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Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?
**content warning: mentions of prostitution, guns, death**
Then, his hand ventured into the dwelling,
into Mother’s embrace that cradled to her
chest a child; a woman's skull with vines threaded through
the empty eyes like an unfinished sewing cushion.
A memory of hair, a whim of teeth…
Bella, a ruinous relic of a time forgotten by all, but guessed by many;
salivating conspiracy theories that She wept to hear whilst
succumbed to the breathing harmony of
The Earth. The cause(s) of death:
Mr. Ward said it was espionage.
Guns strapped to an eager chest and wicked
knives strapped to pulsing calves. Secrets weaving
their way around her luscious locks and her
creamy wrists and her smooth ankles and the
last blow around her throat, condemning
her as fire-licked and ice-smothered. All
the elements, shrouding her like a veil,
singing the tune of warbled wickedness
that only a downed songbird could muster.
He never considered that maybe she
was singing a different melody; one
of fear and innocence; choked lullabies.
Mr. Chambliss said it was prostitution.
He could imagine her now, trudging up
to heaven on a staircase or in sweaty
lace, by invitation or by force. Then,
gnarled fingers, stained red with feverish glee
to drag her back down with a whimper as
magnificent as when Lucifer himself
stepped over the precipice of virtue.
Short skirts, fishnet socks, and schoolgirls’ avarice—
he had to stop. He felt giddy. His thick
tongue never considered that her body
was hers, a temple forced to desecrate—
pillars crumbling to grains of piercing sand.
Mr. Allen said it was witchcraft.
Her hand severed and placed on the altar
of superstition, the fingernails quaint;
star-crusted with worms and spikes that whispered
of gothic dresses and rampant trains of black
silk and satin; ripped and scattered like one’s
decency, one’s manners. A flower crown
dripped in thick ink, oozing like the honey
that coated her wicked spells and enchanted
her serpent tongue. She deserved it. Or not?
He was blinded to the consideration
that maybe a dress is a dress and not
a Satanic summoning through dark glass.
She will take it back someday. Licking thorns
ready for battle, branches soaring: a
ballet of the flesh and of the bark, born
again. Heaving a breath, sap on the shore.
She will take it all back. Mother’s kisses,
reminding the cruel hearts of such blisses.
About the Author
Ruth is a seventeen-year-old writer from England. An avid lover of books and films, she enjoys nothing more than delving into other worlds and weeping over fictional characters. She studies English Literature, History and Religious Studies and loves weaving these themes together in her poetry and prose. She hopes to be writing until the end of the world.