Later, much later, and only after one more person has asked what the big black fuzzy thing is up in the tree, i take two large fluffs of it and surround a dying baby squirrel in the grave that I have already dug.

I will not bury you alive, I say, but I will sing you through your suffering. Your passage will be blessed. Its eyes grow ever dimmer until at last, the light is gone.

Snip, snip, she moves her hands around my body, periodically picking at my apparent aura while I question my own insensitivity. How can you see things there? Science wants to study and explain your synaesthetic vision.

You must recognize and cut these when you see them, she said. You should be able to see them, and you should be able to break them off, but if suddenly you find that this is all you do, then there is another problem and it requires a different set of techniques and defense. and then you will get back to this.

What color are they, I ask. I imagine these silvery red lines of fantastical need reaching out toward me, reaching out from me because like attracts like and i chant as i cut them apart. I watch as they flutter like ribbons.

i must remember to breathe deep once i’m unbound, to draw myself and my tendrils in, to transmute what is here inside. it’s an alchemical process, she says, and eventually, this will not be what you call in for it will no longer be what’s inside.

She is plucking the air around me with her delicate fingers pinched together at the tips. When she finds what she is looking for, her fingers spark open as she flicks off the torn filaments of energetic bond. I imagine them falling into a pile of curly wisps like a foot of hair cut from my head, eventually becoming bedding for a soft and wild and still-warm corpse.

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