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The Butterfly, I

The Butterfly, I

Gemini is sat with a guitar, El Mariachi Muerte carefully placed behind her, his arms guiding hers.

“Now, place your fingers upon the G-string, like that. When you play, it should sing out beautifully, like this…”

He places his own fingers upon his guitar and strums the string, letting a note hang in the air.


His voice sings, perfectly in tune with his guitar.

“You try.”

Gemini strums her string, the note wobbling and off pitch. She opens her mouth to sing, but all that erupts from her lips is a swarm of locusts.

“Maybe we’ll leave the singing. It sounds like your string is out of tune.”

Gemini, frustrated now, takes her fingernail and slices the out of tune string clean in two. EMM is a little shocked.

“One needs not cut the string when it is out of tune…”

She seems confused by the Mariachi’s gentle prodding.

“But why? Just as I did to the Red Light District, when something does not work, you remove it from the equation. By cutting that string, we can replace it with a better one, can we not?”

Muerte smiles.

“Think of a caterpillar, forming a chrysalis.”

Making a fist around his thumb, he begins to muse.

“The caterpillar encases itself in a cocoon, akin to the guitar string being wound up, tight and full of potential. Both hold a quiet tension, a pause before the emergence of something beautiful and resonant. As a guitar string is tuned, each small turn of the peg brings the string closer to its perfect pitch, and inside the chrysalis, a complex transformation unfolds: cells rearrange, structures dissolve and reform.“

Using his other hand to open the closed one, his thumb hangs limp holding the severed string of the guitar.

“If the string is cut, it will never sing its melody. In the same way, if the process inside the chrysalis is disturbed or rushed, the emerging butterfly may be flawed, unable to achieve its full splendor and function. And a butterfly that will never fly is a sad, sad thing.”

Taking the string, Gemini grins.

“I see now.”

She pauses.

“This is much like the Uprising, is it not? Jasper Redgrave, in particular.”

“Tell me more,” Death prods.

“The Artist sees himself as a conductor of change, a creator of new forms. He takes the innocent, the unsuspecting, wrapping them in his twisted vision, believing he can force the emergence of something new, something profound from the pain and terror he inflicts.”

Taking the string, Muerte begins to heal the broken guitar.

“In his arrogance, the chrysalis he creates is a prison, not a passage. The wings he seeks to unfurl are broken before they can even spread. In his gallery of horrors, the only transformation is that of beauty into despair, of life into a shadow of death.”

El Mariachi Muerte smiles.

“Your domain, my friend.” Gemini responds. “I begin the descent, and you are the abyss.”

“Then let us descend once more.” He says.

As the lesson continues, a butterfly limps onto the guitar, wings squashed and deformed.