Ink Cocoon

You’re a word whisperer. I think that makes you dangerous.

You have an otherworldly gift. You can whisper the text from your pages and drink them into my soul. A strange transference of meaning. And you’re unafraid to become a blank clutch of paper as a result. I don’t know how or why you do this. Frankly, it scares me.

I think you know, don’t you, that I can’t help but lean into your presence. Your whisper is like a tocsin in the deep stillness. Too loud. It’s tearing space apart. I feel the gaps between molecules widening. Again, how do you do this? Sorcery’s too absurd an idea to entertain, surely, but how else can I possibly explain this?

I touch your spine. Are you trembling just now? Oh. It’s my fingers. My hands. Okay. It makes sense that you wouldn’t be the fearful one.

Something’s changing. The text is vanishing before my eyes, and with it all sense. And when my eyes skew across you to the pages that follow, it feels as though some inevitable prophecy is being fulfilled. If words can be so effortlessly erased then I don’t know what to do or who to be.

Your gaze is a dare. Stop looking at me! You know very well that your passivity is a challenge I cannot rise to. So… I give myself over. We deep kiss until time runs backwards. My caressing lips. The roughness of your page. Your words continue to fade off the paper into me.

I open my mouth in silent agony, but my voice won’t obey. I hiss. I croak. I dry heave and suffocate. And just at that moment when I realise I’m dying, your words begin to spill from my mouth like ink. They splat everywhere in great, vile, Rorschach patterns.

“What do you see, Herman?”

The doctor’s voice is soft and calm. She keeps the Rorschach test steady in her hands. She’s looking at me with unfeigned patience. I’m grateful, of course, but then I’m distracted by my reflection on a glossy table surface. My face has a deathly pallor. Those crazed eyes. A mouth smeared with black ink.

I wipe this off and smile at her.

“It’s a death’s-head hawkmoth, doc.”

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