There’s a wide green field, and in the middle a single dead tree, brilliant white, stripped of bark and branches, just a piece of botanical fuselage crashed at a steep angle. She wanted me there just before dusk. Entering the field with time to spare I walked slowly, watching her moving around the trunk as the grass hissed and seethed around me in the autumn wind, bowing and worshipping to the dead monolith ahead and the woman who danced around it. I could see she wasn’t alone. I was in no rush to get involved.
I didn’t recognise the young man, which sometimes (but not always) made life easier. The poor boy wasn’t tied or nailed to anything, but his body pressed against the lifeless wood as though trying to give it life again. Fear was more effective than rope or iron.
She stood barefoot, leaning into the crook of his neck, one stilleto heel tucked into her belt and the other pointing into this boy’s eye. Down his cheeks, she’d carved a series of vertical lines from the eyelids to the corners of his mouth. His hands were splayed out like white starfish.
I ignored her; she was lost in a moment. I asked the boy for his name and, eventually, he told me. I asked him what he’d done wrong and he shrugged. Then I asked her; when will you let him go? She put her mouth to his ear and purred; I’m waiting for it to rain.