This week’s WIP is still The Scarred Utopian Takes a Wife, which I posted a bit of last week. It’s close to being done, so here’s a little more of it. It feels like a fable; something particular is being talked about in a very particular way. I’m not yet sure if that’s good or bad. Hopefully I’ll have a better idea by the time it’s done.
– – –
The bride of the Scarred Utopian walks through her unseen house, her mansion, her palace, her hovel. The fact of its nature means nothing; in her mind she constructs all the grandeur her imagination can muster. She walks through a world of scent and touch and indistinct light–she can see shapes though her ever-present veil, enough to keep from stumbling or falling, but the shapes remain dim mysteries. There are staircases, there are corridors that seem endless, there are rooms that swallow her like caverns and like hungry throats. Through it all, she never seems to become dangerously lost. Through it all, she always finds herself where she ultimately wanted to be. A dining room and a table laden with food–no sight of it but spices and hot bread and thick, sweet wine, pushing into her nose and mouth like a hard kiss. A veranda where stringed instruments play in counterpoint to the birds–are there unseen hands that play, or do the things play themselves? And her bedchamber, where her husband waits for her. Except when he does not.
The bride of the Scarred Utopian loves the light, even as it blinds her. She turns her face up to it and smiles, secret behind her winding vines, her leaping stags.
* * *
The bride of the Scarred Utopian removes her veil to bathe, but before she steps into the steaming water, her husband orders her eyes closed as he lifts away her veil. He binds old cloth around her eyes, and the gray haze of the veiled world vanishes into darkness.
No sight. Not ever. Not even a glimpse. The bride of the Scarred Utopian bathes in her darkness. She slips down beneath the water and in that blind, wet warmth she feels like an unborn child, listening to the steady pounding of the blood in her ears like her own mother’s heart.
Why? she asks, turning her face again when she has risen up dripping and leaned back in the tub to allow the Scarred Utopian to wash her neck and breasts. Why can’t I see you? What do you fear?
I fear nothing. Lips against the slick arch of her throat. But you would. You would not love me.
You do not know me, she says in a sudden rush of boldness, a heady mix of desperation that makes her head spin. How can I know you if I don’t see you?
I have never seen your eyes, replies the Scarred Utopian. And yet I love you.
The bride of the Scarred Utopian wonders if now he will kiss her, with her eyes bound but her lips bare.
But he does not. And soon she is veiled again.