Lament of the Vellum

Fleshing out the Framework, Fish-sticks

The chill of the stones drained the last of her energy into them. She lay quietly, as the last night chirped and trilled itself out. Within her was the hope of the nation, the dream of every man she had ever known, and she was tired with the burden of it. Longing for action, praying for release. Alone here, in the theatre, she could feel the lines stretching from her taut body into every member of the great beast in whose womb she lay, and whom she would birth in but a few hours.

She was the vessel of their product. A mighty plan that would unite their peoples. But she lay alone, unguarded, there was no thought given to her, though her life had been consumed by their scheming. None lay with her to comfort her, to shed the warmth of camaraderie with her. She didn't mind. Even when they were here, they didn't love her. They impregnated her, but they made love to their child, to their dream, and not to her.

Each day they came to her, to teach her new ideas about the ordering of the world. To seed their ideas within her womb, that they might there grow, pulled by the heroes' stones, into a form that they might love. Within her was all of their knowledge, gathered over the centuries, their thoughts and proposals, their wooings and their weanings. All of it was buried in her, and all would emerge tomorrow.

But for tonight, she was content to lie, quietly abandoned, the sleepy arms of her child enfolding her. She loved the child that would kill her. Within the skeleton she could see it live. Could see the organs pulse, could see the bones strain under the weight of life, and for a moment she thought it moved.

They would abuse it, of course. Her child would be used, as she had been, nothing more than a tool in their hands. They knew its skeleton, and they had known the seeds they planted within her. They would invade her child. The bone-power would lead them deep into its body, to where they would become its master. Taking back for themselves the transformed seeds when they had ripened in her body. Claiming the fruit because they could find it, predict it through the bone-power, and recognise it through their seed. Each organ would be mastered, invaded, overpowered. Her child would spend its life in agony as they studied it. And yet she was content.

The child would live. As she had been created to birth it. It was being drawn forth to assist them, to draw them forth, and if the service was painful, then that was the price paid for existence. In the map within her was the child. In the map within it was a new plan for the people. In the new people was a hope that no others might be enslaved. Still, it would be nice to have some company as the sun rose, and death crept through her child's dead bones toward her.

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This work is Copyright (c) Mike Fletcher 1997