The Vine (A Fairy Tale)

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They danced in a forest, in a clearing. The night was soft and warm and the trees around them soared cathedral-like into the night sky.

They danced and danced. In time the other dancers wandered into the forest and they danced alone between the rays of the silver moon.

He gathered leaves from under the trees and piled a soft bed on the ground. He gestured for her to lie down. She removed her tunic and stretched her body out in the leaves.

Soon she began to recede, as if the earth were drawing something from her. Her eyelids became heavy and started to fall. He could see her making an enormous though futile effort to stay awake. She looked at him one last time and tried to mouth some words but her mouth formed only the first letter with her lips the color of burnt wine and she was gone.

Sleep, with the insolence of a pimp, had snatched her away.

He sat down on the ground and observed as the tender shoot of a vine, a deep green-colored vine with delicate leaves emerged from her crotch and began to wrap around her leg. The leaves were a transparent green and had the shape of slightly deformed and elongated hearts, as if something innocent and girlish had begun to mutate. Soon her entire left leg was wrapped in this vine and new shoots were spreading and putting out leaves.

When the main shoot with its delicate tentacles wound around her small toe, it probed the silence between them.

On her upper thigh the leaves were now broad and heavy. In very few places could you even see her skin through the foliage. The stalks – once tender and green had now in the older parts of the plant turned the color of bleached wood and were sinewy and brittle.

He was exhausted but could not tear himself away. He wanted to approach her, to touch her, to lay the length of his body on hers and feel the cool surface and the warm pulsing flesh underneath. But he did not dare.

He kept his distance from the vine but could not pull himself away from her. He observed her through the night in the moonlight, vigilant and dreamy.

He thought that if he could just rest for a little while he could continue observing her…

When he woke he felt the ground against his cheek. In his sleep he had reached his arm out to her and it lay now across her chest. He tried to lift it, to remove it, but could not. Something was holding his arm down. He tried to raise his head, but when he tried to see what had pinned him down, he could not.

In his sleep he must have moved toward her and while he slept the vine had crept along his arm and spread across his body.

He could hear her soft breathing close to his ear. He turned his head the little bit the vines permitted. Her face was very close and her head except for her face was wreathed in leaves.

Her lips parted and he thought that perhaps she was trying to finish what she had started to say before. But as her lips opened it was not words that emerged but a moist, crimson tongue that found his lips and softly separated them. Then like the vine that circumnavigated and immobilized his exterior, her tongue began its slow conquest of all the territories that lay inside.

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