Bending down in front of this fawn who has wandered far astray into a place she knows nothing of, I tip her head back, cupping her chin in my delicate hand as I gaze into the enormous glistening pools that serve as her eyes.
“An odd turn of phrase, wouldn’t you agree? I give you my heart. How does one go about giving their heart away? If you were to give me your heart, you would become useless to me. A mass of tissue, cartilage, sinew, and bone pulsing with – nothing. And nothing is exactly what you would be worth. Do you wish to be worth no more than slop for the beasts to have their fill upon? Offering me your heart is a ridiculous thought. Besides, what makes you think I would allow you to give what I could so easily take if I chose it?”
A tinge of fear seeps into her eyes, her creamy throat swallows a hard lump, I release her but do not rise.
“Perhaps what you mean to say is that you offer me your unconditional devotion. Yes? Ah, now this I understand. This has a place in my world, this I can make fair use of. You proffer yourself before me and offer fidelity by choice. There is great value to be extracted from such a deed, unlike the sickeningly tender gesture of giving away your heart. A fool’s notion that. But you are a foolish creature, are you not?”
Her eyes shimmer, and I pace several steps away to allow the searing warmth of the sunlight to penetrate the chill I constantly feel radiating from within. This one, she affects me… After a moment of silent contemplation, I turn back to her. Our gazes locked once more, she still on her knees, me standing above her – as it would always rightfully be.
“Should I choose to make you my pet? Allow you to exist only on a whim? To please me when I see fit, perform for my enjoyment? Or perhaps even allow you the coveted honor of prostrating yourself at my feet for all to see; recognition of what an obedient thing you have become. Or should I simply accept your heart here and now, ending what will surely be an eternity of anguish for you?”
Circling her kneeling form, I allow my hand to trail through her mane of flaxen hair. It glistens so enticingly in the brightness of the day. The feel, that of swirling one’s hand through warm buttermilk; the scent, Anise. Delicious. Too delicious. Fisting a clump of this glorious silk in my hand, I yank her head backwards, redirecting her gaze to mine once more. A small squeal uttered, her hands fly up in a futile attempt to alleviate the pain I am causing her. My stare unwavering, she slowly lowers her arms to her lap once more.
“Do not expect to receive the abundance afforded my loyal servants, I have broken them! They have not groveled their way into my good graces. They have earned their allowance, their right to breathe for as long as I deem it useful. Unlike you my soft lovely dove, they have withstood a trial of pain and torment that you could not begin to fathom; and they have lived – if life is what you wish to call it. But you, you have earned nothing more than my attention with your soft curves and deep somber eyes. When I no longer find amusement in your attentions, then perhaps you will give me your heart as initially intended.”
Fear radiates from those bottomless orbs as they now watch me with trepidation, fear, and, of all things – judgment. Snarling, I release her head more roughly than intended and move to stand before her once more, bellowing at her audacity in a harsh ugly tone.
“This frightens you? My apologies! I don’t see why it should. You served the opening volley; you began this bid for my affection with your profferance of dedication to ‘my wants, my needs, and dare I say it – my most sacred desires’. Yes, I am mocking you and your attempt at securing my affection! Ah, I see you understand the spark of anger flashing behind my eyes, the couched venom spiting through my words, yet still you do not understand your own part in inciting me. This haughtiness of yours will need to be stripped bare if you are to be of any use at all. You are an ignorant animal, you know nothing of what I want, need or desire – yet you bear enough conceit to believe you stand any hope of satisfying me with your pathetic attempt at comprehension. Do you not see it? Do you still not understand who or what I am? No, I believe you do not!”
In a near frenzied pitch, I force myself to stop. She cowers before me, trembling, terrified by what now stands before her. Glancing down, I realize that my hands have begun to morph into clawed appendages; I can feel the second row of razor teeth beginning to protrude from my rending gums. The realization that this gentle creature before me is a far greater danger to my world than I initially thought decides her fate for me. Eyes brimming with tears, mine not hers, I crouch before this lovely timid thing, allowing my deformed talon to graze the soft flesh of her flushed cheek, and speak in a hushed tone.
“More’s the pity. I would have enjoyed the game, no matter how briefly it may have lasted.”
One more sweep through her luxurious hair, but my changing flesh is no longer capable of feeling its soothing texture. I gently cradle the back of her head and pull her soft form against mine. Blinding rage engulfs me, the cold from within takes over. With a slow deliberate stroke, I open her from pelvis to throat with the pointed tail I have kept hidden all this while; being sure to take enough time to truly feel the pain this is causing her. A single tear tips from my shuttered eye and with it, the last pretense of my humanity is shed. Leathery clawed wings tear free of their flesh covered prison and enshroud us.
After what lives in me is sated, and I have consumed my fill, I rise, releasing her corpse to the beautiful grassy field where I have defiled her. The warmth of the sun no longer as tantalizing as it was earlier. Glancing back at her remains one last time, I allow those that serve me to clean the foul mess I have made.
One dares to catch my eye as if to pass its own judgment upon me. Weakness amongst my kind is unheard of, and not tolerated.
With a feeling akin to what I understand to be shame, I spit at the thing before me, “Provided I do not choose to slit your throat for the disloyal thought I see passing through your eyes, I’ll allow you to keep your life and you will keep your tongue as to what you have seen here this day!”
He has the nerve to grin at me. She was but a frail morsel; the darkness beating in the soul of this servile beast shall sate me fully. I believe I shall begin by allowing him to give me his heart.
~ Nina D’Arcangela
© Copyright 2012 Nina D’Arcangela. All Rights Reserved.