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Private  - I saw you in the grave

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They’re whispering again.

All those dead things in the ground, all those bones and half-rotten bodies buried in unmarked graves. The field mice caught and left by the barn cats, the sick fox that crawled into its den to die, the unnamed man buried six feet deep in the garden. All of them groaning, turning over in their sleep when I pass by them.

I can hear them.

If it were not for the whispering earth, the garden might have been silent tonight. Isolt might still have been still been sleeping, tangled up leg to leg with her sister, with the hollow curls of their blood-red horns locked tightly together. But in the black night when the moon disappears over the sea, she comes awake with a sigh. 

At first she hears only the creak of the winter-bare trees overhead, wringing their branches together like hands and turning restlessly. She lies there and she listens, while they groan and shiver and tap, tap, tap against each other’s trunks like a song without words. The sound of it makes her teeth begin to ache, makes the frost in the air begin to taste like iron and blood. And it is only in the silence filling the spaces between the trees that she thinks to wonder at the way they move when there is no wind to guide them.

She turns and drags the curl of her horn down her sister’s neck like a prayer whispered on the lips of a sinner. 

Come awake, she prays with each line she draws into Danaë’s skin. Come awake with me. And she does not stop twisting until she feels that other body begin to stir, until the heart beating just below the surface speeds up as if to say yes, yes, I’m here, yes. Her lips trace the path her horn had cut almost-tenderly, the only apology she’ll ever know how to form. But it doesn't stop the way the bones in the earth are grinding, and the way the bones in her body are snarling.

There is no wonder or joy in her voice when she speaks, only the bottomless pit of her hunger coming awake in the night. “I can’t sleep.” She presses the words into her sister’s skin, presses them hard enough that she might feel the way her teeth are aching for something to sink into. 

She breathes in slowly, holds the taste of the young winter night on her tongue. In it she can feel the snow in the air, the rot waiting for her just below the half-frozen earth. It sings to her, for her, makes her lungs tremble like a flower trapped somewhere between rotting and rooting. And it is the song that makes her decide she can’t go back to sleep, not now, not when the dead things have already been sleeping for far too long.

“Let’s go.”

And when she moves, when Isolt untwists their bodies grown together like roots and takes off down the narrow garden path like something wild and furious and unleashed — she does not even notice the way the dry leaves crumble to dust beneath her hooves. She only thinks that the bones and the dead things are quieter when she runs, when her blood is rushing in her ears and drowning out the groans of the earth.

And as she runs, death runs with her in all the places where her hooves cut edges into the soil, spreading black and brittle like disease.

@danaë ❁ I am so ready.
"wilting // blooming"

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I am whispering. I am screaming. I am singing. 
My teeth hurt with all the sounds crashing against them from the sea of my voice.
My jaw feels like rust and stone as I open my mouth again, and again, and again.

I am making a hundred sounds, a hundred sobs, and all that pours out is silence.
And the silence is black.

The unicorn does not know how to be alone.

She has never had the chance to learn. In her dreams there are monsters running alongside her shadow like shorelines of bone, and petals, and whip-o-the-wills caging in the white-frothed river of her form. There lingers in her blood, and in her thoughts, the steady unending sound of her magic's roar like a storm that never breaks and only promises.

Outside her dreams there has always been her sister tangled with her, pressing horn and teeth against her skin as she whispers to the unicorn's soul instead of her ears. Their sides are always pressed together as they walk, hard enough that it feels like they are a monster of two heads and a single heart beating both sparrow frail and wolf strong between them.

And always, always, always, there is that wind-soft song echoing in her bones, and heart, and ears until she has learned that her soul has no room to sing a song of its own.

When she awakes, walking from the nothingness sea of her own dreams like a shell spit out from the tide, it is the touch of her sister that she first feels. It is not her own heartbeat that she hears when she tips her ears into the wind. All she can hear is the wolf-song of her twin's heart, and the wind singing though a horn that is not her own, and the trees moaning above their heads like creatures torn violently from slumber. Beneath it all her own body is just a leaf falling to the forest floor-- a sound of nothing caught in the roar of a snow squall.

There is no moment in which she thinks that she must untangle their legs, untwist the curls of their horn, and blink the dust of a million dreams that are not her own from the places were they cling like spiderweb to her black lashes. All there is the the sound of her sister's voice slipping into her spine like a fist and squeezing hard as a snake.

“You can never sleep.” The unicorn whispers as she stands on her own legs (are they her own? she cannot feel them) and smiles around her voice that she does not know how to describe the sound of. Her lips kiss her sister's cheek as she turns her gaze into the howling black-wood crying, crying, crying out for them.

It sounds like her dreams, her thoughts, her voice as it pours from her smile like it, it sounds--

Oh it sounds like every organ screaming inside her skin every hour, and every minute, and every second of every day.

She does not say yes, yes, yes I will run with you. She only is running before she is aware of the way her legs must move. There is only the feeling of something growing through her bones like a vine, and the vise like hold of her sister's every sound around her heart. There is only the howl, the cry, the fermented taste of rot crawling through the forest around them.

And she does not see that in each dead lead, and each cottage wall, and each dying bit of earth a flower blooms bright and bloody against the gray colorlessness of winter.

The unicorn, who only hears every step of her sister and every moan of the slumbering forest, does not know how to see anything that belongs to her and her alone.


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It feels like I’ve been here before. Not the garden — but this race, this rush, this wild beating of my heart against my ribs like a chained dog gone mad. I feel as though I have lived and died a thousand times and maybe —

Maybe I have.

I tell myself these memories are not my own, that they belong to the dead. But sometimes, oh sometimes it is so hard to separate their thoughts from mine. Sometimes I wonder who I am — wolf or horse? Monster or girl? Mortal or god?

Maybe I am all that and nothing.

Isolt sees the flowers blooming as she passes them by — how could she not? Already she thinks that they are to be the most beautiful sight in the world, the loveliest gift a twin monster might offer its other half. All that red, stark and bloody against the winter frost, paper-thin petals limned with ice. Red and white, just like them. Cold and profane, just like them. Something alive growing overtop something long past saving —

just like them.

They run together like dead things risen from their graves, like they have flowers and moss filling their chests instead of hearts and lungs. The garden feels as though it were made for them tonight, everything black and ominous and dusted with frost. It felt like something dying, something frozen and lonely and so silent she can hear each thud of her twin’s heart. In the darkness she counts every petal coming to life, and every beat of the wolf-song rushing through their veins instead of blood.

And upon each one of them she makes a wish. She wishes that the bodies in the ground would go back to sleep (or at least stop crying, it is the crying she cannot stand), she wishes that her sister’s flowers might live forever (even when the winter is pressing in, hard and hungry and sharp-toothed) — she wishes, wishes, wishes for a hundred feelings other than this hunger that twists itself like a knife through her belly.

Isolt does not know what it wants, does not yet know what it takes to satisfy the black monster of her magic — but oh, how she wants to. Maybe then she wouldn’t have to wonder if the howl rising in her throat belonged to her or the wolf bones laying forgotten in the dirt. Maybe then she could lay down to sleep and dream about something — anything — other than the dead clawing free from the earth and consuming every living creature left in the world.

And as she runs on and on, as they twist around frozen hedges and sprint down beaten dirt paths, she is looking for it. Isolt is hunting, and each step she takes is more graceful and deadly than the last. In every dead leaf and bloody flower she expects to find it, the answer to the question she does not have the words to ask. That wind-song they both move in time to is calling her closer, closer, closer —

She doesn’t tell her sister when it’s time to stop (she knows, she thinks she must already know.) The garden smells like death, and in it is the answer, the reason she cannot sleep, the end of their hunt. In the ground is the thing calling out to them.

Isolt is moving towards it even before she understands what it is. “Here,” she whispers, lowering her head. Her breath freezes in the air, her lungs tremble like dying flowers, and she buries the tip of her horn into the snow like a spear.

“Do you hear it, sister?” Her voice is soft, the sound of death creeping between her father’s slumbering flowers. The body in the ground is stretching and yawning at the sound of it.

And when she pulls away and says, “it wants to be free,” her magic feels like ice crawling down the bend of her spine. She steps back and presses her side to her twin’s, hard enough it feels like their skin might finally break so they might bleed together like watercolor at last.

Isolt shivers, and it has nothing to do with the cold.

@danaë ❁
"wilting // blooming"

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widows, ghosts and loves sit and sing
in the dark, arched marrow of me

unning should not be so easy with a heart she cannot hear. It should not feel like every dead wolf, and fox, and hare, and stag, has slipped into her bones and made a graveyard out of her instead of a unicorn. Young legs should not be this quick, a spine this agile, her form sleeker than a sight hound on a blood-trail. She should not be--

Her sinew stretches as her sister's does; her nostrils flare out their dragon fog as her sister's do; her horn catches in the dappled forest light in the same pattern. And yet, for each step Isolt takes, each drum of her heart that echoes the forest war-song in Danaë's ears, she cannot help but feel like it's only the forest chasing after Isolt with a mouth that does not know  the ways in which to say, wait, wait, wait for me.

Over and over again she opens her mouth. And over and over nothing comes out. There is only another breath, another exhale of all the animals dead and slumbering in her thoughts. Perhaps that is all they need, this dream of air on a sea of blood, and organ, and bones that ring like hollow swamp drums. Perhaps it does not matter that she is so full of the dead there is no room, no room at all, for anything else. Isolt stops, and even in that, as she slides in beside her there is no unicorn intent in the movement-- there are only those dead wolves and stags.

“Yes.” She says.

The voice is not her own. It is the howl of a wolf in the dawn, the joyful yip of a fox with a hare in its mouth, the lament of a swan when it finds its mate on the shore with his neck broken and his heart on the loam like petals instead of organ tissue.

Beneath the ground the bones start to hum, and beg, and whisper a hundred half formed not-language dreams. Each sinks into her head like a thorn into an almost rotten fruit. Around the wolf, and the stag, and the fox with a hare in his mouth, she starts to bleed out.

Out into the ground. Out into the places where she is not unicorn but magic. Out into the shadow that hold the only real shape of her form. Out. Just Out.

“It wants to be more than free, sister.” The wolf touches her nose to the skin of blood-red unicorn. The hare brushes a satin ear against the cheek of that same unicorn. The stag drags his bone crown against another bone crown. Danaë (like the swan) does nothing, saying nothing, makes no sound as the dead fill her up and start to cry to the black magic running through her where blood should be be.

Help us. They cry to magic.

The magic whispers, hush, hush, hush, back to the fox, and the stag, and the wolf, and the swan. It whispers in the way that a rusted blade whispers against the fragile skin of a sacrificial lamb.

“It wants to live and run as things with hearts and dreams run.” The words pour from the mouth of the unicorn. The body blinks, and blinks, and the eyes turn as liquid bright as fresh blood from the wound. Teeth flash between her pale lips as she snarls, and smiles, and gnashes her teeth together like a trapped animal.

And when the first vine, fat with wisteria, lifts from the dirt there is a skull nested in the flowers (like a bone-white star pillowed in a storm cloud) with a femur laid across its brow like a dirty and forgotten crown.

{ @Isolt "speaks" notes: <3
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Sometimes, I pretend the flowers are mine. And I pretend it is not a pile of bones or a graveyard they grow from, but a flowerbed sitting outside our bedroom window. It feels simpler that way, like what we do is no different than our father tending the garden.

It feels more like a dream than a nightmare that way.

In the mid-night hush where the shadows grow ever darker between the garden walls, the two unicorns gather around a grave that only they know to exist. While the rest of the world slumbers on without ever hearing the jaws of the long-dead wolf snap shut, they lean in closer to listen to the words it has forgotten how to make and whisper a thousand things back to it in the language of the dead. Come awake, they say, to all the things that have no right to do anything but sleep.

There is no moon to act as their witness tonight.

The witching hour belongs to them. The darkness and all the things hiding within it is their’s and their's alone.

Isolt presses her horn to her twin’s, hollow spirals fitting together with a sigh of bone against bone. And as the cold things in the ground begin to hum, and sing, and stir, the unicorn feels every black and rotten chamber of her heart begin to tremble in response. Everything in the garden, everything in her is already dead or dying and oh, it feels as holy as it does profane. She is smiling even as the aching twists like a knife between her ribs — and when she looks down into the darkness of a shallow grave reopening —

the darkness smiles back.

“Then who are we to tell them no,” she whispers to her sister, and all the while the magic in her bones is singing yes, yes, yes. It wraps itself like a noose around her twin’s, around the corpses, around the flowers, and it drags them all through the half-frozen dirt.

Her heart starts to beat like a rabbit’s, quick and hard, when the first skull appears with roots holding its jaw shut. “Come.” She does not ask, she never asks — it is only a command, one her magic is all too willing to obey. Vertebrae by vertebrae, each spiny process shining white and new in the night, the creature drags itself out of the earth. A half-rotten paw digs its claws into the earth, its spine twisting when it lifts its head to look up at the unicorns lording over it like gods (your masters, Isolt wants to correct it, but she does not.)

Still in the ground, vines knit the fingers of another corpse back together against, so they can join the first in digging itself free. One was never enough for her, even when she feels her lungs quiver with want of air or watches the first trail of blood drip, drip, drip from her sister’s nose. She presses her shoulder to Danaë’s, blood against bone, for want of steadying herself as much as her twin.

Because it is the purple blossoms pressing themselves against the bones, and the vines twisted around them in place of tendons, that makes the beating of her heart sound something like keening. Rage flashes unchecked in her eyes, burns hot in her veins. And when she lifts her nose and scents the air like a wolf, the flowers smell only like the sweet and fermented tang of death.

Still, it is the only perfume she wants to wear.

@danaë ❁
"wilting // blooming"

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widows, ghosts and loves sit and sing
in the dark, arched marrow of me

ach cell in her form, from the bone-cells to the blood-cells to the magic-cells, quivers and quickens like leaves in a storm wind. Locked in the jail-chambers of her heart a stag curls his lip at the wolf even as his herd of doe and fawns run fleet-footed away, away, away. Danaë wants to follow them, curl inside herself and run as swiftly as any sight-hound and wise doe until the darkness (and the darkness doubles in the places where her shoulder rests against her sister's).

She wants the wind, and the tickle of tall-grass along her belly as she stretches low and runs until these made and magic bones of hers tremble with aching.

She wants, oh she wants, a hundred different things as the flowers and vines weave together the bones that reach for them like a dark sea to the ancient cliffs. When she licks her lips there is bitter magic on the taste of her blood running from her nose like rotten rain. And when she blinks there is lighting streaking across the black backs of her eyelids (and in her marrow there is the roaring bellow of thunder calling itself magic).

And yet---

And oh!

When the paw stretches out for her, and the daisy and ivy eyes blink in their empty bone sockets, and the tongue of poppies licks at too long teeth, she cannot help but feel the ache of her heart turn from sorrow and fall into love. Each drop of her blood falling to the earth becomes a gift of her heart, a watering hole of love in which the risen might slake their endless thirst.

Isolt says come, like the true-death and true-new-god that she is. It's right that the risen turn their eyes to the darkness first and wash the dirt from their eyes with the color of blood-red skin.

Danaë is no god, no true-thing. She is mother, and swan, and wolf, and stag, and doe, and fawn. Her blood is an ocean fat with algae, and sharks, and whales, and dragons older than the bones reaching towards them like petals to the dawn. She is mother, and lion, and gardener in the darkness doubled where nothing knows in which direction the roots should grow. And she is whispering, “live”, instead of come as she walks towards the two creatures struggling back into the world that was stolen from them.

Their thoughts run through her like salt in the tide, so tangled with her own that she is no longer just black-magic water but an ecosystem pulled out of the cosmic darkness. They want to run, and feed, and  lust, and breathe (and breathe and breathe) until there are so fat with air they float away on the first whisper of winter wind.

The unicorn, if she can be called a unicorn anymore (surely she is no longer Danaë with everything living in her body like this), brushes her nose across the bone brows and the daisy eyes. She kisses the ivy tongues and exhales air into the mushroom lungs.

And everything she touches is bright with the red-shine of her blood.

Still she begs more of them to rise. She begs all of them to rise because she knows the wrath flashing moon silver in her sister's eyes will settle for nothing less (and even that, like her bloody kisses, is as it should be).

{ @Isolt "speaks" notes: <3
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If I am a flower then I am one growing in poisoned soil. I want to run with the dead things, and run, and run, until my bones crumble and my lungs turn brittle and frail like poetry made flesh. I want to tear out all the other flowers, all the healthy and beautiful ones, until all that remains are roots and weeds and other twisted things for us to make art of.

There is magic in our blood, and tonight we are watering the garden with it.

Her magic, the furious beat of it igniting in her blood, has gone beyond hunger and slipped into famine. It lies there like a storm trapped beneath her skin, crashing again and again and again against her ribcage until every bone echoes with the song of it. She can feel it, its violence, its rage, gnawing at her ribs.

She can feel the way the dead things — her lovely, terrible dead things — tremble in response.

And she smiles.

Somewhere a half-rotten heart is fluttering, trying to beat again through the dirt and the roots and the decay wrapped around it. And Isolt can feel her’s trembling when it matches the pace of the creature stretching out to greet her. And when she sighs, she feels less like a unicorn standing in the garden and more like one of the monsters crawling free from the frozen earth. Her sister whispers live over them like a prayer, and Isolt who is one of them feels every cell in her body burning at the sound of it.

It is her own paws they use to claw their way free from the earth. And it is her lungs that ache when they lift their root-and-bone heads and take their first undying breath. And when they turn to look at the two unicorns it is her eyes they use to see, and she is looking up at herself from the ground. They want, and want, and want for a thousand things that were stolen from them the moment the breath in their lungs first collapsed — and for the moment, Isolt wants nothing more than to run, and feed, and lust, and breathe (and breathe and breathe) with them.

Everything in her settles with a sigh, as her sister’s blood and the rotten creatures settle like a stone inside of her (and oh, her hunger feels like only a memory beneath the weight of them.)

She runs her muzzle down their spines as they arch against her, until her lips are red and black with the blood and the death of them. Wisteria petals woven between their vertebrae catch in her teeth, and their ivy wilts as it winds its way up her legs. In the snow-white garden they are brighter than the holly and the winter-blooming flowers, a spot of color in a deathless world.

And her sister’s blood covers everything red, red, red, and it does not stop.

Maybe that is why she finally lifts her eyes from the dead things and remembers that she is not supposed to be one of them (not yet). Her legs feel heavier than they should when she stands and stumbles to her sister’s side, like they are held together by roots and vines still anchored to the earth. Her lungs tremble like twin flowers begging to bloom.

The other unicorn’s cheeks are as red as her own, beneath all the blood. “Danaë,” she wipes the blood-tears from her sister’s eyes, and presses their cheeks together.

And when she closes her eyes, all she sees are daisy eyes and rot-specked teeth gleaming, smiling at them from the darkness.

@danaë ❁
"wilting // blooming"

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widows, ghosts and loves sit and sing
in the dark, arched marrow of me

he snarling stag stumbles on his gone-too-seed knees before the wolf entropied from starvation. The doe sink into the swamp mire that has turned as thick and red as coagulated blood upon a torn out throat. Fawns turn their eyes so that the moisture on their cheeks turns to moonlight, and wrath-light, and end-of-the-world light.

And their cage, their bloody unicorn cage, licks her lips like an animal instead of an immortal. She tastes blood, and bone, and fermented flowers heady enough to become bitter.

She tastes like--
Like everything.

Yew seeds fall from her bloody eyes as she blinks back the wolf, and stag, and doe, and fawn. Entropied sinew trembles as she bends down to bed with her risen and her sister-god. Wisteria roots in the chambers of her dead-dead-heart. Vines unfurl in the hollows of her jugular and the caverns of her liver. Ghost pipes rise from the murk and rot of her soul. She blinks and it’s seed, and frond, and thorn tumbling down from the agony of her gone-wild magic.

Another heart trembles into life, into that same agony falling, into the holy violence of her sister waiting like a winter before them. Roses carve their way between the broken jawbone of a hare scratching out of the frozen mire. More blood falls-- more, and more, and more, until she doesn’t know if there’s more blood or magic left in the maplines of her veins

“I cannot save them.” The last breath of the stag says as it dies with the wolf. Magic stutters in her chest in a mockery of the fawn’s lament. Her horn wilts, as a flower in winter does, down to the wisteria spine and the sunflower eyes of a risen. She cleaves through them as her magic stutters again when her heart slows into the song of frost on a sapling.

Moisture pools on her cheekbones, it turns to moonlight as the fawn’s had, when she tucks her bloody cheek into her sister’s. She becomes a willow in the thunderstorm of Isolt and there is no sound in the silent fury of her leaves. Her eyes, her bloody and moonlit eyes, flicker and fade. They blink out the last forest creature and the last yew seed.

Danaë becomes a gravestone, a deadstone, as she falls apart with the last risen left uncleaved by her wilting horn. Etched into the marrow and soft silk of her there is only a single word, a single note in which the song of her will ever be recalled. “Isolt.” And nothing else.

In the darkness there is only Isolt, and nothing else.

{ @Isolt "speaks" notes: <3
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It never lasts long enough. I wish we could lie here forever and watch our children dance around us, listen to the music of the wind whistling through their eye sockets and the leaves whispering against their ribs. I wish they would go on forever, dance forever, sing forever, bloom forever -- but they always crumble back into all their separate pieces when the magic runs its course through my sister and leaves her emptied in a flash.

I wish I did not have to choose, between my sister or our bright, dead things. I want them both. I want them always.

There is a song of death dancing around inside of her chest in place of a heartbeat. A thing made to devour this world and the next one curls around her heart like a noose, in between the vines and the arteries and her rib bones all tied together in a knot. There is no wisteria blooming in her lungs, or leaves unfurling to fill the holes of her heart.

There is only rot creeping up her throat, coating the back of her tongue in black specks and grey fuzz.

And even as Isolt wipes the blood-tears from her sister’s eyes and kisses her brow, all she sees beneath her lips is another dead thing coming awake with roots and petals knitting her fragile form together. Danaë is blooming in all the ways Isolt is crumbling to ash and dust. And if it only lasts a moment, still it is long enough for her to know which of their creations in the garden is the most beautiful.

Perhaps that is why it feels so much like the roots of her own heart being ripped out of the soil of her body, when the magic finally breaks and Danaë falls with the rest of the risen things. They fall, and they fall apart, all the pieces holding them together collapsing.

The fox stumbles, its jaw falling empty-mouthed to the ground without the ivy wiring it closed. The hare tears itself in half when it tries to take its next step, petals and roots falling out of its cleaved-open stomach in place of intestines and stomach. The fawn’s legs let go of its body and it tumbles into a pile of bones and leaves. All her bright, dead things come grinding to a half, and Isolt almost forgets to catch her sister when they do.

But it is that name, whispered on her twin’s lips, that reminds her she is only half of a unicorn and not a god (as much as she sometimes wishes it were not so.) She lays her sister down in their father’s garden, in a pile of bones and wilted flowers and fallen leaves, tucking her in with all the gentleness of a unicorn and none of the wrath of a monster.

When she lays down beside her and tangles their legs together once more, she does not bother to clean up the blood. She only thinks it makes her twin look even better now, more like herself.

And that is how the morning sun finds them, with Isolt keeping watch over all her terrible, lovely monsters.

@danaë ❁
"wilting // blooming"

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