Dymphna and the Prophet

The wind blew in through the tiny tear in the plastic insulator that stretched across the window.  Kassie liked to whistle along with the wind when it blew from the southeast, creating an eerie harmony.  Mother did not believe her but she knew that it was the moon calling to her, trying to talk to her through sound since the sun forced it into hiding.  She felt like a sister to the moon, how she changed from day to day, occasionally disappearing, and then reappearing.  Always in a shadow from the sun.

The stairs outside her room squeaked with the weight of Father’s step, but he would not visit her today, she had jammed the door with several spoons.  In her last episode she was visited by a spirit who warned her to read old fairy tales to protect herself.  She was sure that Father was the king from “Donkey Skin” and walked outside her door waiting to ravage her body and wed her.  Mother had insisted this was nonsense, if she only took her pills the visions would stop; the tiny white pills would bring her back to her parent’s reality.

“But I was right, I was right about the attending in the clinic.  He was stealing our pills, and the wind told me.  But no one listened, until he overdosed and Jacqueline found him in a glistening pool of his own feces.”  Kassie clarified to Saint Dymphna who watched her with her metal eyes, glaring out at Kassie from her pendent.  Mother placed her over her bed, plastering her to the wall so that she could not be removed during an episode.

Instead Kassie pulled out the matches she had snuck beneath the folds of her clothes from Father’s nightstand.  Holding one carefully between her fingers she struck it like she had watched Father strike the matches for his cigars.  The first one leapt from her hand, the fire cackling at her as it flew across the room and into the door.  She picked up the smoking stick, allowing the heat of the blackened end to break through the dancing light consuming the room, bringing her back to herself.

She held the next one with more strength, snapping it in half with her force.  Two more and she finally had the successful sizzle and flame dancing at her fingertips.  Kassie stood on her bed, ignoring the protest of the stuffed bunny whose head she stood on.  Leaning into the wall so that her forehead pressed into the wall, willing her to pass through it like she had seen the pale men do last week, she held the match to Saint Dymphna with her left hand.  The metal began to look softer, the match burnt down, began to bite into her skin, but she held it there.

“You can come out, or you can stay, but you are not going to stare at me.”  Kassie shouted, suddenly grabbing the burning match with her other hand.  She could feel both her right palm and left fingers blister, searing with pain that gnawed through her skin.  But Dymphna would not come out, so she pounded the still smoldering right hand into the metal, bending it in its softened form.  The pendant began to cry, molted tears leaking from the sunken face, Dymphna cried out.  She had not asked to be a saint; she had only asked to be left alone.

Feeling abruptly accountable, Kassie slipped down to sit on her bed.  Then slowly she pulled her knees in, so that her cheekbones rested on her knee caps.  The stuffed bunny forgave her for flattening its head; it did not need to think anyways.  The wind began to whistle, the moon reminding her that it was nearly gone, that she was nearly invisible.  When she became invisible, then she could creep past Father’s footsteps on the creaky stairs, slip back into the world, and back into another reality.

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