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by Sophie van Llewyn

In the courtroom, the sound of what they wanted to hear was blinding. But not for me — I saw the inquisitors for what they were, children with shiny scalps, overgrown beards and ill-fitting clothing. But nonetheless, I filled the silence with images from fairytales I had heard at filthy street corners, whispered in dubious inns and other open houses.

I said that we made love in cemeteries at midnight and in secret clearings in the woods, bathed in the light of the full moon. But I lied. At night, ours was the horse stall, making the wet straw crackle with our fire. My father’s mare rustled my hair with her heavy breathing, while I was undoing the laces of your cape.

I told them that I had been possessed. And that was true, in a way. I was another one of your possessions, held by you a bit above your fine laced corset, but nonetheless below your golden locket. In truth, that was where I wished to be — clinging at your breast.

I told the inquisitors stories about blood and daggers, crucifixes and potions, brewed under the same starlight which had caressed our naked bodies.

You were long dead before they killed you. I saw the desert spreading behind your eyes as I spoke. As many grains of sand as broken promises.

I thought that I would be free of you, once your enticing body became cinders and charred bones. But the possession truly began afterwards.

I now make my wife chew nutmeg, so that your taste would linger on my lips every time I kiss her.

I carry a bone from your little finger in a red leather pouch around my neck.

I stir every time I feel the smell of horse piss. I might have to become a sailor.

Sophie van Llewyn is an assistant editor with the literary magazine Bartleby Snopes. She is currently polishing her novella-in-flash. Her prose has been published by or is forthcoming in Flash Frontier, The Molotov Cocktail, Halo, Unbroken Journal, and Hermeneutic Chaos Journal, among others.