“Sing to me,” she murmured in the ruins,
ragged webs of silk clinging to her form,
white hair drifting down over shadow-flesh,
not daring to speak above a whisper,
for her breathless voice brought death with its sound.
“Sing to me, stranger, and I’ll let you live.”
Wordless, the fiddler scraped his strings alive,
harmonies echoing through the ruins;
she drifted in a dream woven of sound,
the music giving substance to her form,
the tatters of her wedding gown whispered
pale secrets as the music wrought her flesh.
In wonder, she pressed herself to his flesh,
asking, “How does your music let me live?
No other song ever has. Please, whisper
the secret to me, before dawn ruins
this spell.” Lips silent, only his hands formed
reply, drawing dissonant, aching sounds,
from the strings, yearning and anguished. “You’d sound
my depths?” she murmured. “Stroke this new, fresh flesh?”
His hands spun glissandos that wracked her form
with pleasure, but she choked back her cries. “Live,
stranger. Run! Before my voice brings ruin,
ends your life.” His notes crept lower, whispered
of solitude and its anguish, whispered
of where its solace might be found. “No sound
counsel, to seek solace here. These ruins
hide the only grave granted to my flesh.
Slain on my wedding day, no mortal lives
who’s trodden these stones at night. Yet you formed
me here—why?” Her hands glided down his form
now, stroking and touching him as notes whispered
to rising winds that wailed as if alive.
And she played him as he played her, the sound
of their voices lost to the storm, their flesh
wind-lashed as they played among the ruins.
At dawn, all sound died and her flesh
dissolved; his ruined form, wind-riven, whispered,
“Sing, for in your song, I’ll die to live.”
—Deborah L. Davitt was raised in Reno, Nevada, but received her MA in English from Penn State, where she taught rhetoric and composition before becoming a technical writer in industries including nuclear submarines, NASA, and computer manufacturing. She currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and son.