Whisper to Me, Beauty
by John Polselli

Nobody to say “What’s going on here!”

     He entered quietly as usual, then paused above his wife without a word. The crackling of the fire broke his spell.
     “Have you been giving thought to my idea? I feel that it’s the only way.”
     “I know,” she said, while staring at the flames. “It seems so cruel. She hasn’t done us harm since she came. She wants so badly to be like us.”
     “But that is impossible. I’ve tried for months, yet nothing that I say or do takes hold. It is the wind that gives her life, no more. She gazes strangely through the window. What she sees she will not say, and I am lost in deep confusion. When I ask her what is there she only grins, then laughs. I’m lost. I say there is nothing we can do for her. It’s done.”
     “There was the rose she smelled, the lilacs, the perfume I let her keep. Surely there’s something living in her. All those nights out on the moor. Her hands would catch the rain till morning would alight upon her hair. I say there’s something left inside of her, a spark of moon glow or a memory, perhaps, of what she was. I kissed her cheek, and it was warm.”
     “Don’t say that she can speak. The words are lovely in the night, and breaths of wind blow through the leaves and make them shake. Whatever words she uttered were a breeze that passed throughout her, though it seemed she spoke.”
     “I kissed her.”
     “She walks or seems to move about the rooms upstairs, a dying flame that's fueled by memory. What have we done? We can’t go on like this. I’ve set my mind on breaking this curse, yet it is in us as it is in her. The rooms are her dark chambers. She is ours. I’ve nothing left to give her.”
     “Still, you must. What’s done is done. We cannot change the past. We’ve tried. God knows we have. But we have failed. I hear her weeping. She weeps because she is alone like us. We’re gliding down a corridor of death. It makes us strong, and she is standing at the end to welcome us into—“
     “I can’t.”
     “We cannot raise a mallet to a stake. She’s of us, and we belong with her. We’re of a family. Though I’m afraid. To think that we shall be taken, yet shall live. A serpent’s bite would not be worse…but beauty has a price, for death is beautiful, as she once was.”
     He nodded and turned from the fire, and they climbed the stairs holding hands amidst the whispering in the rooms above.