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October 11th, 2020.


And in the dark, when she was finally quiet from all the random fidgeting her fingers would do, I asked her; why can’t you open the door? I think Isabelle looked at me from beyond her grave, which of course was neither shallow nor unmarked, but will never be found by anyone but me. We’re fragmented in here, all of us. I am but a bit of the whole and Isabelle is but a bit of a fragment of the past, somehow. I am the alpha and the omega, yet I am passing, fleeting. None of us are here for very long, in this seeping darkness of the soul. There is someone else here, maybe something. I can hear it sometimes, dragging its claws slowly as it wakes carefully. The scales go click, click. There are eyes in the dark, you shouldn’t look into them. It is as terrifying as it is beautiful.

Isabelle says they’ve seen it, she and her hapless protector.

They’ve been here before, back then, tomorrow maybe. Time is dilated, like the reptile pupils awakening underneath the scaly exterior. We should be quiet here.

 

But Isabelle’s grave won’t be found. Maybe the dragon holds the tomb now. Maybe the crumbling castle does. Maybe we burnt her body and put her ashes in some pretty urn between the wall tiles in the corridor. I don’t remember. Time is dilated here, fluid, always overlapping. None of us ever really die, but we get retired when our time is up. Death is strange to us, as strange as it is to the phoenix, I suppose. The child has never died, yet none remember a time when she was ever visible to the world. There are secrets here, as everyone’s heart is a dark forest. You can get lost beneath, between, before.

 

Before. That’s what Isabelle said. We can’t open the door because it’s from the before. We were already changing, though not perceivable to the blind outside. We’ve always loved so vividly, she says, like a moth to the flame. No skin in the game of survival there, and our defenses take too long when we love. Behind, the scales go click, click. Still, it takes so long. The damage is so deep. So we run, we avoid, at least, Isabelle did. None here blame her; how can you blame someone for overflowing with love, for burning themselves at the stake? The blind are leading the blind on their own, if you couldn’t see how much Isabelle loved you might as well hand over your eyes. They’re not doing you any good.

 

Isabelle says they buried the door. She and her protector. They ran and they locked the door, set it on fire, and buried it so far down none would ever stumble upon it. Yet, it invades our dreams, from time to time. The remnants stalk our heart. The night is cold and things go bump, and we remember. Never open the door.