Beast and Bride

by | Oct 6, 2020 | Fiction, Issue Seventeen

George’s widow lives inside the dragon he killed. The ceiling is its ribcage, the plates are rainbow scales, the knife she uses to cut steak a single white tooth. The house is full of corners, sharp, glistening, seductive. Some of them are still smeared with the blood of her children, children that have since left home and found themselves impaled by less forgiving objects. She finds her blood on the jaws that frame the marriage bed. She cannot find George’s blood anywhere, no matter how hard she looks.

After George dies, she tries to make amends with the others. Not the dragons, of course, those are all gone, but the gryphons and wyverns and centaurs. None of them agree to meet her and she doesn’t blame them. She knows what it is like to have survived him, to have the smell of brimstone embedded in her flesh. The creatures that do respond to her letters tell her they wish they could’ve killed George themselves, and she feels the tremor in her fingers return, remembering how his lungs collapsed in on themselves night after night, remembering all the times she had celebrated only to hear another breath.

George’s widow leaves the marriage bed and lies under the vaulted ceiling where the ribs kiss. She sleeps far better on the floor than she ever did in the bed, the silence filling her every orifice. It is just the two of them, now, beast and bride, in an endless embrace. This is how it was meant to be, she thinks to herself. She breathes in the silence, she counts the bones surrounding her, she thinks at last, at last, at last.

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