Psychopomp Magazine Summer 2015 - Page 31

Lisa Nohner | 31

True love does not exist for all of us.

The Seawitch’s words haunt you. Though the wedding came and went, you feel no different. No more in love, and certainly no more whole, or alive. Eternal. The pain in your feet remains the same as ever. You cringe from every touch, but especially Erol’s. How you needed that soul. It might turn up the volume of your prayers, and God might take the pain from your feet so that you might actually run. No longer would you walk on butcher knives, on razor blades, on carpets crafted from hypodermic needles. You could take off in a sprint, and leave this castle and its picking maids and the needy body of your husband behind you. But this entrapment is permanent. You are locked into a body over which you’ve no control.

This is the knowledge you bare on the night Erol tumbles into bed beside you. His wine-drunk snores are just loud enough to disguise the frenetic beat of your heart. How has it come to this, you wonder, as you crouch above him on your knees, your feet afire, your dagger steady and poised at his throat.

The weapon in your grasp is essentially a family heirloom. It is made from the hair of seven sisters, whose names all start with A. The blade is carved from the bones of an angler fish, and it is attached to a rainbow handle, spun from the metallic fibers that formerly held the crowns of seven, now-bald girls.

They came to you one night while you cooled your feet in the sea. Their faces appeared in the water beside your reflection. At first you were repulsed: who were these gill-necked girls with bluish skin and bulging eyes? Their cheeks were drawn, their lips too purple, like leeches puckered to their jaws. But when they began to stroke your feet with gentle, webbed hands, you remembered them, your sisters. You opened your mouth to speak, but of course you emitted only senseless, off-pitch syllables. In return, their lips produced a series of sighs in the shape of bubbles that rose frantically to the surface. Those bubbles hanging in the water gave shape to a language you could no longer speak, or even understand. A tongue that doesn’t belong to land-dwellers.