Legendary

(Originally written 07 March 2005. Revised 15 March 2008)

I am legendary. That is to say, there are legends about me. I do not see why, as nothing I had done in life was worthy of legend. The stories about me happened after I died.

In life, I was a woman, and I did as women do. I served my husband faithfully; bore and raised his children. He defended our homeland, and I defended our home. I died as many women did in our time: a fatal blow to the head from an enraged husband. It matters not why he was angered, nor why he struck me. I was merely a housewife and this was my final reward for my years of servitude.

He wept for me, the fool that he was, and begged for my forgiveness. He took my body to a strange man on the mountain. The mad hermit tossed my lifeless corpse into a pot and, for all I know, pickled me like a vegetable. My vision was cloudy after my death. My mind—my soul—remained in my body. I wanted to see what was going on, but my body blocked my sight. I removed myself from my corpse.

It was as if the floodgates were open. My addled mind suddenly knew all. I knew that my husband did not care for me. I knew that he only wept because he did not know how to raise his own children, or clean his own home. He desired me only as a servant. I knew that he had children by other women around the town, and in other towns. I knew every spreading of his bloodline, and of everyone’s bloodline. I knew everyone’s thoughts. It was too much to take all at once, and I retreated into my body as it soaked in a briny fluid.

Much to my chagrin, my eyes opened. I felt the warmth of the liquid I soaked in, and saw that even my head was in the liquid. I clawed at the sides and tried to pull myself from the pot, and tried to hold my breath. I was so disoriented that I couldn’t find my way out. I saw only green and felt only solid walls. I panicked and drew a breath to scream. The fluid filled my empty lungs, and warmed me from the inside. I exhaled the volatile mixture as if it were air and realized that I was still dead.

I calmed myself and slowly searched for the top of the cauldron with my hands. Once I found it, I pulled myself up. The sludge slowly dripped away from my eyes. To my right, I saw my husband. My first reaction was to spit on him. The green fluid hit his cheek and he screamed. He wiped off the sludge with his sleeve and I saw that he was burned. I looked down to see a fire burning, boiling the liquid I stood in.

The man of the mountain laughed at my husband. I turned to view the hermit and saw that he was no man at all, he was a monster. He towered over my husband and bore tusks and horns. He dressed in feathers and animal skins and tied strange fetishes to his body. His long nose was pierced in many places, and his longer ears in even more. He laughed again, and I shuddered. I slumped back into the pot and released my spirit once again. They can reanimate my body and use me as a zombie slave to meet my husband’s needs, but I would have no part of it.

I spent a countless number of years away. I traveled many places and saw many things. However, the further I traveled from my body, the less people I saw. I could not communicate with anyone, I could merely watch. I watched as cities crumbled to unseen foes. I watched as graves were dug and subsequently robbed. I watched as the constructs of mortal men advanced in technology. I cared little for it all.

My curiosity carried me back to my body, to see what had become of it in all these years. I could feel its location, and I walked to it. The closer I came, however, the less I felt it. It was as if it were in pieces, and each piece called to me. I was confused by the many signals, but I eventually found a part of me.

My finger was in the possession of a shopkeep who sold many curious things. It was kept in a box labeled ‘Preserved Finger of a Dead Goddess’. A plaque under the opened box told the shoppers that the finger is believed to hold great power and, if one were so bold, if you cut off your ring finger and replaced it with mine, you would gain all the goddess’s powers. So wrong in so many ways! It wasn’t even my ring finger.

I placed my ghostly finger inside the preserved one and raised it. I could see the bewildered look on the shopkeeper’s face as my finger tapped on the glass of the case around the box. He cautiously approached the display cabinet and shuddered as he passed through me. I kept tapping my finger, hoping he would eventually open the case. After a few minutes of staring, he pulled a key ring from his pocket. He fiddled with it, clearly shaking, and put a small key to the lock. The moment he opened the case, I took my finger out and to a window. Luckily, the window was open. I crawled out and left, happy to have found one part of my body.

Having my finger allowed me to now see the living as more than just foggy shadows. They could clearly see my finger floating along. I hid, though, as best I could. I did not want anyone to try and catch this floating finger.

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