An Escape to Stillness

A shower of dust fell atop Leah’s head as she pulled down the old album, half hidden away on the top shelf of the attic bookcase.
            What made her reach for it, she didn’t know—it was as if something feral had possessed her.  Something that had nothing to do with the darkness that had come to settle about her and turn her world grey.
            Not waiting for a moment, even to sit in the old wooden rocker behind her, she opened the book.  The painting that greeted her sung into the very essence of her being.  It was a wild garden, riotous with colors.  In it sat a small stone bench, and among the boughs of a full-leafed willow tree, a creek with white peaks seemed to dance along.
            How wonderful it would be, she thought, to be within a painting, this painting; no longer to suffer from the grip of the dreary, musty, old world.
            And that was when Leah fell, fast and deep, between the covers of the album.
            The light struck her first.  It was much brighter, more golden, its hues more distinguishable than the world’s light.  The flowers were there, bright, effervescent, almost out of focus.  There was the stone bench, covered in what looked like soft, delightful moss—but when Leah bent to stroke it with her fingertips, it was hard as dried plaster. 
            The brook was there, too, its waters clear enough to see the stones below and its white caps giving the illusion of dancing.  But it did not run.  Nor did it dance.  It was still.
            The whole painting was still—a perfect stillness.
            And in each moment, Leah grew more still too.
            Suddenly she wanted to scream for want of movement—for all at once she knew she’d be frozen in time, her color changed to a brighter complexion, her features shifted to make her look alive—but all the while she would be no more than as the moss and the brook.
            With her last stiff movements, she clawed with all her strength.
            It was an agony she had never known, sharp, almost pungent with life. 
            Then she found herself once again in the dim and dusty attack.
            And she never told a living soul that she had once escaped into stillness and found it wanting.

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