Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 13

Her little arms had to stretch in order to fit up around Alex’s neck, and the sound of his footsteps grew heavier. It started to hurt when they made love, his large hands bruising her delicate skin. She did not notice this, because her eyes had been taken, but the man noticed and he said nothing. He said nothing as Mona began to use her magic only to please him, the sound of the bells dimming, and the pieces of the sky straining and tearing from their stitching. He said nothing as he began to collect berries and smear his body with them so he could tell where she touched him each day and how many times. He said nothing all through their life and only wept when he felt his muscles turn to stone and his face draw long with wrinkles.

I’m weeping, he said, because you cannot. You’re lost. You are more lost than ever.

Alex had wept for Mona before, but never like this. The girl held the man close as ash fell and fell around them, piling up like snow until the unmoving hand of her lover was completely buried.

He died? I don’t understand.

Mona did not understand either.

She had never seen someone die and she would never see someone die, but she did know that Alex had changed and she had not. He had grown slower and weaker while she had become faster and stronger. The magic that caused the bells to ring and the sky to drape over her home like fine silk cloth would not let her die. She held Alex for a long time as she thought of these things and as she thought of the village of hands and feet. Years passed while she held him, and when she finally stood his bones rolled from Mona’s lap. The bells fell from their perches in the air and the ringing ceased and the shattered glass rested on the bell-ringer’s hair, on her clothes, and on the ground where the flowers grew. She wanted to scream, and she could remember what it felt like to scream, but her hands dug into nothing but smooth skin.

McKenzie Hightower | 13