A Novella by Kittyluvver

“April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain...”

-from The Wasteland, by T.S. Eliot

prelude to lilacs

She will miss you, the edges of your wings and
the way they cut the sky in flight, she will miss you
at midnight, the way the sea misses the moons, and
the tide will ebb and flow with her sorrow, and she’ll
want you to know that you broke something in her,
something deep within her writer’s soul, for after you
the words did not taste the same anymore, that no
matter how she tried no vowel, no lettered phrase
could ever speak the syllables of loneliness,
lone-li-ness - - - 

Writing was never difficult for her, at least before you came.
(She wants you to know that you took something from her.
She'd like it back, if you please)

They say time heals, maybe one day she will manage it,
maybe one day she will finally pluck the shattered irony
from her eyes and see again, as a writer should, maybe
one day the rhythms will return and the metaphors will stop
brea-king when spoken aloud, maybe she could do it; for after all,
everyone is an artist these days.

but until then - - -
she is an unfinished poem.


April, dragoness with scales like tarnished turquoise and brown eyes like new earth, was still not much more than a dragonet who hid behind glasses and a wilting fin, keeping her body from falling apart with a scarf wound round her thin neck like a bandage.

She saw the world through two eyes, the eye of the jaded cynic and the eye of the immortal artist. All dragonkind disgusted her with their cruelty, their petty blindness, their callousness towards the suffering of their fellow dragon, the candlelight brevity of life and love. On some days life was a burden and conversation was agony, the crushing knowledge that she was no better than the ones that she despised burning heavy in her throat, bringing salt to her eyes as she feared for herself and all of her race, but mostly for herself. And so each morning she wound the scarf around her neck and set her glasses on her snout with the air of someone going to battle, plucking up what little courage she had and telling herself that it is better this way, better to forget that she is not special, that no one is special.

And yet April loved and bled her love wherever she went, trailing it behind her like blood from a cut not yet healed, as if her scarf bound a gaping wound over a leaking heart. She breathed the world, breathed life, for it seemed like every time she inhaled, the world was exhaling all around her. She loved everything, needed to love and be loved the way she needed to draw breath, she loved too much, and it seemed that one of these days her heart would run out of love and she would become nothing more than the empty, bloodless shell of a SeaWing. But for now, she loved this world and all worlds with the wide-eyed wonder of a dragonet, and sometimes the beauty of it all took her breath away. She loved not just one dragon but all dragonkind, loved so passionately that she just wanted to laugh and cry with joy, and fly until gravity relinquished her and the world fell away into purest starlight. She danced when no one was watching, sang when no one could hear. Somehow she was always drunk, addicted to life, and no matter how much she struggled the right words would never come to describe it – how her heart raced, how each breath became the sweetest agony and she knew for certain that she was real. And so on some days April drank the rain and told herself that even though everyone was going to die, she would not be ashamed to be alive. She would not let herself die of misery every day, over and over again. She would be immortal for maybe a hundred years, maybe more, maybe less, and then she would die all at once, and that was how it was meant to be.

But it was her fatal flaw, to love too much and yet too selfishly. In a few short years she had given herself and all her love to the world. And so it was that when April met the dragoness she was going to marry, she had nothing left; when their paths first crossed and their eyes first met, April didn’t have much more love left to give from her hollow, leaking heart. Forever ensnared by the poetry of sun and sky, city and desert, she was just awakening to the other kind of immortality, the softer kind, the earthly kind, the kind to be found in another dragon’s glistening eyes. Half of the dragons that April had loved hadn’t even been real dragons of flesh and blood, but rather born of words and paper, kindled in the secret depths of her writer’s soul. In her heart they lived, and in her heart they burned. April loved them and killed them and mourned them well. They had all been perfect tragedies.

April loved tragedies, and in retrospect perhaps it wasn’t so surprising that she turned her first marriage into one of those beautiful tragedies that brought her such delight to pen. She needed Tessellation the way that she needed life, the way she needed wind beneath her wings and words to feed her writer’s soul - all the while knowing that one day she would break herself and break Tess’s heart and drown in the rain and love every second of it. And that was the way it was meant to be, because the best stories have the bitterest ends and what was love without grief?

And yet…

The days crested and fell, ebbed and flowed with the tide. Each morning April woke with the sting of guilt in her brown eyes, and in the cold light of dawn she swore to herself; she would love Tessellation, she would love her without pain, she would do better this time, she would, she would, she would – – – 


October 3rd

Number of stars in the sky: infinite

Number of words April knew: 54739

Number of city lights in New Bridgeport: 32894

Number of mints that April has ever eaten: 2204

Number of times that April had lain awake at night, staring at the ceiling: 198

Number of times April had laughed so hard she could not breathe: 183

Number of times April had cried so hard she could not breathe: 86

Number of times April had let anyone else see her cry: 5

Number of times April had been late for anything: 3

Number of times April had fallen in love: 0

Number of regrets April has: 0


April loved poetically, like rain, like storm. She loved in the way a hurricane loved the shore, blotting out the sun and leaving death and ruin in her wake - and once the skies fell and the clouds broke, wasn’t the cruelest kind of lover the kind that hurt you in the ways that no one else could, with eyes full of love all the while, never meaning you any harm? For all the while April’s hourglass heart was marking time, bleeding away as the hours winged by, bleeding her love out into the endless, thankless world. She was not like other dragons in that somehow she could never hold onto her love, the same way she could not hold water in her paws – it slipped away and fell like rain; silent, gentle as thunder, warm as the breath of springtime. And yet rain was endless but love was not, and so every evening April unwound her scarf and waited with bated breath for the moment when her love would finally run out.

Tessellation came striding into April's life all at once, so alive, so full of breath and blood and life, so perfectly, tangibly real.  Forever thinking in the third person, forever trapped on the outside looking earthwards, April never came close enough to see the flaws in her. To April, Tess was perfect. Tess would be her destiny, her tragedy. There was a fire in her eyes in and in her soul, a fire so wild and free, and not for a moment could April have imagined that she would ever have the cruel skill to trap her beauty in feeble words and paper, perhaps for fear of the paper catching flame. Even the writer’s gift, the power to frame entire universes in 26 letters, fell flat before Tessellation’s neat violet-gray paws. Tess defied language, defied definition, stood outside the bounds of everything that April knew.

vio-let. char-coal. ros-e-ate. ple-num. di-lat-ion. sur-feit. Even at 2:00 A.M. on a Monday morning, the words broke ranks and fled at a sleepy twitch of Tesselation's wings. In her dragonet days April had tried to memorize the dictionary, and yet never before had so many nouns felt so dull and unwieldy on April's lips.

"You're beautiful," April never said. Not once, not even in the springtime of their marriage, long before the beginning of the end when the blow fell and their lips cracked away in bitterness. What use was there in saying it, when it seemed so obvious? Beauty had always been a bit of a cliche. So was true love, love at the first sight, love everlasting, et cetera, et cetera. And April had always hated cliches.

You're too beautiful, April wanted to say. You're a writer's nightmare.


Watch her, watcher, watch the gap between her horns, watch the air move across her tongue and burn within her lungs. Watch the way she dances with her voice, watch how she sings praise with her teeth; you will never meet anyone who can do it quite like her. See the way her wings fold, be reminded of paper cranes. Watch the aurora coalesce in her scales, watch autumn's first snows fall within her eyes. Winter does not apologize. She does not, either.

“Ah, you must be Miss April. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”

When she speaks to you, answer. Silence will not save you.

“... Likewise, Professor Tessellation.”

She laughs. “Oh, you’re not one of my students. No need to be so formal. I’m off hours, you know. Call me Tess. Can I buy you anything? I usually just come for the coffee here, but I love the blueberry scones. Definitely the best on campus. Maybe even the best in Bridgeport.”

“No, thanks, I’m alright. I just came from the cafeteria.”

“Are you sure? Get something with caramel in it. My treat.”

Beware her eyes, beware her laugh; they are infectious, dangerous, lethal. And now it is too late for you; you will never say no to her again, because you have forgotten how to.

"So, how are you finding medical school?" she asks, once there is an iced latte clasped between April's paws.

"I-it's alright. It's not as bad as I expected, I guess." 

 "I hope you're not bored." She laughs into her napkin, she smiles with her eyes. 

"Oh, n-no! Definitely not. I'm just glad to be here."

And then there are voices, and words, and the soft click of forks on plates and the smell of cheap coffee and the rustle of newspapers, and then all at once both an hour and three lattes are gone. You blink at her through your over-caffeinated daze, dimly wondering who paid for the last two.

And suddenly she is standing, and you are standing.

"Well, Miss April." She leans in, you hold your breath -  oh moons. Her paw is cool, deliciously cool and soft against yours, and you bite back a shiver and tell yourself to shush. 

"I look forwards to getting to know you."

Oh moons.

She is winter, winter made flesh, and a part of you wants to see her cry. You wonder if her tears will be snowflakes, crystalline and cold, silent and silver and so much more beautiful than rain. She is clean in a way that you will never be, her gray skies and icebound seas so much starker and lovelier than any leaf or flower you could call forth from the chaos of your rain-soaked dirt. She is winter, and you are spring. You wonder if she sees her death in you.

So smile, gentle watcher. Show her your teeth, try not to fall in love.


Lovers become killers become lovers
like mothers become daughter become mothers
and winter becomes summer becomes winter
and how dare we question the universe?

They told me love was gentle, kind, sweet,
chocolate and whiskey neat - if you're old enough, 
sweaters, swing-sets, wedding parties - if you're young enough.
and at last, old age, the sickly sweet scent of rotting fruit,
overripe; breathe it in.

And now you know they lied.
Love is a bitch.

(and I don’t know why I am still surprised
“This won’t hurt at all,” says the nurse with the needle)

By now, you’d think I was used to being lied to.

V. (continued)

Would you like to know the truth, for once?

They should talk about limp sails and empty lungs,
about lovers' lips, knife tips; throat-sung, airless 
lullaby to cracked glass and clockwork's indifference; and then
silence, echoing,
bittersweet on your tongue,

You told her you didn't believe in ghosts, but you believed in love
and she laughed because she knew they were one and same
you should have listened
you should

(You last breathed in six months ago, and now I must tell you
that you have not breathed out since.)

(I have no idea how you're still alive.)


December 27th

Number of stars in the sky: still infinite

Number of words April knew: 55100

Number of city lights in New Bridgeport: 32890

Number of mints that April has ever eaten: 2290

Number of times that April had lain awake at night, staring at the ceiling: 200

Number of times April had laughed so hard she could not breathe: 187

Number of times April had cried so hard she could not breathe: 87

Number of times April had let anyone else see her cry: 5

Number of times April had been late for anything: 3

Number of times April had fallen in love: 0

Number of regrets April has: 0


This is Bridgeport, and Bridgeport does not sleep. Bridgeport is the glare of yellow streetlamps, the clasp of paws against the warm of coffee mugs, the stench of cigarette smoke, the sharp retort of a drunkard’s blow, the wails of a lost dragonet, the ghost of a greeting as two strangers meet and part without a word spoken between them. They live in Bridgeport, and Bridgeport lives in them. Bridgeport loves her children, and as any poet would tell you, love is to pain as breath is to life - never one without the other. Bridgeport is loneliness, and Bridgeport is home.

“Cold,” she whispers to herself (she always did like stating the obvious). The word, soft as a plea, comes as a cloudy of misty warmth to be swiftly whipped away by the sharp, clean edges of snowflakes. The wind cuts the flush of pink scars into the hollows of her face, loosens the knot in the scarf at her throat and tosses the ends about in her wake. Lips cracked, eyes moist, she is out of place under the snow-capped streetlights, for hers is the soul of the child and the fever of the poet. She wants to feel, in that little poet’s soul of hers, to love and lose and grieve and laugh with all the breathlessness of a bullet in her mouth, and to her winter’s numbness was worse than any pain of heartbreak. Wings mantled against the cold, coat buttoned up her slender blue neck against the kiss and bite of the winter wind, April flickers in the lamplight; ethereal, springtime’s fragile promise broken one November too soon.