WRITE THY SELF
By Leda Serikoglu
HERE LIES THE BRUTAL DICHOTOMY OF THE DEAD.
Some are taught the sky is the limit
Some are warned to mind the ground
Yet even with the Heavens and Earths colliding…
She counted reveries which could not be found, but conjured out of twenty-six by two cases the bricks to build her own Babylon.
Here we say lies the road ahead
Here we know lies the road to awe
Here lies the cradle of the dead
The place for those never born at all
There are whispers in machinations / there are voices in imagination / of Bluebeard’s wives and their final designation / built on rows, racks and inhaled sedation / where their deed is dead / conjuring delectable ideations / and always welcomes post-mortem guests / speak once permits the Author / to make your bed.
He was drawn by the invitation, one he wished to refuse but never could. He couldn’t fathom the indignation; the story had shrouded his creation, as stories often would. On light screens and dark lettering, he was born to be Her guide. Through the ribcage to the heart, he was Death personified.
“And what am I meant to do,” he asked as he stepped through such flesh.
She in her impeccably tailored suit replied, “To save me from all the rest.” She gave him a Marlene Dietrich smile to make sure he wouldn’t dare protest—knowing the action was futile—he was personified as Her Death.
In the second corridor of the first tower was the child caretaker without a choice. She had her duties listed from wall to wall written in her mother’s voice.
“Can’t you help” the woman asked, but Death gave no response, his silence not indifference, but puzzlement at what they’d found. The girl kept smiling a familiar smile, the girl had no voice—but she had not been written, she too could not be found; she was the castle’s body, tied and unbound.
In the third corridor of the second tower was the heroine of that ancient tale, whose name bore haunting stories of swans, rivers, and the thresher’s flail.
“I have always looked for her in all the margins on the side, conjured yet another shadow, left, on otherworldly embankments, behind.”
“Why” he asked in amazement.
“I don’t know” she replied, “She became I in some strange replacement, a name shared, a personality divide. There is always a story in the story, the fingers and the worlds apart, the journey is to seek the folly, to end in the place where we all start. I wish to be saved from their outcome. Save me for both our sakes. There is only salvation in completion—this is a place for my things half-made.”
And so they went on their journey, seeking out the lost one by one. Each uttered few lines of story, each doomed to never be found.
“They” the woman uttered, “were mine when this began. Now they are monsters in the darkness, the plague that hurdles across my land.”
In the last corridor of the third tower, was the antagonist of a story when she was ten years old.
“You never finished me” he pleaded, his clothes tattered, his flesh cold. “I beg you to complete me” he said, a line replete in repetition.
“A fragment cannot be given breath.” She replied, “A forgotten excerpt is dead by admission.”
Death looked on in horror, saying “You too will never be complete, your doom is your story—there are no words left to seed. I cannot save you from the others, I cannot separate you from their fate. You too are a projection, stuck between Her fingers and Her page.”
Terrified in realisation, she turned to face her demise “I am the mistress of this story, do not mistake your power for your pride.”
“You mistake my intentions” he kept saying, “you mistake them for sheer contempt, but if I am Death’s personification, then I am first companion to the Fingers and the Head.
This mangled nightmare will always begin anew, such is the pains of writing—to always pay Death its owed due. But you—you should have known the end of this story, Her phantom on the parapets. You are distanced from love and glory—you are the doomed palimpsest.”
There are whispers in the ether / there are voices in imagination / of putrefied sacks / scattered before curtain call / where meat is met / conceived from the nexus of choices and ideations / and welcomes you into delightful Fall / Then quoth the Author,
Having completed her Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture at Utrecht University in 2019, Leda Serikoglu is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Comparative Literary Studies. Her interests include creative writing, speculative fiction—mostly of the weirder, the better persuasion, frequently dealing with power narratives—and more recently, meta-fiction and eco-horror. On her time off, she binge watches Black Sails and Hannibal for the umpteenth time, and chronically overwaters her plants.
Photo by Leda Serikoglu