Vermilion Dreams

The butterfly men come at night. I hear them tapping on the glass, their luminous vermilion wings flashing heatless fire into the dreary space I call my room. My frayed little calendar rests in the drawer beside my bed. Small wavering symbols, spiraling flames etched in charcoal, mark their visits.

I pull out my pencil, the tip dull and stream-smoothed from too many late night scribbles, and make a new symbol. Seven spiraling flames radiate up at me. Seven visits to ease the fears from my dreams.

On their third visit, the butterfly men detoured to the nursery. Maggie’s disgruntled cries echoed with stifling summer slickness. The leader, vermilion wings tinged with the purple-black film of age, kissed her sorrows, and the air around her crackled.

Peppermint mingled with a bed of fresh moss, and smoke swirled by Maggie’s crib. I watched a mark bloom upon her tear-drenched cheeks, the puffs of fragrant smoke fading to nothingness. A silhouette, butterfly black, with the faintest trace of red. She never cried again.

They come to those who need help, drawn by aching sorrows and moonlit tears. Tonight, the air shimmers and shakes as peppermint wafts in the velvet-heavy air. On this, my seventh visit, I know the truth. I will see them no more.


Copyright © 2015 by Emily Clayton
Originally appeared on 200 Word Tuesdays:

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