I know this place. I sat upon that rock as a child and ruled as Fairy Empress of the Violets. Memories of hours spent in another world rush over me and I try to hold onto them, hoping to push past them into other moments, but to no avail. Everything in my mind coalesces into a blue blur. I am sure that someone or something is using my thoughts, rifling through my lost memories, but for what purpose?
Veracity is carelessly striding into the bed of violets when the girl upbraids him. “Stop it! You’ll crush my miracles. Beloved wants to see them, don’t you?” I nod vaguely, still reeling with shock. Veracity frowns, but returns to the path. Holding out her hand, she beckons me toward the limestone rock. Taking my first tentative step, I gasp as the violets move away from my shoes, which have taken to purring and cooing softly.
“Look underneath!” The child’s whisper is like a shout inside my skull. I already know what I will see, because I now remember them vividly. Hidden beneath the carpet of green are tiny purple flowers, exquisite in their delicate simplicity, folded like living origami. She winks at me as she pops one into her mouth. I do the same, smiling as the flavor of green flows across my tongue. We both begin to giggle furiously, linked by violet flowers and memory. She is I and I am she.
Temporarily forgotten, the camel leans his mouth down to nibble a leaf and the girl calls out again, her brows furrowing darkly, “No, Constance! There are rodents for you to eat, but you’ll have to change first.”
Constance darkens and shrinks in size, becoming a large, black rat snake. “I beg your pardon, thmall one. Thank you for your generothity. Ith good to thee the Garden again.” With that, he slithers into the violets.
“Of course. Beloved, get on the rock, please.”
“Is there room for me?”
“There is as much room as is needed.” I stand upon the stone and Veracity shifts his weight to follow me. “Not you,” says the Empress of the Violets, her stern voice out of place with her small stature.
“Where Beloved goes, I go, child.” Veracity doesn’t even try to suppress his sneer. As he forces his way into the violets, which seem to grow thicker and darker at his approach, the ground begins to rumble.
“You’re making Mother angry. She says you always spoil things.” A brilliant light suddenly streams out from below the rock, much brighter than the dappled sunlight from above. Veracity curses briefly and backs away.
A voice booms out, like iron wrapped in velvet. “Woman child.” I cannot move. The stone, with both of my selves standing side by side upon it, begins to sink into the violets.