Image courtesy of Ashwin Rao (via The Angry Hourglass)
The City Of Innocent Deaths
Remember is scrawled onto the palm of your right hand – uneven beneath flaking carmine crusts – the skin pale beneath the stains. You try to, obedient to the instruction – and think you do. You recall dimly in the dark the cauldron oil, the Pool of Blood, drowning deep; its copper taste as you floundered, fingers grasping for purchase, before finally you swam. The moment they made you climb the Mountain of Knives amongst the labyrinthine levels of the Courts, blades cutting quick to the bone. There is no pain now. You cannot die once resurrection calls you. Cold-eyed; frostbitten to the core, you rise again. Again, once more. Brought back; you are – a Frozen Thing.
Five flavours. The words etched across your left hand – revealed when you open your fist. Now you remember the bowl, filled to the brim with liquid, spilling as it got nearer. You drank when bid to by Lady Dream, mouth opening to grasp the sharp rim. You had no choice. Not really. There was no regret. You wanted well rid of the – fall – fist – splintered bones driven deep into your body. Your possible – probable – life – lives. You know – knew – what they held. You think you do.
Water’s oblivion. The murky bitterness of pond and herb lingers at your lips as you run your tongue across them. Something hides beneath. Somewhere, someone lurks.
You lift your right sleeve as far as your elbow, frowning. The intricate lines on your skin form a maze of marks, right, left; twists and turns leading upwards. Your brow furrows more deeply before the lines fade.
The left sleeve. Your fingers close around it, as the right slides back into place. You pull it up, course fabric beneath calloused fingertips. One word. A name. Your choice. You know the why now. You can trace its raised scars. You do, circling the ridges. You had worried they would heal before you knew. Before you were – again.
Two arms. One choice. Your choice. You know well now where the blade came from which mapped your course. Confusion no longer lingers.
Remember. You do. You know where you must go; what to do.
This story stems from a Chinese legend about the Lady of Forgetfulness - couldn't resist writing about that!