MAHOGANY: Turn By Sharon Collins

Week 5 Word: MAHOGANY
Word Count 497
Sharon Collins

“To everything, Turn, Turn, Turn, There is a season, Turn, Turn, Turn…” She sings softly as the gantry gathers her into the Minotaur’s lethal embrace. Suspended in the center of the massive machine, Ariadne can no longer see its unblinking red eyes. However, she can hear its jaws begin to flex and chew, and although she cannot feel its radioactive fangs, she knows they are biting deep as they circle her, once a heartbeat. Limbs and head restrained, she allows her mind the freedom they are denied and muses, ‘A time to be born, a time to die…A time to laugh, a time to weep…The lyric of my life…To everything, Turn, Turn, Turn, and suddenly she is, is turning and twirling her terror away.

She perches, knees drawn to her chin, a bright canary of a child, on Granny’s piano stool. Antique, it looks ancient. Its mahogany saddle burnished smooth by endless repetitions of Chop Sticks and Fur Elise. A century’s worth of behinds have balanced on its spindly legs, surprisingly sturdy despite their Victorian ornateness. The stool fascinates her utterly, especially the feet. “Why are the birdies holding glass marbles?” she quips.

“They aren’t birdies, sweetie; they are Griffins,” Granny explains. “Scary monsters from the Olden Days, half lion and half eagle. They steal naughty girls away when they don’t practice their scales.” Ariadne is glad she isn’t old enough to practice scales and continues to spin, causing the Griffin to squawk with each turn, turn, turn. She giggles all the way up.

“Don’t spin that fool thing too far; it’ll come loose…” caution comes from the kitchen. She won’t, the stool will warn her with a wobble; she knows. She doesn’t want to knock out her tooth, or put out her eye, as Granny fears. Chubby fingers stretch and catch at the keys, spinning her round. Random C’s and B’s, and occasional F-sharps, add their voices to the Griffin-squawk of the iron screw as it raises her higher, Turn, Turn, Turn, A time to build up, a time to break down…Head tilted back she is mesmerized as Cape Cod curtains exchange places with dark wood paneling. Spray starch and Lemon Pledge, Light and Dark, a twirling kaleidoscope of sight and smell. Dizzy with delight, she does not notice the wobble. The Griffin, telescoped to its extreme, teeters, then topples. Tender temple and brass claw collide; the light stays dark. The turning stops.

Ariadne blinks, the delight is gone but the dizziness remains. It is good that she is still restrained as the gantry withdraws her from monster’s mouth. Another smiling uniform appears; he is handsome and gentle as he attends her. “My name is Theseus, but everyone calls me Theo. I hear we share mythically-minded mothers. When you are ready, I’ll take you back to admitting. It’s a maze down here; a person could get lost for for days if she doesn’t have a spool of thread…” he adds with a wink.

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