Psychopomp Magazine Spring 2016 - Page 6

6 | Psychopomp Magazine

David Wirthlin

Alex, Her Most Devoted

Sovnig Oye cut her hair atop the tower at the edge of the cemetery and let the trimmings fall, scattered by the wind. Her followers stood below, allowed the hair to land where it wanted: in eyes, open mouths, filling ears, some burrowing in the skin under their clothes. As you know, she reminded them, my hair will remain part of you. The hair you’ve swallowed will ease your aching stomachs. The hair in your eyes will enhance your vision. In your skin to keep you warm. They felt her words even though she was so very high above and her voice was so very soft. She blessed them and bid them to submit themselves to the old river which leads to the sea.

Alex, Her Most Devoted entered the river. It swept her away in a leisurely trip to the sea coast. In a few days she arrived at the sea and immediately drowned, pulled down by the undertow, pinned by building pressure from the rising spring tide. When the tide receded, her body returned to the tower, re-entered the river, re-drifted to the sea coast, re-drowned, returned to Sovnig Oye to have her body stuffed with more hair. As Sovnig Oye grew more hair, she cut more hair. As she cut more hair, she gave it over to Alex, Her Most Devoted in recognition of her devotion and deaths.

Sovnig Oye’s other followers, Those Less Devoted, stood at the edge of the river, bellies eased, vision improved, warm, but unwilling or unable to enter the river. No one ever touched any water. They simply stood there and continue to stand there despite the rising tides. In the valley of the old river, beyond the purple fields and hills, the people simply stand. They will stand there long enough to dry out and become trees, toes rooting in the soil in search of moisture.

Just before the hearts of Those Less Devoted stop beating, they will