I Think I Made You Up Inside My Head

This is part II of Touched through Blood and Dust” 
It can be read without having enjoyed part I.

My back was flat against the hardwood floor of a stranger’s kitchen, and my essence was still contained inside injured flesh. I breathed in. The room smelled like it had been dipped in dragon’s blood scented oil. The witch’s on to me.

I let my lids open very slowly, and found an enormous tabby cat sitting next to my hip. By my feet, a few steps away, stood the black-eyed witch aiming a gun at me.

I pulled on my will and visualized my flesh dissolving into energy. I groaned. The wound the hand of the witch had left in my breast drained most of my essence. I shut my eyes and put everything I had into the shift. I didn’t mind the curious eyes of the cat, but having a gun pointed at my face made me kind of nervous. I tried to shift again. Nothing happened. I opened my eyes and inhaled before trying again.

“Stop that!” There was discomfort in the witch’s voice. The gun shook in her hand.

I searched the kitchen for the body of the fanged woman, who had tried to kill the witch. It was gone. Why is a flesheater trying to get her?

The witch was clench-jawed, glaring at me from behind the gun. Her face was so red that I expected it to explode any minute. I would be left covered in lovely bits of rage-full witch. I was in a lot of pain, but the ridiculous image made me grin.

“What are you smiling about?” She was breathless, but the flush was dissipating. The gun hadn’t moved.

“Silly thought. That’s all,” I said, and used the confusion my response brought to the witch’s face to push every drop of power I possessed into regaining my energy form.

The witch dropped to the floor screaming. The gun fell out of her hand, and went off.

I rolled out of the way.

The tabby remained in the same spot, lying on its side. A dark stain began to spread on its underbelly. 

I reached for the wounded cat, but the animal vanished before I could touch it.

The witch was on her knees, her left hand extended towards the spot where the cat had lain. She was gasping. “Don’t try to change again, please. It hurts. I set protections.” She pointed at an empty bottle of dragon’s blood oil by her feet. “I did it before I knew what… who you were.”

“Will the cat be all right?” I said.

“He needs to sleep.” She rubbed her left forearm. “Sleep will heal him.”

“What happened to the—”

“The woman with the fangs disappeared,” she said. “Back to wherever she came from, I think.” The witch touched the left side of her chest. “I felt you trying to come back to me.”

“Oh,” I said. And the word felt inadequate in my mouth and in my head. My kind went from shape to shape without ever meeting the one who gave us form. Still, we spent most of our existence imagining what we would say if we ever met our shaper.

“They told me I was crazy,” she said.

“They who?” I was shaking; joy and angst fighting to best each other inside me.

“The PCRC,” she said, stumbling up to her feet.

“The what?” My eloquence got more impressive by the second.

“The Preternatural Chaos Research Center.” She took a deep breath and rubbed her left forearm. “I was training at the Mythical Police Academy the first time you showed up on my chest. I told my instructor right away. He said I was using magic to make a tattoo appear and reappear, in order not to get in trouble. Mythical Cadets weren’t allowed to get tattoos.” She walked to the window.

“You work for the MP?” I said. “I thought your abilities would gain you a one way pass into the Mythical Intelligence Unit.”

She shook her head. “The Mythical Police didn’t believe me. They said I was unwell; told my family that my magic was wild, out of control. Labeled me dangerous. Then they locked me up in PCRC until I figured out I had to lie to make them happy.” She sighed and rubbed her forearm again. “I would’ve gone mad if Terry, one of the night guards, had not smuggled in Plath, Ortiz and Balthus to keep me company.”

“I don’t understand,” I said. Witches who could think energy into shape were very rare. They were revered by their people, and nearly worshiped by the military.

She shrugged. “I don’t care anymore. I freelance now.”

“You went after a flesh… a rogue mythical without backup?”

 She raised her chin. “I got Patroclus out of The King of Cats, by Balthus.” She extended her forearm towards me, and I saw the vivid shape of the sleeping tabby cat tattooed on her pale skin. “He watches my back.”

“A cat,” I said. I wanted to shake her.

“Not just a cat.” She made air quotes. “But the cat that saved your hide.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “You just caught me by surprise. What about me? You thought my shape out of a painting, too?

“Not exactly.” She blushed so red that I felt the heat touch my skin. “You came into my dreams first. Just warm energy that felt really feminine. Then one night, I saw La guitarra de Balthus, by Dario Ortiz Robledo. The next morning your shape had formed on my skin.” She sat on the floor, with her hand over her left breast, staring at something I couldn’t see outside the window.

“Oh,” I said. Nothing else came out.

“Sometimes, while I was at PCRC,” she said, “I would wake up to find my breast pale and empty of you. And with my brain fogged by pills and someone else’s magic, I couldn’t tell if you had really been part of me or if I had imagined you during the worst of my loneliness. I remember whispering, I think I made you up inside my head, over and over, until I fell asleep.”

“I never knew why I liked ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song’ so much,” I said.

“Sylvia Plath was the best,” the witch said. “A little mad, I think. But she was still the very best. Maybe that’s why I’ve let her words soak into my flesh and mark my bones. Mad minds and all, you know?” She laughed, but there was no mirth in the sound.

I shook my head. “You’ve never been crazy. Not even a little mad. You didn’t make me up. I was me before you thought me into this form.” I pointed at my chest with a thumb.

“I don’t understand,” she said.

I began to crawl to her. She watched me. Her lips trembled. Her eyes shone with old hurt and new uncertainty.

My heart—the flesh formed from my energy and her thoughts—beat noisily inside my chest. I had always loved my black-eyed witch. And I had always been scared of what that could mean. I just didnt know if I fell in love with the witch who gave me a tangible form. Or if the witch gave me a tangible form, after my energy healed the trapped girl who howled and howled, I think I made you up inside my head, but you are real, you are real, you are real…

I pushed my doubts to the side and continued moving until we were face to face. For the very first time. My kind was not allowed to approach her kind. Those who were caught trying to contact their makers were unmade and forgotten. I didn’t care. She was looking at me. Nothing else could matter. I noticed a hint of honey encircling the darkness of her startled eyes, and I smiled. Her lips parted for me, but I didn’t kiss them. I got as close as I could get to her ear, without touching her skin, and whispered, “I am real.”

“I know,” she said. “I know.”

La guitarra de Balthus, by Dario Ortiz Robledo

The King of Cats, by Balthus


Mad Girl’s Love Song,” by Sylvia Plath
(it starts at 19 seconds)

44 comments:

  1. Great story, Magaly -- love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you do, Debra! It was a delight to write.

      Delete
  2. Oh, I really like this. It hints of a bigger world. Urban fantasy, perhaps? Like it has more than wants to be told. I hope you'll expand on this, Magaly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Urban fantasy, indeed; dark and delicious. Your hopes and mine are nodding in agreement, right now. ;-)

      Delete
  3. One of the methods I use when I study a painting that intrigues, is to step into the scene in order to examine it more intimately. I have never (before now) entertained the notion of bringing bits back out with me. But I shall, oh I shall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think every time we look at a piece of art that touches us (painting, sculpture, writing...) we take a little out of it and give it a bit of us. It's what creates those wonderful memories that emanate when we think of the work, methinks.

      Delete
  4. Really magical story!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is one of those fabulous, enticing slivers that make you want to devour the whole pie. I'd love to see more of this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! for wanting some more, for you shall get it!

      Delete
  6. Oh, Magaly, this is a real joy! I love the layers and the huge, towering backstory you hint at without any tiresome exposition. As for poor, dear Sylvia Plath, she was a gas!

    (Was that in bad taste? Too soon?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I, too, love the backstory and what their future seems to promise.

      Don't laugh at me, but what do you mean by "she was a gas"? My British is obviously inaccessible through toothaches.

      Delete
    2. I made a joke in deplorable taste. If something is 'a gas', it's a lot of fun. (The term seems to have come from Irish English and filtered through the Jazz Age). Sylvia shoved her head into a gas oven, during one of London's worst winters, after writing Ariel (published posthumously, I think). I know. I should be ashamed of myself.

      Delete
    3. Well, my failure to make the connection (and snicker at the sight of a horribly dark joke) attests to how much this toothache is taking out of me. I knew how she died, so I should have deduced what you meant.

      My Piano Man is correct, this tooth needs to be amputated.

      Delete
    4. Feel free to come back and snicker when the tooth is done! Toothache is vile and you have my sympathy. :(

      Delete
    5. I shall. Soon. Yes. Okay, I hope to be snickering. Soon.

      Delete
  7. Love to sit and savour - tasty Ms Wicked, yum yum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Taste the yum. Digest it. And then come back for more. ;-D

      Delete
  8. Welcome to the Desert of the real ...so very philosophical with little bejewelled koans sprinkled throughout. This is my second encounter with Sylvia Plath today , ( after the bookstore i was in earlier ) , obviously , i must read her . Love your work , mate

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been rereading a lot of Sylvia Plath, lately. I love the delicious turmoil of her work... so many secrets flying around her words, so many phrases bursting with meanings most of us avoid to see... maybe because they hurt. Yep, I must read her more, too.

      So glad you like the word.

      Delete
  9. Awesome story! I love your writings! Rasz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *does a little dance and enjoys the music of your words*

      Delete
  10. The image of a black-eyed witch pointing a gun at someone will remain with me a long time...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope she's grinning at you... friendlily. ;-)

      Delete
  11. Love your story Magaly! Really enjoyed reading it! Delicious ;o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do like to deliver a yummy reading, so your enjoyment makes me happy. And goodness knows I need all kinds of happy today--I have a terrible toothache.

      Delete
  12. The perfect read. I loved this and am hungry for more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hungry readers are my favorites!

      Delete
  13. Stunning, delicious images, for your magpie! I enjoyed the Mad Girl's love song, it is a such a sad shame about how she took her life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mad Girl's Love Song is such a touching piece...

      Delete
  14. Woah lovely, loved it! I'm glad to have read this one :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad it made you glad. ;-)

      Delete
  15. this is fantastic...omg.....you have a way with the words.....

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wickedly impressive. Real good writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a bunch, dear Doctor.

      Delete
  17. Very romantic, soul healing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is so much love between them. I'm pretty sure I'm falling in love with their love...

      Delete
  18. Mad Girl's Love Song one of my very favorites...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think many of us can repeat those words... and then sigh a lot. ;-)

      Delete
  19. You are real... I know, I know!

    ReplyDelete