The cell phone rests on the wooden chair, paint splotches the only remains of earlier failed works. I glance at the altar every few minutes, waiting for Åsa to answer the voicemail, text messages, and e-mail apologies. Newspapers crinkle underfoot as I drape each gummed strip lovingly over the Bean-sidhe's frame, the seven-and-a-half foot body, forty-two inch bust, superhero cape flying to fill my living room. My salted tears spice the flour glue. The phone's silence lingers as I remember Åsa's silence after the argument, her back turned to me, throwing dresses like angry splotches of paint into her suitcase.
Time means nothing. Days become weeks while working on Bean-sidhe. Passion destroys time. The masked eyes follow me as I dance with my strips of paper, coating her, applying flesh. The comic book splayed open before me, hours fly until my electric blue duplicates her artist's rendering of her tights. I feel something from her, a silence, an accusation. I move around her and bump the chair, the cell phone skittering across the floor to stop beneath the refrigerator.
I am done. I don't recall eating or sleeping, but I must have. I sprawl on the floor exhausted.
I wake, thin light shining through the dirt-smeared windows. My heart lurches to discover she's fallen. Papier-mâché chunks crumpled on the floor exposing her wire-mesh bones. Tears fall down my cheeks, I blame loss of sleep.
Underneath, Åsa lies with a bruise on her neck, thread-bare dress blending into her pale skin. Papier-mâché handcuffs link her wrists. Dropping to my knees, I stroke fingers through her hair.
She wakes, not looking at me but over me, eyes flashing like a bird trying to distract a cat from her fallen chick. Bean-sidhe's hand rests on my shoulder while Åsa flees.
Scene seed from Stefan Jansson's "The Ghost Who Walks", a photograph of a papier-mâché Phantom, the comic book hero.