The way she sees it, men had always been oppressors of her kind. Snakewoman beguiled old men. Despite being in her prime, the young ones were too hard to catch. Early on, she’d welcomed the adoration that comes with being the youngest. It suited her still. She’d hit upon a successful strategy: depending on the kindness of strangers–especially older ones. Men were way stations in her odyssey for survival, more than a few. Life had not been exactly kind to her crossing the desert highway’s rough surface in the searing sun. She had young to feed; her battered body with its marred but still beautiful pale skin was not unexpected. It had been some time since her last meal had passed. Tantalizing, yet angry, depressed, petulant, resentful and suspicious, on the hunt–live game had grown scarce. Of a sudden, she sensed movement and lay still…perfectly, exquisitely–still.
As a writer, he’d always loved nature with all its creatures, great and small. How could he resist helping this mesmerizing woman with her delicate features and pale beautiful skin lying there, vulnerable to passing traffic only inches away. Yes, there’d been some damage done, but he was certain he could heal the wounds and nurse her back to the healthy sultry female of her youth. He’d healed many creatures as part of his farm tasks…then she began to sing to him. She sang her song of flight among the stars and adventures to the bottom of the deepest oceans beneath their eternal inky twilight. She sang of hopes, dreams, ambitions, and despair, of old wounds and regrets. Slowly she undulated beneath his gaze, casting her spell as surely as any hook being set. “I’m so alone without any mate,” she cooed, “I’m a sucker for attention from a handsome erudite older man, and always have been.” He fell in love, or at least what he mistook for it.
Gently, he ushered her and her young into his vehicle, taking them wherever whimsy, fantasy, or need beckoned. He bathed her in the fresh water of a brook near his home. Having fed her, he gathered food to lay up against the winter and restore her strength. He arranged for her travel, massaged her body, spent hours building her strength and allaying her fears. He brought wings for her and her young to fly, no longer bound to the desert floor. He tucked her into his own bed and listened, spellbound, as she sang. Then, he fell into a deep sleep as though a man possessed.
With the dawn came new pearls and new needs including those most urgent for the care of her young. Each was generously tended to in turn, and she grew stronger–more confident, and her song reached higher among the surrounding mountains, the stars at night, the moon in its fullness, the wetness of her lips, her body, her scent. Intoxicated, he grew careless. Fear left him and caution was thrown to the wind as he drank deeper.
One evening, after a long day spent waiting for her to stir or notice him, he picked her up to hold in his arms when suddenly she bit him on the cheek. Stunned, as he lay dying, he moaned, “Why did you do that? I found you wounded and sick with grief, with unrequited love, with self doubt, with no food, with nowhere to feel safe or anyone to care. I nursed you back to health. I gave you meaning and sustenance for your life. I helped make you strong.”
“Look,” she said, “You knew I was a snake when you picked me up! Should I feel guilty? Perhaps I was selfish and used you. I’m sorry–I truly am. Besides, nothing bad ever happens to a writer–it’s all just more material. Quit struggling,” and gave him another bite to aid her digestion.