Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Chapter Four

Chapter One can be found here
Chapter Two can be found here
Chapter Three can be found here
            Lorelei spent the entire first night at the Temple hiding in her room. She didn’t bother going to dinner, even though she was starving. Luckily, she had snuck some snacks into her bags. Who knew what passed for food here? She hadn’t thought everything at the Temple would be so . . . archaic. Sure, she was expecting it to be a little old-fashioned. After all, the Temple of the Muse had been around since ancient Greek times. That was hundreds and hundreds of years ago—maybe even thousands. Lorelei didn’t want to bother to try and figure it out.
            She sat on the floor, sifting through the contents of her suitcases. Maybe she should send some of her regular clothes home to her dad. She wouldn’t be needing most of them here. No, she had to wear the stupid white robes. They weren’t in Greece any more and this was the 21st century! She shouldn’t have to walk around wearing a sheet. What have I gotten myself into? she wondered to herself.
            Her breath caught when the door began to open. Now what?
            She looked up—and up and up. The man standing in the doorway was extremely tall, much taller than her, especially considering her current position on the floor. His hair was as black as midnight, but the eyes were as grey as the sky after a storm.
            She quickly scrambled to her feet. “Hi,” was all she could manage.
            “I’m so sorry!” he exclaimed, flushed despite his golden tan. “Wrong room.”
            He started to walk away. “Wait!” Lorelei shouted, a little louder than she had intended. Why did I do that? she chided herself.
            He paused and turned back toward her. He remained silent as he waited to see what she wanted. “Ummm . . . what’s your name?” she finally asked.
            “Darien.”
            “Hi. I’m Lorelei.”
            He smiled. “What a beautiful name.”
            Now it was her turn to blush. “Sorry, I don’t know why I stopped you,” she admitted. “It’s just . . . it’s my first night here, and I don’t know anyone.”
            “I was pretty lost on my first night here also. I haven’t been here that long, but do you want me to show you around a little?”
            “Sure!” she agreed eagerly.
            He laughed. “Why don’t I step out for a moment so you can change? You’ll blend in better if you’re wearing these ridiculous robes,” he gestured to the one wrapped around his waist and thrown haphazardly over one shoulder. He leaned closer. “I can’t stand the things,” he whispered conspiratorially, “but that’s the rules. They certainly don’t leave much to the imagination.” He winked and pulled on the hem that hit just above his knee.
            She laughed with him and tried to will herself to keep looking at his face. “I think they left me some robes somewhere. I haven’t tried them on yet.”
            “I’ll wait in the hall. Let me know if you have any trouble with those pins.” He winked once more before closing the door behind him, leaving Lorelei standing in her room wondering what exactly had just happened.

© Brea Essex 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Brea Essex.
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Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Chapter Three

Chapter One can be found here
Chapter Two can be found here
            “You look lost.”
            The voice came from behind Lorelei as she stared around the grand foyer inside the Temple. She turned to find a short, slim girl with dark hair that cascaded over her flowing white dress. Gold glinted at her waist, and at both shoulders. “I am, a little,” Lorelei admitted.
            The girl smiled. “I’m Delia. I can show you where to go.”
            Lorelei breathed a sigh of relief. “Thanks. I appreciate it.”
            “Why don’t we get your bags to your room. Once you’re settled in, I can show you around.”
            Lorelei hesitated for a moment. “Do I need to report to Calliope first?”
            “Oh, you won’t meet Calliope today,” Delia told her. “Your classes will begin tomorrow. But don’t worry, she already knows you’re here.”
            Delia headed for the stairs and gestured for Lorelei to follow. She felt as though they walked forever. The Temple was huge. Lorelei thought she would never find her way around.
            “So, uhhh . . . Delia?”
            “Yes?”
            “Do I have to wear those . . . robes?” She looked down at her dark jeans and T-shirt.
            “Yes, we all wear similar clothing.”
            Great. “It would have helped if they had told me what to pack,” Lorelei grumbled under her breath.
            “Oh there will be time for you to go into the city. Then your regular clothing will come in handy. We must blend in with the city around us,” Delia informed her.
            Even better. The girl had heard her. Lorelei fell silent and continued to trail after her, still lugging the suitcases. She could have at least offered to carry one, she thought bitterly to herself.
TO BE CONTINUED . . .

Short Story Saturday: "Bemused" Chapter Two

I’m back for Short Story Saturday with Chapter Two of “Bemused”! “Bemused” follows my Muse, Lorelei, as she goes through her training. Chapter One can be found here
Chapter Two
“Are you sure you don’t want me to go in with you?” Eric, Lorelei’s father, asked.
She turned to look at him. “It’s fine, Dad.”
“I really don’t want to leave you here, Lor.”
“I know, but I need to do this. I’ll never know unless I try, right?”
Eric sighed as he got out of the car. He popped the trunk and hauled out Lorelei’s suitcases. He set them on the ground and turned to her. “Last chance to change your mind.”
“I’m not going to change my mind Dad.”
Eric hugged his only daughter tightly. “Call anytime.”
“Okay, I will,” Lorelei agreed.
“If you do change your mind, or if you don’t like it, I’ll come get you.”
“I know Dad.” She let go of her father and picked up her suitcases. As she turned away, a lone tear trailed down one cheek. She squared her shoulders. She was not going to cry. She needed to do this.
As Lorelei approached the Temple of the Muse, she tried to walk slowly so she could take it all in. The white marble façade with its columns and many statues placed throughout the well-tended gardens was breathtaking, but intimidating.
When she reached the door, Lorelei put one suitcase down and turned to wave to her dad. She hauled the door open and held it with her foot while she grabbed her suitcase again. She wrestled herself and her suitcases inside, the door clanging shut with a resounding bang. She stared at the vastness of the inner foyer and grand staircase. She wasn’t sure where she was supposed to go. Where would she find Calliope?
TO BE CONTINUED . . .

Short Story Saturday: Chapter One

Welcome to Short Story Saturday! Each Saturday, I will be posting a chapter of my new serialized short “Bemused”. “Bemused” will follow my Muse Lorelei as she goes through her training. As I mentioned in my post with my blog schedule, ever since I gave my Muse a name, she’s been demanding her own story. In order to keep her happy and cooperating with me, here it is . . .
“O Muses, O high genius, aid me now!
O memory that engraved the things I saw,
Here shall your worth be manifest to all!”
~Dante Alighieri, Canto II of The Inferno
(Anthony Esolen translation, 2002)
Chapter One
“You want to study where?” Lorelei’s father asked in amazement.
“At the Temple of the Muse,” Lorelei told him.
He visibly paled. “Isn’t that all the way in Greece?”
She laughed. “No! They’ve moved it since ancient times. It’s in L.A. now.”
“You want to move to Sin City?”
“Dad, Sin City is Las Vegas, not Los Angeles.” She shook her head. Her dad could be so clueless sometimes.
“Then what’s Los Angeles?”
“It’s just . . . Los Angeles. The City of Angels.”
“Why would the Temple be there?” he asked.
“Well, it’s a creative center. You know, with all the actors and models and designers . . . it seems like a logical place.”
“Why do you want to study with the Muses?”
“I’ve always wanted to inspire people. I love to create and to help others do the same,” she said.
“What would you be studying?”
“I’d be studying epic poetry under Calliope. You know that writing is a passion of mine, especially epics. I think it started when I read Beowulf in middle school.”
“I can’t talk you out of this, can I?”
Her expression softened as she looked at her dad. He seemed so old in that moment. “No, Dad. I’m sorry, but you can’t.”
“I shouldn’t even let you go. You’re only sixteen.”
“I’ve already been accepted. My bags are already packed. You can’t deter me. I know this is what I’m supposed to do.”
He stood and faced her. “I know, Lor. It’s just that you’re my only daughter . . . my only child.” He paused, then sighed. “We can leave tomorrow.”
TO BE CONTINUED . . .