There are those things that are uttered once and for all time and must then be forgotten, locked away in the past for no one to find. The story of how Imameko fell in love with a masked stranger is indeed one of such things.
She met him at the market place where the living and the lost roam. He was standing by a tree surrounded by aquamaniles shaped like animals from another world. She did not hear him invite her to a drink from one of his strangely shaped ewers, but she took a sit all the same and put the cup he handed her to her lips. The first sip smelled of Lily, the second tasted of Passion Fruit, the third of Hibiscus. Every sip she took brought her closer to the budding flower of his unearthly love for her. On his face, there was only a gray blankness but one that she did not see as she sat under his shade quivering from the essence of a thousand flowers. He was masked.
A strange day it was at the market. She was supposed to grind a big bowl of pepper for supper. She was a princess and ought not to do chores. But her parents were disciplinarians and wanted their daughter to grow up like any other girl in the village. On that fateful day, the market square was bursting with activities. The traders from the North had come to buy fish in exchange for fabrics and spices. Some of their women were entertaining the young men with provocative dances. No maiden worth her maidenhood should be tied up with anything that did not involve her presence at the market place. Imameko snuck out and that was how she met the masked man and swore that if she did not marry him, she would die a very painful and slow death. Her parents had no choice, so they let her.
He took her off to the City of Skulls where skulls of all kinds click and clack like they never once were flesh and blood. She lived in solitude for a hundred years and died after she resolved to protect reckless girls from the danger of curious romances and the romance of curiosity.
Imameko, the patron saint of the young and amorous, who went to the market place and never came back.
Photo Credit: Art by Mar