Saturday, 5 February 2011

Worship at the altar of R.S. Bohn - February Femme Fatale

February Femmes Fatales - February 5th

I can hardly begin to tell you how I feel about Rebecca Bohn's writing. Dark is an understatement. The beauty that flows from her pen is exquisite and cruel in equal measure and she has a literary voice I could listen to all night.

November 2010 was obviously an important month on The Feardom when several of the Femmes Fatales originally appeared in the weekly Prediction, my Friday flash fiction challenge.

Rebecca first stunned our little community on Bonfire Night with a gorgeous, smutty little number. I'm pleased to say she kept coming back, teasing us with offerings of love and death.

The Devil Wants A Word is the first of two entries by the inimitable R.S. Bohn. Believe me, it's a piece of bliss.

The Devil Wants A Word by R.S. Bohn

You must excuse me. I am a stranger here. Your courtesies and traditions bewilder me, though I find them beautiful and intriguing, like the Japanese written language. I have not yet found my voice, but when I do, that language is one of many I will learn.

There is a cortege of vultures sitting on the roof of this hotel. The management sends a bellboy up each day with a towel, a pillowcase, or something equally ridiculous, which he flaps at them. They flap back, and he comes down with a new gash on his leg. Tomorrow, I predict, he will not go up at all. They will have to find another bellboy. I consider the average length of time it takes for your people to learn a lesson, but perhaps I am being unfair. No lesson is more difficult than death, after all.

In my own country, I am known for my eruditeness. I am known for a great many things, some of which you will come to understand soon enough. In the meantime, it is my hope that you will see this part of me, that you will admire me for intelligence, for knowledge, for characteristics you hold most noble here. It would please me if you did.

And so you do. You call me Scholar. I look forward to the time when I can say that word aloud, roll it around my mouth. I do not look forward to it as much as I do the moment I can say your name. There is every chance that it will sound prettier coming from your lips, but I think you will not mind.

The vultures have a voice, one more glorious than the bells the monks ring each morning and afternoon and night. When I have my own voice, I will add it to the vultures’, and together, we will smash those bells. The iron and clay will lie on the ground like so much rubble. Perhaps this will occur when a young monk is heaving the lines, and the shattered pieces of bell will pierce his fine young muscled chest. Perhaps the dust will choke the little dogs that are everywhere here, clog up the eyes and nose of the women bringing water from the well.

Have I made you cry? I would apologize – oh, fine, I do. But how divine you look! Your tears are a divinity, do you not know this? A god in every droplet. Ah, ah, the pictures. Well. I will not give you anymore pictures of broken bells. There.

Sometimes, your frailty disturbs me. Normally, it would please me. Amuse me, even. But the longer I spend in your presence, my sweet, the more I fall victim to these little storms of conscious. I know what I must do, to make the storms abate. And I want that peace. Don’t you? Don’t you, my little one? For I have heard your pleas, and I have listened. At the times you think I am not listening, I am. That is how I know what you most want, what you are afraid for me to see inside your soft, soft head. Your pictures, and how they touch me. I have shed the first tear of my existence here, in this room, while you sleep and I sort through your head.

You do not love me, little liar. You love the monks, and secretly—for you have told no one but me, and that, inadvertently—you want to be one. You cannot, for it has been explained to you that but for a little cleft in place of a stick, you could have had whatever you wished. Do you not see how this world binds you, and how I offer you freedom? When the bells are broken and the dogs all dead, I shall lift you on my shoulder, show your nakedness to those who denied you, and they shall fall in columns of fire while you expose your sacredness for worship. Of course, it will all be Gomorrah by then. You would not remember. It is as yesterday to me, that paradise. His destruction of it only culminating my delight, a climax of euphoria. I might have wept then, but no. Not until you.

The monks offer knowledge. Well, the monks are damned. You should know this now. The vultures will pick apart their damned bones, and we will toss them in a pot and I will show you real knowledge: how to read the futures, all of them, in the broken bones of broken monks. Is that not true knowledge? An education so fine has never been offered before, not by me. I have sons, thirteen, and not one of them can claim what I offer you now, child.

All you have to do is give me one thing in return. One small thing. Offer me your tongue, my darling, my goddess. It is the only thing you have to give, and in return, I promise a fortune. You will be my own daughter, and the knowledge you want will be yours. Exalted, my sweet. Held above all others. In exchange for something so insignificant to you, but it will give me a voice. A voice which will call down the mountain, the sky, and every bird and everything capable of crawling. A voice to join with the vultures.

What of the monks? What of them? Here is a robe, it is orange, it is yours. Keep it.

They deny you. I offer.

Accept. Accept, girl.

Ah, I feel it. You are hungry. You will be sated.

Open.

One small cut, that is all. Wider.

I knew this morning would come.

You taste like honey and I thank you.

And now. I promised.

“Bayarmaa.”

Take off your dress, daughter. We have work to do.
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Bio:
RS Bohn lives in a suburb outside of Detroit with a motley troupe of creatures and one lucky man. She's currently writing a steampunk novel, and you can find more of her shorter work here: http://rsbohn.blogspot.com/
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19 comments:

  1. I feel like the devil took my tongue. I'm speechless.

    This is so elegantly crafted, and each word so carefully chosen to pull us deeper and deeper inside. You've captured the persona of The master persuader. That's a little impressive, and a lot scary.

    Great writing, Rebecca- really great.

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  2. Yes, absolutely fantastic. There is such strength, prose, and passion in that voice, Rebecca, you can not be captured by it.

    "Perhaps the dust will choke the little dogs that are everywhere here, clog up the eyes and nose of the women bringing water from the well." - It is descriptions like this that bring so much more punch to the piece.
    Nice penning!

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  3. I just read this in stunned silence. Rebecca, how could anyone think my writing is good enough to be in the same place as yours? I don't say that lightly! This is just chillingly amazing.

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  4. Do you know I had to read this aloud, the language is so exquisite -- I had to taste it and hear it. There is something about you writing the devil and death, blending our darkest archetypes with your rich ability to craft generous/luxurious stories and your talent for seemingly effortless delivery of interesting, funny, unexpected descriptions. The result is elegant and brutal, rich in layers and atmosphere, filled with meaning without being pretentious.

    There is too much in this that I want to say ”This!” about.

    Just two quotes (and I had *many* to choose from): ”Sometimes, your frailty disturbs me.” ”Your pictures, and how they touch me. I have shed the first tear of my existence here, in this room, while you sleep and I sort through your head.” This is so beautiful! The sorrow of mankind filtered through the mind of a creature fully capable of appreciating its beauty yet totally lacking in true empathy.

    Seriously, Becky, this is very, very good. Maybe I shouldn´t say this now because you´re working with other characters and other topics, but there´s some very special quality to this, Lucky and Moira´s Death. Like -- explore it further!

    I wouldn´t say I cry a lot, but tears have always come easy to me. However I believe most of the time when I read I take on a more intellectual approach to the text and so it doesn´t affect me on a deeper emotional level. That might seem a bit cold and detached but for me it makes the emotional experience so much more profound when it happens. Yes, I cried. Thanks =)

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  5. Thank you, everyone. Someone will be along shortly to collect your tongues.

    Antonia, I've read your work in the Prediction each week and loved it! Besides, I have my share of failures. :)

    Asuqi, dear asuqi, this: The sorrow of mankind filtered through the mind of a creature fully capable of appreciating its beauty yet totally lacking in true empathy --- yes, yes, yes! Just exactly exactly exactly what I want to capture. As for what other characters and themes I am working with now... I am having thoughts. We'll have to discuss them. I'm pretty sure I know what I must do.

    Thank you again, everyone! Tongues out!

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  6. Exquisite. So intricately woven and deliciously dark. Excellent piece of writing.

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  7. I echo everyone's comments, this is what writing is about, it creates a dark sensuality, a rhythmic quality and immediacy that really pulls the reader in. Exquisite indeed.

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  8. So elegantly creepy - exquisite writing, so fluid and intricate. I loved it.

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  9. There are so many rich layers here to explore in such a small space - it feels like a whole world. Very enjoyable and beautifully written. I shall keep my tongue safely locked inside my jaws!

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  10. That was tremendous. The whole time I'm reading it "Sympathy For The Devil" was running through my head.

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  11. Fantastic writing! Beautifully written and I really enjoyed it. All I can do is echo the other comments! Great work, utterly stunning.
    :0)

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  12. Apologies for my lateness to the party, Rebecca.

    That was a hell of a read. I'm bowled over by it. It was beautiful and creepy at the same time. Top work!!!

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  13. Simply exquisite. A beautiful multi-layered story that I re-read twice. This line stood out for me, "The vultures will pick apart their damned bones, and we will toss them in a pot and I will show you real knowledge: how to read the futures, all of them, in the broken bones of broken monks."

    Brilliant.

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  14. Thank you so much, everyone! I'm very touched by your comments.

    "Please allow me to introduce myself..." Hehe. Thanks, Sean!

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  15. This played in my head like a dark seductive orchestra. All the right harmonies touching the lows and highs in shivery perfection. I am thankful for the canker sore on my tongue today. It lets me know that it's still there, and that this is merely a story and not my suol. Gorgeous, Rebecca.

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  16. ....speechless....um, something (and not just a cat) has got my ton.........

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  17. Um...what the hell just happened there? Forget my tongue, my mind has been stolen! That was beautifully written, and has left me totally baffled...who is this guy? Very well done :)

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  18. I could honestly bathe in Rebecca's words, again and again until I am eternally blood-stained. I love the sensual probes, the written and unwritten darkness.

    She touches the shaman in me, on that level. And I'm not talking New Age.

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  19. Rebecca - this is dark and powerful, well done.

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Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.