Some Notes on the Eisenberg Estate – River Willow Fagan
It’s probably best if you don’t read this. You see, my aunt N—— carefully constructed this bundle of pages to contain a menace that has been stalking our family for generations. I’m fairly certain that her efforts have safeguarded our line–what I’m trying to say, Dear Reader, is that the risk here is to you.
Needle Man, Needle Man, I see your plan
Broken Man, Broken Man, the cake’s in the pan
The Nymphaea veneficus is an extinct species of fresh water flower. Strangely enough, N. veneficus died out because its evolutionary strategy was too successful…
…[t]o the untrained eye, N. veneficus might resemble a hybrid of a lotus and a pitcher plant; with an alluring scent (undetectable to the human nose) it lures frogs and jumping fish into a bowl shaped cavity and digests them. The cavity is not a trap; the frogs and fish remain motionless while acids slowly dissolve their flesh because the scent is simply that irresistible… In the end, the lure proved too attractive, too potent, and too many of the flowers ending up sinking beneath the weight of their own captured prey, pressed down to the bottom of the pond, rotting underwater.
My name is N—— Eisenberg and I am happier than I have ever been.
My name is N—— Eisenberg and my sister just slit her wrists with rusty razors and I am happier than I have ever been. Mister Needles, your thread is broken, your spool is undone, your trap has sprung but no one cares. I am happier than I have ever been. Mister Broken Toe, Mister I-Sew-Shadows-On-The-Edges-Of-Newspaper-Clippings, nothing you can do can hurt me now.
My sister’s name is S—- Eisenberg and she is happier than she has ever been. She is safely held now in these pages and nothing can hurt her anymore.
I, Sarha Eisenberg, being of sound mind and unbroken soul, do hereby bequeath my anguish to anyone foolish enough to read a will found in a box full of dried blood, wrapped in the skins of fish, at the bottom of an empty well. You, Betsy, can have all the lies tangled like ratty hair. You, Natalina, can have the nightmares hissing round my skull like bats. And you, you, Arcamadeous can have all the poison gathered up and distilled in the brewery of my heart, pulled from all my veins, from all the red and black ink injected there by —- ——- —-, yes, sucked in from our damnable house and the never-dying orchards and the fields of flowers with petals sharp and flawless as diamonds. My blood vessels were polluted rivers drawing all the stink from a cracked landscape, from the ruined map of my body, our house, drawing it all in to one placid lake now finally, mercifully sinking beneath the soil.
In their own tongue, the Namachi refer to themselves as “the People of the Swamp”. They have many ingenious adaptations to their environment, such as… their use of treated mosquito probiscides as sewing needles.
…Tentatively, then, we can state that the technology, mythology, and customs of the Namachi all point to a historical origin as a persecuted minority fleeing from a much larger, urban civilization which seems to have been in the process of politico-economic collapse. Venturing into speculation, we can approach an intriguing possibility: might the Namachi be the descendants of the sole survivors of Hussert’s theorized “Fifth Kingdom”?
The funeral was lovely, perfect. We Eisenbergs were gathered together as a whole family for the first time since B—-‘s wedding, and everyone looked so lovely, so perfect in their shiny white dresses and suitcoats. The flowers were perfect, lovely in their ivory splendor, without a single discolored petal. Everything was lovely; not even A———- could mar the perfection (though he tried; Lady knows he tried; something was buzzing in his pocket, and he kept reaching into it furtively, like a pervert, like a mad bomber, but the Pale Throats Chorus, who generously drove all the way from C—— Town to grace the funeral with their lovely voices, sang with such sweet perfection that his twisted little scheme, whatever it was, that buzzing, was drowned out.)
I will not include your letters. I have burned them all. May [strike]you choke on the smoke[/strike]the fire transmute your venomous words into sweet prayers, may the smoke carry them up to the sky.
I remain, as always,Your Sister,
The tales of the Namachi return again and again to the motif of fire, the dangers of fire: of flames burning out of control, like rabid dogs whose appetites are as uncontrollable as their spreading infection; of unvanguishable furnaces with [apparently] endless sources of fuel; of infernos rampaging across the land like giants, forming and reforming the world with their epic steps: melting mountains into smooth black glass, incinerating forests into deserts, toppling cities into ruins, releasing undersea volcanoes into the frenzied outpouring of new islands. …[W]e can see clearly that, in such a world, the swamps would be the only imaginable haven. And so the question becomes: did such a world truly exist? Or, rather, to what extent do the myths of the Namachi encompass or enfold an oral history of their ancestors?
Betsy sang me the sweetest song today. I scribbled down some of the lyrics–
Like a ballerina spinning glass
You turn and turn
Oh, why do you spurn
The light streaming through windows
Of colored glass…Spider, your legs are too long
You spin and spin
A thread far too thin
For comfort in winter lingering
Far too long
Broken Man, Broken Man, the cake’s burned to black
Needle Man, Needle Man, there’s no doorway back