We pass the rock where Cathleen saw the dwarf, its surface cool green, moss covered, and moist looking. We aren’t talking and have no plans; we’re just moving, and drinking in the solitude. I can tell she wants to say how beautiful it is and that she understands how profane human words would be. I take her up to the throne and we cool out on the stones. Still and quiet; getting swallowed up by that golden summer light. Soon the roses and violets of twilight will blossom.
The hour grows late and the bats come out. Still, neither of us makes a move to leave or utters a word. Hours pass like days under the dancing stars of the Milky Way, and in the span of those few wordless hours we grow old and die together. “Have you ever wished the sky would swallow you up, just fill you....consume you”? She asks. “Have you ever asked it to?” I reply. She gives me a weird look. “I’m being dead serious Elise.” “I guess not really” she says, her voice on the verge of laughter. “Well, you never know until you try.”
Elise looks up at a sky which has grown dark as her bed sheets. “Eat me!” She yells, and then collapses, sorrowful. I lift her head to the night sky with one hand under her chin and press my lips to her ears, ”Now try it like this.” I start to squeeze her throat. “Trust me Elise”, and with those words the tension begins to fade. “Look into that darkness and call to it with all your passion and all your pain.” Her words are like stream of consciousness poetry, like prayer. I keep squeezing tighter and tighter urging her to let go with whispers barely audible to some but loud as thunder for those with ears to hear such things.
She slumps back into my arms. I release her throat and hold her as the woods grow darker than I can ever recall. The night opens up like the maw of some great beast and swallows her whole. Her eyes are open now, but seeing things I cannot. Up above the trees, above the fight of bats, I make out the silhouettes of angels even darker than the sky. The moon appears casting a baleful eye. Time is frozen like a river in winter. She sheds tears the way the virgin Mary bleeds.
The angels are gone now, and Elise is back. I kiss words into her ears, “I only helped you open the door, whatever was behind it was only for you.” “What was that?” she asks as she turns to face me. “Magic” I answer.
With hard rock at my back she pushes me into earth, and I reach up and touch sky; round, soft, and dark.