The Lady of the Lake

In the silence of the night, all Will could see were the dark waves on the water. All he could hear were the leaves of the horse-chestnut rustling in the breeze.

And then came a scuttling. Softly, from the other side of the lake, the sound of insects’ legs clicking, scuttling. A reflection on the water began to glow dimly, and its corresponding cloud in the sky the herald of la luna, mighty Diana, the queen of heaven.

She was the full moon; she came out of the darkness and lit up the whole night. The Lady of the Lake, with an aura of soft white light, in her own mystical spotlight; her gait so graceful, she did not walk, she rolled, like the moon rolling out from behind the clouds.  Her face, her skin glowing silvery blue in the moonlight; her dress, rippling like the water on the lake. This was no ordinary dress. It rippled because it was alive.

Will’s eyes widened. Her dress was being made even as she moved, made by a thousand tiny spiders that ran and span and restitched each gossamer strand in every moment. Spiders leaped from leaf to leaf, spinning wondrous threads that they softly offered to the breeze, to be blown across her skin, draping her body in momentary, light scarves of linen, which flew away and behind to be lost forever. Her spiders, her gymnastic grandmothers, knitted their webs, drop-one, pearl-one, sending them gliding and falling and melting away from her gentle curves. With every gracious forward step, she snapped those tender threads, and a thousand spiders more would spin more illustrious silks in which to clothe her. Sometimes a shoulder, a wrist revealed; sometimes a calf, an ankle, a hip – but all the time she flowed onwards, in complete peace, her gaze unmoving, trusting that her tiny, attentive tailors would never lay her bare. Like sea-kelp waving under the water, her long, dark hair curling, twirling up and out in soft strands, spiralling from her head, lifted by the supple thread of her eight-legged entourage.

The pale moon shone on the water and her reflection rippled in the gentle waves, shivering like the hairs on Will’s neck as he watched, bewitched. She came to the edge of the lake and did not stop; but her spiders, her land-locked ladies-in-waiting, could not follow, and so the Lady of the Lake slipped silently out of her dress and into the dark water.

This is an extract from ‘The Amulet’, the book I am currently working on. 


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