I’m not sure what’s worse. Whether us not remembering what good was in the world. Or choosing to forget there actually was some good in it. Mankind retreated to some preternatural state, where violence is the one universally accepted currency. I feel ashamed to admit I have dealt in it too.
Tonight, I lay her down on a bed of black orchids.
To me, she is the most dazzling flower of all, despite the solemn black garb she favors so much. She has always been at home in the limelight and on the red carpets winding through thick crowds and leading up to grandiose palazzos. Drawing all the gazes, of both men and women. She is nameless – she could become anyone she wanted at a moment’s notice. All she ever needed was a camera pointing at her and a few deft touches of kohl.
The target is acquired, the objective within sight now. All senses engaged and in overload, despite his mask of calm. The polyrhythmic drumbeat in his ears is the blood boiling under the surface. The woman in the red dress approaches with a slow, measured gait, as if she was walking a tightrope over the chasm still separating what he wants and why she came here. Her stiletto heels produce a sharp click with each step. He will compartmentalize the sights and sounds for future remembrance. The sequence has been initiated.
There is a door at the end of the corridor, the gateway to a secret place. It’s a door without key or lock, the combination for safe passage guarded closer than a dragon guards its fabled hoard. Only the white neon light filters through the gap under the door. Inviting. Menacing? It has been flickering annoyingly of late. It’s due fixing. There is no space for imperfection where the door leads.
She refuses to be possessed. Still, you should be wanting to possess her. To conquer her. As far as what man can accomplish, not many moments can topple the exhilaration of reaching where you by nature’s design shouldn’t really be setting foot.
Man and woman sit on the opposite sides of the same table. Close, an outstretched arm’s distance away from caressing each other’s cheek. Yet the distance appears longer. They sit in silence. Unable to talk. Unwilling to take the first step. Unknowing, perhaps, how to bridge the absence of sound. Or have they exhausted all possibilities?
There is a place where the thousand fragments make a grander whole. Like a mosaic, collected and punctiliously pieced together over many years. Today I found it is missing a tile, however. The flaw is barely visible, holding up to even the closest scrutiny. Not to mine, though, but of course I know where to look. No matter how many new pieces I glue in place, expanding the whole, the shard gone missing is irretrievable. And like any such previously lost tiles (for there have been many), it is irreplaceable.
There were three of us, once upon a time, but only one that mattered. I, Medusa. The youngest of three sisters, the Gorgons. Mortally beautiful, so the tales tell. Or beautifully mortal, depending on who was looking. I got more than I ever bargained for, however, in exchange for my beauty. I caught a god’s eye. Crowned by a goddess, I was. The very one I served loyally and without question. A crown of living snakes was my reward. And eyes that could turn to stone.
I rest on this beach. It has become a ritual, see, sitting every day in the exact same spot. It is perhaps a stone’s throw to the sea (if there were any lying around), yet I do not bother leaving my resting place. Quite content to remain where I am. Been here for what feels like an eternity now. And I most certainly am a creature of habit, if nothing else.
I beg to differ. Never quite noticed the weight. Until it no longer sat on my brow, that is. Like a maimed man, I feel now, without it. Phantom pain is my sole companion, when we used to be one, before. Would anyone argue I miss the comfort of my crown, then? The cool touch of metal. The weight of wealth. Power, too. The piercing, dazzling realness of it only a hundred different cut jewels can bestow. Aye, crowns always suited me. Felt right at home, seated atop my hair of silver.