The Glass Wife's Thoat
by Alissa Barvin
Once in a silent world where people spoke by dancing there was a window-maker who greatly wanted a wife, but who was so ugly and clumsy that no girl would marry him. So this windowmaker made himself a wife out of glass...: all veins of threaded cobalt lying neath clear crystal, eyes of venetian millefori... milk glass vertebrae and wrist bones... he fashioned her brain translucent-frosted, so that she might have some privacy within her thoughts... yet the most wonderful part of this wife was her throat... for this windowmaker had stolen the vials and testtubes of his friend, a chemist. He filled them with water, and hung them with cow sinew from the inside of her throat. He did not know why he did this. Perhaps he simply dreaded her completion, and stalled it as long as possible. Yet, when his wife was fully made.... he danced around the room in joy. The wife was happy too, though she could not smile, as her face was made of cold hard crystal, nor could she dance, for if she did, she would shatter, and litter the floor like fallen stars smashed against the earth once they have fled the sky. For a time, the two were happy. Yet, the husband grew tired of his wife. Her skin was colder than ice... she could not dance, and thus was silent... He longed for a wife of flesh and blood, a wife that could move without fear of breakage... someone who he could talk to, not this still, strange, no... grotesque...creature.... this inhuman monster he had, in his self-indulgent loneliness created. The wife sensed this... and one day, she stepped down from her goose-down mattress, and lifted her hand.... her feet... trying to dance, trying to speak through movement. For one brief moment the thrill of motion. Then she fell. Her fingers snapped off, and fell in pieces on the dirt floor. Her legs broke too, as did her arms... her stomach, every part of her, except her throat. Her husband, the window-maker, happened on the scene... he wasted little time in mourning. Indeed, he was glad he was no longer burdened with such a cold and useless creature, for in the next village, there was a girl quite as clumsy and ugly as he was... who he had decided to marry. It must be god’s will, he thought, as he sweeped the fragments of his glass wife into the dung heap... the lord is kind. Yet, there, out, in the filth, a strange thing happened.... the wife’s throat.. it made noise... a strange sound, the first sound ever heard in this silent world. the wind wound through the vials of water, and such noises it produced! We would have called it music, in our world, but the people there did not know of such things, for there had always been only silence. People gathered to the shards of the glass wife, to her throat, to hear the strangeness. They kept a distance, of course, even the bravest among them. The window-maker became a rich man, he charged the people 3 gold coins each to hear his dead wife’s throat sing. He and his new wife bought a grand house with that gold: peacocks roaming through the halls, walls of gilt studded with shells from places that may or may not have existed... yet, in this house, there were no windows, no glass. the windowmaker had lost his taste for such things. In a year, people tired of the dead wife’s throat. “How meaningless it it!” they thought to themselves... “Simply a novelty...” “All it does is make pointless sounds... it is not a means of speech, like our dancing is!” “How dull, how ordinary, how stupid it is... I do wonder how we ever could have found it interesting.” This made the window-maker very sad, for he knew that he would no longer get the people’s gold... in his anger, he took the glass wife’s throat to the middle of the town square, and charged the villagers five gold coins a piece to watch him smash it beneath his foot... yet, when it broke, a strange thing happened... the water in the throat’s vials turned scarlet, and thickened. If they had not been sensible, common-sensed people, the villagers would have said the water had turned to blood. But indeed, it was blood... and it trickled through the streets, carrying the fragments of the throat through the village, where they pierced the soft skin of the villagers skin... going deeper and deeper into their flesh... and there, wedged between the muscle of a foot, or piercing the fat of an arm, the glass shards melted... and when they did... the humans could no longer dance. All they could do, was sit still, and make strange meaningless noises, that in our world we would have called music. But the villagers did not know of such things. Such people, the victims of this horrid glass monster, were not fit to live, the villagers thought... indeed, death would be more merciful to them... for they could no longer interact with the world around them, nor tuck their children to bed, nor dance.... So they were killed.... it must be called a mercy killing, then... and the world was silent once more... years fled, and the people forgot, and were content, for music never dared show its face to the village again.