Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 14

She returned to the village before nightfall. Alex had told her about the wall of hands and feet, but it had diminished since he had been there. The flaps of skin were rotten, and the heavy bells had begun to slice through like butter, the skin no longer healthy enough to hold such weight. They hardly rang anymore, and the villagers had become desperate. They had no children left and no way to water the wall that was now the only shade for the old to rest under. The madness was going to take them again, soon, so perhaps that is why they gathered at the gate when Mona appeared. They stood on one side of the wall and she stood on the other, her long hair braided and decorated with bright red and purple flowers. She took a breath, and she entered her home once more, the magic she had exchanged for her face drying up and disappearing from under her fingertips. There could be no magic inside the village.

That doesn’t seem fair. She lost her face, her love, and her magic?

It wasn’t fair, but few things were fair in the village.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the girl went and sat under the Bastian du’Leon citadel, her fingers clasping the heavy rope to ring the bell once more. It was as if she had never left. It was as if nothing had happened. It was as it should have been, the sound of the bell making the villagers dance, because the night was no longer empty.

It was this way until flowers were once more placed at the girl’s feet and foreigners once again came to the village. They looked up at the sky, their eyes trying to figure out why there were strips of stars missing, vast empty holes, out of place and out of time in this village. They finally looked down though, the foreigners, and thought ‘How strange that such a small child would hang herself from such a heavy rope.’ ♦

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