I’ve had a little of an obsession with Blackmore’s Night lately and listened to plenty of their songs on repeat because they’re just so awesome and they give me the right kind of energy. I want to share with you a song in particular for this morning writing activity, and that is Cartouche.
I didn’t know what this meant in the context at first, but my love for this song indulged me to find out.
- a drawing or a piece of stone that looks like a scroll with the ends rolled up, often with writing on it and used as a decoration
- a decorative frame around a piece of writing
Personally, I think the song refers rather to the first definition (feel free to prove me wrong), so I’ll try to stay faithful to that meaning as I use the word in my flash fiction.
I hope you enjoy!
Hidden treasure! Ember neared the coiled up piece of parchment. She unfolded it gently and noticed the picture drawn neatly on it.
Cartouche, started a strange whisper in her head.
The drawing represented people dancing in a poorly illuminated forest. They seemed full of energy and wore fancy clothes. They seemed all to be women actually, and each of them had a voluminous gown that spun around like a whirlwind, almost trapping the looker into the dance.
For Ember, that was enough to trap her into the picture.
Things became alive, and music started blazing like fire in her eyes. As tired as she might have been moments earlier, she was now full of energy, dancing to the rhythm.
In the fantasy-like world, one of the dancing women took note of her and closed in, singing as if speaking to her while circling like a prey.
“If I share this with you, never speak a word. They would understand if they ever heard. Gemini, Capricorn, rising in the east… dancing through the witchwood, we began to sing.”
Another woman then neared, almost invisible in the dark, but making her appearance like a shining star, now near Ember.
“In between dark and light, in the underworld, wrapped around your finger like a string of pearls. Smiling face, empty hand, seven golden rings, dancing through the starlight we began to sing.”
Then they all began singing in unison a hypnotic ahh-ahh, preparing for the final blow.
Ember still heard the whisper in her head, distinct from the women’s voices, sweet like honey. The girl thought them to be witches. And she appeared to have interfered with their party… or maybe ritual!
But the dancing went on, and there was no escape, especially when a third female figure closed in, singing another verse, as if telling a story of old.
“Caramel colored leaves spiral in the air. Diving right into the ground, ’round the winding stair. Stories carved out of wood, jester and the king, dancing through the moonlight, we began to sing.”
Then the same pattern went on with the ahh-ahh and the evermore powerful whisper.
And the music went on, now fading slightly, then fading faster and faster. Even so, it was more and more hyponitising as the witches spiraled around Ember at a greater pace than the beat before.
They all sang:
“Memories, black and white, hide behind the glass, in the mirrors and the smoke, it’s all fading fast. Written word, turn the card winter into spring, dancing through the witchwood, we began to sing.
And the whisper, hummed louder in her head and with a spark of magic from the witches, it returned, and it was final.
This last cartouche echoed in her head for so much longer, until the background music faded fully and the witches disappeared into thin air, leaving Ember alone in the now-starless night. Darkness swallowed her like a beast, then spit her out back before the parchment.
Ember felt stuck in awe for a moment, but when she came to a realisation to what happened and where she was, she dropped the parchment on the floor, leaving it to shatter into witch dust right before her eyes.
She turned away and never looked back.