A Tangled Maze of Webs
A Tangled Maze of Webs
by Tacita Inseira
The curtains rise to reveal the stage unnaturally plain. Where an elegant
backdrop might be hung, there is merely a cyclorama of pure black. A dirty white
sheet forms a carpet to the stage, rumpled in several places, a slew of
half-decayed leaves strewn across it.
Low and resonant, the strong hum of a viola pulses suddenly about the stage. It
stops as soon as it begins, the lingering silence lending an eerie tone to the
yet empty performance space.
As the viola pulses once more, a faeling leaps in from the right, her twisted
ears standing alert.
Loriella enters silently.
Loriella: (Hissing fiercely) Sister! Sister, come quick. They are watching.
A second, identical fae woman flies in silently, her ebony wings fluttering
with a fervent rattle.
Elonira: (Peeking over her sister's shoulder at the audience) So beautiful, the
eyes of the dead. Are they singing, little sister-child?
Loriella: (Shaking her head) They are afraid to sing. Even to cry, such is the
emptiness of their hearts.
Elonira: We must teach them feeling, sister.
Loriella: Oh, but in feeling there are so many complexities. When you feel what
shall you want for, save the blissful emptiness of when you felt nothing at
Landing softly on the ground, Elonira tangles her fingers and toes into the
white sheet covering the stage.
Elonira: (Her wings slowing to a standstill) It is wise to know yourself. We
are mortal and shall ever enjoy the chord of thought, emotion and the song of
Loriella: What of those who were born without a soul, sister dearling?
Elonira: (A sad expression passing over her face) They are a minor third, my
love, lacking in the perfection of the fifth. They are unwhole in their
formation. They cannot cadence.
Fluttering around her sister, Loriella spins in dizzying spirals until she
collapses wearily beside her.
Loriella: (Panting) I feel, fatigue, dizziness, I feel. Are these not feelings
to be overcome? Emotions to be conquered? These are but weights to my strength.
Elonira: No, sister-mine. They are what makes you whole, makes you complete.
You should not ignore that which you are.
Elonira: (Clutching the sheet up to her chin) Do you feel pain, sister? I know
you do, for I feel your pain as if it were my own. Now imagine a life where you
felt no pain. Imagine a life where you felt no sorrow. Imagine a life where you
could not be angry. Are these false emotions? Are they weakening?
Loriella: A life without pain is one without an equal and opposite. It
The two faelings hover opposite each other, bobbing up and down in mimicry of a
set of scales.
Loriella: How shall I then balance myself, sister? I feel everything or
nothing, never halfway between.
A small, impish smile crosses the face of Loriella's twin.
Elonira: (Leaning back on her haunches) We shall teach you, sister, as all are
taught. At the whims of Nature's fangs.
Loriella's face flashes with fear as her sister pulls back the white sheet,
sending dying leaves scattering about the place and revealing the bloodstained
floorboards of the stage's surface.
The two faelings disappear behind the sheet as it cascades down upon them, and
the hum of the viola returns for but a moment.
Inch by inch, the blood that stains the floor begins to seep across the white
sheet, slowly pulsing like veins under pressure. Inch by inch, the white sheet
becomes saturated with blood, which drips from the edge of the stage and echoes.
From beneath the fountain of blood keens a painful scream, to which the viola
adds its own pulsing rhythm, dancing the beat of a tango to the spectacle.
An abrupt tearing sound heralds the arrival of Elonira, a broad grin upon her
face as she leaps out from her cloth cocoon.
Elonira: (Pushing a bloody lock of hair out of her eyes) The wolf shall hunt
the rabbit and so shall its children and its childrens children fuel the river.
Will you be a wolf or a rabbit, sister?
Loriella clambers weakly through the tear in the sheet, strewn with gore and
pale pink mucus.
Loriella: (Weakly) What if it is my place to be a rabbit, dear...dear heart.
Elonira: Then it is your place to fuel the river, sweetling. Now stand, my
dear, my darling, and face your destiny.
Elonira: (Raising her head to the audience) For there shall always be death and
there shall also be blood. Will you spill that of your enemy, or will you have
Loriella: I don't want to die!
Desperately, Loriella clatters to her feet in a tangle of limbs.
Elonira: You do not show them your quality of spirit, my love. Hold your head
Reaching over with one clawed hand, Elonira yanks her sister's head to
attention with a sickening crack. [e14]
Loriella: (Hissing in pain) I...must it be like this? To feel everything...I
wish I were dead. I wish I were -
Elonira: (Interrupting with harsh tones) Silence, fool! Now answer me,
sister-mine, bond of my blood, dearest heart. The way of the wolf or the rabbit.
Which shall be yours?
Loriella's eyes prick with tears, which cascade in salty lines down her cheeks.
Loriella: I...I do not know. It is all too - too much, sister, love, m-
With a fierce howl, Elonira shoots into the air, dragging Loriella by the
scruff of the neck. Diving down, she buries the helpless faeling in the bloody
stage, which seems to buckle beneath them in the clamour of Loriella's screams.
Elonira releases her captive and flutters above the tattered remains of the
sheet, a crooked smile upon her face.
Elonira: (Serenely) Do not weep, sister-mine. You shall be born again. She
shall reform you. He shall recharge you. They shall return you to me.
The screams that continue to echo around the stage become increasingly frantic.
The scuttling of a thousand many-legged insects rumbles beneath the boards,
slowly permeated by a soft whimpering, a plaintive sound which in its subtlety
pierces through the havoc like a knife.
From the centre of the stage, bloody bubbles begin to appear. It froths larger
and larger like a fountain until it spills out over the thrust of the stage, the
apron coated in the slimy substance. Within the liquid viscous clots start to
Elonira cackles harshly, turning over and over in the air as she observes the
chaos beneath her.
A small, humanoid figure begins to appear within the foam, curled into a foetal
position. As Elonira crows triumphantly, Loriella is birthed whole from the
stage, her wings strung together with crimson webbing
Loriella flutters shakily to her feet, and raises her face to the Night sky.
Her eyes lock with her sister and her pained expression twists into one of
Loriella: (In a hoarse whisper) Sister-mine...I see now. I have awakened.
Elonira: (Embracing her sister) My darling, dear-heart. Have you a path? Are
you sharp of paw, or bushy of ear? Will you hunt, or be hunted?
Loriella: (With a knowing smile) I am neither.
Loriella takes her sister's hand and points it to the sky, where the moon is
obscured by Mother Night's beautiful shrouds.
Loriella: (Softly) I am the Beauty of Her veil, the Immortality of Her gaze,
the Whisper of Her heart, the Inbetween of Her Twilight. I shall be all under
Her, and I shall be nothing beside Her, for I am not here. I am everywhere. I am
Elonira: (Reeling back, stunned) Sister...love...you are...
Elonira reaches forward to caress her twin's cheek softly, blood catching in
Elonira: Only She is more beautiful. I sought to teach you and instead I am
taught. Yet without my teaching you would have learned nothing. So all that you
are I must be also, else I am nothing.
Loriella: (Snaking her arms around her sister's waist) You I am, and me you
are, one and the same, under Her watch. Let us be whole, sister. Let us be.
Elonira: (Tears weeping suddenly from the corners of her eyes) Let us be.
The two faelings embrace in a fierce kiss akin more to lovers than twins, and
their shapes seem to blur in the manner of a bard's illusions - the aether
around them twists into dizzy spirals that gather together and begin to glow.
Elonira exits silently.
Loriella exits silently.
A blinding flash surrounds the entwined pair, and all is still for a moment.
As sight returns, one lone figure hovers on the now empty stage, an angelic
smile on her face. She lifts her head, and it is impossible to tell which twin
she is. It is almost as if she were both of them combined.
She holds one slender finger to her lips in a gesture of silence, before
turning and exiting the stage with a calm, commanding presence.