Psychopomp Magazine Winter 2014 - Page 8

ANDREA KNEELAND

The Golden Thread

The man covers her face with his hands while she is sleeping. His hands are larger than her face. While she dreams, as she tries to move away from the objects in her dreams, the man with large hands climbs into her bed with her, covers her body with his own, massages the dreams out of her head with his large hands. The dreams melt away and when she wakes up he is gone.

The man with large hands comes back night after night, until she knows he is there, even though he only comes to her when she is sleeping. One night, he pushes the fingers of his large hands into her mouth, gently parting her lips, reaching down her throat and into her stomach where he finds a knot of gold. The knot of gold is a knotted golden thread and he weaves his fingers through the loops of the knot until it comes undone and unspools itself. He is too busy to melt her dreams away while he unspools the knot. She shifts her body and sweat covers her brow.

When she wakes up he is gone, but she finds the golden thread bleeding from her mouth, pulling against the underside of her teeth. It leads from her mouth out the bed, out the door of her room down the hallway. She tries to gather the thread, but it is taught. She stands from the bed and feels a tugging in her stomach, around her organs and ribcage. The thread is pulling against her innards. She follows the thread so as not to be torn apart from the inside. She follows the thread, scooping it up and swallowing the gold back down until she reaches the man with large hands.

The man with large hands stands in the entryway of a house, holding the end of her golden thread. He crooks one large finger, indicating that she follow him inside. Once inside, the house rises up from the ground, a cottage on a pedestal, a turret of modest interior. There is a dog and a cat. They seem uninterested in her. A bird in a cage watches her for a long time before it begins to sing.

The man with large hands leaves during the day. When he leaves, the house lowers itself to the ground so that he may exit. Once he exits, the house rises to the treetops again, hidden amidst a canopy of dark, rustling green. Sunlight hits through holes the size of buckshot. She does not know where the man with large hands goes during the day. The bird sings. She cannot sing with the bird. When she tries to make a sound, use a voice, the golden thread unspools itself, winding round her throat and her tongue, tightening until she is silenced. She understands that although the golden thread is hers, it is the man with large hands that controls it.

The bird sings for years. The man leaves and comes back. She cooks and cleans and sits and silences while he is away. The dog and the cat are aloof. The bird dies, and the silence becomes loud as thunder. The golden thread has had no need to move or to tighten for longer than she can remember. She guesses, rightly, that the golden thread is as bored as she. She indicates to the thread through gestures, drawing pictures in the air. The golden thread unspools itself from her mouth to watch, contemplating, finally nodding in agreement.

4 | Psychopomp Magazine