I am standing in the farmyard. There are wild animals in the meadow: great snorting beasts with frothing maws full of sharp teeth. I look down and I am naked, the creatures in the meadow will tear my flesh as if it were a sheet of paper, oh mother help me, I’m bleeding, the beasts can smell my blood and will come and lick me; their warm, fetid breath on my skin. I am in the farmhouse, but all the rooms are empty. Mother is calling me. I can not find her. I am in the parlor, but it has become old and decrepit, the wallpaper is stained and peeling. The parlor doors are open to the living room, and the door to the kitchen is open… beyond that the door to the kitchen is open. It is dark there, why is it so dark? Mother? Are you in the kitchen? Why don’t you answer? Mother, I’m bleeding.
I am in my mother’s room, standing in front of her dresser, I try the bottom drawer, it is usually locked, but now it opens, in it there is a box of my grandmother’s things. I open it: there are papers: an embroidered handkerchief, and a small hinged box. Inside is a beautiful ring, I put it on and I suddenly realize what it is that I have become—the messenger… I feel a trickle of blood run down my thigh, the room turns red…
I am at the theater, in a box, with pencil and paper. A distinguished gentleman, sitting directly behind me, is watching me. As commingled scents of pomade and sweat and cigar waft toward me I hear the man rustle in his seat, I can sense his breath on my neck as he leans over my shoulder to look at my sketching. My cheeks fill with blush-blood…
I am on a train, going to New York. The rhythm of the tracks is hypnotic, my legs tremble in sympathy. The distinguished gentleman is sitting next to me and is talking about life in New York City. He places his hand on my thigh, gently, but firmly. I do not push it away. I hear my blood rushing in my ears. My mind says ‘yes, yes, yes,’ but my lips say ‘no.’
I am in a speakeasy in New York City. The jazz music lifts us all into a state of delirium. The distinguished gentleman watches me dance from a booth. The music stops, the man motions for me to join him. We go out into the night, into a waiting hansom cab. I snuggle close to the man and place my hand inside his overcoat. He does not object. My blood begins to boil…
Emily woke with a start. It took her a few moments to realize that she was in her old room, in the farmhouse, and that it was no longer the 1920s. She got up and went to the window. A sliver of waning moon gave off just enough light to illuminate the meadow. She had looked out this window many times. When she was a child she imagined ghosts and fairies among the trees. When she was a teenager and could summon wild animals to accompany her on her midnight rambles. When she was a mother, battling those dark forces bent on destroying her. She lit a candle and went down the hall to the bathroom. The night was still. The noises of her urination seemed musical—as if they were the sound of a bracelet of tiny silver bells dangling from a dancers wrist. After she finished, Emily went back to her bedroom and fell back asleep.
I am in an apartment in the East Village. The distinguished gentleman enters, and locks the door behind him. I know the ritual. I strip, and then remove his clothes. Afterwards, he dresses and leaves the usual envelope on the nightstand. I look down at the sheets and I see blood.The sunlight filtering into Emily’s room wakes her. She rises and goes to the window. A heavy dew has settled on the grass and flowers outside. She turns and looks into the mirror on the dresser. Her hair has become gray.
I am in the chamber house. The son of the distinguished gentleman is waiting. I know the ritual. This time I sense there is something else in the room, a malevolent force. It frightens me. I look around and see no one. Then I realize, the evil is in the son, transferred from the animus brought over from Europe. As he possesses my body, I realize that I am being infected. I try to cast him off, but he is too powerful. I turn to my last resort and chant the spell of discorporation. My body stiffens and my mind clears. The spirit is repulsed by my spell and, as it takes complete effect, I begin to exist on the gravitational plane–my physical body is stuck sideways in time, immobilized but impregnable.
There is no blood.