Death and the Maiden
The princess did not speak the giant’s language,
but she attempted to convey to him
by means of dramatic gestures
that she was in distress and in need of rescue.
She had been magically transported through the air
to a strange land of gleaming deserts and soft mossy banks
where her mother’s armies had never raised the royal standard high,
had never loaded slaves with tribute for the long journey home.
She did not think the giant understood her
so she decided to walk in the direction of what
seemed like sunlight for as long as she was able.
The few monolithic trees towered over the windless plains.
Perhaps the enchantment that had brought her to this place
would provide a steed, a savior prince, or spread a sorcerous banquet,
but she was not one to wait upon her destiny
as if she were a helpless infant in the palace nursery.
As she set off on the journey, her smooth black skin
naked under the diffuse illumination, the giant
appeared to finally notice her movement
and turned toward her with an incoherent cry.
His immense foot descended toward her unprotected body,
crushing the silky chitin before she could so much as begin
a last defiant ode to her queen. For many minutes,
her antennae still twitched despairingly under those alien skies.
©2001 F.J. Bergmann
"Death and the Maiden" appeared in Dreams and Nightmares #66
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