serendipitous : firefly improv

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serendipitous : firefly improv

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Disclaimer: Firefly and all related elements, characters and indicia © Mutant Enemy Productions and 20th Century Fox Television, 2003. All Rights Reserved. All characters and situations—save those created by the authors for use solely on this website—are copyright Mutant Enemy Productions and 20th Century Fox Television.

Author's Note: This wasn't actually where I planned to go with this set of words. But River wanted to talk and Mal didn't, so this is what I got. Archive if you wish. Feedback is shiny.

A Butterfly Pinned
by Nicole Clevenger


stay calm. keep quiet.

but they can't hear the voices inside, the screams clawing their way out of my inside. they don't hear the whispers or the laughing, cackling, baffling babbling...

sometimes i see clear; sometimes i see through the curtain into their world. so many colors, all the shades of grey and shadow. cheekbone angles and shiny belt buckles. scowls and fear and mistrust. the crowd gathers together for the show, yet they all sit in their own seats alone. they watch me dance on stage, but they can't join my play. the script is already written, cast, performed for the masses.

the bright lights pin me to the boards like a butterfly trapped with a pin. they pin me down with their eyes, leaving me to swelter in the heat of the glare. no escape. nowhere to run, out in the black. only an airless void for your trouble. people can't breathe in a void. can't scream either.

they don't trust me. or simon, though they let him enter them with his shiny scalpels and pointed needles. nothing proven, no reason to give your soul to a stranger. simon says they don't hate us, but i know better. their eyes speak what their lips do not. the eyes hold their questions, their doubts. i can see into their heads too, those dark corners no one goes. they never go into the room to clean out the cobwebs. i can see the flies caught in their webs. secrets that haunt them in nightmare sleeps. sometimes, when the curtain lifts, i peek in.

if they come for us, will the crowd part to let us go? two by two, hands of blue. won't stop until they find you. i can hear their footsteps coming, even through the empty void. right behind, only moments away. they snap their fingers and the blood flows like ink, black and thick and sticky. life oozing out in a hundred different tears. you try to stop it, catch it before it slips away, but fingers have cracks even when they're pushed tight together. it always gets out. death always wins.

death stays close out here. so many different faces, popping up around every corner like a haunted carnival house. once, when simon and i were small, daddy took us to the carnival. twinkling lights and cotton candy. now i'm stuck inside the fair, lost in a tent filled with broken, distorted mirrors. i can't get out. i keep getting glimpses of simon, but he's not really where he seems. just a trick of the mirrors. it's like that with all of them. i think i can see—i think i know—but they disappear into nothing when i reach for them. or they laugh.

i'm lost. they laugh.

the captain with the sad eyes doesn't laugh very often. none of them do, really, but he's the saddest clown in the carnival. i can hear his whispers sometimes, leaking out of him and into my head. simon pretends he doesn't care, but i know he wants to please him. just like daddy, but not the same. simon wants to be appreciated. simon wants to be included, but he saved me and got stuck outside the window in the storm. locked out of the house with no spare key.

it's starting to rain.

i tried to tell him about helping, but the words are so hard. the thoughts spin faster and faster in their cage, and i can't reach my hand in to grab hold of one. if i do manage to fit between the bars, the pieces slip gossamer silk through my fingers. if i can snag something, i can tell simon. but most of the time when i stick my hand in the cage i just get bitten. simon knows though. as much as he can know. i try to grab the pieces for him, because it makes him happy. i love to see simon smiling. like an angel, with eyes of glittering stars. simon doesn't laugh very often either. because of me.

simon has a girlfriend. simon has a girlfriend.

he wants to make her smile. he wishes he could bring her beautiful flowers. kneel before her and vow to be her prince. m'lady, i shall protect you. for you i shall slay the dragon, fight my rivals, embark on a quest. even if he could, he can't. the flies in his brain spiderwebs buzz that he has to stay with me. he pretends he doesn't want her. i can hear the strings of his melancholy heart. the angels weep to the sounds of the violin, because the dying savior plays so mournfully.

i watch them together from the shadows. a ghost in the wings, keeping track of scenes i'm not in. they want to touch each other. never give your soul to a stranger. the jealous birds will come and peck the bond apart, scratching and stabbing until all that is left is the rift where the beautiful thing once was. then they come and they wing you away, to lock you in the house of metal and mirrors. you're supposed to just swing and sing and preen your ragged feathers until they come back and take you out and clip your wings. when they tell you to fly, they know you can't. they just want to see what it does in your brain.

simon tries to keep me safe. he tries to make the nightmares go away. but once something gets inside your head, it's stuck there forever. i think i'm stuck forever.

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