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by lisa ann luxton

childvoice splinters through auditory darkness, a tiny solemn intonation:

  • in chaos is all born. to chaos all returns.*

A painted doll, black and white and clawed and shiny-glistening. Smile-slick-lips, benign, delightful, delighted, kindness, pleading . . . ?

Smoke, and a xylophonated melody from the crawlings of the shadows . . . distorted, fragile, the pure clinging notes bending to the whimsies of each soft breath.

Exhalation: the soul is released, free-falling, dizzy frightened lost, until the next deep breath wherein the fleeting ephemeron returns to the body. A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon . . .

. . . butterflykisses, so soft and gentle as to slide into the dimension of pain. Fire. The wings traced in lines of pure Glamour, essential, the hue of an afterimage, of a hallucination, the colour-that-does-not-exist feathered against the sky. Burning wings, aflame now, starfire. Creation from destruction.

FIRE.

the childvoice might be a soft blurred marble of electronica now, the personhood of the still sweet and innocent timbre dissolving into whispered madness, something heard only from the corner of one's ear, that cannot be listened to directly, but rather becomes a disquieting tickle of the subconscious: . . . c h a o s.

The song is a scream now, or is the scream a song? Scream, song, either is a pretty word; both form a pretty picture. No. Not picture nor scream nor song. There can be no word for this . . . 'symphony' comes closer than most, but is still far from the purpose of using a word, a name, which is to define, to make known, to control.

Some know it as Rhapsody . . .

. . . forbidden, sacred, profane, utterly incomparable, desperately wrong, the pinnacle of ecstacy and necessity. If a true name for this could possibly be spoken, it would strike mute who dared to form the sound. But euphemisms are really all the fae have for anything. No way of truly defining the undefinable, the chaotic, the truly alive. No right way to claim it by means of carved sounds. The meanings are all pretend.

Words are a means of order, structure. The first touch of Banality on the soul of a child comes, calling structure to the wild, illusionary meanings to associations, when it first learns to shape the designations and categories of safety and comfort. When all chairs become *chair*, and this banal packaged concept is embodied in all objects of a certain sort, instead of a unique soul to each -- this is when it begins. And -- disregarding the question of *why* -- how to untie that knot?

Have you ever experienced aphasia? The state of being without any form of language? Perhaps a brief instant ripped from the miasmic sludge of a raging migraine, or a two-dimensional moment of freefalling terror?

in which the words of the mind are torn away . . . leaving the raw whirl of chaos . . . and what is yet below that? What is the most basic layer of the soul?

Perhaps it is, all of it, illusion . . . every dream only smoke and mirrors?

--

That was not the beginning of the story. For true beginnings are either too empty or too full to be spoken. Is the glass nonexistent, or does it overflow with ambrosia?

Ask that question of the predator: we shall call her the Soul of Beauty, though she is not by far the loveliest of Sidhe. For she believes that she understands the nature of beauty, on a level beyond words. Does she really understand this? She believes only what she knows truly to exist.

Ask that question of the prey: we shall call him Toto, for he has discovered the little man behind the curtain, the puppeteer behind all the voices and colors that he believed. Ask the question, but do not expect answer; Toto is bereft of words, devoid of structure. And who is the little man behind the curtain? He is Nothing. Toto knows this. He does not think it. He does not think anything.

See the lovers: a still life. The photographs move. Reality is frozen. Two sides of a mirror.

Almost a skull, but a very pretty skull for that. Or maybe not quite. What remains in his dark little eyes is not life; it is the afterimage of a fire too fervid not to linger, the whisper of a nightmare so extraordinary its memory tries to cling. And this is why you can almost see pretty in him. Darkness sticks to him, his hair, his clothes, the grime in the pores of his pale soft skin, mashed against the desk.

A holocaust of violet hair descends upon his face, his neck: hers, and frozen. The milky-grey teardrop that crossed his skin has caught in the end of a curl, and nestles there motionless, a dewdrop in a spider's web. Her tender caress loiters on sharp shoulderbones like the breath of entropy.

On the other side of the screen, vitality leaps in black and white. The wet darkness-doll bleeds music from its lips, singing what cannot possibly be sung; singing dripping water, the tingling crystal abstract notes and the animal scream of unspeakable joy.

The winged dancer, the Soul of Beauty, is silent and immobile in both mirrors. On the screen she dances to its music by holding her leap in midair, so that you could almost imagine that she is immersed in sleep, having snuggled and enfolded herself into the soft grasp of the air, relaxing like a child at her mother's breast.

Maybe the sequence ends; maybe it never was. The mirror-screen shatters, burns itself black. He breathes. Was he breathing before?

Was there a before?

A thread of saliva dangles from his lips to the desk, a living icicle ornamenting a barren once-home. The Soul of Beauty straightens slowly, as if awakening from a dream; her fingers swim through oily dark hair with a hearty grace, an oddly comfortable melancholy. Not the distanced drama of wild tragedy; a more personal emotion, more practical. Solid and harmonic.

She strokes his face slowly, her touch akin to the sensual, methodical scrutiny of the blind. Her hands do not stop moving, yet. When they do, they will not linger.

She will not look back.

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