Inky Flash Fiction Spring Competition 2018: Winner: A Deuce Of Spring Brides by Lavinia Murray

I am a Right Madam and I know my place. It’s here. Up is a weight-loss Moon under a sheet, rolling inexorably to the right on this mild Spring dusk. Down is Peace-Rose lying by my feet with babies crawling out of her ears as she sleeps on the Historic Battlefield. Manageably small babies, bean-sized, earwax coated, armed with miniature pikes and muskets – one even trundles a tiny cannon. Homeward-bound nest-ready birds pick up and stick the tiny babies to the nearest glass pane (a slanted viewing window into the earth below where the unclaimed/resistant-to-ritual-burial battlefield bones are dragged in mordant procession by the earth worms who curate them). The earwax, similar in tackiness to sticky notes, means that the babies slowly riprap down the window and are lost in the tussocks beneath. Oh yes, the Spring Moon winds-wends beneath a sheet. I wake Peace-Rose and we toddle home to frame our mud-spattered, hand-made lace wedding veil. It will cover the walls of our front room seven times over and the pattern tells a tale – it is like the Bayeux Tapestry with holes. It tells the story of one Spring Day years back when we had a double wedding, two brides marrying two Spring gusts of air which were driven to the Register Office by a rotating fan.

Our Spring husbands, those great gusts, those great winds, fill a double-bed duvet cover each with the ends knotted, like a pair of big balloons, and they float in the air, anchored by extendable dog leashes with their grips forced into the ground by a single tent hook. Our husbands will slowly leak away and join the prevailing winds and then we can marry again; we two Spring Brides can hitch ourselves to whomsoever. Put on our Spring lace veil and say ‘yes’ to a bluster or a breeze.

Our issue from previous Spring’s high wind marriages heft the curtains about. Push, Shove and Flutter. Shake, Shiver and Twitch. Thrash, Ripple and Fill.

Spring brides holding ourselves like a persistent drone in your eardrum. Marry us.

I am Carmel, Peace-Rose’s irregular Spring twin. I am a Herm. I am a counter marking the planting of a boundary. I make faux human ashes out of clay cat litter and I pack it into urns and I sell it to people who have lost track of ancestors. In Spring I create eleven new imaginary deceased entities out of grey clay cat litter and pack it loosely into ceramic or brushed-steel urns. Sometimes in Spring I scatter cat litter in the Gusts-my-Husband. When I got married my grandmother’s ashes were scattered on me, for I was the bride of a Nor’ Easterly smelling of dead-men’s feet. Peace-Rose married a former Trade Wind and did very nicely. Their children veered wildly and were imprisoned all Spring in a weathervane.

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