By Louise Kendrick
Violetta grew old in the absence of the moon. Sunrise bleached her, the rivers that were her bones trenching dry under skin. Her hair white as the princess in the coffin.
Violetta was born of a flower, but it was not a violet as you might expect, or even a bluebell. Nothing that came from the garden or the meadow, and a dappled sunlit forest would strike her blind. Violetta came sprouting from the rust-and-rubble mosaic of the old car dump. Her eyes dull as scratched paint. Her lips stained as if from blackberries. To touch her skin you feel vines underneath, their thorns curving upwards and catching on that thin expanse of snow. Press too hard and she’ll bleed. Violetta’s screams remind you of metal rusted shut.
Coming from the junkyard jungle she throws off iron easier than most. Every night she peels a coat off her, thin membrane like glue, like snakeskin. To the others she is toxic, her body a dolphin, poisoned and hot.
When the moon rises, Violetta crawls from between a flattened corvette and a mess of tin cans. Her skin is scored from her insides and tetanus. Her mouth squeaks open and closed, ceramic teeth like a little boy’s drawing, but she makes no noise. Her mothers had howled for wolves and raided villages for babies and jars of honey. Violetta digs nails from the shells of destroyed cars and lays them in patterns on the freeway: ping, ping, ping. From the scene of the accident she takes bottles of aspirin and cigarettes, which she burns in the woods like incense. Her ancestors had danced in smoke and flame, their forms appearing droplet by droplet in the campfires of mortals. Violetta’s face glows in the light of the tiny blue coal, the shadows reflecting patterns of lace up her arms. Ash fills her lungs but she was born without breath. The aspirins she crushes with the base of her thumb. She spits into the powder and injects it into her veins.
Someday Violetta will die. Living only at night like she does will shorten a lifespan beyond recognition. Violetta has been waiting for a hero, a white knight who will capture the foul beast and make it prophesy for him. And when that happens Violetta is immortal in a song, a ballad of true love, a romance novel sold for a quarter because the cover was torn off long ago. Her veins snarl around her bones like burns; she could read the future in them if anyone ever asks, but no one ever will. A pocketful of posies form a matted crown for her head. With every bloom she destroys another parent, but it will be worth it, won’t it, when the children come to clamor around her?
Violetta has spider bites up her arms where the needle has entered and marks around her throat from the dust of all that iron. Bruises catch under skin from the pricking of the thorns against the wall of her stomach. And flowers that never see sunlight grow salley and ugly-spindly, damp sick creatures from the caves of our mouths.
Violetta has flower blood in her she swears but right now it is thicker with aspirin and the sour smell of nicotine.
Tell me: Do you believe in fairies?
Louise Kendrick wrote this on a houseboat during the summer session in 2011. She is sixteen, and has been attending Woven Word's afterschool workshop since fourth grade. She thinks it is way cool. Louise likes to knit, read, write, and stare off into space thinking of reading and writing while looking disturbingly glazed. You can check out more of her writing at her Figment page. But no pressure.