The Battle At Trauma Glen
There is nothing quite like the use of metaphor to really set a scene, and the monster battle trope felt right with this essay. This is an excerpt from Vignettes of The Possibly Dying. I hope you enjoy.
She ties the sash of red around her waist; the tassels are like the last strands of faith hanging at her hip along with her Grand- mother’s voice.
A pouch is tied to her belt. Her heart is beating fast. The task before her is crushing. She pushes through the bracken and branches the soft murky ground sponges beneath her feet. Finally, the branches thin out, and she can see the cabin clearly in front of her.
HER EYES SCAN ACROSS THE FAMILIAR TRIMMED HEDGE, SUNLIGHT dusting small beams through the leafy branches. The milky yellow porch posts and the duck blue window frames remain picture-perfect; the large french doors are darkened by overhanging ivy and jasmine. The glossy white weatherboard cladding contrasts with the brass frog door knocker; its mouth is stretched too wide with the hammer in the shape of a distended tongue resting on the Lilypad struck plate.
Her stomach acid turns cold and rises in her throat. She takes a deep breath, and as she exhales, her breath turns to fog. The skin on her arms prickles. She glances over her shoulder, and her long dark curly hair is damp now from sweat. The muscles next to her lip twitch on one side as she raises a flat palm to touch her thumb to her forehead then brings it down to her heart. She is ready.
SHE STEPS UP ON THE PORCH BOARDS, AND THE LACK OF NOISE IS jarring. She holds the door handle, and the cool of the metal adds to the chill. The door swings open silently, not even a groan. She feels like she is walking through a hole in a nest.
SHE WALKS INSIDE AND WAITS, LEAVING THE DOOR AJAR. SHE KNOWS HE will arrive soon.
Malevolence incarnate; gnashing and snarling, a malignant beast with trauma dripping from its teeth like an ooze, storms through the doorway.
WELCOME, SHE SAYS, HER FISTS DARING TO TAKE HIM DOWN AND SCREAM her rage, but she knows it will infuse into her skin. She resists with all her might. It is time. Her nostrils flare, and her hands clench.
He whispers to her in a scratchy husky voice.
My little effete, tender and sickly one, abandoned again? Discarded like a tissue, pathetic ruination. I can’t believe you’ve come back for more! What a time we will have you and me.
Burden! He screams at her. The weight of his quip tears at her; she skitters backwards.
He spits and snarls the words, the force throwing her against the bench and onto the ground.
She crawls in agony from the whips of his words to the bench.
He stands over her and the stench of him makes her want to reach.
No one wants you.
Your father didn’t want you.
Your family didn’t want you.
Your friends don’t want you.
Interloper! He bellowed.
You will not make old bones.
You are scarred.
Who are you fooling?
Who do you think you are?
What a joke. They feel sorry for you, you wretched girl.
He opens the drawer and pulls a long leather belt, worn and torn.
He slaps it against his thigh, and it makes a thwack sound.
Do you think you are special?
Do you believe what you saw was real?
It’s all in that piteous woeful head. He growls.
She flinches, a small split tears her lip and blood flows.
You are unloved and craving like a dirty little beggar. thwack
You will break. Pity pity pity. thwack
Do you remember what you once were? He bawled.
The words are drilling down, down and down into her stomach, nails in her gut; she ignores the pain.
She pulls herself up to the bench; her bloodied lip feels ripped open like an old tent door in a storm. She grabs the cup. She touches her heart and holds her hand over the cup, and tiny pink tendrils run from her fingertips into the tea, and it steeps.
You are loved, she says softly to the liquid.
You are forgiven, she urges in a forced whisper. Her tears fall, and her head feels squeezed like a rung towel.
He whimpers and jumps back; all of the pottery shakes in the cabinets, teacups and beer mugs clink.
Come, she says kindly. She places the small cup on the table.
He tilts his head and looks at her, dropping the belt to the ground.
Come, she says again.
He doesn’t object and begrudgingly staggers like a drunkard; he sits at the table, his bursting hairy body barely fitting. He scratches at an invisible itch and reaches for the cup, so dainty in his gristly hand. He sips the sweet drink, a sly eye upon the woman, his bruised and black drooped eyelids closing slowly. He yawns. He hiccups, the cup drops.
Have you poisoned me? He asks in a small voice.
With snapping and squeaking sounds, he yelps and starts to shrink quickly. Golden rays burst from his fur like sunbeams, and his ugliness and body crumble like old cellophane disintegrating, smaller and smaller. He is as tiny as a baby bird. She swiftly picks him up, placing him in the palm of her hand. He is captured—a warm little ball of fluff and scales.
SHE WHISPERS HER SECOND PRAYER OF GRACE, SHE BLOWS A SWEET breath upon his scaly body. He closes in on himself, his little body spinning and turning. She sings the song.
Very slowly, a wing unfurls from his furry body. His dark muck glitters and shivers into a shimmering band of light. Another wing unwraps, and the summer hue of yellow glints around its tiny body. The elytra reflect light around the room, the same colour as the green of the scribe’s eyes.
He opens an eye in surprise. The little wings start to flap and twirl. He folds in on himself, edges form, and angles jut out. He disappears, and in his place sits a large diamond. She places the diamond in the pouch on her hip. A bird sings, how sweet the sound is.
THERE IS NO NEED TO RETURN HERE. SHE UNDERSTANDS THIS NOW. NO longer a prisoner, she walks into the night.
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