It floated down the long staircase like a feather from the wings of an angel. All the way down to the banister three stories below where I was now standing. I had complained of feeling ill and had made my excuses. I had hung back from the rest of the tour group fully intending to climb the forbidden staircase. I had watched the veil fall and now held it’s creamy silken contours in my i hands as I slowly started my ascent.
I could hear the voices of the others in the distance becoming more and more muffled as my heart began to pound louder and louder. Then suddenly I heard a new voice. Someone was singing … a woman … in a strange language. It wasn’t English and definitely not Turkish.
It was so lovely … so …. mournful. I followed the song to the very top of the staircase and then it stopped. I found myself in a long corridor with doors on either side which I surmised were the quarters of the concubines. I tried each one in turn but all were locked . I was halfway down the hall when I again heard singing. It was coming from the door at the end on the left. I turned the iron door handle and found myself in a room beautifully furnished with it’s original decor untouched almost as if it were still occupied.
I sat myself down on the four poster bed and peered through the canopy at the painting on the wall. The painting was of a woman all in white wearing the same veil that I still held in my hands. There was no face but I had the sense of a strong presence in the room with me. The song continued and and drew me further into the painting.
Now I could see a face. The most delicate face I had ever seen. The emerald eyes seemed to be staring straight at me. The long raven hair danced about her shoulders and her lips moved as if to speak. I moved toward the painting and as I touched it everything changed. The room grew smaller, the light faded and I felt the brush of a gentle hand on my shoulder as the woman stepped out of the painting and into my world. She moved past me toward the door , opened it and was gone. I tried to follow but …
© Renee Dallow ( Hybiscus Bloom ) 23/7/2013