This week’s Friday Muse piece developed out of my Black Earth series. Pearl is a character from that series who was created by the witch, Evanescence, in the bowels of the Depths. Even though she was destined for destruction and malevolence, Pearl managed to escape and carve out her own destiny. This new character that I introduce in today’s piece – Sapphire – seems to have been formed within the same circumstances. And much like Pearl, Sapphire wants nothing more than to get as far away from the Depths as possible.
They say that a rose by any other name is still a rose. I don’t believe that nonsense. A name has more impact than most people give it. At least, I would like to hope so.
I sit in my bone chair, the smell of death rising from the seat, filling the air with the putrid scent of decay. I’m not sure how much longer I can stand this place before I concede to madness. Looking around at the walls that imprison me, my stomach churns at the site of the splattered blood and the random skulls embedded within the walls. Hollow eyes searching me, wanting to know why I would despise a place such as this.I was born here. Well, created here. My mother, Evanescence, pieced me together. She had high hopes that I would follow her and her army into darkness. But I will not. I cannot. Something else compels me not to. Something else pursues me. Something else is…drawing me from her.
I dart up from my bone chair, thoughts racing through my mind wondering where all of the bones came from. People. Dead people. Humans slaughtered by the army I am supposed to help command. I rush to the mirror framed by black-painted bone, and I look upon myself. My form is slender, my eyes are bright and beautiful with their cobalt hue. I want nothing more than to shed myself of this raggedy black gown. My hair, dark and flowing like oil, could be cut short and I would be happy. Very happy. I just want to be clean, to be rid of this filth.
Maggots crawl near my feet, scattering out of a rotten chunk of indiscernible fruit tucked away into the corner of the room. I leap backwards, frightened of the worms, terrified of the filth they carry.
I tuck myself into a different corner – the only clean corner in the room – and I work hard to stop my stomach from casting its contents across the cement. Suddenly, the skulls in the walls begin chattering, their jaws moving on their own accord, their hollow eye sockets looking upon me.
“Stop,” I whisper.
Their chattering increases, the annoying sound turning into words. My name. My old name.
“Sapphire. Sapphire. Sapphire.”
“Stop!” I scream.
Their chattering refuses to miss a beat in the steady rhythm of incessant droning. “Sapphire. Sapphire. Sapphire.”
“My name…my name is not Sapphire. It is Abigail. Abigail. Not Sapphire.”
“Sapphire. Sapphire. Sapphire.”
I rush to the nearest skull in the adjacent wall and grab hold of the bottom portion of its jaw. I break it free, scattering the fragments of bone across the floor. The rest of the skulls stop their chant.
“My name is Abigail. Not Sapphire. Sapphire does not exist. I exist. And my name is Abigail.”
I have to wonder if Pearl went through this before she escaped this horrible place.