The Woman

It was the way her fingers trailed the edges of her smile.

The way she looked out over them as they traced soft teasing circles near the corners of her mouth. There were few sights he could imagine more divine. 

He watched one finger in particular linger behind the others, one that demanded a lustful and uninterrupted attention. He noticed the velvety colour of her nail as it dragged alongside the border of where skin met lip. She pressed hard enough so that the delicate finger left behind the thin white line of pressure. 

With an attention he never spared for anything else, he caught the difference between this new line she drew. Separating the perpetual beauty of her flushed skin from the secret smile she still slowly ensnared. Ever so close to climbing the svelte ridge that glistened with a deep scarlet, darker than any red he had seen before. 

It lulled him forward.

The soft parting of her mouth then was enough to pull from him a yearning so deep it could be only primal. Time became suddenly ignorant of itself. He saw everything. 

There was that brief second, that infamous and almost exalted second where her lips stuck together. Stretching, but not splitting. As though each was unwilling to part with the other. 

But then they did open. Hovering separate, housing a thin horizon-like darkness between them. The distance between each only enough so that her lungs could draw in the very breath he longed to be. More than anything he had ever wanted or would want again. 

Still, her fingers sketched a painting the man had utterly lost himself in. The fair canvas one more precious than any Degas or Michelangelo. 

And there was a sense that stemmed from her, one that was quietly infecting him. One he had always denied existence of, but was now the very feeling he found himself drowning in. No simple word of any language could give justice to the sensation. 

In that moment, there was nothing else. Even from within the confines of his chest he felt the trembling of his heart, and it was dangerous. 

She leaned forward. 

The motion spilled the length of her hair out as it was dragged slowly over the crests of her shoulders, draping down her front to cover the fingers that moved still. Like curtains, the new raven wall hid from him the sides of her face. But it was her lips he watched. The lips, and the eyes.

Fallen gently overtop her hand like the fresh fall of snow, the raven hair was a black deeper still than the red of her lips. It was the shadow to the fire.

She moved closer.

He let his eyes climb the face hidden behind the hair, passing the smile and its circling defendants. From underneath the ebony he was then met with a look he would have happily accepted as his last. 

The unadulterated blue of her gaze tempted his heart to beat from existence. Had there been anything left for him to surrender, it would have been given without thought. But already, there was nothing left to give. 

In her eyes he noticed the ring of a darkened blue that encompassed her blazing hue of cobalt. The blacks of her eyes were steady as they focused on him, alone in the sea he himself was adrift in. 

The only thing to come between his window into eden was a thin line of smoke from the cigarette trapped in her other hand. It trailed upwards from the embers as it happily ate away at itself, as if yearning to be close to her. Just as he. 

The thin wispiness of its fading trail left him alone on one side, and her on the other. Almost as though a manifested representation of the veil he had lived behind his whole life. 

But now, it was thin. 

So thin.

The smoke was clearing, and on the other side lay a beauty so intense it consumed all that braved even a glimpse. 

Still, she leaned forward. 

It was her voice that broke him. Like a dagger of the sharpest kind, it was soon cutting all the way through. In one side, and out the other. And in its wake it brought an in-quenchable thirst. It replaced all he was. 

His whole body started to tremble. 

The whisper of her voice was a beauty in and of itself. Soft and exotic, but by no means meagre. Drowning as he was, he found the melodic innuendo more tempting than the call of any siren. But underneath the satin of her voice there was a tone a more careful man may perhaps have noticed. A darker lullaby to a melody more appropriately disguised. 

But he did not notice it. 

He awaited every word to roll from her tongue as though it were the words of Aphrodite herself. The way they rolled from her lips. Emphasized. Dragged out so that each syllable spanned what to him felt like an age. 

Smoke escaped her lips as she spoke, but did so as if reluctant to leave. 

When she finished speaking he did not hesitate to offer to her all he could. Not ignorant of the consequences, but simply uncaring. Common sense had fled long ago to make way for biology’s most exploited flaw. One she wielded with a finesse better than any other. 

She moved to touch him then, her hand crossing the space between slowly. Outstretched, the fingers of her left hand strayed away to once again trace circles, this time on him. He leaned into her hand, obeying it’s soft command to close his eyes. But as her left hand made promises it would not keep, the other moved too. But it was to be unlike her first touches. It carried an intent far more malicious. 

The second touch was indeed almost bittersweet and perhaps a little ironic. It reached his heart in a way her hands and voice did not. Where her skin was warm, this touch was cold. Where her words ambiguous, this route was direct. 

The pressing knife matched the same gentleness as her left hand, almost to the point where the man did not notice its intrusion. With a slick and experienced guile it was pushed smoothly until her left hand was not alone. 

His eyes opened to find the blade but saw only handle, the steel buried enough to be hidden from him completely. He could actually feel it in his heart as it wore out its last few beats. It was icy, but not painful. 

His eyes closed again, but not yet in death. He focused his fading senses on the left hand that still danced along his cheek, but even that had grown cold. 

His life’s blood poured out from the small wound, dripping like rain from the woman’s soft hand. It collected alongside the bottom of her palm and parted with the same reluctance everything else had. The beads that fell passed through a lone ray of sunshine from the above window but he did not need to see to know the red of his heart’s life did not match her lips. 

When at last he could feel her no more, the knife was pulled away. As were her touches. His head hung low in death but she raised it one final time to brush her lips against cheeks that had yet to cool. 

Her lips marked him with an unmistakable scarlet. 

Almost in apology. 


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