The Lorelei Signal
The Girl in the Tower
Written by Avra Margariti / Artwork by Marge Simon
She teaches herself the art of watercolors,
the wailing of the viola,
the glittering science of stars.
Books pile up in her tower of bricks and magic,
balcony flowerbeds growing herbs for natural remedies,
a balm to her curious soul.
There are those who come to take her away,
lords, princes, and paladins, there to drag her
by her waist-length hair when she resists,
when she denies them the glory of saving
a princess who doesn’t need to be rescued.
They never manage to keep her contained for long,
her smoke-and-mirrors dragon there to scare them away.
Always, she returns to her tower, her art, her knowledge,
her hair growing long enough to caress the floor.
She first spots him through her telescope
on a night made for stargazing and reading poetry
next to a cooling pot of hibiscus tea.
His stead isn’t pure white or velvet black.
A soft gray vapor, held precariously together
by the sheer will of autodidactic magic,
carrying on its back a fidgeting young man.
Will you let me up? he asks at the foot of her tower,
where others have climbed without preamble
up the crawling vines that hug her home.
She agrees, gripped by curiosity
as he swings his legs over her windowsill
and looks around her tower
at all her books, plants, and instruments,
his eyes as wide as planets.
I’ve heard stories about you, he whispers.
The princess who values knowledge, art, and magic
like a dragon with their gold.
She’s ready to defend herself and her chosen life
against this curious stranger, when he drops to his knees before her.
Will you please teach me?
His voice is so raw, it tugs at something deep inside her.
The same part of her that thrummed with yearning
upon spotting this crumbling tower in the woods years ago;
the tower, and the fantastic freedom it offered her.
Looking at what could have been a mirror of her old self,
she tells the young magician,
I’ll teach you everything you need to know.
Avra Margariti is a queer Social Work undergrad from Greece. She enjoys storytelling in all its forms and writes about diverse identities and experiences.
Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Vastarien, Asimov’s, Liminality, Arsenika, and other venues.
You can find her on twitter @avramargariti.