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Locket in the Scry

Doomsday Diary Challenge 2021

By Sarah SniderPublished 3 years ago 5 min read

Clematis petals sparkle as you turn them in your hands. Icy violet, amethyst, plum. Once, in a moment of soft boredom, I pulled the flower tightly over my thumb and twisted it in the light-the shimmer was a secret world revealed. The remembering of it is a kindness.


Looking across the horizon, I see the clouds are building to the north, grey on grey. A grouping of beech trees that I call 'The Sisters' roll their tall bodies in the wind, tossing the silver of their leaves to the sky. Though the clouds are building there is no rain, only the desperate dryness of almost. I find myself begging for a little thunder. Something wild and low like a moan.


I dreamed of talking last night, conversations and quiet chatter. It reminds me of ghosts, that I live in a ghost town, that I am the ghost of this town, that I am a haunting. I wail and tear my hair out, gouging the air with my nails. There is no echo, though, so the haunted house is inside of me. I collect myself slowly and gather my clothes and some soap to wash in the lake. I can still pretend to be civilized, even with the madness of quiet, even with the ghosts. To no one I say, "Washing day," and The Sisters do not care, they are too busy in their dance. Today I walk in the center of the road and get halfway to the lake before I remember the clouds, grey on grey. When I arrive at the waterfront there is no thunder, only the waves rushing to meet the shore and the noise of their coupling.


The old spirits are taking over now, and they remind me that I am an ant. The cool lake is a goddess put in balance by the trees and the trees are something else, sentinel and remote. They watch everything and are not inclined to pity. Their eyes make my skin crawl, and I am relieved to set my feet to the stony shore. This is not their domain, it's hers. There's no greeting between us, the water and me, or ritual. We are utterly practical with each other. The first time I undressed to bathe I was a candle of shyness burning. Now we are just two women looking elsewhere while needs must. The water is powerful and rough so I stay close to the shore, knowing the silt will stick to my legs and leave fine traces of ochre on my skin.


As I walk my way back through town my footsteps are a testament to the feeling of wrongness in this new world. That no person but me moves through the sidewalks and streets and no person but me hears each shop and parking meter scream out THERE WERE PEOPLE HERE and then wretchedly on a sob THERE WERE PEOPLE HERE and in a high-pitched keening shriek COME BACK! I grab a book at random from the bookstore and decide to wear diamonds because the lake seemed to approve. The gold in the band has not tarnished, and the sparkle of the stones illuminate my hand. The brilliance is incongruent to the calcium parchment of my skin, I look at myself in the jewelry shop mirror and say, "I do." I laugh at that, a little too cheerfully, and it scares me for a second when I hear the echo and realize that I am the ghost in the city.


There are no radios-no radio waves, no way to reach out and nothing to pick up. I burned things for a while, trying to make myself as large as the sky. No one came, with great bitterness I believe that there is no one. I think this especially today as I'm planning what may be my birthday. I'm only managing to celebrate it a moon late, and no one has RSVP'd. On my last trip to the grocery store the funk had, thankfully, settled to a dry but pervasive must. The initial spoilage from coolers was profound and required a slather of Vicks under the nose to block the worst of it. I had taken my time deciding my someday birthday treat: cookies. Artificiality is your friend in the end, and I had picked the fakest of the fake to be safe. They sit piled up in my coffee house nest, bottles of fine Italian red wine nearby. I have little nests all over town, quaint places I have made my own to catch my breath or my body as I fall away in the exhausting emptiness. I took my time with this one though, a heap of mattresses and blankets, a collection of personal things from my home. A few trinkets, some plants, a crystal ball. I plan to eat cookies and drink and drink and drink until I forget even myself. I'll light candles tonight; I'll watch the fire and maybe I'll look into that ball and see something. Anything. Nothing.


The heat has broken for the day, but too quickly and the kitten grey clouds that had lined the sky now hang heavy like lead. The rain comes and with it my gift, the deep growl of a storm. Lightning arcs across the bay and I count aloud like a child, "One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four one-thousand." Another rumble moves the storm closer to me. There's a new guitar with a ribbon on it laying in the bed, its honey body catches the flashes of light through the window. I'll have to relearn how to play to a world gone deaf, how to sing now that I'm mute. A brilliant flash, "One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand," the storm moves closer still. I picked a delicately made glass for tonight and the wine looks like blood in it. The vibrancy of the red is a little disturbing, so I stop looking and drink. Earthy tannins spread across my tongue, astringing, and I let my gaze land on the glassy roundness of the crystal ball. The trick to seeing, I've been told, is to not look. Let your eyes relax and lose focus, let the world drop away, let yourself drop away, become the viper in the basket. A crack and then blaze of light, "One one-thousand, two one-thousand."


I can see the flicker of the candle flames in the glass. It's merry in a way, winking. I see a sheer distortion of myself looking back, dark eyes and plum stained lips. A face that hasn't even tried the cookies, a face like a wan moon. I am the birthday girl looking into the void and the void looks back and is unmoved. Minutes go by, or millennia, as my mouth turns sour and dry with wine. My eyes clock a small movement, and at first, it's only the candlelight. It's only the flashes of the lightning as the storm is now the master of seconds and the sky. It's only my hair turned to snakes and transforming me into stone. "One one-thousand." In fact, it's a shining, gleeful little thing. A celebration offering from the other side of the glass. I clutch at my chest in horror of forgetting, scratching my pale skin raw with the force of my disbelief. There is nothing there, but the looking isn't wrong. I am seeing in the terrible and vexing light a monster reflected: a tiny heart shaped locket in the scry.


About the Creator

Sarah Snider

I am a great lover of poetry, magic, mystery and science. I am passionate about sharing what I know about herbs and herbal medicine.


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