The Muses

I’m sitting in a dark wooden chair in the middle of a jungle. All around me is verdant greenery: lush, emerald, thick, gorgeous. The earth beneath my feet is black, rich soil flecked with miniscule bone-colored debris. I can smell the deep, delicious aroma of it as I squeeze it between my naked toes. I’m dressed in white clothes with an immense filmy scarf plastered across the lower half of my face. The ends of it blow backwards away from my head in an invisible breeze.

The three Muses appear in front of me. They are all brown-skinned women who look like aboriginal goddesses. Bright paint adorns their faces and bodies in geometric patterns. They are all covered in amulets and talismans, bits of cloth and beads, strings and claws and feathers and beaks. Their eyes are dark and unreadable, sharp and discerning. One of them crouches low to the ground, her long, bony legs drawn up so that she resembles a huge, gaunt bird. Another leans close and breathes into my face.

They are telling me to free myself. I look down and notice that I am tied to the arms of the chair around the wrists with thick cables of beige rope. I also see that the ropes are tied very loosely and all I need to do is shake them off. I look into the third one’s face. She has a button-like nose, a wide forehead and an open, welcoming expression. Tiny dots of color march across her cheeks, crossing the bridge of her nose in freckles of blue and green. They are perfectly round and painstakingly placed. A Muse stands behind me with her fingers twined into my hair. She has pulled it back so my hairline is exposed and is painting tiny dots all along the edge of it…


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