Illustrated short story | "Aurora"
Björn stood on the edge of his universe. Right where he was, the door lintel marked the fine line separating his whole life from the rest of the world. Outside, there was light. Dim, yes, but it illuminated nature nonetheless. Inside, the bubbling sound of the coffee on the Moka pot filled the space. So did the smell of it, and Björn felt at ease. For a second.
Standing on the wooden floor, his figure projected a long shadow. His bear-like, ample back tightened the fabric of his black winter jacket. The hood covered his head. The concerned frown on his face gave away the heaviness of his thoughts. He stood there, unbothered, as the boiling liquid started to evaporate. The shadow grew longer still.
Just as any strong-willed man would do during a storm, Björn stood there, looking at his hands. The hard work had roughened them, as the pain had done with his character. His hands used to have a perfect steadiness; now they shook, they trembled. Almost imperceptible, but he could notice it, and it was repulsing. He hated it so much.
It was the absolute absence of light that pulled Björn from the abyss of his contemplations. His muscles were sore from the stillness. The coffee, long gone. He took a step and exited the cabin, then sat on the wooden stair. He felt a pinch of excitement, of hope. Could this be the night he would stop being alone?
"How are you? How's everything going?", they would ask. And he always replied that he was fine, that life hadn't been easy on him but he had endured, he had conquered. But each time, as he answered, he could feel his chest tightening, the fierce grip of fear crushing his throat. His breathing, so shallow his lungs didn't fill, and he would think about death.
Every minute of every day, the memories of the past clouded Björn's mind, or rather stormed it. Always circling around, accumulating, and then pouring heavy all over his routine. He knew he couldn't stand lying anymore, and so he took off to the mountains, to his father's cabin in the woods. There, he hoped to find solace in the silence. With nothing but a typewriter, his beloved Moka pot, his hunting gear, and some canned goods, he left.
He was chasing a myth, an old legend, his last resort. Aurora borealis.
When the lights of dawn appeared on the far horizon, Björn knew for sure. He got up in a rush, put his winter boots on, and went outside. Oh, the smell of the snow, lingering in the air. This would be the day. The night. He believed so. An energetic rush toured his body, lightening his mood, and it prompted him to go for a hunt. Perhaps he could get a rabbit or two for dinner.
Hours later, carrying the products of his hunting efforts, Björn returned to the cabin. He stepped on the wooden stair that led to the door just in time to see the last remnant of daylight fade away. The different shades of deep blue tinted the skies. His heart started beating faster, as he stood on the edge of his universe, facing the snowy hills. His hands opened in an unconscious gesture; he was ready to let go. The dead rabbits dropped on the floor. He didn't even listen to the sound of it.
"Bjjjöorrnnn, bjjjöorrnnn, bjjjöorrnnn..."
The wind blew strong, carrying a white noise that reverberated through his core. It called his name, and he was willing to listen. Björn took a step forward and closed his eyes.
The winter breeze stroke his face. It was about to become a blizzard, but he didn't care. The air grew colder with every second that passed; not that time still existed for him.
"Openyoureeeyes...", screeched the breath of the sky, and as he did so, the Northern Lights lit up the mountain. They started a dazzling dance; particles of the Sun, attracted by the magnetic field, moved by it. Overwhelmed, Björn couldn't help but close his eyes again. "Aurora...", he whined; a pained tone on his voice, a longing at last expressed.
The coldness of the air penetrated Björn's thick clothes, his skin, his bones. The words it carried reached his heart, calming him, slowing his beats. His eyes were still closed, and he felt the locks of hair of a woman graze his cheek. One of them even caressed his bottom lip. A sensation that resembled five delicate fingers touched his chest and toured his multiple scars. Björn fell to his knees, almost forced to seat on the snow. He felt bare, exposed. Surrendered. "Aurora, Aurora..."
The next morning, a timid layer of snow covered the scene. A solid, human-shaped mound was noticeable under it, laying next to the wooden stairs of the small house. The cabin in the woods stood quiet; noiseless, empty, abandoned. Calm.
If you'd like to hear the one-hour soundtrack I listened to while writing this story, here it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
I'd like to thank you for reading this. I hope my words resonated with you in some way. This story is entirely fictional, yet I acknowledge that there's often a blurry, trembling line between fiction and reality. After all, what can be more chimerical than the reality we live in?
Sources of the images:
📷 by @warrkin. (Thank you so much for allowing me to showcase your beautiful work!).
Images of the paintings belong to me.
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Thank you! It's very much appreciated :)
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This is a beautiful story, @beautifulwreck, full of deep feelings that reach the reader completely. You also describe very well the sensations, the snow, the smell of the coffee, the wooden floor, the colours of the sky.
Your images are beautiful, both narrative and graphic.
Thank you for the beautiful text!
Thank you for your words of appreciation! I'm glad all the images and sensations that I wanted to project came through. It's so good that you enjoyed the story and the illustrations!
Thank you so much for posting in our community beautiful and well told story @beautifulwreck.
Such deep pain must be expressed in time at the risk of all life ceasing to matter.
Thank you for your comments on fellow writers' posts.
I appreciate very much having a space such as The ink Well community to explore my creativity and share my works of fiction. It's also very valuable to be able to enjoy and support other fellow writers' posts!
Thank you for your encouragement and words of appreciation.
You are welcome. By the way, be sure to add your link to a comment on the prompt post.
Oh I forgot to do so! On it, thanks!!
Moving on is such a complicated process. Pretending to be stronger as you get hardened by life's constant demand of living. But, at some point, you'd have done everything required. That time of nothing happening forces a reflection often. The steady hands now shake.
Lovely story and illustration.
Hi Amir! It's so good to have you back in my comment section. I gotta admit that I've neglected yours a bit too. I've been working from my phone and it's... well, it's a pain in the ass. But I've been reading them, every time I upvote one means that I read it and laughed my arse off. Your sense of humor is great.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I'm not sure I completely grasp the concept of letting go, but I try. I'm glad you liked the story as well as the illustrations. I poured my heart onto them.
Regarding the first part, don't sweat it. If we don't happen to write/post/read at the same time, there is no way to find each other unless with a manual search which can be neglected in the back of our minds.
That's really the annoying thing about it. It is realized suddenly like you suddenly move on from hurt to not hurt, there's no manual for it. There are things you could do, but essentially, it is just something that seems to happen to you not by you if that makes any sense.
Yeah, I guess you're right, but I still enjoy taking the time to manually check the latest content of my favorite authors, whenever I'm able to.
It does make sense, but I'm a woman of action and I hate having to wait for things to happen to me, not by me. Hahaha I'm quite impatient and restless 😬
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I am not sure if it's the remnants of a flu but this story made me shiver. Beautiful.
P.S. If only he wouldn't have worn Uggs, he might have survived that night.
What? Are uggs a bad thing? I might have gotten lost in translation hahaha
Thank you, Vincent! I appreciate your comment, and you.
Abraço! Get better soon.
In my opinion uggs are 'ug'-ly. A lot of people tend to like them though :<)
I don't think Björn would be one of them though unless he was into fashion haha!
Oh hahaha I actually agree with you, not the best choice of footwear for my Björn. I was going for something a little bit more manly, tough, bear-like. Hahahaha No sexism intended!
Changed the wording so it would fit better into the story. Thank you for pointing it out!
Wow! I didn't expect you to actually change that word, just for me.
It was the perfectionist in me talking and this is just that added percent towards perfection.
I really appreciate it that you take up on my advice. Thanks for valuing my feedback, amiga:^)
Un grande abrazo!
Wow... I guess he found his peace. If only he could have lived to enjoy it!
What a powerful story, thank you for sharing it ❤️
Yes, peace comes in many, many forms. Wherever he is, I hope my Björn is enjoying some peace. With "Aurora". He believed, and he achieved.
Thank you for your word of appreciation and for taking the time to read and leave a comment!
It was my honor, and I hope to see your next short story posted in The Inkwell soon ❤️
I will also love to comment you for this awesome write up...you took us on a journey that was worth the while.. nice piece dear.
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the story as well as the illustrations.
What a beautifully-weaved piece you've presented; well-written. It took me there.
Thank you for this splendid piece beautifulwreck, and for the playlist you linked.
I'm happy that my words resonated with you. It wasn't easy to write from a masculine perspective, but I wanted to give it a try.
Björn is one of my favorite characters so far; an admirable masculine figure: strong, capable, almost unbreakable. But he came to be in need of his counterpart to balance life and its inherent darkness. There's so much I haven't said about him that I might do some kind of prequel.
I'm glad you enjoyed this story, as well as the playlist. I appreciate you taking the time to read it and to comment!
Challenging oneself brings rise to development, brings success and failure. In this case you achieved the former.
I think a prequel is a good idea, it allows you to further explore the man and understand some of his feelings and motivations.
Nice work BW.
Ghad that was some amazing word play, I love it! and as always I like your paintings!
Bjorn... reminds of the Norwegian sailors I use to sail with, ghad, all the profanities I learned from them 🤣
You used to sail with Norwegian sailors?? You gotta tell me more!!
Bring all the profanities aboard.
Sometimes I fall in love with my characters, male or female. I think I kinda fell for Björn a little. Perhaps I'll make a prequel story about him so I don't have to say goodbye just yet.
I'm glad you enjoyed the story, the illustrations, and the word-play! Thank you for your comment, I appreciate it very much.
well, what to tell...
The Salvation Army (Protestant Church) gave me my start as a sailor... my career started at Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Skipsrederi AS as the lowest class sailor.
Thing that is most memorable sailing with Norwegians is drinking... I hate weekends, everyday is Monday on a ship but ghad! Saturday is like raining alcohol 12+ beer per person is like minimum, that is aside from the strong ones... I actually needed to learn skills like singing (yes, I sing), waiting tables, cooking something for the drinkers, cleaning, etc., just to survive every Saturday and not get totally wasted... and also be sober enough to work the next day. 😭
there are times when a bunch of full grown men dance happily butt naked (but dont tell anyone🤫) and of course we don't talk about it in the morning.
Well, from then till now I still sign my contracts under the Norwegian Flag or I am still under a Norwegian company (my company now is Bergesen) but it has been a long time since I sailed with Norwegians.
Ghad, kinda jealous with your skill... I can't narrate a female characters, I can make a story but narrate the opposite sex (you did Bjorn wonderfully). It's like I can't express it fully or It is not what I want... I am also thinking of tying loose end with my 'demon queen' but well, can't narrate her 😭 guess I'll just have to settle with a story.
It is my pleasure to read such a wonderful piece of literature 😁
Okay, this "sailing with Norwegian sailors" demands a post, IMHO. Be sure to tag me if you decide to go for it! Sounds very interesting and you must have great stories. If you don't remember everything, well, there's always fiction ;)
I could help you find a voice for your female character if you want, by reading your drafts and telling you what I think. If you're interested in pursuing that creative exercise.
The fact that I managed to narrate Björn's perspective I owe it to the brilliant male writers I've come across in my life. I've soaked in their thoughts, life experiences, and manners of expression, and, well here's the result.
Ghad, If I am desperate enough.. to go back there, and tell that story... I'll be sure to tag you 🤣
This would be great! I'll work on the draft right away! Can't thank you enough!
Ghad, for some reason I could never understand females 🤣, but for some reason I just want the demon queen to have a real character of her own not borrowed.
Anyway thank you again! 😁
Trully beautiful, it pulled me in till the end!
Getting over is one of the biggest processes and one of hardest to overcome. A Very lovely and true reflection back on ourselves. So true, we need to hear and listen ourselves more often.
Thank you for sharing :)
I'm very glad you enjoyed the story! Your photograph suited it perfectly, with the visible cabin and all. Thank you for your kind words, I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment.
Sun and brightness made it look like a cabin :) I did find one later that day. You have done an amazing job, wonderful story with an awesome name, where did you find Bjooorn? hehe