Scene Five

The following scene takes place in a large, luxuriously furnished room. Swords are arranged on the walls in circular patterns, like in The Guard Chamber at Hampton Court Palace. To one side is a bed with golden drapes and to another is a throne. Despite the rich decorations, the room has a bleak, damp, and eerie atmosphere.

Dorothea is sitting on the throne. She is wearing a crown and holding a sceptre. She is surrounded by animals, including donkeys, sheep, bulls, foxes, peacocks, gulls, and owls. They are lying obediently at her feet, licking her hands and nuzzling her legs. A small white owl moves and perches on Dorothea’s hand. She positions her fingers elegantly as she draws the bird to her lap. The owl is completely relaxed, almost limp. She grasps the owl by the breast and lays it across her lap. She stretches out a wing and begins to pluck feathers.

A deer slowly moves its head towards her open, inviting hand. She strokes the deer’s chin and reaches to a tray of pins. Dorothea selects a pin and sticks it deep into the animal’s shoulder, drawing blood. She reaches for a second pin and pricks its nose; again, the animal submissively complies, barely reacting as she slowly and deliberately pricks its flesh.

Dorothea rises from her throne and approaches a donkey. She raises a fist and brings it down hard over its snout. She walks serenely amongst the creatures, every few steps punctuated by a vicious kick. In spite of her cruelty, the animals fawn over her, rubbing their slow, heavy bodies against her legs. Finally, she approaches a male peacock. Dorothea bends at the hips, reaches towards its trailing tail, pinches her finger around the blue eye, and pulls.

The Old Fox

Gradually, the animals disperse, wandering into a spectral mist. Only one animal remains – an old grey fox. The creature is scrawny, frail, grey, and mangy. Its tail has been cut off right up to the rump. The wound is old, but the fur on his flanks is still matted with mucus and blood. Tied around the stump is a bag of gold coins so large the animal can barely drag it behind him.

Dorothea is lying the bed. The fox scrambles towards to bed, dragging his big sack of coins behind him, the sound of his long, uncut claws scraping the stone floor. After his laboured journey across the chamber, he reaches the bed and breathlessly clambers onto the mattress. There, he approaches Dorothea and plants his paws on her chest, eyes wide, saliva falling in strings from his muzzle.

The Bull

A large brown bull enters the chamber. Light refracts off its glossy fur, highlighting the musculature. The air is cold, condensing the animal’s breath. The bull’s breathing speeds up as it begins to buck its head and paw the ground. It makes for the bed with urgency, although not charging. As the bull makes contact with the foot of the bed, its forefeet raise onto the mattress. The old fox scrambles away, flailing and terrified, his sack of gold holding him back like a ball and chain as he tumbles off the bed. The bull takes Dorothea up in his horns.

The chamber dissolves and the bull carries Dorothea into a forest. The forest is dark, cold, and populated by tall, austere firs, like a wood in the north of Scotland or south of Germany. The bull deposits Dorothea on the dry dirt, her skirts falling up over her waist. The beast begins to paw the ground again and its huge, vascular erection becomes visible  as pearls of semen balloon out of the tip. Dorothea has caught sight of the creature’s penis, transitioning from bewildered to terrified. As the bull mounts her, she covers her face and screams.

Before the bull penetrates Dorothea, she wakes up in her dusty grey home, gasping a short, sharp breath.