"My time is a mystery. Tales seep from my spinning fingers into the endless pit of ears that lie waiting. Awake and lie listening as I reach through your sons to dream in your ear. Pay no mind, if you will, and you will the same of life. If you tend toward me I shall draw you along, dancing in your soul, and remembered only in your sleep."

Sophelia Epiphany Palindrome lay expectant upon a green velvet Edwardian divan. Her eyes at half mast, her left hand relaxed, waiting. The fingers twitch ever so slightly, barely perceived by the eyes that watch her. An apple appears in the palm of her hand. She tosses it gently and deftly catches it again. With the mildest of smirks and a wink she closes her eyes and begins to eat.

"Cerberus, you cur!" And at him, the apple, she threw.

The insult he caught, the apple he did not.

"Sophie, you bitch," was his snotty retort, as he bent to retrieve said apple, half eaten, from the floor.

"Cerberus, my love. My dove with white wings. Come give us a kiss, some bones and gold rings."

This said, he sidled close, jaunty and perturbed. The bolt had been slipped, the lock had been picked, as she lay expectant, a key between her lips.

Thus approached, but by no means ascended, she watched as he sat upon the floor beside the green velvet divan and lay his head in the scaffold of her lap. He toyed wordlessly with the frayed hole of her faded blue jeans, and yet avoided the knee that lay just beneath the seams.

"Ah," she sighed. "Impetuous youth, why hast thou forsaken me?" She stretched and soon lay back again.

"Me?" He asked, incredulous. "I would never forsake you."

"You?" She laughed. "You grumpy old man! Nay, but I speak of 'youth', proverbial youth. That which comes but once" she halts, ponders, begins again. "and never departs!"

"Oh, you old sow." He pokes her fleshly belly. He's cross now, and lifts her shirt and blows a raspberry.

"Business!" She cries. "We must attend to business."

"Pray, what is that?"

"Hmmm," She thinks. And, "humph," she thought. "We'll leave business to business and, anyhow, I've forgot."

And yet there was something, and she smacked him all friendly like, that must be attended to (He took hold of her legs and yanked her to the floor). "Now if I can only remember." She hits him with pillows. "Just what it was." He bit at her toes, and "Oh!" She remembered, as she crooked back his arm, just what it was.

She whispered, with calm sweet and deadly, "Cerberus, my dove, your time is near."

He screamed like a girl and ran from the room, poking back in just as she planned to swoon.

"Oh!" She cried. "I love every morsel, every bit, every bite of that golden apple we have eaten tonight."

"What the goddamn hell?" He grouched fine and sour. "Sophie, my love, you are one bitter flower."

"A rose?" She asked archly, sure to deny.

"A poppy perhaps, betwixt thumb and lip. A flame in your eye, milk in your hip." Says he.

"I am what you will, without you I am not."

"Oh, within you I am, I will call you Morpheen, and will not go without."

"Ah!" She cries. "Not so, not so! Absurd am I, and vaguely obscene, but I think that I am not the stuff of dreams."

"In flavor, in tastes, everything belies, the ghost of your grandma and her cherry pies."

Suddenly sullen, suddenly quiet, she slips out of reach. Her label, just legible, finally is read: In case of eye contact, flush well with water.

And he finds himself transformed.

 

NOTE: To learn more about the author, Kallisti,
please check her Bio on the Editors Page.

This story first appeared in Sins of Coffee, 1991.





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