Epsilon often thought of Clostromonia as a “bimbo.” His former maiden, Holga, had led a weekly discussion group on Aristotle’s dialectics, and his maiden before her, Elizabeth, had studied Hippocratic medicine. Epsilon considered himself to be a man of higher mind, an intellectual’s intellectual, and feared Clostromonia could not keep up in conversation among his family and peers.

But, Clostromonia was beautiful. She was big-breasted and a fine cook. Epsilon’s fellow noblemen regularly begged for slices of her bimbleberry pie. “Ay, Epsilon,” they’d say, “I’m going to snatch the pie from your maiden’s windowsill along with the big-breasted beauty who made it!” In these moments, Epsilon felt proud. For Clostromonia truly was the most beautiful maiden in Simpingstock, and he would be the envy of all men lest they hear her speak.

Epsilon plotted accordingly. He would ask for Clostromonia’s hand in marriage, and, once on their honeymoon—far east in the sparsely populated Gimp Mountains—he would drug her and carefully remove her larynx. If anyone asked, he would tell a dramatic story wherein Clostromonia went to gather bimbleberries and, tragically, encountered a bear. At this, he would tell them, she dropped her basket of berries and screamed a scream so loud, he ran out of the cabin and beheld the bear. Immediately, he rushed it with his dagger, and the wounded beast limped off into the bushes to bleed out alone. For her scream had been so loud, he would tell them, it left his wife irreparably mute.

One week after formulating his plan, Epsilon asked, without ceremony, for Clostromonia’s hand in marriage. Her mother was long dead from typhoid fever, and her father was but a poor butcher. Epsilon bribed Clostromonia’s father with two hens and one rooster, which was more than enough for a poor man, let alone the relief of one less mouth to feed. He left his blushing and ecstatic fiancée immediately, and rushed into town to gather the dwale. He had thought of mixing it himself, as he was an intelligent and competent man with a great knowledge of medicine, but he did not know where to find opium, and thus, he required it fully prepared.

Epsilon went to Elizabeth, his former maiden who had studied Hippocratic medicine. She worked all hours at Gimpingstock’s pharmacy, and, when she beheld Epsilon, her chapped lips curled over her dead snaggle tooth. “Hello handsome,” she purred.

“Silence at once,” demanded Epsilon. “For I am set to marry the most beautiful maiden in all of Gimpingstock. But first, I must acquire an ounce of dwale. For her poor father needs an operation, and he cannot afford anesthesia.” He jingled a leather pouch of golden coins at the maiden like a bell.

“Very well then,” she said, then disappeared into the depths of the pharmacy from which she returned with a cloudy bottle. “May your marriage be blessed,” she scowled.

Epsilon was giddy on the walk back to his residence. He skipped in his clogs with the smug satisfaction of having it all: a beautiful, big-breasted maiden who would cook for him all the day and never say a word. It was truly every man’s dream. And no one would ever know her sorry condition as a fool.

On the first evening of their honeymoon, far upon the Gimp mountains, Epsilon set out to gather firewood so that Clostromonia could prepare a celebratory stew. While he was gone, she rummaged through Epsilon’s baggage for the ingredients and stumbled upon a cloudy bottle which read “dwale.” Clostromonia did not have much knowledge of medicine, but her mother had been anesthetized on her death bed, which cost her father more than a month’s salary. But to him, it was well worth the price to watch his wife exit this unfair world in peace. Horrified, Clostromonia dumped the dwale into the soil out back and filled the bottle with water and a splash of milk, so it would appear just as colloidal as the potion had been.

That night, Clostromonia made the loveliest stew of her life. The whole cabin smelled of fresh garlic, rosemary, and firewood. Epsilon was in a gay mood, singing and dancing, and that night they deflowered together.

Clostromonia demanded Epsilon perform cunnilingus, and, though it was a sin, he knew she would never be able to tell a soul, so he obliged. Clostromonia moaned and shivered, thinking the sensation similar to when the holy spirit entered her body. And, thus, holy water gushed out. She then used his erect member to pleasure herself, thinking not once about his own sensations, but alas he ejaculated quickly, as she was a very beautiful woman with big breasts.

The following morning, Epsilon offered to make Clostromonia a cup of tea while she go collect bimbleberries for that evening’s pie. Many feathery ferns hung along her path, and the fragrant trees were cloaked in bright moss. A small creature reminiscent of a squirrel, but striped, ran quick along the forest floor into the fallen orange leaves. A spiked ball of a monster humped lamely along a rotting log. Clostromonia delighted in the plants along the mountains, the small creatures of which she had never seen in Simpingstock.

Clostromonia drank her milky tea in pure peace beside her husband. “This tea is so lovely,” she said, and Epsilon grinned.

“Well, m’lady, I better go get tonight’s wood.” Epsilon was ecstatic, as he knew that by the time he returned, Clostromonia would be comatose and ready for the extraction.

Clostromonia waited a few minutes. She took the butcher’s knife from the kitchen and recalled how her father had taught her to cut into a pig, how to angle the blade. Epsilon was rather like a pig. Clostromonia tip-toed barefoot along the path until she found her crouching husband, and in one swift motion, she severed his head.

When Clostromonia returned to Simpingstock, she wore all black with a veil over her eyes. The townspeople all felt sorry for such a quickly widowed and beautiful maiden, whose poor husband had been brutally attacked by a bear on—they could hardly believe it—their honeymoon. They formed a line outside Epsilon’s former residence and brought Clostromonia sparkling jewels and steaming fresh meals.

Clostromonia received all of Epsilon’s riches, and she invited her father to move into the capacious guest chamber. They often sang as they went about their days together, never again laboring for the rest of their lives.

Shy Watson is the author of Horror Vacui (House of Vlad). Her work appears in Joyland, Southwest Review, Hobart, New York Tyrant, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter @formermissNJ.

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