Briar Rose & Spanking the Maid (Paperback) - Common
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Includes two novellas "Briar Rose" and "Spanking the Maid."
and put it upright on her shoulders again. Time disfigures everything, he sighs and belches, scratching his hairy belly. But at least we have our memories. We do? An ancient humpbacked creature shuffles in from the kitchen and gives her a cloth with which to wipe the gravy from her face. One of the old crone’s petticoats, by the smell of it. Of course we do. Don’t you remember the musical parade at our wedding feast, this crowned and bearded stranger asks, the flutes and trumpets, the
kettledrums, the tambourines? No … The dancing girls? She flies into a sudden rage and wheels round to dig her nails into his face, her crown toppling. She claws deep red grooves through his cheeks. He does not resist. You are not the one! she screams. His beard, catching the rivulets of blood, seems to whiten as though a century were passing. Sometimes, he says, gazing at her tenderly as if indeed he might know her or have known her once upon a time, I feel the reason I never escaped the briars
sunlight come flooding in, a flood she now feels able to appreciate. The sun is already high in the sky, but the garden is still bejeweled with morning dew and (she remembers to notice) there is such a song of birds all about! What inspiration! She enjoys this part of her work: flushing out the stale darkness of the dead night with such grand (yet circumspect) gestures – it’s almost an act of magic! Of course, she takes pleasure in all her appointed tasks (she reminds herself), whether it be
far better her appointed tasks, her trivial round and daily act of contrition, no matter how pitiless the master’s interpretation, than consequences so utterly unimaginable. So, inspirited by her unquenchable appetite for hope and clear-browed devotion to duty, and running his maxims over in her head, she sets about doing the will of God from the heart, scouring the toilet, scrubbing the tiled floor, polishing the furniture and mirrors, checking supplies, changing the towels. All that remains
kitchen, where the familiar old crone, her head wreathed in a flickering glitter of tiny blue lights like otherworldly fireflies, is sitting by a door that is not a door, one leading to a hidden corridor (she does not know how she knows this to be true), slitting the white throat of a trussed piglet, which is squealing madly as though for a mother who has abandoned him. Probably this has happened before, perhaps many times, she doesn’t remember, can’t remember. Who am I? she demands. What am I?