Sunday, July 15, 2012
The Ballad of Maude Clare: End
SO, MY SISTER, you will sit and read this with your Jack and you'll believe things will be different, that this story of an isolated girl descending into the shadowy, bloody Otherworld of Faery isn't like yours.
You'll look up at the boy leaning in the doorway, that dark hair shadowing his face that belongs to another century, a striking face, a human one. You'll ache for Maude Clare, who loved a Jack that couldn't love back. And you'll say, to your Jack, "Why did you give this to me?"
He'll sit beside you, hands knotted between his knees, his fragrance of green things, of earth and smoke, making your heart race. His fingers, when they fold over yours, will be cold with antique rings, and scarred. He'll say, "I wanted you to know what could happen."
"You think I don't know? You think I'm easily tricked?"
"You're only seventeen."
"Did Maude Clare die?"
"The rabbit-headed man was an urban legend, there. Maude Clare's body was found beneath the yew. The Tiamats were a lawless clan, the children of the Dragon. The Mongoose family, who were humans with Fata blood, alerted higher powers -- now there are no more Tiamats. As for him, that Jack...well, he was the bones and dust found near the yew..."
You'll look down at the book's black cover with its silver etching of a girl's face. You'll touch the name of the author on one yellowed page-- Ethan Mongoose -- trace the date it was published -- 1977. And your Jack will say, "He wrote it ten years later...for the two girls the Tiamats murdered."
You'll look up at the Jack you've invited into your home, your heart, and you'll say what I hoped you would not, "This'll be different. Because you're different. And I will be a thing with teeth."
Author's Note: In Egyptian mythology, there is Dendera, or Wepuat, a rabbit-headed god who is sometimes taken for Osiris, the god of the dead. There is Nana Bozho, the Great Hare, a trickster in Native American folklore. The Aztecs had Ometotchtli, a god of fertility and celebration. And then there is the rabbit-man consort of Ostara, the Germanic goddes of Spring. Life and death and tricks. And how much of him is in our world now?