by Alexandra Seidel
She said, you are a ship, and I am lost inside you.
This is it, you are changed forever, and things will never again be what they once were. It was an ocean that came, and the ocean found you, sand and blood your bed, and you decided to change.
The wood was once your bones. Now the planks are strong against the salt. Each morning I find that you open my cabin window to let in the light of sunrise, the smell of brine riding on a rascal sea wind. If I knew a way to ask, I would ask you is it hard being a ship? But I do not know the words in your language, the language of things made to go into the waves, and so I keep silent.
When you were still human, you asked me my love, will you wait for me? and I am waiting, still.
She said, by the steel you gave and the blood you took, return to me the one I love.
I am not a sailor, but I know that you should have sails. What you have are shredded things, hanging in the wind like sword-cut flags that bleed their colors as if such a thing could make the wind give peace.
I am not a sailor, but I also know that the wood that was once your bone should not howl like it does in the night as if haunted by terrors of fire and steel.
I am not a sailor, but I know that if you keep with the salt and the wind and the waves, you will break, and you will take water, and you will sink.
She said, I will go where you cannot go; this is the price I pay for love.
Hush. The Underworld is heavy with the fresh smell of blood and steel, fire and salt. New shadows have not yet settled into this home of homes, I think that they are still afraid. There are no more kings here, no more queens, just thin and thinly stretched lines of fate that we may hold on to, if we dare.
I find you, bled. I find you, cut. I find you, burnt. My love, you are not whole, you are like the statue of a giant, broken up and scattered across the entirety of the Underworld.
I find many parts. I find all the parts but one. There is a part of you that went away, like Ophelia went into the water. I understand now; this is why you chose to become a ship rather than return to me as a man. I am angry beyond anger, because you chose the water. I am angry because the water chose you. But no matter how angry I am, I cannot bring myself to blame you for any of it.
She said, with all the parts of you but one, I ascend, and even though I know the Ophelia-you is still behind me, I do not turn my head.
Without a sail, you are just drifting, and I with you. You, the ship, and I, the not-sailor, what a pair we make, left with nothing but ocean, a rudder, and an anchor! But I have spoken in a quiet almost wood-like voice to every plank and every nail, have told the you-ship that we will be looking for the sea-creatures in the depths from now on: the snakes, the sighing whales, the dextrous krakens, and yes, the elusive female shapes that swim in the beneath and come up so very rarely to find a quiet point in the ever restless waves to bring them back from the deep, the songs and memories of before.
She sings, you are a ship, and I will learn to sail with you; you are a ship, and I will show you how to stitch your sails back together until they fear the wind no more.
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Alexandra Seidel dabbles in the alchemy of words. The results are less metallic, more inky: you can read them at places like Lackington's, Mythic Delirium, Strange Horizons, and others. If so inclined, you can follow Alexa on Twitter (@Alexa_Seidel)or read her blog: www.tigerinthematchstickbox.blogspot.com.
What do you think is the attraction of the fantasy genre?
All the possibilities! Of course you need a functioning plot and a good main character, but the setting, the rules, the societies and people in the (or outside of them) can all be what you want them to. Also, with fantasy there are so many sub-genres that make the whole thing even more fun to write.