{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Oxymoronic would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

To Paint A Sky

By Oxymoronic All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy

The heavens an upturned bowl overhead...

Dark is the forest and deep, and overhead, hang stars like seeds of light / In vain, though not since they were sown was bred, anything more bright. / And evermore mighty multitudes ride, about, nor enter in; / Of the other multitudes that dwell inside, never yet was one seen. / The forest foxglove is purple, the marguerite, outside is gold and white, / Nor can those that pluck either blossom greet, the others, day or night.– The Dark Forest, Edward Thomas

The few stars in the night sky winked and glowed fitfully over a snow-laden forest near the mountain. They watched a small figure as it made a slow, winding track across the glittering winter landscape. A little lantern swung beside it, making a tiny pool of light in the darkness. The moon shone off its silvery hair...and the stars glanced off the silver and gold sparkles of the feathers on the being's wings.

The figure was an angel, of course. She was a slim girl who looked like she might be in her prime years, but then, who knew with heaven's messengers? This one looked young, but all the age and wisdom of the cosmos shone from her violet eyes.

As she walked, it became clear where she was heading. A small stone arch stood on the mountainside. It was collapsing to the ground in small increments, but its intricately carved lintel stood unchanged, as if it hadn't quite given up yet. It was surrounded by a faint glow, almost imagined, and if a mortal had looked through it, just out of the corner of his eye, he would have seen a slight haze, like rising heat.

One obstacle still stood between the angel and her goal.

It was the dark forest of storybook tales and horrid imaginings. Tall pines reached for the sky, desperately trying to dethrone the moon. A chill wind blew between their trunks, pushing the heavy burdens of snow off their branches and dumping them unceremoniously to the ground. Pine needles coated the ground thickly wherever the snow had not fallen.

Deep in those dark spaces, shades twisted in unending agony.

They writhed through the trees, keeping to the blackest shadows and silently crying out to the night, helpless souls of every distant corner of the earth. Every waxing and waning of the moon they gathered in the darkest holes and crevices of this forest, and many like it, forgotten and lonely, their bodies stolen, lost, or simply left unburied in the thickets and alleys and fathomless pools. Now they came forward, drawn to the light.

The angel stepped forward too, into the forest. Her voice was at once the clamorous baying of the hunt and the gentle hush of renewing spring rains, beautiful and terrible, and entirely irresistible. With it she called out to all the hopeless wraiths.

“I am the angel of the deep forests and tangled thickets, the endless wood and the green coppice. Follow me.” And with that one short sentence, she began to tread a path through the forest, making for the arch on the mountain.

The spirits continued to silently twist and howl. Why should we go?, they cried among themselves. We are better forgotten and hidden in this deep gloom. It is suited to us. But her voice was overwhelming powerful, beckoning to them. They yearned for the small, lively flame of the gold lantern that the angel was carrying...it held promises. She might take them to a better place than this cold uncaring wood. With a few more silently screeching grumbles, they began to follow.

It was a sight to rival the most amazing and terrifying spectacle. The angel walked in front, encased in her yellow cocoon of light, while behind her it seemed that nothingness itself was following in her footsteps. The trees shivered in their wake, and any animals brave enough to make their home in the forest ran away, gibbering in terror.

After a while they made it through the forest and broke out onto the snow at the foot of the mountain. The arch stood before them, inviting them forward, and the as the angel walked through there was a tangible change in the air. It was...warmer, somehow. The spirits dithered fearfully at the foot of the slope.

"Come," said the angel, "through the arch."

They had come this far, hadn't they?

The spirits started forward, walking slowly through the arch. And then an amazing thing happened.

As each spirit walked through the arch, they were no longer twisting shadows. They took on form and shape, becoming as they had been in life. Peasants, farmers, priests, kings. Slaves, doctors, courtesans, merchants. Male and female. The young and the old. Death did not distinguish between class, age, race or creed.

Their faces were gaunt and hollow-eyed. For most, life had not been kind. And for all, neither had death. They were all faintly transparent; corporeal, but not really alive.

The angel and her retinue continued up the mountain, no longer a column of writhing darkness. A chill wind blew across the side of the rocky slope, but in their half-ghost state they did not feel it. Their torment was spiritual, not material. The angel herself was divine, and divine beings do not succumb to earthly discomforts.

It seemed like years before they reached the summit, and maybe it had been. Time had long since dropped away, for it was only a part of the tangible world, which they were now leaving. The angel stood on the peak, and the lost spirits gathered around her. She reached her arms to the sky, beseeching the Heavens.

"Take these wayward souls," she intoned. "Take them into your divine care and set them on the Path to eternal rest."

For a heartbeat, nothing happened. Then a pure light began to shine, bathing the angel in its ethereal glow. A loud boom rolled across the mountain-top, and the spirits huddled in terror. Then the phosphorescence began to spread, illuminating the summit, and in its now-brilliant radiance the spirits began to fragment, each reverting back to the fundamental particles of which they were made, becoming...as dust.

This celestial dust began to move, blowing around the angel as if caught in a cyclone. It rose above her in a great pillar, rising up to the heavens that called it irrevocably home. As it ascended ever higher it seemed that the sky was suddenly overloaded, glutted on starlight, each particle shining like a sun.

Then it was gone. The angel stood alone on the mountain, staring towards the sky, waiting. Slowly, new stars began to blaze in its dark void, overflowing, each a fresh, newborn flame. She lowered her arms.

The task was done.

All over the world she and her sisters and brothers had gathered the forgotten dead, absolving them of whatever sin had caused them to be lost in the sands of time, leading them, and finally, passing them on into divine care. They had refilled the heavens, bringing new souls to glow brightly over the earth, bringing hope, painting the sky with stars.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Oxymoronic
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

mullikin902: Do not start reading this book unless you have enough time to finish it in one sitting, because you will not be able to put it down! Superlative! Addictive! Deliciously wicked characters you can't get enough of. Impatiently waiting for the sequel!

Hali McGowan: when will the third book be done? I am absolutely hooked. I red the first two books within less than a week. I'm itching for the third one. The plotline is absolutely wonderful. I've never been much for sci-fi ish books. but you've got me hooked on this series

makaylakay: I love love this story! It's written incredibly and well thought-out plot! I love how it's a different twist in fantasy fiction, other then the usual vampire or werewolves. Love the romantics and drawn to the two characters so much already! This book will draw you in within the first chapter and ...

Catherine Kopf: Wow! This was a really great story. I really enjoy reading fantasy, so it didn't take long for me to become invested in the book and its characters like Jacob. I really liked your writing style, and it seemed to flow very well. The descriptions that you used for your world were also created n...

Jade Niday: This book kept me interested and wanting more. I fell in love with the characters and the plot. This book never has a dull moment. It has action, suspense and even love. Can't wait to find out what happens next

SPepper: I had a hard time putting this book down even to go to sleep. The story is compelling and beautifully character driven. I hope author will make this a series.

amarin8388: Bottom Line: I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Science Fiction. During my reading, I thought many times that this would make a good story for a movie. It reminded me of the StarWars movie franchise, not because of the plot but because of the diversity of chara...

daneliacapote116: This was one of my favorites! When you start reading you want to continue I can't wait for the rest of the novel!! The characters where awesome! Everything was great. I encourage you to read this novel, your going to love it it and want to read it more and more !!

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

More Recommendations

Bri Hoffer: I couldn't put it down!! The characters are all incredibly likable, and it's so descriptive you can see, smell, and feel thier surroundings. Great story, and very well written. I cannot wait for follow up stories. there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that I could move right over.

Janna Niemi: This book turned out to be a real page turner and I loved it. It could have gone on a bit longer but the ending was great although it wasn't completely a happy ending. The characters were great and the whole aspect of a whole different world appealed to me very much

maewilde25: I am so in love with this story!!! captivated me till the very end, there wasn't a dull moment. Didn't particularly enjoy the lay out and some bits of info was missing along with how a 21 year old man amassed so much wealth that needed to be explained other than that and a few spelling errors, th...

Laraine Smith: Your story is both sweet and beautiful! You are a true artist! Keep up the great work! I also love the picture that you chose for your book! :)

Erin Crowley: The concept here is really strong, but the execution is definitely lacking. Tenses, grammar, etc are all off, with at least one or more errors per 'Page' on my phone. The writing style is almost broken- sentences move into each other awkwardly, and are filled with an excess of "filler words", lik...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.