The Blue Jay’s Daughter: Commelina…Backwards, Part 10

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Tuesday 3rd – Year of Elders, 1852 – Somewhere south of Frisco, or perhaps a small town in Grace?


Extract from the diary of Helena Birch:


There has been a new arrival. Twins. Albino twins. I believe their names are Assumption and Avarice. Stage names or real? Does it matter? We are all who we want to be here, rather than who we once were, that is why we’re here. We’re all refugees. Survivors of the world outside.

Perforce is overjoyed. Twirls his moustaches at least twice a minute as opposed to once every five.

He’s been looking for more novelty acts for the freak show since the Alligator boy left to become an accountant and Carmel, our bearded lady, decided to shave and take up religious studies.

We now only have the pinhead family, Madga, Roman, Peachy and Sam; Paol the wolf boy, Esmina the dwarf, and Hillaire the flipper man. Perforce insists this is not enough for a freak show, though it’s more than the Iverson’s have.

He wants to branch out. More of the mad and diseased, more genetic anomalies. He’s not interested in fire eaters or sword swallowers.

The twins represent more than just double the freak for the price. Not only identical, they are also preternaturally slender and pale as ghosts, with pink eyes that blink softly at you in darkness and hide beneath shades in the sun. A most unsettling pair to behold. Their charms for Perforce, however, do not end there. They are true hermaphrodites, neither male nor female, but both. All parts present and correct, and to the twin’s knowledge, working.

Perforce thinks they’ll make him rich, but I’m uncertain. They don’t look interested in being freaks.

They wear their bodies too comfortably, as if they are normal. And of course they are.

What is normal, after all, but a word we use to try and make the word easier to cope with?


Sunday 15th – Year of Elders, 1852 – On the road.


Extract from the diary of Helena Birch:


I’ve caught the twins watching me, more than once. Standing in the shadows as I practice my pointe walk high up on my wire. I feel their eyes on me like hands on my back, holding me steady, guiding me. They seem fascinated by my feathers too. Stroking my costume as if it were real.

I wonder who they are?

They’re not running like the rest of us. Not survivors. They are something else entirely.


Wednesday 18th – Year of Elders, 1852 – Madison. Or Waverley. I’m losing track.


Extract from the diary of Helena Birch:


I took off my costume today and found feathers between my breasts. Blue feathers.

I took one between my fingers and pulled it out. It stung, and there was blood on the end, a bright red drop of it. I could have used it to write my name, as one does with a quill.

Body, not costume. Body. Not costume. Costume become body?

What does it mean?



© Ren Warom 2014


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