42 Maple Contemporary Art Center invited area schools to participate in the unique writing challenge offered with Craig Pursley’s body of work, “Pieces of Dreams”, featured art for the month of January 2015.
Lori Innes, English teacher from Profile School accepted the challenge, and brought her AP Languange and Composition class to the gallery to study Craig’s art, choose a painting, and write a story or poem in 500 words or less. Also in attendance, was Littleton Courier editor Darrin Wipperman. The exercise was featured in a local newspaper. Please check out our Press page to read more about the experience.
Below is one of the many stories generated by Profile high school students as a result of this experience.
Behind the Bulkhead Door
Though the hinges had been oiled for this eventuality, Persephone still wasn’t ready. March and May had gone too soon, as she knew they would, but June? June would stay forever. June would never go, for such perfection could not die. Yet night grew and the moon waned, and June was pulled from her confines. Flowing, the supple dress dripped from her womanly design down to the blessed Earth on which she did not quite step. Persephone watched her depart. Salty drops slid down Persephone’s fingers, pressed so hard against porcelain cheeks, down her wrists, slender and white, into the parched cloth of her frock. Her sash heaved while she wept, as she slipped on the pomegranate ring and moved to take June’s place in the living Earth. Behind her the bulkhead doors closed. In the morning all that was left of June would be a faint mist fallen to the ground and a glistening on the hinges.
Earth trembled as it took Persephone back into its arms. Grass above her waved farewell at the shiver, yet the bulkhead locked and the tunnel filled with unyielding stones behind her at every step she took. The passage slanted steeply into the soil like a rabbit’s borough, but less well-lit. By now she knew it well enough that her husband never bothered lighting torches for her (or perhaps this was because he knew her well enough).
Further the young woman walked into the dead, musty soil. She wrinkled her nose, for the smell of life long passed never appealed to her. Her costume, worn so well above ground, disintegrated in the air, and tattered bits fell from her shoulders to show lithe and freckled arms. Torn snippets of the dress fluttered down behind her. Persephone was soon bare.
Though the dress had been lifted, she felt a new anger descend. Was it not enough that she should crawl into this stinking crevasse?
“I swear to Gods, Hades, if I don’t get something to cover my skin in the next ten seconds, I’m going to have headaches for a month when I get down there!”
Her shout reverberated down the tunnel, off the rocks behind her and rang sharp in her ears. Before the sound died, before she had ample chance to count, stormy accoutrement appeared around her body and shielded the beauty’s skin from cold and whatever prying eyes may lurk in dank tunnel walls. Persephone smiled and drew the garments close to her chest.
Ahead, the end loomed. Ahead, there was light. Persephone went to it, watched it grow ever larger as she pulled her billowing skirts high and flew across the ground. She reeled and stumbled, stopping just before the tunnel’s edge. Her trappings dribbled over the lip, and Persephone watched as they swam and whirled in the currents of the pit. The bottom was far off. Stiff rocks, staunch, piled high, blocked any retreat.
The fanciful woman peered over the edge. Tearing off her white plastic bracelet, she leapt.