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The Bridegroom
by Charlee Jacob

She coils from the fire in salamander principle, fingers turning to quartz in the cool of the night air.

I'm zipped inside the sleeping bag, eyes blinded by moonlight. My head buzzes with too much coffee and too many peyote buttons. Watching as she emerges--all feather-necked and flaming borealis--my hands are clenched inside the bag. Each fist is filled with hot red sand. Cactus needles overflow my jeans pockets.

The day before, I was carefully taught the special words I am supposed to say. Right before I arrived here I still remembered as they explained how to summon a goddess.

"Do you want to smell the light the sky reserves for itself, and taste the soft blue rain this holy one washes her face in?"

"Do you want to feel the moon grow its gold in your belly as she shows you the bed of colors she keeps in the canyons?"

Now the maiden has risen from the flames I built for her in the clay thighs of the arroyo. She regards me with eyes which were the first two stars ever born. She waits for the song of love that will make her soft as a woman, that she may smooth away the spider webs which have bound my dreams for so long.

She pauses for the charm to be chanted, unfolding her like the mother of blossoms. Her love will be able to bring me, whole, into dawn.

But one glance at her like a raw diamond, like a cactus rose at its sweetest hour, and both words of power and even idiot words are long gone from my senses.

Spice arms reach out once to me, then crystal fingers soften back into heat. I watch her totem animal as it vanishes within the withering flames.

I only sigh as I climb out of the bag, dropping the handfuls of desert sand which turn into ashes. I shake out the cactus thorns which become worms. I even spit out the last of the peyote, becoming the spider that silk-snarls my sleep. The gifts of a struck-dumb bridegroom, feeling foolish beneath the disappointed moon.


Charlee Jacob is a native Texan and prolific writer of horror. Her vampire collection of poetry and fiction, The Indigo People, is due out soon from DNA Publications. The novelization of her 1999 Stoker-nominated novella, Dread In The Beast, will be published by Necro. She has a poetry collection, Sineater, appearing shortly from Fictionwise, and more works in the pipeline from Delirium Books and Bloodletting.


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"The Bridegroom" © Charlee Jacob. Used by permission of the author.
Raven Electrick © Karen A. Romanko. Clipart by Corel®.