vegetal spirits

The thread that pulled the mandrake out of the ground was cut by its scream. Three circles were drawn beforehand and wax plugged my ears so that I could exhume it and mix it in a process involving sourdough from which these images were raised. A perilous endeavor to say the least but these vegetal spirits may now live on.

Moon Bread Curse

Once there were two brothers who stole some bread from a witch.  And the witch caught the boys when they came back to steal some more because they had seen that she had plenty.  They had already taken bites out of the bread they stole when the witch grabbed them by the ears and sat them down.  She asked them if they knew how many moons it took her to make that bread which she called moon bread, though she knew full well that she had made the bread in an instant to tempt these innocent creatures.  

    The witch told them that they were cursed for having eaten the bread.  The boys cried as she told them that one day they would be separated and one of them would die and the other would know it and the one who survived would also die within a cycle of the full moon.

    The boys ran home and told nobody about the curse and tried to forget it.  But each brother kept thinking about it and felt the hot pain of the witch’s ear pinch when they did. Each brother wondered if it was he who would die first and if it were better or worse than the other fate.  

Years passed and the brothers tired of trying to forgot about the moon bread curse. And one brother got tired of always being with his brother. And one night, under a full moon, he snuck away to go swimming at the lake. In the middle of the dark pool, while he floated under the moon, a pain struck his chest and he couldn’t breathe. At that moment, his brother awoke and knew right away that his brother was dead and he knew exactly why. He looked outside and saw the full moon and knew he had only a month to live.

    He rode off on his horse to escape his fate.  He rode fast and wildly wherever any path would take him.  The closer he got to the next full moon the more distance he traveled.  But the full moon came and went and nothing happened.  And another.  And after a third, he thought that there was no curse at all.  His brother simply had an accident.

As he rode back home, winter had come. The landscape had already changed. Snow-laden fields and rocks glazed with ice made it difficult to recognize the terrain. The land had become barren and he began to wonder where the trees went. It was so cold that under the moonlight he could see that his skin had turned blue. He had forgotten when his horse could not carry on, but found himself kicking snow across these desolate hills when a figure in the distance appeared.

The figure looked even bluer than he. The man had translucent icicles hanging from his limbs. Clearly, he had been frozen there a long time. But his lips could still move slightly and only one word could slip out. Brother. That frozen blue and purplish face that upon first glance seemed blank to him was now clearly his brother’s face. And his brother’s frigid eyes cracked the ice to look up at the sky. So he turned around and saw that the moon was no longer in the sky but there was a blue orb.

A cruel wind sucked at them and it carried the wicked shrieking laughter of the witch. As he clinged to his brother, the wind pulled them toward a crater. At its lip, he hunkered down, held his brother in his arms, and witnessed the last image of his consciousness while peeking over the lip: at the center of the crater was a black hole into which the snow and ice fell in to its vacuum but once in the crater moved strangely, more like mercury than frozen water. And there was this aura emanating from above the black pit. A silver mist shined what appeared to be an ethereal dome of intricate geometries composed of something like an infinite number of light-bearing snowflakes.

Dragged by a Nightmare

Once there was a man who had seven wives and countless horses. He rode his horses hard and did not care for them at all. The weaker the horse was the more whipping it received. He drove strong horses to their breaking point and then broke them more for breaking at all. He replaced them so quickly that many a horse collapsed only to watch him ride away on another. He always blamed the horse whenever he took a wrong turn and cursed a horse whenever it strayed. All his horses seemed disloyal and mean to him for he could not really see how they reacted to him, rather he only saw how they acted towards him and how he felt he had to react to them. When they flinched, he hit them even harder for thinking bad of him.

He remembers when he was a kid – maybe it was a dream, he could not be sure since it was so long ago – he wandered off into the jagged mountains one moonless night. And he lost control of his dark horse who threatened to buck him off the perilously steep trail. His little hands could barely clutch on. At one point he dangled from the mane over a cliff. The smell of the horse’s anger made him feel so powerless. His dad had died around that time but he could not remember that specific day at all or even how it happened. He was told his dad died in those same mountains. But he could not remember it nor if he was there to witness it.

And on his deathbed, his seven wives gathered around and were about to even feel sorry for a dying person when he told them he had no regrets at all except for the nightmare he would never share with anyone. And so they tied him up and let his horses pull and drag him to pieces over the jagged mountains after all they had suffered from him.