as she grabbed her baby and clutched the child to her. The shadow swirled around them, encasing them in eternal night.

Samira woke with a cry and immediately her hands shot out to find Shiriluna. The baby, already awake, barely let out an alarmed squawk before her cries were stifled by the cloth of her mother's dress. Samira bowed her head and wept for Clopin.

* * * * * *

Light. Samira smiled. The light illuminated every tiny hole in that blasted tent. But the loud crashes made Shiriluna cry. Samira cuddled the baby, cooing softly, "Do not fear, my child. It is merely a storm. It will pass soon." Too soon... Samira liked the lightning storms. For some reason they gave her hope. Even now the rumbling became more distant, the bright flashes dimmer.
"There, little one, it is ending," Samira whispered. The baby's cries quieted to murmurs.
As the last remnants of the storm drifted away, she thought she heard something else...A voice...At first it was singing in a very low pitch, but then rose in a perfect high melody. Didn't she know that voice..?
She closed her eyes and listened. Without knowing it, she rose to her feet and, holding the baby tightly in her arms, she left the tent, letting the voice guide her. She opened her eyes as she reached the fire in the clearing. A figure sat beside the fire. The flames wavered, the heat they gave off blurring her vision. She sat down almost against her will.
The voice continued to sing softly. She knew that voice, she did...Then it spoke, still in a musical tone, "Give me the child."
Clopin! It was him! Samira smiled, although she squinted against the dancing heat which continued to distort her vision. But it was him! She held out Shiriluna so he could see his child. His voice continued to sing.
But then she heard a sour note. She blinked. Another raw sound. She blinked again, and the haze began to clear. Another caw, and she gave an angry cry, jerking her arms back and hugging Shiriluna to her.
"You demon!" she shrieked. "You cannot get her willfully, so you resort to enchanting me?! You will never kill my child!"
Robuert scowled, the fire reflecting in his eyes. Then he glanced around to find the source of what had ruined his spell. A dark object swooped down from a tree in accordance. Samira did not notice it, for she was more intent on burning a hole into Robuert with her glare. Shiriluna, however, caught sight of the raven as it landed, and she smiled and began to babble happily. The raven cawed, tilting its head. Then it flew off.
Samira whirled around and marched back to her tent. The nerve! So if he no longer came to pester her, he would make her come to him! Samira muttered angrily to herself. She paused to sneak a glance at the sky. The storm itself had left, but the clouds remained. She sighed in disgust and went into her tent. She heard the voice again as she laid down, one arm protectively aound Shiriluna. She tried to ignore the song this time, but could not block the words:

"Fierce heart, you will be tamed,
And you will be mine again."

Samira grit her teeth. Why that voice?! If he must taunt her, why not use his own voice? Blasted dog had to use someone else's...and so close, too...Samira whimpered. There was only one way to ignore that voice. She hated herself the instant she thought of it, but it was the only way.
She would have to force herself to forget Clopin, that she loved him, that she wanted to be with him again. Then Robuert could never catch her unaware again.
But to forget Clopin...
She uttered a quiet sob of despair.

Coming next: The second chapter of Living in the Darkness: A Scrap of Cloth, A Scar, A Scarf

To The Archives {where the stories are in order to make sense ;) }

(c) 1997-2004 Autumn Loweck. This work may not be copied, distributed, or reprinted without the author's permission. All characters not owned by Disney are property of Autumn Loweck (aka Shiri) and may not be "borrowed" or mentioned in other works without notifying the author first