Once upon a time there was a beautiful young woman who fell in love with a man long since passed. A romance most would imagine doomed to fail.
This is her story.
Born in the back of a butcher’s van Fleur was an only child. She lived in a small village in Northern France where her mere, and aged pere, were proprietors of Le Boucherie – Le Couchon Qui Crie. Fleur was a peculiar bloom. She resembled a forced seedling – spindly and fragile. Growing up she spent endless hours alone playing amongst the gravestones of the local cemetery – the energy of the dead, their six foot under decomposing bodies, her chosen companions. Accustomed to death, the butchers block sat downstairs directly below her bed, it and rotting flesh held little fear for this unusual girl. Besides, Fleur knew that death was a doorway to other realms where spirit was no longer concerned with trivial nonsense such as her parents ,and the local townsfolk obsessed over. Often, she sat on the stairs, out back from the magasin, and listened to the spurious spite and inane gossip spewed from immaculately painted lips. Smart ladies in smart suits with string bags laden with carefully wrapped goods. They should have known better than to destroy a character with such ease, and glee she thought, as her sweaty Pere chopped through sinew, grizzle and bone. Wiping his sausage fingered hands on his bloodied apron.
The other children used to mock Fleur. They called her funny-bones-no-flesh. Playing out, funny-bones-no-flesh was ignored by the other children except when they were bored. Then they bullied her – lacking creativity and independent thought they were often bored. And Fleur was regularly tormented. Being awkward and angular, her skeletal frame appeared to stick out at peculiar angles through her translucent, pasty white, slightly blue tinged skin. The children were actually scared of her. Believing tall tales that told of funny-bones-no-flesh rising from the dead with unruly, carrot red hair reminiscent of the flames of hell.
Without a sibling, or friend of note, Fleur came to create an inner world populated by characters both real and imagined whom, soon enough she encountered in the graveyard. The cemetery sat at the end of the village slap-bang-next-door to where she lived. From a tender age she used to look out from her bedroom window and observe the moon and stars watching over the sleep of the dead. Intrigued by the wind, and shadows cast on Prussian-blue-sky-stormy-nights she imagined tales of lives long ago lived and felt no fear. On misty eves she thought to see figures in the gloaming, and hear voices full of bonhomie and mirth. When she was four years of age emboldened, she carefully crawled through a broken section of the garden fence.