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SPOTTED ALL OVER WITH MAGENTA

By Lisa Cai

Content Warnings: None.

I’ve returned with our wedding dresses. You waited atop a mountainous valley, watching the sun, shadows and moons cycle back and forth hundreds of times, for me to complete the construction of worthy garments.


Before we don these dresses and call upon our friends and family to witness our union, let me tell you all the ways I love you.


1

On our gowns’ right sleeves, orchids are bent towards the grass like little red dragons, their petal wings stuck out straight in mid-flight. 


The day I departed from you and our valley, I saw a dragon silhouetted against the sun. Their wide wings spread out and shaded the land beneath us. Imagine being so big and strong your very presence overshadows the sun. The first time we met, dancing around a bonfire, you mistook me for such a creature disguised in human form as the flames danced on my dark hair and skirts. That was my sign to take flight. 


I rode every breeze under the skies to collect this orchid’s tiny seeds. I clasped them in my palms and planted them in a tree’s crevice. As they grew out of the dark bark, I called to the bees. They buzzed far and wide, following the orchids’ scent. They shrouded the tree for weeks waiting to take that pollen to their hives. 


Now, the tree’s covered from trunk to branches to twigs in thousands of small scarlet dragons, ready to dive down. One day, I’ll take you there to see the ruby tree surrounded by a forest of green.

2

On the left sleeves, blossoms greet you with seven petals. They’re dyed in splotches of purple on yellow. Lean close to see the universes these flowers hide. Tucked in the dark spots, white celestial bodies glitter in greeting. The stars consume their planets in pale light, collide with each other, burst, and separate again and again.


Their kind sprout once every few years in a fairy queen’s orchard. The trees bear sparkling dark fruit only Her Majesty samples. I hid in thorny bushes and frozen ponds for months as I observed knights patrolling the grounds, their sharp blades and arrows ready to take down any trespassers.


In the evening, I made my move; I hovered above the land. The branches and blossoms glowed mauve. Their season of life was supposed to be serene, confined and obedient to the whims of royalty. When we were little, we had watched this spectacle from afar on a hill and dreamed of what was hidden in those clouds of light; we were allowed to imagine but never dared to discover the truth. 


I fired a great gust that stole the brightness away. Flowers were swept up in a whirl of my wind and the branches plucked bare. I left that land twirling in the heart of a hurricane of shimmering petals. If I hadn’t got enough for us, I would’ve done this again and blown every guard to the far corners of the world.


3

The busts and skirts are embroidered with blue, bell-shaped blooms. 


Among rows of spiky bushes in a desert, a single stalk arises within each of them, from which the blue bells sprout. By night, moths roll balls of pollen all over themselves. Wherever they fly, puffs of gold sprinkle behind. They go bush-to-bush, laying eggs in suitable flora. Their offspring hatch in a bed of creamy pollen, embraced by curvy, blue petals. That small world is all they know at birth. 


If we have children, let’s build a bed as soft and colourful as a caterpillar’s.


As the blue bells bloom, farmers pluck them for sweet perfume; they have an arrangement with the bugs to leave nested flowers untouched in exchange for efficient pollination. I promised a year of good weather for a barrel of bell flowers, and the insects and humans slept well, knowing nothing in their lives would be disturbed. Some storm gods may be discontented about overstepped territories, but I’m willing to take blizzards and lightning bolts for you.


4

Do you think I’m finished? Do you think this dress is enough for you? Atop our heads, we’ll wear crowns.


Before I trekked back to you, I rested in a port city. A ragged girl sold boxes of flowers by the docks. She sat at her spot for days awaiting customers. She resembled me when I was young; I too did everything I needed to survive. I bought all her goods and made a wreath whenever I wasn’t sewing on ships and trains. 


Your crown has wide, white flowers, their pointed tips spotted all over with magenta. In the centre is a yellow stigma; they’re just like your eyes.


I was born under an ancient wisteria tree. The tendrils, with their little purple blooms, inched closer and closer as my mother laboured. When I entered this world, the land burst with lilac petals; that tree couldn’t withhold its excitement. It was my first friend, When I practiced with my wind powers, it always flailed its branches and rained flowers, pretending I had hit it with a great gust. 


I was an illegitimate child of a goddess and a human man. I had nothing to inherit except my magic. When I visited my mother under this tree, she sat against the trunk. She left me to fend for myself, yet I wanted to let her know about you and what I was collecting. She yanked a violet tendril above her, and it whipped about in the wind. I wrapped it into a wreath for my head. Though the tree cannot make it to my wedding, its blossoms can.


5

Now, my dear, when do you want to dress up? Be careful when deciding a date; with every passing day, the flora of these garments shall wilt, and petals will flow down and form a circle around our dresses. What drinks and desserts should be served at our wedding? Shall I go on about my adventures? 


In the end, my every answer leads back to you. 

Lisa Cai

Lisa Cai is from Toronto, Canada. She graduated from Western University with a Master of Library and Information Science. She works in IT. She has been published in The Dark, Polar Borealis Magazine, The Future Fire, and others. She volunteers for NaNoWriMo and is a submissions editor for Speculative North Magazine. 

Find her at www.goodreads.com/lisa_cai.

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