A Snare in Vellum

Joseph Pravda January 16, 2019
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A Snare in Vellum
The filigree seemed to writhe, laboriously worked in gold leaf, its form aglow—-especially with the solar light streaming in through the leaded glass aperture above the castellated wall of her bed chamber—-glistening with the sort of visual content that the few, the literate, could never see, their minds crowded with image-trumping black, colorless letters, clumped together by the lavengro few into names for all….things, things which lacked life, dwelling only upon a flattened, crisp dimension. He, he, was alive, arising from off the parched parchment prison.
Desiderata’s head’s moistened portals performed their non-verbal task such that her crimson-chambered throbbing chest’s monotonous metronome sent the image before her into her brain’s hungry visioning cortex, then, racing round her petite frame’s pulsing veins with every valving stroke, his face finding refuge within the racing corpuscles.
She cannot read the word whose capital symbolic first letter seems to house him, camouflage him, but she knows of his charms, talismanic homage to him enshrining his smallish form in precious sprouts upon a seeming forest agleaming, however flattened by the merest force of a quill. He is, perhaps, a lord of some sort—-‘my lord’, she silently gasps, then closes the tome whose access is given her by the priest, a gift entrusted to him in escrow, a gift from her betrothed, a man she is yet to look upon.
‘How careless of him, his family, their trusted cleric, to so tempt me’ she muses, now nightly revisiting…..him, there, upon the vellum tome’s pages.

This eve is to be especially revealing—-of what, and to whom—unknowable by her or any of her tiny kingdom. As she lifts the wooden cover heavily worked in marquetry he is there, now inhabiting every swirling gilded capitalized form and, she is certain, speaking, too low for the ear but pronounced to her eye.
His lips move slowly, deliberately, miming—-as in the many dumb shows she knew as a child—-a hopeless, futile messaging where, as here, the soundless words were worthless to her untrained, illiterate eye.
A noise, in the corridor, beyond her locked doors………the weighty wood enclosing his pages, seemed but an echo of the authorless sound as it fell upon the near-silently verbalizing figure, now animatedly gesturing, on the page-land to which it was open.

‘Father, or nurse maid, pounding?’ she thinks.
They mustn’t learn that she has invaded the dowry cabinet whose key the priest has weakly given her, passport to the splendid treasure awaiting her , safely kept, they believe, prior to the avowing nuptials.
Then, whilst in midday, all is dark, silent, utterly still; she cannot sense her own heartbeat, as she should, racing; not a sound, sight. She doubts her own being, casting out the thought as a pail of water is emptied, along with the very pail.
She has, sadly, most confoundingly been, as all the others he had lovingly come upon in his fancy………..no matter, all the deep care and lavish gifts he had endowed her with……………….what use?!
As his six-fingered hand ceases drumming upon his writing table, the pen now inkless, the paper slowly crumpled within a smothering twelve-digit envelopment, and cast into the fireplace.
Too dim to even hint to the reader that he, the trapped homunculus, warning her, pleading with her to free him, before they found themselves burned, alive.
Snorting with contempt, he would begin afresh, after a night’s rest; night coming to him as swiftly as to her. He prayed that night that his bookish world, its pages, would not so burn, as well, before the morning.

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