Lori Zakariyya King

The child-prophet W’tøwir

Translated by a fool and then by a lyrist and then by a fool

At Fengate, much time before this:

For the middle of a whistling season a new boy was draped beside a rosebush on a scorched pathway to market. The wolves discussed relishfully.

Petals fed him first; a baby bachelor with thorn-dipped skin.

Later, sparsity of winter stocks delayed the response of a young mother (within earshot) and her conscience. The boy cried bells towards her wind as if angels were tying them together.

When the strips of salt-striped roebuck dropped into pink hands he thanked someone else instead of her. He owned milk eyes and lashes long after then.

Through their years she would fetch him what she could – of chestnuts and things. He heard her wish to be him. And with the grace of her he spread upwards. Smiles grew between their tidy faces, but the boy sensed that invitations arose solely from her heart-muscle so declined. He was not convinced by inside anyway.

At ten, looking all the bronze Celt he was, he sawed the throat of an otter and she never risked return.

Self-sufficiency for the boy brought a desire to speak, to enter ears. There were buttoned pockets in his head. He taught himself by engaging the passers-by. Mostly it was listening and mimicry with odd greetings of concord.

A night-shaped crow (a raven) came one new moon and emphatically projected the time. The boy snivelled while preparing.

A morning after, full up of parsley he stood and waited. They came riding cows. To open his account with folk he asked them to consider something greater than the sky-bed of the gods. The first-comers never did.

He scratched and scratched, in some instances using number equations or sketches of the invisible.

People attentioned weakly and recommended to him sagehood in the schools and the initiations of the dense woods. He however could not poem and instead of this guarded his rosebush with warnings of the dense woods. Some said he had an unwritten beard of frost.

When he remained their suspicions grew troublingly larger. His pathside questions built into bold assertions. The definition of the pictures he painted climbed. The ridicule would reach him soon and he didn’t desire for his temper to have to invent the Fire. The Fire needed to be a plant or a useful vegetable. They would surely probe him for its specific geography and he knew he would lose them on it. Not for the last time answers donned masks.

By twelve they spat solidly at him like ritual.

Soon, he would temporarily replace his evening supplications with expeditions into the blue blind air incognito. He feigned familiarity or grunted and then shared in little feasts beside temperate flames with examples of his mockers. They may have known, but they may also have known other yellow things. The ghost boy meant to learn them in the close reading of their mouths.

Once, as he spun away from their appraisal of the Sun, he looked into a kneeling girl-child and instantly visioned he possessed her. It prided him to flower her before princes. Through blinking stars.

She tracked him long enough to hear of the rosebush place.

Daily coded communications were carved on bones.

By thirteen she believed him and he believed her. Nextly he married her to himself with seldom spent terms and a coin, hoping the black crow would have come.

They rejoiced afterward, crouched on stumps. However the sand spilt and disbelievants approached dribbling. Screaming that they would not let them record or announce it and she was brought back home with trickling scratches.

Immediately inside and then for fattened months the girl summoned insubordinance and venomous truths. It was that he explained for her that war was deceit. Incredulous, without food or provisions, they released her. Once more together they gave each other soft but determined names. He, having been only an owl before.

Their play was full and wild. Sometimes she hurt him and he couldn’t trace which fingers to react with. They pooled fruit and the meat of babe-sized mammals. Never copulating, but finding buzzing loins to giggle with.

By day barefoot in the dust he preached and prophesized and warned and storied. There was her resolve for him warm where they were roofless.

Hunger campaigned for them; bitter. They were nimble enough to bludgeon lynxes and carp when men of understanding suffered downhill from their home. Weeds were honey sweet for the tiny lovers. Teeth greened blue.

Away from the boy and his work she explored thrice in the nearby collection of blackberries. Trusting the singularity of the divinity and its innovation, especially the ruby brown bears that lingered beyond.

Then, without need for shadows or quiet, a thick, hate-born hunter defiled her beneath sharp and static clouds. She spluttered fiercely as a weather-bitten grip clubbed her windpipe and closed her.

When her husband eventually found the girl outside of consciousness and almost destroyed from rain he knew. He didn’t doubt. He didn’t doubt.

He held her day and night and day again until she awoke with molten tears. Illness smothered like a vengeful spirit.

He, though, began to ponder blame and, as he thought, his glance invariably sought her with novel emotions. For these brief moments in the soup she could not see him except for his struggling expression. Wounded, her impurities surfaced and decoded for her insinuation. As he daggered himself she staggered through a vile argument under silence.

Within hours her voice had scurried for fear and he would not spare his tongue in confused shame. He searched in the apple tree for confessioning.

Weeks chewed through the leaves until the girl began snorting at awareness. She reasoned poison had muted her and not will, in supposition that the hunter’s fierce hot magnesia was championing her blood now. She craved droppings and cried beside her persistent orange vomit. Both minds knotted. The boy asked her to leave him her bravery in case her unseen would depart.

If she was forever child then nobody would follow his thread again, he predicted. He knew not whence broken shells were to be hid for this.

Against her heavenly pleas she began to grow the hunter’s trapped head, inches below her heart on her fragile, petite frame. Where were the witchings stinging her from? She could not utter complaint; swelling loudly. Her kith listened from huts, guiltless incomprehension.

For what was finally, the girl slugged to the basin basket of heather, where she could broken-call to her wedded. The hunter returned, shameless. This time translucent with a blanket blur. Forcing his plug of pain into her so she dreamt of death. He coughed through her. Like a peregrine her husband raced, cutting feet. Though he could not see the hunter, but cradled her inside the ordealing as the coughs hoarsened and sharpened and sped.

Rainbows/red. The burning exodus of the poison came onto soilic bedding. Unmoving and metallic. Hair and fingernails and the girl’s old mouth snared in a web of vernix.

She sniffed and rubbed her clothes with it, drank the trickle of blood.

Her trembling husband distributed the white alien below them in peat, telling the stranger that he was beyond sorry. They two chafed children caught breath for days, and settled in thought and astonishment. She once ordered him to cry.

The visiting raven pursed his lips. Then, before the creaking sixth moon was created, his blackness swam to the boy and whispered kind instructions for him to return to the baby body with a square cup of rain drops.

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