The Seer's Creed

"It's like she doesn't even know we're here," the old man said. "What happens in her mind, when she stares like that."

"It's unbecoming of a young lady," the woman sniffed. "She'll never be married, like this."

The words were an annoyance.

"Don't you see? The trees, the way they sway. A snake lies at the base, but he shall walk past and he shall know death."

"Poor child."

"He died, and no one was there to save him."

"How did she know?"

"She'll never be married, like this."

"I can hear you!" she screamed, whirling upon those who spoke out, but her cries were to an empty room. "I hear it all. It's just...misplaced."

"Will you be my Cassandra?" the young god asks, stepping into the stark white room with her, and placing a hand upon her shoulder.

She claws at her eyes and says, "I am not Cassandra, and you are not Apollo, and neither of us are in love."

It is the wrong answer, apparently, for the visions come upon her again, stronger this time. A flash of red blood and the rustle of a tree. The beats of a horse against the turf. A choir singing. A madman laughing. They are all connected somehow, but like beads for a garland yet to be strung.

"What time have I for a wedding?" she asks to the air. "I am a child of Pythia, but ripped in time and misplaced of soul. I am madness, and I am reason. I am the only island of sanity in this insane world, and it is driving me crazy!"

"We prefer not to use the term, crazy," the man says, and she is on a couch. "It gets in the way of getting well."

"I'd prefer not to be crazy," she replies reasonably. "It would seem, though, that the gods have different plans."

"There are no gods," the man in the overstuffed chair says, but the young god who is not Apollo stands behind him and mocks him.

"Do you not believe in air, because it cannot be seen? Do you not believe in anything behind closed doors? On the other sides of walls? Keep your beliefs, and your disbeliefs. I know what I see."

The young god asked again, as if the man in the chair weren't there, "Will you be my Cassandra?"

"I am not Cassandra!" she cried in reply. "Why must people always think the same, as if all seers are one?"

The stark and empty room is padded, and her arms are tied around herself while her eyes heal. She finds the bandages soothing, though, and they've done their service though her eyes are still there.

"Finally, now, I can see," she sighs. "There's a future, and a past, and though somewhere there's a present, it can stop getting in the way."

She is calm now, and smiles more easily, until the bandages are taken away. The man in the chair is irritated.

"You were making such progress. Your eyes are healed now, but you still tie rags around your head."

"I can't see without them."

"Don't you see how that doesn't make sense?" Frustration creeps unprofessionally into his voice.

"Maybe to you," she says. "But your world already makes sense to you. Mine does not unless I don't look. I can see better when I can't see."

He'll never understand.

"When you are in this room, I don't want you wearing anything over your eyes. Okay? Just while you're in this room, and talking to me. You'll see that there's nothing to fear. Nothing to be afraid of, when it's just the two of us."

She removes the rags from her eyes and sadly shakes her head. "It's no good. I see the shadow of death upon you still. He comes in the form of a lover. Beware flaming red hair."

He is upset, and her room of padded white is home again. They keep the cloth from her face, but they cannot force her to open her eyes, and even after the man's murder during a clandestine tryst she is left there and disbelieved.

And when the man's murder is found and convicted, they demand to know how she knew.

"I see," she says. "I see. I cannot help but see."

Eventually she learns how to lie, for that is all they can teach her. She learns to lie, and she learns to keep her silence, and she learns to trick another man to marry her and take care of her and protect her from herself. He lets her tie the black silk around her eyes, and she knows he just finds it pretty, to think she needs him so much, and his perversions are safe with her because she can be calm and she can see what she needs.

"Will you be my Cassandra?" the husband asks, and at the same time the young god asks from behind.

"No," she says, and this time she is right. She is not believed, and they know that she is theirs.

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© 2018-19 by Tam Chronin