Darkness; a young heart blooms. Curled fingers twitch as palms press against a shell. Light bleeds into fresh eyes. Vigor courses through dormant bones as the crisp autumn air fills unused lungs.
Fragile arms brace themselves against the wooden floor. Spindly legs stumble over to a window. Lips part, fogging the glass. Clouds impede on a golden sky. It’s not long before a sea of diamonds twinkle above; harbingers of a new era; A new game that must be played.
Eager legs carry over an anxious heart to a worn chest. Slender fingers snap its golden latches free and bright eyes peer inside. A bundle of aged velvet is retrieved alongside a pair of black high-heeled shoes.
A looking glass leans gingerly against the aged wood of a nearby wall. The figure wobbles over to it, velvet in tow. Holding the garment by its straps, they step into it, pulling it over their body like a second skin.
Pressing their hands against the glass, they take it all in: The gown wrapping them in a loving embrace, the crown of dark curls adorning their head, the golden eyes that rival the majesty of the setting sun.
Their tongue dances behind their lips as their soul tries to recall the sound of home, a sound they’ve always known.
The utterance sends my heart aflutter and a wave of purpose stirs within.
“My name is Elaine,” I say, slowly pulling away from my gaze.
Majestic legs trot across pavement dampened by recent rain. Discarded flyers announcing local tragedies billow in the wind as bold lovers embrace in alleyways. Vehicles dash through a low-hanging fog like ships treading the waters of a ghastly sea. Neon lights compete with the celestial bodies above, beckoning passersby to take a step inside, and I oblige.
As I enter the room, I take in the grinning faces, the beams of cerulean and amaranthine bolting about, the glasses clinking in celebration as careless hips sway; A scene so blissful, Dionysus would be stricken with envy.
“Care for a drink?” A young woman asks, presenting me with a silver tray. Bubbles wade within amber as I bring the crystal chute to my lips.
Crashing onto my tongue like a tide gracing deprived sands, its warmth courses through me and something stirs within…
Enticed by the euphony of my newfound paradise, my liberated hips sway, luring me into the sea of elated souls wading atop the illuminated floor.
A pair of gentle hands impede upon my bliss. I turn and see you - eyes filled with longing, the corners of your mouth slowly pull upward giving away the nature of the thoughts swimming beneath those disheveled curls of yours.
The night is young and filled with promise.
Insignificant pleasantries are whispered into uncaring ears. Curiosity feigned out of fear of rejection, while unbridled desire seeps from yearning skin, true intentions bound by the chains of modesty.
Pulling you in, I whisper the words you so desperately want to say and offer an escape from this place.
We slip out into the night, arms intertwined. Tethered lips barely part to give route to their destination, while anxious hands wage war upon cloth barricades.
We retreat to my haven, a refuge amongst the pines. Our passion is no match for our insatiable bones, our limbs give way to the magnitude of our love.
Flattery pours from your mouth like nectar, but the thrumming of your heart sings me a song that is far better. Deeper and deeper, the melody pulls me in, and it isn’t long before I admit surrender. A gasp escapes your lips as I submit to temptation. With lips parted, teeth bared, I sink into you.
A stream of crimson tumbles down your collar as you shove me away. If memory serves me correctly, you only have three seconds. Maybe five?
Pardoning myself as an excited lover, I show you to the restroom and carefully examine the bite.
“I don’t know what came over me,” I say, soaking a cotton ball with antiseptic “This might sting a little.”
You wince as it makes contact. The liquid bubbles over, shrouding the broken skin in a blanket of foam.
“There, that should do it,” I say, tossing the cotton into a bin. “How are you feeling?” Cradling your head, I tilt it and your eyes meet with mine.
“I’m...alright. A bit warm, but I’m fine,” you say, running an arm across your drenched forehead.
Shouldn’t be long now…
Bracing an unsteady hand against the porcelain, you rise. The hazel eyes that once revered me are now bloodshot, unfocused. Your once confident stride is nothing more than a pathetic stagger. The demanding hands that held my waist now tremble as they struggle to turn on the faucet.
Filling your palms with water, you toss it onto your face, hoping to quell the fire within. But there’s no remedy nor elixir that can reverse the fate that awaits you.
Your eyes rise to the mirror above. They narrow as you lean in closer, untrusting of the figure within the glass.
“W-what...what did you do to me?” you ask, steadying yourself against the counter. Quaking fingers frantically trace the deep, purple veins hastily creeping across your skin.
“What did you do to me?!” You charge toward me, a movement far too demanding for your body to handle.
“What did you do…” you ask once more before your limbs give out and you crash to the floor.
“20 seconds,” I say kneeling beside you, “that’s a new record!”
I place two fingers along the side of your neck. What was once a passionate flutter is now a faint murmur.
“You’re a fighter. I like that,” I say, rising and kicking off my heels. The flattery that once poured from your mouth is now nothing more than whimpers escaping from a slack tongue.
Slipping my arms around your chest, I lace my fingers together and pull. With your head nestled beneath my chin, your sweat-drenched ringlets cling to my skin. My tongue glides across my rouged lips as I drag you down the carpeted hallway toward a wooden door.
“Almost there,” I say, freeing a hand to turn its knob. Kicking it open, I refasten my hands across your breast and pull you down the aged wood into the depths below. Thump. Thump. Thump. Your legs slam against each plank as we make our descent; a ginger rhythm that matches the labored beating of your once ambitious heart.
I place you in the center of the room. You stare up at me, cheek pressed against the chilled concrete.
“I bet you’re anxious to see what happens next,” I say, squatting beside you, running a finger along your trembling jaw. “Don’t worry, love, we’ve got a long night ahead of us. Just, let me slip into something more...comfortable.”
Retreating into a nearby room, I leave you at the mercy of whichever horrid thoughts that mind of yours can conjure up. Whatever they are, it won’t be enough to prepare you for what is to come. They’re never prepared for it.
Peering over my shoulder, I steal a final glance. Slivers of moonlight creep through chipped, dark stains that muddy the windows. Its light graces your limp vessel, bestowing upon it an ethereal glow. Despite the tears, the cement darkened from dribble seeping from your useless mouth, the redness that clouds your eyes like the finest of wines; you are beautiful. You are mine.
Standing within your line of view, I slide my hand beneath a strap of dress, freeing it from my shoulder.
“You might wonder,” I say, freeing the second strap, “what you did to deserve this.”
The velvet garment slips free from my body and onto the floor.
“Well, I’ll provide you with an answer: absolutely nothing,” I say, kicking the garment to the side.
“And now, the real fun is about to begin. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it,” I say, blowing a kiss your way.
Crouching in the doorway, I brace my hands against the floor. A violent tremor erupts within my core. Gasping, I gnash my teeth, as my torso contorts. My nails grind into the cement, as lacerations spread along my legs like bolts of lighting stretching across a blackened sky. I hang my head as the flesh falls away; mounds of flesh and bone at my sides as my new limbs sprout forth in their place. I pick off the remains of my mortal prison and give them a stretch: eight, shiny, black appendages.
Creeping toward you, your eyes go wide at the sight of my magnificence. Ever so gently, I take you into my nimble arms and center you upon my silk. The fight that was once within begins to fade as your eyes pass over the remnants of lovers past; the bareness of their bones a promise of what’s to come.
Thread by thread, your body begins to disappear; swallowed whole by impeccable ivory spun by ravenous hands. Staring into cavernous sockets of a neighboring skull, your body stills as it’s wrapped within a porcelain cocoon.
Descending from the silk, my heart begins to swell and I silently pray that you taste as good as you smell.