For Esme, With Light and Shadow – Story #10 of Deal Me “IN” 2016

 The Card: ♦8♦ The Eight of Diamonds
About The Suit: ♦♦♦Diamonds are my suit for “contemporary” Indiana Authors.
The Story: “Shadowed” from the “Defy the Dark” anthology. I purchased my copy at Bookmamas Bookstore in Irvington (Indianapolis).

The Author: Christine Johnson. A Hoosier native, you can learn more about her and her writing at her website: which is also where her picture (included in the photo collage at left) is from. 🙂

legacy project seal of approval 2What is Deal Me “IN” 2016?  For an explanation of the Deal Me In challenge, see the sign up post. For a look at my deck of cards/story roster see here. Since 2016 is my home state’s bicentennial, in this year’s edition of my annual Deal Me In challenge, I’m reading only stories that have an Indiana “connection”of some kind.  Deal Me “IN” 2016 is also now officially endorsed as a Legacy Project by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission!

“Shadowed” by Christine Johnson

Okay, so this blog post’s title is not really the title of the story I read this week. It’s not everyday, however, that one encounters the name “Esme.” One other time I’ve encountered it, literarily speaking, was in the famous J.D. Salinger story, “For Esme, With Love and Squalor.” Another was the protagonist of this story, a princess afflicted by a cruel and unusual curse…

For reasons that would be too spoiler-y to elaborate, the Princess Esme cannot be in the presence of direct light. Sunlight, moonlight, firelight, and even torchlight are all very dangerous to her. The appearance of her shadow puts her in grave peril. The consequences of this are as you might imagine – she is kept indoors and cloistered by her family. Sometimes in the top room of her castle’s tower. It is from this lofty vantage point that, on a “mostly cloudy” day, she sneaks a peek at the festival unfolding below, which includes a jousting tournament, and is smitten with a young, fiery-haired knight, Rylan. So smitten, in fact, that she carelessly fails to notice the sun is making an appearance. When it does, it unleashes her shadow and launches this story, which relates her efforts to escape the curse.

Will the efforts of Rylan, her friend Margaret, and the town’s old witch be enough to break the curse? With what weapons would one fight a shadow, anyway? The story provides the answer to one of these questions. Whether or not the other is answered, I believe, is open to multiple interpretations, and I liked it that way. 🙂 Interested in reading this story? Look for it at your local bookstore or library, or even online, where a kindle version is available at Amazon:

Where else have you seen the name Esme in literature or in real life? Also, have you encountered any great “shadows” in literature? I can immediately think of one case in a prior year’s Deal Me In challenge, when I read Mary Williams Freeman’s “The Shadows on the Wall” and I’m hopeful, but wonder if alert readers noticed that I even found a playing card at google images that included shadows?! 🙂

When reading this story, to help picture the events described, I found myself drawing upon my childhood memories of the “Classics Illustrated” comic book edition (See below – I still have my copy too!) of Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, which featured knights and a damsel in a tower, in that case the lovely Rebecca…

Next up for Deal Me In? The Seven of Diamonds. Which I have assigned to Clint Smith’s story “What Happens in Hell Stays in Hell.”