This is my contribution to the Beautiful Freaks Fest 2: Scars, Scars, Scars… Such Terrible Beauty! If you, too, choose to take your scars and turn them into trinkets and armor of terrible beauty, join the party and use your artful weapon of choice to show us how you do it (click the link to add your entry).
“The Screams of My Enemies Make the Grass Grow”
Agent Scarlet Darn, the first igor to become a shadow-weaver, sat across the Visualization and Lucid Dreaming Agency (VLDA) internal affairs officer, describing the event that added 3 stitches to his sutured saga. His union representative sat next to him taking notes… and quietly fuming.
“When the serenity-weaver opened his mouth to hum unmarred skin over old scars, my Lady visualized a spinning hammer that struck the serenity-weaver in the face and knocked out most of his teeth,” Agent Darn said to the internal affairs officer. “I offered my immunity chant to the serenity-weaver, to help him—”
“Twisted liar,” the serenity-weaver, who shared a small desk with his own union representative, said in Agent Darn’s general direction. But out of his swollen and toothless mouth, the last word sounded more like… lyre. This caused the insult to lose some of its bite. “You didn’t help”, the serenity-weaver went on. “You shouted at me, shouted violence, then joined the side of that wretched creature you claim to be assisting. If I hadn’t blocked your sword, my brain would probably be in the hands of one of your relatives.”
“Serenity-weaver, have a care.” The internal affairs officer’s tone oozed the sort of warning that can only be conjured by a deep fear of losing profit to… let’s say, a discrimination lawsuit. “Please continue, Agent Darn.”
“I shared my immunity with—”
“Mr. Lamb,” the internal affairs officer said to the serenity-weaver’s union rep, “if your client can’t control himself, he will be paused. We must know exactly what took place in the Lady’s visualized realm. And we will not take all week.”
Agent Darn’s union rep placed her notepad and pen on the desk, probably using more force than the action needed, and said, “If time is an issue, we should take advantage of the fact that my client is an igor.” In an effort to fill some of the blank looks she got from every person but her client and the internal affairs officer, the union rep added, “Igors’ stitches, especially if the igor is also a Story Crafter, hold perfect visual and auditory records of how they came to be. Everyone involved already consented to share.”
“Whenever you are ready, Agent Darn,” the internal affairs officer said, pointing at a white wall. “That area should be suitable.”
Agent Darn ran a finger over the fresh scar on his left ear. He spoke a few words into his hand, flared his fingers in front of him, and released a black thread of energy that turned the white wall into a color screen.
“I pity the mad ones”, the serenity-officer said. “Look at the poor thing. Flesh mutilated, spirit aflame, surrounded by shadows and still grinning, as if the hell her broken mind has created is some paradise. How could the agency assign her to that freak?”
“That’s kind of harsh, Benedict. I mean, yeah, Darn is… interesting looking, but he’s good people, does good work. Besides, I doubt too many of us want to stomach the kind of weaving needed to soothe the broken ones.”
“Just because I would take no pleasure in torturing maimed flesh and minds, it doesn’t mean that I can’t weave through shadows.”
“I don’t know. I suspect there’s more to shadow-weaving than—”
“We could visit the Lady’s realm, do a little soothing, cleanse some of the uglies and baddies. We might even figure out why Darn keeps beating everyone else’s numbers.”
“Oh no, brother. If snooping’s what you’re after, you’ll have to do it alone. I have a symbiotic oak and a moon the size of Jupiter to help dream for a witch who’s so aware that I’m pretty sure she’s spotted me at least twice. If she sees me long enough to take control of the weave, we’ll be visualizing jewelry for days, and she’ll get no rest.”
“So what if I also wanted to see how he cheats? Helping a mind on my own time is not forbidden. Neither is explo—” The serenity-weaver froze before shrieking the rest of his tirade, it probably had to do with really liking beer.
“Apologies,” the internal affairs officer said to the room. “Please, do go on, Agent Darn. Show us what happened after the overheard exchange.”
“Oh… hi, Darn,” the dream-weaver massaged the back of his neck, glanced at the ceiling, and sighed. “Been here the whole time, huh?”
“Sorry. Benedict means well, he’s just… one of those people, you know?”
“Of course, I know. No worries. I understand all about people being people, about how it often means spewing rotten horseshit that helps the spewer feel a little less crappy about his own inadequacies.”
“I am really—”
But Agent Darn never got to find out what the dream-weaver really was. His Lady’s battle cry, echoed by her entire horde, burst out of his observation screen.
“Shit!” the dream-weaver said.
“And blood, too”, Agent Darn replied, before vanishing out of his reality, rematerializing in his Lady’s realm, and almost losing an ear to the sharp hiss of the chakram he had just kept from slitting the throat of his least favorite serenity-weaver. “Don’t let them see your face.” Placing his body and sword in front of the serenity-weaver, Agent Darn turned towards the heat of his Lady’s bloodlust, roared, “The screams of my enemies make the grass grow!” and laughed.
“You’re mad”, the serenity-weaver said behind him. “You’re both mad, but she’s not to blame. Move, so I can calm her.”
“You must leave, before my Lady or one of hers decide that calming you permanently might greatly add to her overall happiness. Leave this place,” Agent Darn said again, “or repeat the battle cry and join my Lady’s war today.” In a louder voice, Agent Darn chanted, “The screams of my enemies make the grass grow!” while laughing.
“I’ll make her better,” the serenity-weaver said, as he sidestepped the protection Agent Darn’s body and sword had been providing. “Just call off your shadows.”
“The shadows aren’t mine, you arrogant shit,” he said, raising the sword above the serenity-weaver’s head, and keeping a skull full of stupid from being crushed by the bowl of a giant stone pipe.
Agent Darn deflected the blow of the stone pipe, but his sword was not fast enough to stop his Lady’s hammer. The silver beauty spun head-first into the serenity-weaver’s teeth. Two of the bloody things hit Agent Darn’s left boot before the jaw that had recently housed them kissed the clean stone floor with a wet, meaty crack.
Looking down at the unconscious serenity-weaver, Agent Darn said, “You’ve never cared for stone floors before, my Lady.”
“My dirt is too good for sparkly scum to bleed on it.” Grinning, she added, “And dirt might’ve been too soft to fell the rest of his teeth.”
“And the chakram?” Agent Darn pointed at the sharp circle on the floor, which was coated in too much blood for all the fluid to have come from his barely slashed earlobe.
“Oh, that.” His Lady placed a hand over the scar left behind by the amputation of one of her breasts, and said, “Before this pile of self-righteous scum,” she kicked the serenity-weaver in the ribs, “tried to change my body”, she kicked him in the gut, “he pretended to be an angel. Grandma thought it prudent to change his halo into chakram, and I tried to do a little decapitation, cleanse some of the nasty and stupid out of him, you know.”
“Since the shadow of my Lady’s grandmother isn’t always forgiving, I took the serenity-weaver to a safe place within my Lady’s realm. I joined her and hers in the day’s war until her chemotherapy infusion was over. After that, I returned to the agency and brought the serenity-weaver with me.”
The internal affairs officer nodded. “Before moving forward, I want to hear from the dream-weaver.” He addressed the union reps, “Do you know when his extended assignment will end?”
There was one of those pregnant pauses. You know the type, the ones that even the most devout of cliché worshipers are completely disgusted by.
“No one knows, sir,” said the serenity-weaver’s union rep, who seemed grateful to add something. He hadn’t been able to say much since his client was paused into silence. “The last scouts reported that his charge has him gilding an oak tree with hundreds of angelite necklaces she is visualizing in honor of her sister’s passing. The mourning arts take time and energy.”
The VCLA internal affairs officer decided to resume the proceedings in 13 days, or one day after the dream-weaver’s return. Whichever comes first…
the wee notes…
– no serenity-weaver was concussed or de-toothed during the crafting of this wee bit of wild *checks her boot for sneaky specks of blood*. But yes, this is the kind of visualization I journey into… in order to keep pain and nausea and such from driving me nuts (in significantly uncool ways).
– more than one nurse has inquired about the wicked grin on my face.
– some might read this and think, Um, Lady Magaly, this is full of… rather negative images. And you said, you said… you know? I know, I know what I said. But… you see, visualized violence against things I can’t realistically fight, fills my body with endorphins and delicious energy that helps me fight all sorts of real monsters in very realistic way. So, you see? Positive.
– the furiously awesome, one-breasted, visualization-amazon warrior in the story is obviously not me. Seriously, I would never decapitate someone with a halo turned chakram. Anyone who knows me understands that I would just enlarge the halo in question and use it as a hula-hoop (after taking care of things with my beauty of a hammer).
– oh, and for those of you who have read Drusilla; or, Camp Cute, Creepy and (quite conveniently) Remote (Wed Serials page), and are wondering if Agent Scarlet Darn is related to our dearest Sweet Darn, well…maybe. 😉