Psychopomp Magazine Summer 2015 - Page 23

Lisa Nohner | 23

And this will be enough? You slide your tongue along the ridges of your teeth, determined to remember the feeling.

The Seawitch absently glides the blade along her neck, across her bosom, letting it trace the folds of her heavy upper body. She pages through the tome.

Indeed, if a human should marry you, in a union built on true love, his love shall grant you half of his soul. She slaps the book shut and digs the knife into her nail beds, grinding out the dirt. In the event of your death, you will rise merrily to Heaven, where you shall remain whole and beautiful and experience … Eternal life. She yawns, bored by the story.

Eternal life. Your body thrills with the promise. The musical feeling you experienced earlier, the rush of cells sparking elatedly through your bloodstream … It’s enough. Enough to see you through the pain. Your tongue slips from your mouth, surprisingly eager for the blade.

The Seawitch is disgusted. She shakes her head.

Still, it isn’t all certain, my dear. You aren’t thinking of the drawbacks. Your fin will sever itself in half and then slough off your body. You will have to walk everywhere, and I promise you, each step you take will feel just as painful, if not worse, than the knife that will take your tongue.

You regard the dozens of jars against the wall. Do they come back? Does anyone ever come back?

The Seawitch winces slightly.

No, child, she says, No one ever comes back.

Why it hurts her to say so, you’ll never know. This is all the proof you need.

Very well. You look up to the ceiling of the cave, at the tight opening you will travel through to make it to the blue beyond the blue. You stick out your tongue,when the Seawitch grips you hard by the chin to look deeply into your eyes.

Humans are seldom happy, she warns. True love does not exist for all of us.

And if I should die before true love? Without a soul?