"Can you hear me?"
I stood beneath the withered trees and the climbing castle towers, and I was here again to find him. Looking to my right, I saw a pathway winding through a thin cluster of trees. It was always a place that looked like madness. My soul gravitates toward darkened pathways, lonely sidewalks and avenues between churches and two-story southern homes left vacant and dusty. On the left, I saw the church and right beside it was the old two-story white house. The shadows between the two ran striped patterns across the grass.
I was always here, moving between mimosas, oaks, and other spindly little trees. For, I have yet to leave my past behind and cannot grow old despite my age. I was hollow again, my heart ached as if I had lost something. Maybe I had lost something, a thing fairly tall and dark as everything around me. I could have been something that barely slipped across my fingertips and dropped away, or maybe I was just fantasizing. But I could not call out to the thing because I was terrified of the silence between us.
“I am imagining things again, aren’t I? It is lost but it doesn’t know it’s lost.”
I spoke to one who was holding my hand, the dark thing chirped and whirred like an insect. It was a culmination of all I had hoped for, the dark thing, she was. She was a compiled form that was taken away slowly, and with cold severance. But in quiet, while no one was looking, I whisked her away to myself.
It was here, I thought. I looked at my hand again and it was gone. Turning my palm to my face, I saw nothing but remnants of black smoke gently gliding up into the navy blue sky. The tendrils of darkness danced between the withered fingers of the trees and then disappeared.
But I was too old for this. I was too old to play in the dark world that I had created. I brought her back to help me and she showed me that everything and everyone was gone now. She laughed despite my terror.
“You are there or you are here. There is no in-between, my dear.”
I rode the in-between like it was the firm stitch in the cloth of my ratted tattered gown. I was torn, torn as the hem of my gown. I wanted to lie in the crisp bright day, the sun warming my skin and the birds reminding me that I was smiling, but…
“You cannot ride the in-between.”
It was a revelation or sorts, but the same revelation heard over and over, years and decades before. Dare say I felt a few centuries in my soul.
“Shhhh, it’s a secret. Look between the church and white house. He waits there for you.”
A dark figure pronounced that my surroundings weren’t that dark at all, at least not as dark as he. I moved toward him but tripped falling to the pavement. An ebony bright puddle of water looked up at my me. But it was a cold white fabric face, stitched as well. I removed the mask and I saw her there.
“He doesn’t know who you are.”
I was pale, dark-eyed and framed with dark red hair. My face was my own, but it was hers as well. I had been crying and it marred thick bands of darkness around my eyes. I followed trails of blood to the corners of my mouth. For a moment, I saw curtains of dark glitter fall all around my messy face.
“I have failed. I let the moment pass and now it was too late. Is he still there, dark one?”
I looked up from the puddle and the alley was bare. I saw movement in the trees and then figures weaving in and out from behind the church walls.
“Who are they.”
“They don’t know yet. They’re waiting for you to name them.”
“Stop this! Stop this madness! Help me!”
She reached pulling me from the road and from my shame. A distant bell sounded and I knew it was midnight. But midnight didn’t matter anymore and the moon was still large. All the things I had created were somewhere playing a role or waiting to exist again.
I was standing between a school and a church glaring toward the soft grass by the old white house, and the castle loomed above it all. There were roads in all directions and the one I stood upon started to shift between gray and black. Amidst the melancholy detail of my existence, I could almost see her form, solid. Flittering things made the air look blurry blue across her back. I could smell the rose scent coming from her skin.
“Why did you think I could help you? This is your doing. You are the one who cut it away. The fabrics of many colours-the coats, to be religious about it, you divided them, crumpled them and set them aflame!”
And I did. I was coarse, hard and unrelenting. The dark figure embraced me and I screamed until every shadow disappeared and the earth was heaven counterfeit. I watched the shadows move away, handsome in features, dark eyes, dark hair and a softness that cradled my heart. I couldn’t see it, nor could I feel it and so the complacency of it all gave way to false hope and comfort. Did I kill it? No, but surely there was no difference between death and this wretched agony.
“If only I could touch his fingertips-the one that surely waits within the trees.”
Her dark figure was the only one before me. All around the little houses and the winding roads-they were silent.
“ Help me find him, please.”
She leaned close and wrapped her own filmy form around about me. She pulled my stitching tawt and wiped the dark blood from beneath my eyes. Her eyes were mine and mine were hers, as everything else about us. I cried again.
“Open your mouth.”
She bent forward as if to kiss me. I saw it, there in her mouth, a winged thing. It fluttered, passing from her lips to mine and I gasped. The dust from its wings coated my tongue and the roof of my mouth. She closed my mouth and pressed the palm of her hand against my lips. I felt the thing flitter and flop inside my mouth. I whimpered.
She kissed my cheek and felt her smile against my skin as well.