This wasn’t actually a WIP until yesterday afternoon, when the idea for it popped into my head very suddenly while I was writing something else with a friend – which at least partially inspired it. The rest of it came very quickly after, and now it’s the rare short story of mine where the actual plot is very fully formed before most of it’s been written. Now I just need to get that last part done.
The “Scarred Utopian” comes from the title of a paper that I wrote in my first year of graduate school. It wasn’t a very good paper, but the idea has stuck with me; the contradictory coexistence of the perfect and imperfect. Of course, such a thing seems illogical – does that also mean it can’t be real?
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On the day of her wedding, the bride of the Scarred Utopian pulls her veil down over her face. She does this unassisted by her attendants, assembled around her in silence of the most solemn kind–this is a thing that she must do herself, her fingertips slipping over the intricate needle lace. She sees it, patterns of flowers and winding vines spiralling endlessly around birds in flight, leaping stags, wild hares, other creatures impossibly strange. Shapes that are without shape but that change and change forever, altering themselves the very instant she thinks she has identified their nature. She sees all of this, and then the veil is over her head and so close that it blends into a vague white blur, and that is all she sees.
On the day of her wedding, the bride of the Scarred Utopian pulls her veil down over her face and there it remains, for the Scarred Utopian will not lift it to kiss her mouth at the culmination of their vows. He kisses her hands instead, turning them palms-up and pressing her fingertips to his lips with careful, distant reverence. The bride of the Scarred Utopian cannot see her new husband’s face clearly through the gauzy white of the lace, but the shape of it seems strange, and the shape of his mouth feels stranger when she tries to glean its lines through the few touches he allows her.
The hall is full of light as he leads her out, past silent rows of eyes that she cannot see but can feel like the pressure of insects alighting on her skin. She turns her gaze up into that blinding glow and thinks one flesh, till death unparted, and she wonders what flesh she has just joined to her own.