The Way it All Fell Apart

ruined castle.png

The black sky had cracks where the light broke through. He found it calming, those moments, keeping time with the stars. Back when he had space, splayed out on wet grass. During the day they’d trade secrets on the old fishing bridge. He’d explain to his love how the wind was his mother, and the sky, his father. How the trees and flowers were his brothers and sisters, and the glittering fields of ripening wheat was his gold. And they were surrounded by it. And dreams. Lots and lots of sleepy dreams.

Eventually they wed and he took her home to a castle that leaked, and she wept as the large buckets collected rain, moonlight, magic. Any other witch would have known she was blessed, yet she longed for the quaint cottage far across the sea, dry and kept, covered in stone. He followed her there, watched her take root. Unearthed, he stayed, like a sad, potted plant.

Perhaps she should have noticed his flaws in his youth – the way he always gravitated to strangers on the move. He wanted to know the fire that drove them and nothing more. I guess she always wrote him up as a natural wonder, a deep thinker, a very bright man who kept all his inventions to himself, quietly piecing things together, gone into his own world.

For a while he kept it together, held the crescent moon tightly under his tongue. The saddest definition of “when two shall become one,” is the way in which love devours – when the lover consumes her prey. She was always examining him – the way he quietly ate his dinner, passed her in the hall without a touch, nor a glance. At night, she complained how his long limbs would shift, sending her to teeter on the bed’s edge. She presented each failure to him, held each move he made up to the 12 o’clock sun for questioning. He tried to bend to her will. But her witchcraft was waning.

When the storms finally came, he found he feared death no more. He could only hope a strong twister would send him flying, far away, back across the sea to his glittering fields of gold. He despised the four walls that snared him, held contempt for the sheltering roof, the dry, hardwood floors. It was then, he uttered a spell, whispered the old words.

The doors came unhinged, the roof let out a whistle right before it kissed the floor. His wife escaped outside just as the whole house fell apart, broke in waves to the ground.

In that moment, he knew the truth, that there was a curse in his kind – to smash all that would hold him, to destroy what would swallow him whole.

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