t.w. gore

Photo by Anders Sandberg via Flickr
Photo by Anders Sandberg via Flickr

The first arch leads into a second, then a third, vault-roofed, with small slit windows and those massive flagstone floors smoothed by centuries of shuffling boots.

Outside, palms of snowflakes are dissolving into the pond and feasting on the statuary. The boy himself walks smoothly down the corridor. He holds a mouthful of blood behind his teeth and white

He’s wearing a cape made of a blue and pink floral bed sheet, the kind now only found in estate auctions or pinned against windows in abandoned prairie houses.

A blackened beam, a strip of horizon, the rattle of nothing, waiting for the season change to let it swell and fall.

The lines are all excellent: the boy’s shoulders held back like a dancer, his step

The walls persuading him forward, the flow of material from which only his fingertips emerge.

As he walks, blood oozes from his mouth and spatters the floor. But, with mastery, not his cape or body. He is going to kill the man he will find in a room at the end of the stone corridor.

This he is going to do, mind affixed to a guiding, velvet principal. That of the sort bestowed by a picture book saint or a scrambled instruction for the building of a metal chair.

He stands in a bedroom with a scarlet spotlight on the bed, drooping eyes. Progresses to the bedside. One slowed in a dream, one graceful, delicately layered, and murmuring in his sleep. He raises his fist.

In the fist is a Murex seashell, in colour vivid pink and white, with small spine-like knobs and gnarls, like a vertebra of a dragon.

In the bed – who is in the bed?

A calm face on a pillow with reddened hair tucked back. The boy aims for the eye behind its plum casing and slams the hand down, once, cracking through orbital bone into smut. The boy spits the remainder of the blood. Edges the shell to the perfect 90. Coverlet, crime scene, discarded blood-food.

There is the sound from above of two thousand books dropping off the bookcase onto the library’s wooden floor. He takes off the cape, lays it on the bed, and rolls himself up in it. It is a field of flowers and a spring morning sky. He is a veal foal, a hedge pig, a syncopated man dressed for iron weather.

He curls into sleep behind fluttering, bloody lashes. From up inside the angular, spinal shell, a brain’s last memories spurt, coral and fearless. A wet hand limp in his, caked against the sheet.

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