The Day Bravo Burned

Listen to this post’s soundtrack.

I want love to, roll me over slowly
Stick a knife inside me, and twist it all around.
I want love to, grab my fingers gently
Slam them in a doorway, put my face into the ground.

Five years before Bravo burned Rajah stood in the shadows of a Vegasian alley staring at the twisted grin of Amoretta Surprise. The Final Knight’s cackle whip-cracked in her ears and her blade darted like lightning. Twisting with a dancer’s grace, the entertainer flung her hands out in desperation, grabbed the man behind her and threw him onto the thrusting blade.

Five years before Bravo burned Rajah listened to the sounds her lover made sliding down cold steel and learned that love was a weakness that got you killed.

I want love to, murder my own mother and
Take her off to somewhere like hell or up above.
I want love to change my friends to enemies
Change my friends to enemies and show me how it’s all my fault.

Nine months before Bravo burned, Rajah crept into a ragged tent and pulled her veil tight around the neck of a priest who had done her no wrong. Hunger turned her pupils to pin pricks, staring down at that purpling face. Cunning and strength wrestled in a battle for survival and at the end of it she fell sideways, bloody hands streaking the tent canvas as her air bubbled out around the knife embedded in her lungs.

Nine months before Bravo burned, Rajah watched the scavenger pocket her slave deed while calling down the Maiden of War to knit his new possession back together and learned that Bravo was not as helpless as it had appeared.

I want love to, walk right up and bite me
Grab a hold of me and fight me leave me dying on the ground.
And I want love to,split my mouth wide open and
Cover up my ears and never let me hear a sound.

Two days before Bravo burned, Rajah slapped at her doctor and cussed him up and down, masking worry behind rage. Then held his hand while his skull was cut open, bile rising in her throat watching his blood seep across her bedsheets and smear her skirt. Pale faced, she rose abruptly, tripping her way to the bar to drown the taste with Vivi’s ‘special’ hootch and fresh air. In the hours after the surgery she warned the man who would make her Mother that if he knew what was good for him, he would run far away from her.

Two days before Bravo burned, Rajah learned that you don’t choose Family, Family chooses you.

I want love to, forget that you offended me
Or how you have defended me when everybody tore me down.
Yeah I want love to change my friends to enemies
Change my friends to enemies and show me how it’s all my fault.

The day Bravo burned Rajah stood flanked by her family on the shores of the Lake watching the billowing smoke rise thick and black into the blue Lonestar sky. One year. She had come friendless to Bravo exactly one year ago today. In that year she had gone from slave to free woman twice. She had found a religion that saw her sins as assets, not blights on her soul. She had been welcomed into the bosom of family and powerful allies and made a name for herself and her business. From gutter trash to Madame, Lady Luck had smiled on her.

The day Bravo burned, Rajah began making plans for the Day After Bravo Burned.

Yeah I won’t let love disrupt, corrupt or interrupt me
I won’t let love disrupt, corrupt or interrupt me
I won’t let love disrupt, corrupt, or interrupt me anymore.

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