|Thu, 19 Aug 1999
K Nice <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nightmares: Marrow [PG]
Disclaimer: The X-Men characters, and all other recognizable characters are copyright to Marvel Entertainment Group. This work of FanFiction belongs to K-Nice Relax, I won't sue you. I'll just ask my Cousin Tony to choke you with his dreds.
I thank Emily Snyder aka Em-Spider for Beta reading on short notice. I am most grateful to Sparks for her wonderful suggestion and her "vibe". This is set after XM#92? when Marrow and Colossus leave to visit Gen-X.
No one likes dead seagulls.
They have no redeeming value. Dead rats and dogs can be food or clothing but gulls are too bony to eat and their feathers are too delicate to sew together with rough-hewn thread.
She nudges the sea gull with her foot.
Massachusetts. Big name for such a little place. It stinks of clean and fresh and bright.
She kicks the gull violently. The gull is out of place so far from the sea. It doesn't belong here. It is ugly and worthless.
Staring at the corpse as it flips through the air and flops down unceremoniously a few feet away, she recalls the live sea gulls by the sea. She saw hundreds of them as they drove up from Westchester.
Amidst the familiar stench of cars and bodies, the Tin Man had insisted on a scenic ride.
The sea gulls had filled the sky, flying and gliding on powerful white and gray wings, their wet feathers glistening brilliantly in the sun. Far out over the sea, she had seen them wheeling and soaring and diving in a continually changing tapestry of motion.
She drops to her haunches, then pulls her legs together, balancing lightly on her ankles as she has seen Pretty Kitty do. They frown at her or tsktsk her when she does what comes naturally. She unconsciously mimics Pretty Kitty's ways. They approve of Kitty. And they will approve of her.
Her eyes are drawn away from the gull to the lush green of the grounds.
She stiffens as she is overtaken by a shadow.
She marvels at a singlel flower. So beautiful, so clean and bright.
"It is a lilac. It's scent is considered so lovely that it is used in perfumes." That smooth strange voice.
The Artist. That is her heart's name for him most days. But not today, in the presence of a dead sack of bird droppings.
She should be pleased at the Tin Man's intrusion. He knows things: about beauty and life. Things she wants him to know about her. Things she wants to learn.
"Lilac." She tests the word out. Slowly, she is learning the names of the things she dreamed of from the gutter. Pure words that feel glorious on her tongue.
She reaches out to caress the petals. Her finger bones are too rough for so delicate a touch. The purple petals are shredded, leaving moist traces of pollen on her sand-paper skin.
What would be tears in anyone else's eyes are merely a precursor to sweat in hers. She grits her teeth and clenches her fists. The Tin Man is a memory and the flower is a wraith. There is only her, and her bones.
She focuses, drowning out the pain with a litany of curses. Her muscles cramp up and strain as she smoothes her bones. smoothes her bones until it is no longer a matter of degrees and subtleties. Her hands burn as the bones contract, her face contorts painfully as her horns waver. She pulls it all in, as if the heart of her soul is a Black Hole.
She is a Morlock. She knows how to fight the world and win. She strapped a bomb to her own heart and dared the Upworlders to stop her. All her life, struggling. She struggles now to match how she thinks Pretty Kitty's bones must lie.
Every bone must be realigned.
She forces her bones to do things they would rather not do. Shortening and shrinking and pulling back in from free growth to dead ends.
Her lungs are squeezed between her ribs. Spurs from her pelvis dig into her intestines, pricking blood from her delicate tissues.
Her face muscles twitch as her horns dissolve. Her cheek bones grind her jaw, chipping her decaying teeth.
As the vertebrae in her spine jam against each other, two spinal nerves are clamped. She lets them loose again but the damage has been done. One arm will forever hang loose, like a broken wing.
Her body shoves the calcium she has dissolved straight into her kidney's. One after another, they will fail in the coming hours.
"Oh, Marrow . . . " The Tin Man with an Artist's voice speaks softly but he breaks her concentration.
She turns on him. How can he, interrupt her . . .
A face stares back at her from the gleeming metal skin on his thighs.
Clear pink skin. High cheek bones, like a model. Sweat has given her hair a healthy sheen. No horns, no bones, no chunks of innards on the outside.
Since those moments in the Shi'ar healing pod, she has been a gull--flying free and bright. Like the gulls, so beautiful in their place, yet empty where they do not belong.
Beautiful because she has changed. She eats at the table, sits like a lady, feels things other than hate and pain and darkness. She is so close to belonging to the sun, to basking in it's warmth, with her feathers glinting in the light.
Hollow because she has abandoned them. She is of no use as a Morlock measures value. Weak, delicate, like the hollow bones of the gull, good only to picks ones teeth with and discard.
Beautiful, because of her control, yet hollow, because she can no longer hear the screams of her people resonating in her bones.
And she cries. A howl from the gutter, from the sewer, from the Black Hole in her heart.
She can't make herself like a dead gull.
And the Tin Man holds her anyway.