BLOOD WINTER, page 2 (cont.)
meekly spiteful voice on Mavra's left side was the sweetly obliging
Fey. A woman yet a girl with girl's clinging sentimentality. She
loved to please those that she adored, and thus she LIVED to please
her chosen adored. If not allowed to please or adore the way she
wished, she became a poisonous, floundering thing.
The woman on Mavra's right side was Carnival. Like
her name, Carnival's nature was animated, noisy and exhausting.
She was intensely attracted to shiny things and shiny people, and
if she did not always grasp for them, she guarded them.
Many moons ago, before her arrival in his life, Mavra's
lover had gently spurned each of them. With accommodating demeanors,
each had adjusted philosophically.
Seasons waxed and waned and the tides turned. Many
things occurred. Carnival, Fey and Lindy became displeased and infiltrated
their displeasure in a myriad of insidiously friendly ways.
Vexed, Mavra had sent them each a warning, coaxing
their attention to the upper planes. One sentence. One request.
One forewarning: "Move away from me or I will carve your lives in
They moved away from her. Cleverly, they soon turned
their tongues and talons toward him.
Of course he had not been strong enough. But then
gradually it seemed he was. And now this dream.
Numbly, Mavra ceased her contemplation and again
took up her pen.
The voice of Lindy spoke again, cajoling, determined
and confident, "Please Mavra. Where is he hiding?"
"She's changed him, I tell you!" Fey declared acidly.
After a silent moment, Carnival asked in a loud,
bright voice, "DID you change him, Mavra? Let us see! Let us see
how he works now!"
"Let us see," hissed Fey
"Yes. Let us see," joined Lindy with greedy curiosity.
Mavra did not speak. She could not speak, for under
her tongue, slowly and almost imperceptibly, she felt the capsule
begin to dissolve. Dread enveloped her. The three women became more
amorphous as Mavra struggled to decide. There were only two choices
open to her: Choosing the first, she could swallow the dissolving
capsule and absorb him. This idea provoked within her an icy fear
for he could then expand to his original form and destroy her. Or
he could become merged with her and they would become one person.
They would lose each other by becoming one. They would discontinue.
In a horrified instant she realized that the remaining
alternative was the only true option. The capsule began to crumble
completely. In hopeless anguish, Mavra spat him out at their feet.
She became dizzy and blacked out. And then she awoke.
Mavra closed her Book of Shadows. Her dream presented
an archaic tale. An illustration of her life to ponder. No escape
was indicated and no resolution implied. The dream merely advised
Mavra that a choice had to be made, and gave her a reminder of what
that choice would be...or should be. The future beyond the choice
Mavra walked slowly to the hearth. Set upon the stones
was a small clay bowl containing a warming liquid. Carefully, with
a cloth of thick red velvet, Mavra lifted the bowl to her lips.
She took a long sip and spat into the fire.
Still holding the clay bowl, she went out into her
frozen garden. The ashen winter moon spiked its cold, luminous rays
through the dark. The fresh snow on the ground glistened with ice
crystals as if with strewn with shards of broken glass. Cloakless
yet not discomforted by the frigid air, Mavra walked a few paces
until she reached a hedge of bramble bushes.
In front of the tangled, thorny branches, Mavra poured
the steaming blood over her left hand, letting it course downward
in dark red streams. She watched it trickle from her fingertips
to dot the white winter snow. The snow darkened and melted slowly
as rich red folded into white. When the winter months were over,
there would be a melting of pale snow into thawing brown earth.
Come Summer, scarlet poppies would blanket the ground and twist
upward into the brambles and thorns. Mavra would give some of them
This story originally
appeared in SINS of COFFEE, Issue #13, 1996.
Sins of Coffee ©1996-2002. All rights reserved
by the artists.