Shades of Grey

New at the Institute for October 26

Fright Fest - Jerrica has stepped up to the plate with International Watch Movies that Scare You Day. Every year we should do that at least once. I like her personal choice, but feel free to leave yours in the comments over there.

(I don't have too many horrifically scary movies reviewed, but you're welcome to check out Movie-Hype for ideas. I took the time to put anything scary and up on top!)

Blournal Entry - Hate-filled comment of the week (Plus, Hyperion's over-reaction response)

Blournal Entry - Fantasy Football Week 8 Preview (I play a team called Dan Dan)

Monkey Barn - Picture of the Day (warning: those without senses of humor (or smell) might be offended, or at least feel left out.....)

Monkey Barn - Lynx of the Day (Ladies: want to pee standing up?)

Monkey Barn - Poem: Breasts Like Martinis (A chick wrote it, so no hate mail)


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[I wrote this story last year, based on that picture, and only later realized it was a Halloween story. I miss this guy; maybe I'll write a follow-up. -Hyperion]



Shades of Grey



Grey lived in the courtyard, abandoned by the King so long ago. Grey was not called such because of his color, as all the inhabitants of the King’s Courtyard had the same ashen marble composition as he, but rather for his humor.

Melancholy was Grey, to the point where few of the other courtyard statues would have anything to do with him. Morose was not even in it. Grey was not a cheerless lad, the sort that takes perverse pleasure in moping towards the ends of bringing down others (you know the type), but rather, he was prone to deep thoughts, and those thoughts often caused his, well, grey disposition.

About the only one who would talk to Grey was Silver. No one else had ever seen Silver, and truth be told more than a few statues had expressed doubts as to this Silver’s existence. Nay—they denied such a being to Grey’s face, did everything but call his claim “lie.” (Such a thing is not done among those in the King’s Courtyard, at least not openly.)

For his part, Grey himself had trouble producing this “Silver” for examination and query from the others. Come to think of it, there was only one spot that Grey had ever even seen Silver.

In the pool.





The pool was not a place the statues liked to go. Unnatural, they called it, full of some foreboding evil. Perhaps it was, but Grey thought (though courtesy would never allow him to say aloud) that the real reason for the hesitancy was the water.

All of those in King’s Courtyard hated the rain, hated how it burned their marble skin, made them cold afterward, to a point where it became anathema, symbol of all that was not good. Grey had worked out the logic of this, and was quite proud for having done so. If the rain was a trial, a burning on the flesh, a pain in the heart, how much greater the suffering might be found in the pool?

So none went.

But Grey never found that to be a valid reason. There was so much in this world to be upset about. Where had the King gone? Why had he gone? Would he return? And that was just this lone place? What of the rest of the world?

With all that, life was simply too short to fear a pool of water, no matter what the others thought. There was certainly no evil presence there that Grey could sense. Point of fact, it was the only place in the entire courtyard where Grey felt any peace. There was a…quiet simplicity around the pool.

And let us not forget Silver.

The first time Grey saw Silver he was so astonished he almost fell in. Leaning over, he had been, to see what might lie in the pool’s depths, when suddenly there was another!

Very much like the other statues was this one in the water, but where others were dull in their coloring he was…sparkly. Grey himself had named the fellow Silver, and for his part the fellow took to it like, well, like a statue in water.

Grey and Silver would talk for long hours at the edge of the pool. Silver told the most amazing stories of what life was like in his world. There was no King’s Courtyard to stay in, but the entire world open to roaming, to taking what one wanted.

Grey listened raptly, somewhat abashed as Silver cheerfully described raiding small villages, carting off the women there. “Some I take right there in the open square. It is an incredible feeling, making a woman yours, taking from her your need.”

“But don’t they object?” Grey asked, incredulous. A little young to have much experience with the female statues of King’s Courtyard, Grey’s experience had thus far been that the women seemed not to ever want to be “taken” anywhere.

“I never thought about it.” Silver said, sounding like he might be repressing a laugh. “It never really came up.”

“Well, maybe you should ask one of the women next time,” Grey offered, trying to be helpful.

This time the laughter was not hidden at all. “That’s bloody well hard to do, lad!” The water rippled with the currents of Silver’s laughter.

“Why would that be?”

“Why, Grey, you poor innocent chump. Don’t you know what happens to a women when a statue puts his cold marble flesh upon her warm skin? When he enters inside to her searing wetness?”

“Searing wetness?” Grey asked, utterly confused. “Is that anything like what it feels like when it rains?”

This time Silver laughed so hard the water churned, bubbles everywhere.

“What happens, lad, is that the woman becomes one of us.”

“Really!” Grey was astounded. His grey humor began to slowly lift from his body.

“Yes. From the ancient times of the First Men it has been prohibited to carve a women’s image out of stone. They have to come from somewhere. In fact, in my land, we have a saying about it.”

“What’s that?”

“Well, you know how the humans say, ‘From ashes to ashes, from dust to dust.’”

“Yes.” Grey said uncertainly. Before the King had gone he said that sometimes, but Grey always thought it was some sort of fireplace folklore, and of course, the fireplace was a very different kind of stone, and not one the statues would associate with as a general rule.

“Well, we have our own saying.” Silver wiggled his eyes expressively.

“Really!” Grey exclaimed. All traces of his melancholy demeanor were now completely gone. “Whatever could it be?”

“Lean closer, lad, I’ll tell you.”

***

The next time Silver saw Grey the melancholy was back, fuller than ever. Moreover, the poor lad now sported a scar on his cheek. A scar! On marble! If Silver had been the type had been the type to care about those other than himself, he would have been most put out.

“Lad!” Silver exclaimed. “Whatever happened to you?”

“Well,” Grey began, hesitantly, as if reluctant to speak of it, “I was so excited by that little phrase that I thought I would tell the others.”

His voice dropped conspiratorially. “They don’t really believe you exist, you know. I thought if I told them what you told me, it would be proof of you, for where else would I get such knowledge.”

Silver’s eyes twinkled, but he kept his face straight. “A sensible plan. How did it work out?”

“Well, I met Elegia in the park area, near the Heart Tree. She’s always been fairly pleasant to me…” Grey’s voice trailed off, and could marble blush, he very well might have.

“Anyway, I told her I had come upon the most extraordinary bit of knowledge. Elegia really likes poems, you know,” Grey told Silver, “and I have always despaired, because Valoren knows so many poems, which he is always reciting to her, and I know none.”

Silver nodded, full understanding. “Go on.”

“So she seemed quite interested to hear my poem, but I got no further than ‘From stone to stone’ when Elegia shrieked and gave me this!”

Silver shook his head ruefully. “Ah lad, I wish I’d have known your plan. I could have warned you.”

“Where did I go wrong?” Grey was truly miserable.

Silver sighed, his eyes sympathetic, an emotion rarely found there. “Lad, my land and yours, they are not so different.

“You mean…?”

“Yes, lad. All the female statues, from Elegia to Honoria, even to the Queen of Thorns, they were all once human women.”

Grey was distraught. “But this means that none of them are ever likely to…” He could not even finish the thought.

“You’re quite right, lad. Other statues, they have ruined your chances with those fine ladies.”

”But whatever am I to do?” Grey asked painfully, in his mind seeing a lifetime without love.

“Well, luckily there are human women. They fill up the slack quite nicely.”

“Do the human women mind?”

“You asked me that before. I keep forgetting to look into it. But I promise you this: whether they mind or not, the experience is still quite enjoyable from your end.”

Grey was unsure. “Is, uh, are you sure that it is right to do such things?”

Silver smiled. “Ah, lad, what you must understand is when it comes to matters of the heart, it is not all black and white, but more….”



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