Puzzles and Paradigms


When Jupiter Sighs Collection – The Dreaming; An Artist Down the Well – Fantasy


Ver Sacrum Books - When Jupiter Sighs by Bethalynne BajemaI’ve been lost to dreaming in my waking state. I’ve passed through mirrors and slipped my hand through the wall to feel the reality hidden on the other side. I have found secrets. I found her.

It can be said that what I found was a configuration meant for a creature so much greater than myself. Like the toy maker’s puzzle box, created with loving care and burning ambition, only to become the ever shifting paradigm. A riddle within a riddle, where the answer is known only to the very person who created it and could care less about solutions where there is no mystery or prize.

I looked past the configuration into the heart of the room itself. In ignorance and utter apathy I left the mystery to someone else, someone who might be crippled by the desire to see what lay at its heart. For me, there was only one thing that seemed to matter: To move beyond the barrier so I could look into her eyes.

False nature said there came absolution with the gift of just one glance. Common sense told me that as reality shifted in dreams, so too did the honesty given truth in this place.

I could rely on neither, I just wanted to touch her. I wanted to be close enough to breath her in. Like the sweat and smell pushed from her pores was a greater intoxicant than the oxygen my lungs fought for. I wanted to put my mouth on hers and leave it moist. To touch her skin, to feel her hair, to put physical textures to all the things I saw as I looked at her.

Her smile suggested an invitation. A greater sense reasoned that a hungry smile offered to prey would look much the same. Where was the line between a desire to welcome and the need to disassemble those before her? How well did she balance this line. Was she the demigoddess left to rot alone in the temple built for her? Or was this nothing more than a shrine to another unseen and dead force? She the useless thing left to guard the entrance.

Perhaps it did not matter. Or perhaps I had finally found a riddle that would cause me a desire to see it through to the end. Where my hands would fall over her form and twist it into some sort of position that offered me an answer. Would she lie on her back and confess to me the nature of living death? Or would she lay speechless and spread her legs to let spill the seeds spit from the mouths of gods? Would she tell me what fruit would grow from such a seed?

I could spend a lifetime there, silently answering my own questions, never once addressing them to her. I wanted to speak, but she wore such a weary look of futility across her features. Like every question would simply be answered with another question. Like every moment that passed was just another reminder of how she had found her way to that spot.

And I thought…

For all the beauty I saw in her sitting there, was there a force or reason in nature that would cause me to want to take her place? To be held fast to this dusty corner which smelled like used time and dead clocks. Would I want to know the sweetness in her smell was from the drying of her blood beneath the skin, or the vanilla air congealing on her body? Would I really want the answers if she had the mouth to voice them?

Curiosity suggested yes. A deep rooted knowledge of myself answered differently by pushing my feet to move. I turned away from her and wondered briefly if I looked back quick enough if I could catch the illusion broken. But I didn’t do this. Whether she cracked and faded away from my eyes, I could offer her painless immortality by keeping the memory of her as it was: Something dead and beautiful. Something silently screaming for release. I left her a riddle.


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