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The Young Maiden


A young maiden paces atop a grassy hill, in the same agitated spot as the day before. Only twenty, she thinks, I cannot do this any longer. If only, if only, why was I born like this, what shall I do, there is nothing to be done, it is hopeless.

She is different from any of the townspeople, from any of her family and friends. Her face is bereft of features; under her blonde bangs, it’s smooth and bare, no eyes no mouth, no pretty nose. Instead, the strange mixture of ungainly facial features hangs like a morbid garden all over her torso, down to her knees. It is her body that’s all.

Absently, she swings her arms up and around slightly. Her round eyes are where her breasts should be. They roll in their sockets, admiring the fading clouds of dusk. The mouth opens. A pendulous tongue curls out from it. It strains upward to taste a few drops of rain. Below the hill lies the town plaza and local businesses; the shops are closing, voices ringing out, eager to go home at the end of the day.

The breeze lifts the curl of her bobbed hair. Below her, the nose sneezes from pollen. Celebrating the sunset colors of oranges and yellows, the mouth makes sounds like Bllladddaaahh, blaadddhhhaaa! Oddly enough, it’s a man’s voice, guttural, unleashing experimental syllables. “It’s trying,” she thinks. “Perhaps soon it will make real words.”

Her hands are bright red boxing gloves. She swings up her fists, punches at the wind which swirls and streaks in the air around her. As she twists her body, the whole lot moves with her; all the warm, looping facial parts jangle together loosely as she turns, steaming, blinking, exclaiming, making moist smacking sounds. Along the bottom of her dress is a perfect upper row of teeth with healthy pink gums.

She has to steady herself; she has to brace her back and bottom to keep the weight of all this flesh from swinging her off and away, who knows where, perhaps to another planet where she is not so strange?

The wind gathers strength. She wishes to do away with the wind, to do away with the onset of darkness, to do away with the hollow silence down below the hill. There is no brain attached to the ungainly human ‘dress.’ But she senses its underlying cry: Protect us! We are defenseless! Don’t go, don’t go. We sleep with you. Rest on your side.

The maiden covers her ears with her hand-gloves.

The earthy smell of damp grass reaches the nose’s nostrils; in this way she, too, catches a whiff. So green, soft and yielding; the earth beneath the grass and clover, earthworms going about their blind featureless work below.

The next day, passersby notice a body lying face down at the bottom of the tree-lined, flower-graced hill at the park. Yellow blonde hair partially concealed by a white dutch cap. When the police turn the body over, onlookers gasp and murmur, what a lovely girl, what lovely hands, what a lovely frock, a nice gingham what a shame the poor thing…

Kim Salinas Silva lives and writes in Rhode Island with her musician husband and her rescue dog, Zelda.

Instagram @Kimsalsilv

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