Too Young To Prophesize

by Barret Sills


She was an extraordinary character, Sybil that is. She loved the pictures, the old ones, she also loved men, the old ones. She loved everything old, as a matter of fact. She remembered the study from her childhood, those ancient scarred leather spines, and that soiled divan with its chaste white velvet upholstery. She would leave her fingers flick from page to page and oftentimes she would fan herself, simply fan herself, until that musty smell got well and truly into her petite nostrils, and overwhelmed her – often to a point of unconsciousness. Those books were so old. And she was so young, too young. With time, she grew accustomed to the smell, and slowly she became infatuated with it. It made her worth something, in an environment where everybody else was worthless.

And in her twenties, she fucked every man in Upper Manhattan, but the smell of those pages always remained, like wilting bloodied roses behind her nose, with their deadly barbs attached.

But like roses, things wither, and die.

And so did Sybil when she overdosed on all those goddam barbiturates.