Tue | Jan 22, 2019

SHORT STORY - The closet lover

Published:Sunday | January 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Nichola Beckford, Contributor

Moving to a new home wasn't my idea, it was my mother's. I loved my old house. And on top of that, the room in which I was supposed to be didn't even have a decent closet. It had not double doors, but a single brown door that opened into seriously limited closet space.

One rod on the left for hunging things, everything else was just empty square, no drawers, no shelves, no nothing. Disappointment forbids I describe further. On New Year's morning, bleary-eyed and hangover after the party, I opened the closet door to take out my blouse ... and there he was, looking back at me with strange curious confusion when the light hit him.

I screamed. The sound barrelled through the house and what happened next made my blood run cold and my skin crawl. In my fright I tossed every throwable object at this boy, only they went right through him.

As if something tied me down, I was not able to move. I stood frozen in fear staring at the silhouette that stood in front of me, staring back at me from my shadowy closet.

Then it happened.

He spoke. "I've held you in place for one reason only, after which I care not what becomes of you. I must know ... who are you?''

His voice was gentle and quiet, yet eerie. His head slightly bowed, he narrowed his stare on me and his eyes that had been dark brown suddenly flashed golden. My answer came without my approval. "Kimberly Maze.'' I then slapped my hand to my mouth, unable to comprehend how or why I'd answered.

"Are you the one who will set me free?'' he asked. He had such a strong Zulu accent that his words were almost indiscernible.

I couldn't speak, so he continued.

"Are you the one who will free me at last? You must be, how else could I have appeared before you? For I am wretched to have been cursed into a feather and can never be free from it unless she comes. You are she, are you not? How else could you see me? Answer,'' he demanded, his voice rising to rumble across the room.

"F ... feather?'' I stuttered.

"Yes,'' he said. "I blow wherever it blows, the wind is my greatest enemy, it has lost me for many centuries. Lost me from her. How is it I have come to be before you, I know not. Are you ...'' his gold eyes flashed as he looked me over with burning intensity "are you the wind changer? Is my time of punishment now over, will you give me back to my love?''

It felt like there were boulders in my throat, but I croaked out. "I don't know what you're talking about.''

What was happening to me? Why couldn't I do anything? Why couldn't I move? I didn't believe in ghosts, that one was standing in front of me now had to be some weird dream.


"I'm not afraid of ghosts, you don't scare me,'' I said. That was usually the way I woke up from nightmares.

"I am no ghost.'' With that he stepped from the closet into the light. Then I couldn't take my eyes off him.

Golden eyes beaming, barefooted, half-naked apparition, he only wore a loincloth. His body was lean, dark mahogany and he had glossy, jet black dreadlocks to his waist.

He was gorgeous.

"I live as much as you,'' he said. ''I have been sealed away for 40,000 years. During that time, I have not seen another living person and none have seen me for I can only be seen by she who is to release me. Unfortunately, it seems to be you.'' He scowled at me then, at my legs and chest. "So puny and pale, you are not my type, but you will have to do, 40,000 years makes one less ... critical. I must take this chance. Let us get it over with then.''

"Get what over with?'' I asked.

"To be free, I must lay my lips upon the force which changes.''


"To set me free, you must kiss me.''

"Excuse me?''

"Don't bother,'' he said the second I looked to the door. "You won't be able to resist me, and I do not care to explain who I am and why I cannot be resisted.''

Kiss!!? My mind screamed as he walked slowly, closer to me. Before I knew it he was right up to me so that air could barely pass between us. I started, shocked at what I suddenly felt.


Heat was rising from his body as if he were naked fire. He smelt like honey and oak and he was tall, the top of my head made the centre of his chest. He took my chin and reflex kicked in. I bolted, rather, I thought I did, but no, he was still in front of me, wrapping his hands around my waist.

"Let me go!'' I shoved, wriggled, kicked for his groin. Finally, I was true to my usually forceful self, the self that others often feared. But he held on, his next move locked my chin between his fingers. As if he didn't hear me he said. "Might as well do this as if you mean something to me.'' And then ... ... I felt it.

Soft, lavender, another kind of fire than the one rising from his body.

Sensation stirred my blood then stopped my heart, and for a long time, I stopped existing, except for at that one location he kissed and kissed and kissed and then ... he stopped, let go of me, stepped back.

My eyes opened to find him surrounded by a bright light, tremendous, shimmering black wings extended from his back and a sly smile on his lips.

"Thank you,'' he said. "At last, I am free.''

I could only stare, struck stupid, mouth agape until he said.

"Goodbye.'' He disappeared before my eyes, just vanished and his voice filled my empty room "For your knowledge, you were sweet to kiss, I will find it hard to forget your lips.''

I fell to my knees, shaking all of a sudden from the shockingly hideous grief that flooded me. I felt like I'd just lost the one person I loved in this world. I couldn't even see the ground because tears blinded me. Most frightening was the strong nostalgic anger that crept out of my gut. Somehow ... I knew this love-stealing beast. And I knew this wasn't over, no matter the world he was in. I dashed my hand across my eyes and there, in the very centre of my closet floor, remained one solitary black feather.