Women were to be buried, dressed and washed in white. Women of all colors. She was one of them and so was she, and her and her and them, and yes, those standing in the corner with their arms stuck to their sides and the ones stuck to their chests, begging for something that came and left, like a period of rest, swung high and low, dangled above, and confused them all, like chorus, that could rise and fall, within seconds of its simple and sparky diminutive existence
They could not be freed. They were honorbound to the serpentine warriors, the neanderthals and their boxer shorts were green and yellow and red, eternally and forgetfully because their master had lost their deed in the texts of wars and lawyers. That's when she was born. she remembered the time. That was when God told them that they were dreaming. And it'd be over soon.
Cautiously, silently, they moved behind in the long line that went all the way up, up, up, up, to the topmost tower, through the moat and onto the edge; there the dragon stepped in front of the gate, barfed fire and nothing but their bare flesh remained. They tried to hide it, tried to protect it, cover it, smoothen it, but the scars never went.
These scars never do, not even if you bite them off with the sharpest canines.
She had tried that once. But he broke her heart with the same teeth and the degeneration became cancerous, said the medicine-man. You are going to die.
When have I not died. She laughed and looked into his deep brown eyes.
Did I not tell you? I died when he looked, when he kissed, when he brought me flowers and called me beautiful and ran his fingers through my hair and said he was so proud... so proud...
The medicine-man looked disturbed. No. He smiles sadly. You never told me. I wish you had. I wish I could stop him from loving you this way.
There was nothing obscene about it, she rationalizes to him, gathering her skirt around her fine, browned, scraped legs (she had run again, the rain beat her down) and saw him gazing appreciatively.
You don't want to do that. She loved and hated the way he took his eyes away. Then schemas took over.
You are not the medicine man, her eyes narrowed. You are the autopsy-man, and you will feed me to the fire the same way they eat flesh.
Tell me what you want to say.
I don't want to say, you sick old fuck. I want to scream. I want to tell you you're all the same and you deserve to rot in hell and I should be rotting in hell with you, because I deserve that for trusting you.
Then night and old frightening nightmares came, just the same, they always did, never deterring, changing, adapting. The same pitch black house. She walks in, throat closes and a light so bright, tears begin to fall. The scene changes as swiftly as it does in movies, she is running again, the dragon running after her, her feet begin to bleed and her relatives surround her, breathing and watching with mad mouths, dripping with spit and blood and oil. She runs and stops and falls and the scene shifts. Now she is awake. What was the very last sight she saw swimming? Drowning in sweat? No, that was real. The dragon? No, he's real too. The feet? Yes.
Were they filled with blood, he asked.
Why do you want to know. She fidgets with his tie. He wears boring ties.
They won't like it, you should know. He gently pries his tie away from her hands, pats them, pats her and sits down looking all-official. They won't like it if you're dreaming.
They will like the nightmares. I have been chosen to paint their walls with them. She dips her hand into her mouth a little. Her spit was red and green and blue. Now she scribbled, with her nimble fingers: I never knew.
He looked nervous again. The way most men are if you talk to them about what they are nervous about. She laughed raucously and tapped his chin with her colored hand. Her brown, weather-beaten hand. Are you disgusted yet?
Tell me more.
He took her fingers and squeezed them, the color rushed forth, he filled the bucket.
Exorcist, she screamed. He kissed her on the forehead and she went to sleep, her screaming reiterations ringing high in the topmost tower and the dragon howled.
When she woke, her dress was no longer pale and dinghy. I'm a bride. What are those, tunes of matrimony? Clear and sublime. And there he stood, so smooth-faced, smiling, waiting to hold her hand and call her into his embrace. She traipsed along a yellow, red, blue, green brick road, the crystals still shining on her throat, her lips pressed sweetly in a smile. Is this all? This is what I had feared. My finale?
The tunes kept ringing, her lips kept their sweetness in their movement, her skin was still glowing. He touched her cheek and felt the glow, moved away abruptly, lunged at her again and burnt. The dragon howled. She stood before him, fixated at his snapping teeth and dirty, scorching nostrils.
You wore white, he growled. You are brown. And you are going to die.
She saw the light in her flesh. Was God going to be fair? She didn't know. She just didn't want Him to growl.