she Builds my Brains

48 5 30

TW: violence

She builds my brains back, piece by piece. I first recall the guns blowing them out, faceplanting in water.

At the table of my birth she builds me, dripping red with life, the silver bracelets and anklets hugging my twitching limbs.

My nerves worm themselves together again and in the fire of pain I gain control again.

I move my fingers, green, thick, nails like the scales of a cloudy fish.

I shift my toes, streaked with black mud, my kneecaps wiggle like a newborn's.

"Rise, my monster love," she whispers, kicking away her chair. It clatters her table of instruments, ringing like chapel bells. I lift my head and she smiles, life-stained hands smearing her lab coat.

Instruments, ringing bells in my ears.


I dive for someone, a limp shape in the water.

I love her.

"Flee to the river, my child," my lips say but I don't remember a face nodding back. My cool hands lift a shape from the water.

"I am coming, my child..." my lips say, but stop. Those words don't With the manacles and blood and the woman with her red hands. My eyebrows furrow at her, why do these lips say that? What is this mad scientist doing with my sprawled body chained to her table?


My hippocampus burns, the nerves worm together, and of course. She built my brains back again, after the fire, in the barn. The reek of gasoline squelched beneath my bare footsteps in the strewn hay, a scent as sweet as morning dew. I dug through the yellow bales, searching for something missing, lost, something so important the shape of my curled hand could almost recall the texture brushing my palm.



A snowball, maybe, forever frozen.

To the table, to the round, open window in the dome ceiling--I grin. She puts me together, under these silver bracelets, pumping into me the liquid of life. Her instruments sing symphonies over my skin. "Thank you, doctor, for saving me," I croak.

She pats my cheek with wet hands, her shaved head shines with the moonlight. "Of course, my little monster."

My ears squirm; little monster?

Lightning flashes through the window.

"I thought you loved me," I cough. "Gave me riches, a home, a family."

Her eyes darken, beneath a fuzzy carpet of dark hair. "Francesca, you can talk already?"

Wasn't she bald, once?

My vision fuzzes, and of course, her hair hangs to her hips, the ends crusty with blood, and my fingers crave curling themselves through it.

The guns spark, in the trees overhead, on the riverbank; how many times, now?

Shots smash my teeth, my temples, the back of my head, I crumple to the water. I'm supposed to be saving somebody. My child, I think.

He built toy people in the barn while I milked the cows.

I reach for them, through the hay, what did he make today?

The reek of gasoline clings to my fingers and the pitchfork wielders slam the red doors shut. Lock them. They pound on the wood, an orange light flashes on the hay-strewn floor, catching. I hurl aside the haybales piled in the corner of the barn, smoke rises, I throw bales aside, faster, hands long and thin, sweat prickling my shaking knees. My eyes blur in the fog, there were three of us, here, laughing, my hand around her shoulder, his arms tugging at my knee. His face grins up at me, "come and see, Mommy, behind the hay bales!"

What little snowmen did he build for me today?

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