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Love's Image

Trinity Dempsey

 

Buzzing. The drone grew increasingly louder, poking and prodding her from her sleep. The echo of the tone so magnified that she wondered if the source came from within her own head. A mass of flies eagerly fed on the filth that surrounded her. They zigzagged in chaotic paths and greedily gorged themselves on feces before lighting on her lower lip, rousing her. Nudged from her semi-conscious state, she shuddered—disgusted. Harshly, she swiped at her mouth to rid herself to the foul creature. He no longer sat sliding his palms back and forth—a preparatory, ravenous ritual for his fly feast of blood that even now had begun to gel on her mouth. That fuzzy, vibrating sensation lingered at the place where he had sat.

            Dread slowly crept up her spine. It tip-toed up her back with taloned feet. It was returning. Urging vomit tortured—a rising that caused her eyes to tear. A sour taste at the back of her throat intruded and would not be swallowed away. It could have been the horrid stench assaulting her nostrils or perhaps the revisiting that caused the bile to roil within—which of the two was uncertain. Either could have easily been the culprit. As well as she could, she braced. She knew that it had come back to toy with her. It pawed at her, tossing her to and fro as a puppy would his prey, swatting with playful depravity until she showed no further signs of life. Unseen hands groped her, gripped her by the hair of her head and drug her. Her beaten and useless legs trailed behind her channeling the sludge. If it did not intend her dead, then it desired to leave her longing to die. The place she dwelled itself was death—littered with maggot-infested rotting flesh. Disease overtook all that it contacted. Rapidly, it invaded all in its path. Grief and pain throbbed within her—almost convulsed her. Then the tormentor abandoned. Hurriedly retreating.

She felt forsaken as she searched this wasteland. Utter turmoil pulsated in her chest as she heaved with anguish. With jittery eyes, she rummaged her surroundings. Jumping pupils sought her hell. A small flame began to burn deep in the darkness of her soul when she noticed a stream flowing nearby. The eye that was not swollen passed utility sized up the situation. Before the flame could blaze with intensity—feeding on hope as its size grew, it quickly faded. For in her condition, there seemed no way of reaching the lifeline that flowed there. Her body, so badly broken, could not bear the burden of taking her there. Her head slumped as defeat engulfed her. Promise seemed to plummet. She resigned herself to lie in this refuse. Defiled, she lay there wounded. Alone.

Then came a nudging—an aroma so delightful. A sweet fragrance overpowered the squalor. With no effort expended of her own, she now lay on the bank of the brook. Tan-pebbled smoothness rippled under her skin. It cooled and refreshed. She sat dumfounded—awed at how the life that she so desperately needed now presented itself to her. Slowly, she dipped the tip of her index finger into the running stream and brought it to her parched and burning lips. Oh, the taste! Indescribable. It was rich . . . and sweet. She longed to savor it. Relief. Closing her eyes, she reveled in the moment. With a renewed energy, she cupped her hands ready to plunge them deep and scour away the ache. Her bowled hands were poised to enter when her breath caught—an astonishing gasp sprinted from her gaping mouth. Her reflection in this water . . . a beautiful image stared back. Round, blue pools studied this girl.  It was her—yet not marred. Her hair was perfectly coiffed—not matted and tangled. Her lips were supple, parted slightly in wonder—not dried with flaking cracks. Her clothes were pristine—not torn and filthy. Her cherub cheeks were pink and rosy rather than battered in shades of black, blue, and green. Into a waving mirror, she gazed back at herself—viewed in Love. Whole and Pure.