I hear a knock at the door, it is gentle, more of a caress. Yet the sound carries through the empty rooms, it invades my deepest dreams and drags me down deeper, past my conscious mind and deep into the place where ideas form. I follow the ever decreasing echo of her arrival, floating through the twisting corridors of my mind, watchful of the swollen bellies of the bats above my head, the offspring of which will form the basis of many ideas in the future. Yet none can hold a candle to the inspiration she brings me.

Many people claim to know their muse, I however, simply know her name; Maggie. I have never met her. I only ever get to hear the fading sound of her laughter as she waltzes away, a lingering tendril of perfume will often hang in the air. I smell Jasmine, and honeysuckle. I breathe it in and at last, I am there.

I stand before a large oak door. Thick iron rivets have been manipulated into place by strong arms, long since gone. The handle is a ring of twisted iron, blackened by the years, and at least twelve inches in diameter, There is an old key in the lock, its body ornately carved from brass… or maybe gold, I can never tell.

I open the door and the sounds of running footsteps and playful giggles rush through the opening, as the playful creatures on the other side run from view. I may never see them, that is the deal… but how they love their games.

With the door open I look down, and there I see it, a little package neatly wrapped and presented, just waiting for me to take it. I scoop down and collect my gift, I whisper my thanks to them, it is the least that I can do.

Rushing back through my mind, I hurtle towards the waking hours that I have come to dread. I carefully open the parcel, eager to see both the wrapping and the contents.

Today it is a head, severed from the body at the base of the neck, which left quite a stump underneath. The eyes are glassed over, but open, the flesh blue and cold. A swollen tongue lolls from the mouth, too large now for the place that it called home. The head had been shaved, or rather, scalped. How they love their games on the other side. The skin was bruised and damaged to make identification impossible. I could not tell if this offering was a man or woman. Then again, it did not matter. The body part they provided me was merely a gift, the inspiration itself was in the wrapping.

Gathering the paper in my eager hands, I left the skull in the same place I left the other body parts, a giant mausoleum in the center of my mind, a place where each part has its place, it is, in essence a trophy cabinet. Mementoes of my success… my dark little secret.

I know that I will open the paper tomorrow and read, more often than not in some side column, about a body discovered, in some vomit filled alleyway. I have conditioned myself over the years not to care, the end results far outweigh the price paid… or do they? Hush, I have no time to reflect. The dawn is approaching and the next phase is about to begin. Hurriedly, I unfurl the papers, smoothing them out on the altar, upon which rests my pen, a bottle of ink and the goblet from which I must drink before I begin.

The blood of the sacrifice flows through the cracks in the paper, it seeps into the fibers and stains it. The words appear before my eyes, and I must commit them to this place, so that when I wake… the light is increasing quicker than normal… something is wrong.

My muse, what have you done to me…

I wake with a start, standing in the middle of my rundown apartment. The house of my dreams is many years ago, a lifetime. Everything from those days have left me, or were driven away by my desire, my passion. I am tired, out of breath. This has never happened before. When my muse visits me, I enter another state after leaving he altar, I wake when it is done, the words transcribed to paper. My manuscript finished.

I look around, I am alone, yet in my hands I wield an iron bar. I have no idea where it came from, but one end is tacky with blood, and there is a clump of matted hair clinging to one corner. My mouth is dry, it should not be like this. I look down at my feet and there I see it. The headless form, floating in a pool of blood, it glistens in the moonlight; black and cold.

I drop the pipe, my hands come up and cover my face. All around me, the walls are filled with words, written in blood. An old-fashioned quill pen, the same one I use at the Altar in my dreams lies on the floor beneath the final word. I lean in closer to read the tiny print. It is but two sentences repeated.

“We live so that we can one day die. Dreams of the heart are eternal.”

What does it mean? Who is this man at my feet. I take a look, and then I understand. The body is me… it wears my clothes, my shoes, the full belly,  complete with the strange scar from a childhood operation.

What have I done?

I hear footsteps, murmured voices echoing down a long corridor. The lights go out, the darkness surrounds me, only, I am no longer alone. They are here, playing their games, their faces beaming with joy. That is when I see her for the first time; Maggie, my muse. Her blonde hair, so fair and fine it appears white, her skin flawless, her white dress stained bright red from her evenings endeavors.

She looks at me, and smiles, her arms extend, and in them is the head… my head. I see it now. She hands it to me and in turn I wrap it up and place it on the floor. The footsteps are drawing closer now, the darkness that surrounds me begins to fade, and strangely, my vision worsens as the light grows. I reach out and rap my knuckles on the door to my apartment. The footsteps stop. A hand grabs mind, a child, a young girl no more than seven, with ringlets in her hair and a light covering of freckles on her cheeks smiles at me, her blue eyes sparkle with a mischievous fire. She pulls me away, and off we run. I smile, and laugh, things I had long since forgotten how to do.

Behind us, the door opens, I turn around to see but the scene changes, we are hidden from the world. The spirits dance around me; we smile, and frolic… oh the fun shall have, the games we shall play.

“We live so that we can one day die. Dreams of the heart are eternal.”

 

 

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4 thoughts on “My Muse

  1. What an awesome piece of writing. Your Maggie could easily be blood sister to my muse, Monique. — “blood” being the operative word in their connection, of course.

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