MELDIZAR First published on this website on July 14,2010 as a short story by L.A.Steel
I recall the entry way and the stone stairs. I remember the heavy bark trees surrounding the doorway. The cold , damp air seeped out as I opened the heavy wooden door. I stepped into the doorway as the dank smell of mildew and rot overwhelmed me. I backed out of the doorway onto the stone stairs, wondering if I should venture further in. The sun began to break through the heavy mist as its rays searched the hallway of the abandoned house.
Several odd insects scrambled away from the sunlight, as it shone on the old wooden floorboards. I began to enter the doorway as the wood floorboards creaked and cracked beneath my feet. As I stood in the hallway I noticed a room on the right of the hallway. It was vacant except for a small wooden chair. The single window in the room had a aged yellow blind pulled halfway down. There was a small stone fireplace that hadn’t been used in many years. Damp leaves and debris laid in the base of the fireplace. Down the hallway I could see light peering into the hallway from another room. I carefully walked towards it as the floorboards creaked beneath me. At the end of the short hallway I turned into the lighted room. It was a kitchen, with old wooden counters and cabinets. As I entered I felt a strange presence as though I had just disturbed someone, or something. I felt I was about to meet the spirit who occupied the house.
I sensed a kind feminine energy, seemingly amplified as the sunlight shown through the kitchen window. Its warmth radiated around the room, as though the spirit was moving from one side of the room to the other. I stood still and waited silently to sense if the spirit would acknowledge me. A red cardinal perched on the outside sill of the kitchen window, and peered into the room to watch me. I said hello to the spirit and asked if it would speak to me. I sense a movement in the air though the window was closed and I felt no breeze penetrate the room. I sensed the energy coming closer as if to acknowledge my presence.
As I concentrated upon the light beaming onto the floor I spoke softly and asked who the spirit was. The name Meldizar came into my mind, and I said it out loud. The name then came to me again and I said out loud, “Are you Meldizar?” I heard only silence for several moments, and then I heard the word Yes. I then saw a ghostly image bathed in sunlight standing in front of the window. At first I saw an outline of her hair shrouded in light, and as I watched closely I could make out the image of her head and shoulders, but her face was still invisible. I then heard another word in my mind, Welcome. At that moment the red cardinal took flight and I heard the spirit ask,”Who are you?” I did not give my name, but replied,”I am a seeker of beauty, a photographer and artist.” There was no reply, except for a slight movement of the air. Then I heard her say, ” What brought you to my home?” I replied, “I do not know, I was drawn here by curiosity.” As I looked for her outline near the window I could see more of her as she appeared in a white knee length dress, with a delicate floral pattern . I told her that I could see her, and that she was beautiful. I could see her smile as I heard her say, “Why do you think I am beautiful? How can you see me? I have been dead over 50 years.” I told her that I could see her and feel her energy.
She replied,” You are a strange man. Why would you wish to be friends with a spirit, who seeks only silence and to be alone?” I told her I desired to seek beauty in all forms, and I believed her to be beautiful. As I turned to the window I saw her face. She was a woman in her forties, pale and thin, but without blemish. Her figure was hidden beneath her dress, as she moved further away from me, and away from the sunlight. I asked her not to move out of the light, so I could fully see her. She continued to move away from the window and into the darker corner of the room. I then heard her say, “I am not beautiful , nor was I ever a beautiful woman. I waited my entire life for someone to say I was beautiful. My mother died when I was very young, and my father was a cruel man, who kept me here as a prisoner my entire life. When he died I did not have the courage to leave.I know I am dead ,but I can not leave this place. If I am beautiful why are you the only one to have ever told me?” I told her that life could be cruel, however beauty was something only felt by someone and believed in. She replied, “I have hidden away from the world my entire life, for fear of being mocked, or ridiculed. My father kept me in this house until he passed away, I lived here another 20 years alone. I died by accident not far from here as I tripped on a root in the orchard and fell to the ground hitting my head. I never woke up. My body still remains unburied in the orchard. You are the first person I have seen since my father’s death. This house is so remote, no one knows it is here.
Her face became clearer and almost girl like as she stared at me from across the room. You must leave, she said. I need no one, I will remain here. You have come 50 years too late. Leave me and return to your world.” I told her that I was sent to free her from her prison. I was brought to her by her need to be free and cross over into the light of eternity. I asked her how she lived so long without meeting anyone. She said she had many animal friends, and an imaginary friend who she spoke with every day. When she died she never spoke to her friend again, though she waited for all these many years since her death. I asked her what her friends name was , and she said, “Meldizar”. I asked her why her friend had such a strange name. She said it was the name her friend told her her name was. I asked if she was older to which she replied that she was the same age and that they had been together for as long as she can remember.
As her expression saddened by Meldizar’s memory, I asked her if she had ever seen her. She replied that she had seen her every day. I asked what she looked like. She was silent for a moment and I could she her faint expression begin to soften and smile. She said, Meldizar was beautiful, and funny. She had blonde hair and blue eyes. She never left me, and I don’t know why she left me when I died. I told her that perhaps Meldizar was her, but she became angry and said ,No Meldizar was too beautiful and too funny and too perfect to be her. I asked her why she thought Meldizar was her friend. She replied, because she liked me and I loved her, she was much smarter than I was and did everything perfect. Even my father would laugh at her and tell me I should be like her, but Meldizar hated my father and never spoke to him, or showed herself to him. I was her only friend and she was my only friend. I had not asked the spirit what her name was, and she never offered to tell me, until I finally asked her. She turned away from me and retreated into the shadows of the room and remained silent. I asked her again what her name was , when she turned to me and said, I don’t have one.
I asked her why she did not have a name, to which she replied, she was never given one. Her father never told her her name and said she didn’t deserve one. I asked her if I could name her what name would she like most to have. She paused for several moments and said, Meldizar, I would like to be called Meldizar. I asked why she chose her friends name over any other name in the world? She replied , “Because she is the only name I know. And if I have her name then I might be just like her, perfect and beautiful. I then told her I would call her Meldizar and one day write a story about our meeting. She emerged from the shadows and stood before me. She then smiled warmly and said, I do not know your name. I told her that I did not have one. I asked her what name she would give me, to which she smiled and said, Friend. I nodded my head in agreement and said, “Yes I like that name. I am your Friend.”
Her entire body suddenly emerged into visible form. Her features were exactly how she described Meldizar. A beautiful and radiant feminine spirit, emboldened by my attention and surprise. I said,”You are beautiful Meldizar. May I take a picture of you?” She said no one had ever taken a picture of her when she was alive, but she would be very pleased if I could take one of her. I took my digital camera out of my pocket and focused on her form. As I looked into the viewfinder I could see nothing. When I looked at her without the camera I saw her standing before me. I took several pictures hoping the lens would capture part of her energy and essence, but it did not. What I saw could only be seen by my mind’s eye, but I never forgot her, and created a painted portrait of her several days later from the image I remembered.
She remained still as she looked at me, while I took her picture. She could tell I was not pleased with the result, and said,” Do you see me in the picture? What do I look like? Am I as beautiful as you say I am?” I looked at her as she stood before me the late morning sun was beaming through the kitchen window behind her, creating a translucent image of divine magnificence. Tears came to my eyes as I believed I was seeing her soul transcend into the beam of light. She waited for my reply,until I said, “You are beautiful Meldizar.” She smiled as if all the sunlight in the world were in her eyes, and then said ,”Thank you.” At that moment she vanished into the sunbeam and I knew she was free and gone from this world forever.