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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Birthright: Chapter Eleven


by Francis Scudellari

Jacob’s Muse Returns

Jacob languidly pulled open the medicine cabinet door. The gaunt face staring back at him was slowly replaced by a miniature mandibled visage. Gregor sat perched atop a stick of deodorant in the midst of various scattered toiletries on the middle shelf. Fearless from familiarity, its antennae twirled expectantly. The insect stood upright on its hind legs, as if a dog bent to please its master.

Jacob reached for the shaving cream and gently closed the front pane of the mirrored box, careful not to frighten the cockroach. The surface began to mist over as steam rose from the absurdly hot water filling the sink.

Spreading white-foamed lather on his stubbly face, he studied his too blank reflection. Searching the blood-shot brown eyes, he wondered where the fire was he had seen in Edom’s gaze? Where was that life's passion? Jacob needed to find it. If he was ever going to be a writer, he had to capture that spark.

Jacob dragged the too-dull blade across his cheek and down his neck. Each stroke revealed another thin strip of suddenly smooth, pink flesh. A bit too careless at the crown of his chin, he opened up a small cut. A droplet of blood beaded there, before slowly transforming into a streaming drip. Jacob watched the thinning red streak wind it's way toward his chest. As it reached its target, a vision caught the corner of his eye in a light-bulb flash.

Jarred by the sudden insight, Jacob dropped the razor into the sink. The vague shape of his muse slowly resolved itself in the mirror behind him. He imagined her eyes aglow, lit by a seductive smile. She reached her alabaster white arms around his chest, and clasped him tightly to her. Bringing her soothing lips to his ear, she whispered words only he could understand. Then, she stepped forward as if to enter his body and disappeared.

Jacob felt himself filled with a radiant light as the thought formed in his head. An idea so simple and so obvious he marveled that it took so long to dawn on him. He splashed his face with the now lukewarm water and grinned broadly.
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