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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Now I lay me down to sleep. . .
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1471 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
The Pillow Book of Inara Serra
Interlude: Dreams in Three Tenses
The war was finally over. He had come home at last. But the ranch was gone, burnt to the ground.
“River . . .”
Only its shell remained. Mal walked through what used to be the living room. Charred bodies covered the floor. Was this what he had fought for? Killed for?
A large corpse slouched against the wall still clutching Vera. Was this god’s justice?
“They’re not here.” A tall blond kid, no more than twenty, stepped out of what used to be the kitchen casually cleaning a gun.
“Where are they? Who the diyu are you?”
“Don’t worry, Sir,” he winked. “I took good care of them. Followed orders to the letter.”
He was outside standing in the gorge. They used to picnic here. He shouted for his family.
“Mal . . .”
That voice. He spun around and leveled his gun at the nightmare. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
Glossy red lips curled in a smile. “You left them all alone down here. Someone had to look after of your responsibilities.”
He cocked his pistol. “What have you done to them, Inara?”
The smile widened displaying her perfect white teeth. “Xiao bao come on out.”
Serenity came running out of one of the nearby caves. “Papa’s home! Papa’s home!”
He had to drop the gun to catch the spry seven-year-old as she leapt into his arms. He held on tightly silently swearing to never let go. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry baby.” Tears spilled from him falling on her rosy cheeks.
Wide blue eyes stared at him curiously. “Why are you crying Papa?”
Inara beckoned to their daughter. “Come to me xio bao. Come to Mama.”
“No don’t!” It was too late. He couldn’t hold on to the child. She wriggled free and ran to the thing that called itself mother.
They were wearing matching dresses. Mal remembered Inara making them for Serenity’s sixth birthday. Her left hand gently stroked his little girl’s shiny black hair. “He’s crying because he thought he lost you,” Inara soothed. “Isn’t he silly, my jewel?” There was a small blade in her hand. Serenity nodded her head in agreement as Inara swiftly drew her blade across the child’s throat. The tiny body crumpled to the ground beside Kaylee’s and River’s husks. “You can’t loose something that was never yours,” Inara stated softly.
Mal closed his hands around her throat trying to crush the life out of her, but the more he pressed the louder that horrible musical laughter grew. “You loved them too.” He shouted. “How could you?”
“I didn’t . . . you did,” she hissed leaning forward to bite his lower lip. She held up her hands encased in perfectly clean blue gloves. “I gave you your life Mal. You didn’t need my help to destroy it.”
Inara was gone. Mal looked down at his gore-covered hands. He stood alone in the gorge surrounded by hundreds of bodies. All those he had failed.
When she dreams, she dreams of water. She swims through it like a fish. Its soft, cool caress takes her cares away. Mother can’t tell her to sit properly. Father can’t hate her for being a worthless girl. Legions of governesses and tutors are held at bay. Here, she’s just Pina; and Inara is happy.
Like a mermaid her fine silk skirts fan out around her holding her up. She can feel the hot sun on her face, darkening honey skin that should be porcelain white. She sings snatches of old songs and wonders what lies beyond the clouds. In her dreams, she goes there, to the black, to the beyond.
Her muscles tire. The skirts become water logged and heavy. Soft vines wrap around her legs. She’s dragged down. Down, down, down beneath the surface of the lake. She doesn’t care to fight. She says a quick prayer that he’ll forgive her and inhales deeply. This is what freedom tastes like. Clean . . . sweet . . . never ending. Stars dance before her eyes and she’s at peace at last. Serenity always did have a rather funereal sound to it.
But he won’t let her rest. He drags her up from the deep. There on the beach, he pushes the kind water out. Forces the breadth of life back into her unwilling, resisting body. It is the first of many rapes.
He holds her saying, “Please don’t ever leave me,” and “I love you, mei-mei,” over and over again. She’s coughing and crying wishing she could go back. He kisses her hair and her face until their lips finally meet. She goes dead still. A final tear drops. There is no escape. This is her fate. She looks into his eyes and surrenders. “I love you too, Alex,” she whispers. She lies back and lets it happen.
Hong Lou Meng- (A Dream of Red Mansions)
Red. Rouge. Rojo. Rutilus. Chi. Cheng. Dan. Fei.
Blue may control, but red rules his life. Red will be the only peace he’ll ever know. The voices only stop when the red flows.
*Energy. Action. Strength. Power. Confidence. Courage. Change. Revolution. War. Warning. Stop. Pain. Blood. Warmth. Fire. Luck. Romance. Carnality. Passion. Desire. Love.*
He’ll find her in the woods. Xia will block out the sun. He’ll know her by sight and smell. The jin cloak and the basket of sweets. A lost child out of the fairy stories. He’ll know her name is Serenity.
*Red is a color at the lowest frequencies of light discernible by the human eye. Red light has a wavelength range of roughly 630-760 nano-meters. Red is the last thing we see.*
She’ll the most beautiful creature he’s ever touched. But it won’t the way she looks. The riotous waves of black curls; the flashing blue eyes; the golden body just blooming into womanhood, these will mean nothing to him.
It’ll be the smell. Spice hangs in the air, like cinnamon sticks when they first touch the grater. Warm and rich, bursting with promise. There’ll be vanilla too. A whiff of innocence to add complexity to her perfume. She’ll smell like his last memory of home.
*Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure.*
Tong hong. “Do you remember miao hong from school?” She’ll lie down before him. She takes his hands and guides them up her long calf to her thigh, round the swell of her hips and ass to the valley of her belly over the slopes of her breasts to column of her throat. “This is how we learned to write. We begin by tracin’. Knowin’ the forms ‘fore we create them on our own.” The hands rest on her face. She’ll kiss them. But they can’t comprehend creation. They only know how to kill. She smiles as if she understands. “I can teach you how to live.”
The hong lang will bring him to his knees. Summers hasn’t felt this powerless and scared since childhood, since the blue hands took him and made him what he is. He’ll try to warn her, “I can’t. It’s too late for me.”
“I trust you Matt. I know you’d never hurt me.”
*Red is powerfully linked to our most primitive physical and emotional needs of survival and self preservation.*
Hong seng. Qiong. Hong lian. Wei.
He’ll devour the lian wu lapping up its sweet juices. She’ll lie in the mei covered by hong ye sanguine till the end.
Xiao bao- precious, jewel
mei-mei- little sister, generic term of endearment
chi- red, scarlet, bare, naked
cheng- deep red
dan- red, cinnabar
fei- dark red
xia- red clouds
jin- red silk
tong hong- red through and through (to blush a deep red)
miao hong- to trace over red characters (a method to learn how to write)
hong lang- red wolf
hong seng- red revolutionary
qiong- red stone; beautiful
hong lian –red lotus
wei- red jade, precious, rare
lian wu- reddish pear shaped fruit
mei- grass that gives a red die
hong ye- red autumn leaves
As always for Mai, my beta without whom I would have quit writing this long ago.
Author’s Note: It this seems confusing, it’s because it’s part of a larger series called the Pillow Book of Inara Serra available on this site. There’s also a reader’s guide in my blog section to help clean up some of the vagaries.
As always, despite my best efforts, I’m sure this is rife with spelling and grammar errors. I’m sorry, but lots of great authors (not me unfortunately) had the same problem.
Saturday, September 17, 2005 11:33 PM
Sunday, September 18, 2005 1:31 AM
Tuesday, September 27, 2005 1:10 PM
Thursday, April 20, 2006 4:50 AM
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