She wishes to fade away, to be less than nothing, unborn. A leaf on a tree in late October, falling to the shadowy earth, devoured by the mud of the murmuring forest floor.
At dinner she sits across from the smiling man. Later they retreat to a larger room that is flooded by honey-colored light where he reads from the book, moving from life to death, from lead to gold. Light ning strikes the corner of his blinking eye, the twitch of his crooked smile. He warns her of saintly heroes, how she must fight against all temptation, live in his light to hear the angelic chime of bells that summon her to kneel and remain beside his benevolent being.
At dusk he takes her hand and leads her through a wooded path to an arbor where she must undress for she is not pure and he is good and wise and knows all holy things. An invisible cherubim takes her hand and leads her back through the same woods to the house, high on the hill, it’s madness and despair sleeping. The squirrels, birds, and white tail deer know fear and hide away.