Nodding into sleep, fitful, falling into a vision. Teeth, claws, fur, screams and yelps, gush of blood, taste of blood... Coyote's throat is ripped open before me and he is lying dead, blood spurting from his neck with each of his fading heartbeats. Gasp awake.
What did I see? Is this a recollection? Just a dream? Is it my subconscious trying to fill that space that's left inside my SELF, where I ripped my own memory away? Filling it with violence, the same kind of violence that I used to remove the memory?
Did I murder Coyote? Or did I murder part of myself?
I open my eyes. I've fallen asleep sitting in the orchid room, its windows steamy and moonbeams scattering through, the woods just outside. Seeing the trees gives me a feeling of unrest. I remember my nights in the woods. I am also pulled out there, out there. Coyote's skull has fallen to my lap, where it sits, whispering. This skull is such an immense part of this puzzle. I pick him up and dig through a bag of materials by the drafting table here in the orchid room, find a fabric ribbon that I lace through Coyote's dead eye sockets, and I tie him around my neck. Hanging there, his whispers are close enough to be a comfort and far enough that I don't find myself straining to hear. And near my heart. It's hard to imagine being in a place without those whispers now.
We walk out into the night. Not far. We're not getting lost tonight. We just go far enough to look up into the branches and see a gaping hole right above us, and it reminds us of the gaping hole in the SELF. There, whistling, echoing. We feel that howl rising again, and we act on it this time, letting our voice rise and break and break again and tangle into the trees and drift on into the night sky.