Strings Uncut: A Fairy Tale by Renee Coloman

                                                                       (I) X

The Blue Angel didn’t leave a wishing star upon this forgotten
home. A place where my wooden soul seeps through my breathless
pores. I’d rather be invisible than a slab of wood petrified and carved:
once a woman, now a marionette. Grotesque in form.

I’m to blame. I made this choice. Unknowing the strings could
never be cut. Naive, always, to his duplicitous touch.

He changes when the puppetmaster comes alive. Here, inside our
shared space in this tiny, tiny place. A hovel of a home. He and I. Fit
for rodents and ants and insects feasting on the unclean dishes piled
high in the sink. Scraps of meat, flesh, my human bones. Once, this
place was a cottage. Warm, airy, bright. Not a shanty not a hutch
not a cave not a dungeon where he yanks the strings and my own
chiseled hand slaps my punished face. My wooden legs jerk up. Up
enough times for my jointed knees to punch me in the gut.

I’ve diminished in size. My volume shrinks by the minute. Cubic
millimeters. Droplets of water. Evaporate from my parched tongue.
Yet I must not stop wishing for the Blue Angel. For Monstro. For
the Coachman. For a salty taste of Pleasure Island.

I’d rather transform from an object to a creature less human than
lose my humanity in the way he unloves me.

Whispers evaporate from my tongue. Wishes imprisoned in my
own conscience. Denials and contradictions. I must believe. Even
when my own lips echo the same words. Lips tied to his knotted
strings. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Everything is wrong with me.

I can’t learn. I haven’t learned. I don’t want to learn. What it
means to be his humbled wife.

What it means to play his drunken games. Dancing a teeter-totter
of sporadic lies.

Whittled and splintered, I can only hope, wish, dream
of a different truth. A reality twinkling among the stars in all the blue
heavens above. I can only feel what the knotted strings define as love.
His love for me. Petrified in this hovel of a life.

(II) Y

Anna didn’t belong in this body made of wood. Carved in the
shape of a toy marionette. She didn’t belong in this forgotten land
at the end of this petrified road–a place different from the pictures
flashing before her eyes. Thinking a cottage lost amongst dense
Alpine trees would make for a lovely home sweet home. Bluebirds
chirping. Rabbits foraging. A deer and a doe entwined. Amiable
creatures alive from fairy tales vibrant in Anna’s beguiled mind.

No. She didn’t belong here. In this dark, dank, shadowy hovel.
In the hands of her calloused puppetmaster. Slicing and slashing.
Chiseling away at Anna’s dreams of what love was supposed to mean.

In the single room of their tiny shared space – above the table
constructed of dying logs where this man she married had shelved
her wooden body – a wooden clock perched atop the wooden
cabinet nailed to the wooden wall, tick-tocked. Seven years. Twelve
years. Thirteen. Anna counted each passing minute. Her wooden
eyes shifted like an owl. Military in movement. Left. Right. Right.
Left. Tick. Tock. Tock. Tick.

Once, she had spied her wooden eyes at the sky. Unblinking.
Gazing. Through the cracked hazy window. But the Blue Angel
refused to shine a wishing star upon this parched marionette.

Once upon a time, a strawberry-layered cake sat atop a clothed
table flowered with fragrant rose petals, and a bride and groom sliced
through the first thick layer. Hand upon hand, their fingers entwined.
A symbol of forever. Seconds thereafter, two hands became one, and
he locked his grip on the handle of the knife, carving the seven-layer
cake into sculpted morsels. Circular heads of a faceless marionette.
All while his bride fluttered from guest to guest, the way virginal
Snow White swirled and twirled with her seven little friends; a crisp
red apple glowing bright in the palm of her accepting hands. One
bite my dearie, and Anna awoke to a different kind of marriage with
a different kind of groom who wanted only to play with his carved
marionette in the dense, dense woods. He took her. Beyond all of
space and time. A petrified love defined.

(III) Z

You accepted me the way I have wanted to own every part of
your expectant body, sculpting a promised transformation beyond
the mundane confines of this limited reality. I have dreamed many
dreams of surpassing space and time. To open new portals of an
existence sliced from the marrow of your Genesis bones. I had
promised you to me. Me to you. Entwined as one. You, the answer
to my every question, quest, astral projection.

Yes. Yes. Yes. You said. Your ripened lips dripped with glee. Your
tongue tasted of crisp red apples telling me your every wish upon a
star, your every prayer to all the heavens above, your every drop of
your drunken blood felt … nourished. Satiated. Engorged.

I cracked a pleased smile. Nodded every so often. While you
rambled on and on, peppering me with questions disguised as true
love. Asking me asking me asking me: Where have I been all these
long lonely years? And why? Why, my tasty Mister Goodbar–why,
in this toxic dating playground have you not shown yourself to me?

You wanted a home away from home, the same way I wanted you
away from this ungracious world. I wanted you entwined forever
with and within me. Beyond a mundane marriage certificate.
Beyond your limited flesh and bones. Beyond an existence across
all of space and time.

I took you there. Scalpel in hand. I whistled your name while
I worked. Cutting. Carving. Creating my wooden marionette. I
whistled my love song to you while knotting strings to your feet.
Hands. Head. I sang to you. First a whistle. Then the words. Flowing
as easily as you swayed and danced for me. A tug of the strings.
Here and there. You danced. And I sang the lyrics you craved to
hear. Promising you an eternity. My voice slow, sticky and sweet.
I sang: When you wish upon a star, it doesn’t matter what you are.
Anything your wooden heart desires, I will come to you. My delicious
wedding marionette.

Renee Coloman is an emerging writer and author of Roxy’s Not My Girl, a collection of thirteen short stories available on Amazon. Renee resides in Southern California and works in Corporate Communication. Borrowing books from the local library is one of her favorite joys in life, along with kayaking, dancing at music festivals, and hiking with her two cuddly pugs. She recently completed the first draft of her 75,000-word manuscript–a coming-of-age thriller.

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