Rising Moon

As it wears off, I’m worn down
walls are spinning all around,
my skin is crawling, or was that bone?
Belief is still that I’m far from home.
Chest compressions,
breath in sessions.
“What comes next?” I try to ask.
Voice so calm, “put on your mask.”
Bile; spewing out my soul.
Shallow breaths take their toll.
Crack here, crack there – something new,
skeletal fragments puncture through.
Bloody tears spill down my cheeks –
soak in sweat; my body wreaks.
My mirror’s near but I’m scared to look,
decaying since the last one I took.
Claws displayed, now covered in fur.
The moon is full; scented blood my lure.
Into the night I seek my prey,
I must feed before break of day.
Stalking, running,
thrashing, chomping.
Unsuspecting meat so tender –
hides from me, though I am clever.
I sneak up upon terrified face,
devour the heart, leave no trace.
Racing adrenaline;
was it me or was it them?
Hunger cured, I take my leave.
Moon’s glow fading – end of eve.
Before long the sun will rise,
my body twists back to size.

∼ Lydia Prime

© Copyright Lydia Prime. All Rights Reserved.

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The Other Side of Bethlehem

Soft caressing satin sheets the finest weave
laid out awaiting our grey mistress
today the surroundings a lowly cave
but tomorrow she says ” it will be a palace”
for she is deserved of the world’s best

*

We shudder as she draws near
her greatness is in contrast to our lowliness
I behold her and see earth’s riches clear
etched in her skin, reflected off her eyes, in her touch
my mate is poised to rearrange all and such

*

Fearing that the perfumes and oils
do not emulate her beauteous perfection
we like dogs in our groveling toil
have no ability to bark
we whimper at her approach in the dark

*

She kicks my mate across the rocky ground
“FOOLS don’t you know what is occurring
can’t you hear the angels’ grating sound?”
we had been too busy to listen to music
so heavenly, it would make a person sick

*

My eye twinkled if just a speck
it was but for an instant
she laid her iron clad foot on my neck
“if you smile (even inside)
you’ll hear the crack of your demise”

*

I lay in submission complete
I was feigning it (a little)
heavy golden foot slight release
I relieved to set candlelight free
not too much, only enough to see

*

“The light I so detest
had to come inside to get away”
I shook my head in unknowingness
it’s night, the darkest part of the year
light can’t from darkness just appear

*

“I’m weary and must go to my chamber
You – lay offerings at the idols’ feet
I need peace from the racket – Out There”
see pointed with icy white fingers
little of life in her form still lingered

*

Her heart didn’t beat for it was stone
her evil was forged and elemental
“Give them extra measure, from your supplies atone”
I tried to shrug off the hunger, tho not slight
I extinguished the small amount of frigid light

*

Shivering my mate small and forlorn
we survived because we had each other
we, like two sides of a penny worn
I warmed her with my body, licked her face
unusual trembling, her heart seemed to race

*

Her head faced the night so clear
“Let’s go see”
she whispered silently in my ear
“Do we dare?” my collar seemed to tighten
“I must gaze on the place that it brightens”

*

She stood up courageously on two legs
the cave entrance bathed in golden light
I crawled behind her so afraid
echo of heavenly host in notes so high
we saw what should have been an ink dark sky

*

Silver musicians I couldn’t count
filled midnight expanse
beyond calculations, a large amount
“Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace
among those with whom He is well pleased”

*

The music echoed off the earth it seemed
and somehow I knew the star
its chorus about the universe beamed
“There…” my love pointed to a distant cave
“We cannot, we are but unworthy slaves”

*

“Who cares about that when there is this…”
she ran flinging her hands out like a bird (or an angel)
her radiance I longed to kiss
I stood bathed in the light
wishing to cling to my miserable plight

*

Afraid of the consequence
I pondered the words “Glory…”
heard screams from my mistress incensed
“I must have peace no matter the price
feed the idols more grain, the amount twice”

*

(it was my hands she forced to feed)
My mate was gone from sight
I heard her voice on a gentle breeze
it caressed my cheek
“Join us in the light,” I heard her speak

*

“I cannot my mistress will destroy me.”
“No, you will finally be free!”
The breeze turned into a stiff wind
I cowered and clung to the rock
I felt sharp tendrils bite into my skin

*

With authority a breath spoke, “be gone”
reaching, passing through my soul
it had wrapped itself about the idols
flung against rocks on the hill
my mistress flew in storm’s fiery will

*

Unclothed she looked weak, undone
bone stacked upon brittle bone
white rage sprang like an afterthought
she ran toward the dust
lifeless she sifted through the miry plot

*

Her mouth foamed with impotent waves
“we will forge anew”
her promise to save
“we will gather strength and overpower this…”
weak was her fury filled hiss

*

Caring little I slunk away
wishing I had run down the hill
like a curious lamb with my mate
instead I crawled and under my breath
“grant me a swift wintry death”

*

I heard the night sky
continue to sing
“I will find peace…” my mistress’ cry
with one final energized shout
clumps of dirt hanging from her mouth

*

She strove to ingest her god’s earthen morsel
“There is no peace for the wicked”
I heard a sylvan voice chortle
light like a broad sword struck the plot
she deserved what she got

*

my fingers clung to the foul ground
hoping by day, I would never be found.

 

~ Leslie Moon

© Copyright 2014 Leslie Moon. All Rights Reserved

Iniquity’s Marathon

Separate, the chasm widens
where you were
you are not now
and there is none left to save you
your guts are pierced
like a bloated sow

*

Once you walked
on wild flower fields
pink and reds
beckoned to your touch
beauty climbed upon a vine then
the world was kind
and often just

*

Now your fingers
reek of sulfur
your face removed
in acid wash
your foul lips
drip lies deceitful
wicked words are stolen, lost

*

Once you walked
on wild flower fields
pink and reds
beckoned to your touch
beauty climbed upon a vine then
the world was kind
and often just

*

Mischief is now your maker
poison your new best friend
the black adder is the taker
of lust you need not pretend
crush her eggs beneath your heel
the viper rises from its nest
each work day
violence is breeding
this is evil’s ample test

*

Once you walked
on wild flower fields
pink and reds
beckoned to your touch
beauty climbed upon a vine then
the world was kind
and often just

*

Big feet outpacing, running
drunken on destruction’s feast
sanguine drips from carnage found here
ample payment for the beast
straight ways now are crooked
it now parallels the mind
what you find
where they’ve been digging
you’d best hold back
and take some time

*

Once you walked
on wild flower fields
pink and reds
beckoned to your touch
beauty climbed upon a vine then
the world was kind
and often just

*

Tread we over light so boldly
dried the skulls
that once knew peace
behold the dark
he holds a headless
we all join in a corporate screech
groping along the wall so blindly
those who can no longer see
what we joined with half our hearts then
this is Hell’s new jubilee

*

Once we walked
on wild flower fields
pink and reds
beckoned to our touch
beauty climbed upon a vine then
the world was kind
and often just

~ Leslie Moon

© Copyright 2014 Leslie Moon. All Rights Reserved

Dissections 3

DISSECTIONS 3

wolf_rule_full_sat

Dried Glue

Your frown seems longer in the shadows
and your eyes flutter like the autumn leaves
that seek solace at my feet
between us the empty shell of something once we’d born
my fingers so clumsy
trying to glue it back.
Laughter fades in the rearview
a ghost of broken promise all that remains in the street
seemingly typical when you wish to be lost in a crowd
and closed signs stop you at doors.
It’s okay, we’ll talk, won’t we?
Of times when the air rushed through our hair
the open road a cherished child.
We played favorites, didn’t we?
Always the same marker until we reached a place our own
but today your eyes signal a storm on the horizon
and your lips flutter like the autumn leaves
that seek compassion at my feet.
We held that empty shell of something once, didn’t we?
My fingers ever so clumsy
trying to glue it back.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Loose Lips

I‘m appreciative of your compassion;
ice cube cold but not quite as clean as
the Scotch waiting before me

which, incidentally, will serve to warm my
belly just fine—thanks for nothing, though
that is hard for you to understand

a concept foreign to you. Not the understanding
part, mind you, but the simple thanks. Perhaps
you should resort to drinking the hard stuff.

It will make you say things I’m sure you would never mean.

wolf_rule_full_sat

To Take What You Don’t Want To Own

This box no longer yours
becomes a useful place
for all the things
that once remained of me
eviscerated
stripped clean to bone
once corporeal
now just memory
upon another’s exhale.
The compartments you govern
belong in potter’s field
frivolous as the things
that still burden you with need.
If only my soul a warehouse
you could store
all your needless needless boxes
and rid yourself of its waste.
If only I could free you
of your needless needless boxes
make them mine
this box no longer yours.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Vinyl

Still waiting on that sign
You got shit on instead
Still can’t ruin that sweet music in your head
No one told you, baby, that vinyl is long dead
You remain sheltered, surrounded by your flock
Ignoring this stray vulture dishing you advice
You never turn your back on me though
My deception the sugar you crave
Think you’re so squeaky clean
Darling, the shit dried on me long ago
And you’re not so used to that new smell
You…still waiting on your sign
What could be worse anyway?
Taint I peddle you
Or the lies in my veins?

wolf_rule_full_sat

Mouth

And your mouth
forever wordless
still rends a hole
I can drown in.

wolf_rule_full_sat

These Words

Like these words I write
I go unseen
Strained imploring from my lips equally ignored
You’ve flattened me
Compressed me enough to fit into your one-dimensional world
Not even worthy of your rose-colored glasses
The grey wash you’ve stained me slowly fading
A hurricane once could not stir me
Now the slightest breeze leads me astray
You still haven’t the sense to figure
The smile taped to my face this morning
Is the crumpled one from yesterday
Staring into this candle, I wish you knew
I dream of flickering. If only to flicker.
My flame long dead.

wolf_rule_full_sat

What I Should Not Know

First date
Don’t be so coy
You know you’ve been blowing him out in the parking lot
Leaving your half eaten panini beside me
Leaving me sick in the mouth
Remembering
How he stroked that fleshy thigh of yours
It’s none of my business, of course
But you’ve intruded all the same
With that yuppie glass of Pinot Grigio of yours
Beside my sterile snifter of Scotch
Tell me
Don’t be so shy
Did you let him cum in your mouth the first time out?
The residue of days old coleslaw beside me
Leaving me sick on the tongue
Stupid girl
He’ll only admire another next week
Muck like the half eaten panini beside me
You’ll grow cold and forgotten.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Just Not Here

On this darkened night I hold you
Arms empty. Your memory my solitary light
Wind raps at the pane, sneaks under door
The only thing ever to cross this threshold again
Sandwich on the counter grows old with mold
Milk sour. Spoiled.
None of it matters; this candle flickers
And ghosts, they creep along the floor
Sounding so much the way your footfalls once did
When you’d kiss my cheek standing in the hall.
I’d walk somewhere if it wasn’t raining so hard
These clothes already stuck to my skin
The weight of everything
The wait for anything…
I’ll sit here then
Because somewhere, you are there
Somewhere. Just not here.
On this darkened night I hold you
Somewhere. Just not here.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Gentleman Johnnie

Johnnie
You’re back in black
And isn’t it fitting that we sit here again
Conversation smooth as ever
A welcome reprieve.
The longer we sit
The more I’ll indulge
Ever stoic
You never judge
You never turn away
Listening
As I share silent heartbreak
Choices hindered
Dreams asunder.
But you won’t stray far
Will you, dear Johnnie?
For you bring calm to the storm
Still the fire in my veins
Until these burdens
Fade into blurry edges
The pain a bit dulled
A welcome reprieve.
Thank you, Johnnie
Together we are back in black
Selfless gentleman.

wolf_rule_full_sat

A Final Toast With Death

I await you
My bravado more resolute than ever
This snifter in my hand unwavering
These drops of Scotch delivered faithfully to my lips.
So come to me, Sir Reaper
You whose work never done
You’ve stolen a good man from this world
Left behind his only son.
I have no fear of you this day
Not while my veins run hot
Coward!
A good man seeks retribution
His weapon his only son.
I await you
Be a gentleman and share this final Scotch
Drink with me, Sir Reaper
I have work not nearly done.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Skin and Bones

And all this time I thought I’d hidden the cancer from my skin
Never realizing it had eaten me throughout
But you noticed I was much emptier than I’d ever been
And still you loved me in my metastasized state.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Clueless

The shepherd of the Damned
I’ll lead you astray
I’ll lead you to ruin
Be sure to praise me
Even as I taint you.
You have no direction
I’ll lead you astray
I’ll lead you to ruin
Be sure to curse me
Even as I raise you.
Without me you are free
Without me you are bound
An endless contradiction
A meaningless benediction
Admit it
You’ve never been so alive
With me pulling your strings
That subtle jerk of thread
That soft imploring in your ear.
The shepherd of the Lost
I’ll lead you astray
I’ll lead you to ruin.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Monstrosities

Come
don your spider silk trousseau, indulge me
a jig—
funeral hymn and devil’s perfume—
Blackened, our matrimony
Miasma, our vows
Ever faithful I’ll be to
rust-mouthed promises
while you cherish my slack penis
against your thigh.
In honey light our shadows creep
as we fuck in this church van
spawn a slit-eyed bastard
meant to rule gravy train slugs
Leave it steaming—
glistening under dashboard’s light—
saw-toothed smile crooked and pure
And murder cherubs with our rubber gloves on.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Warning

I wish I’d warn you that the Reaper rode in
but the cowl blew from my head
exposing more than just my intent
and all the evil things your momma warned you of
and all the things that scratched beneath your bed
were merely me on a better day
warning you that soon an ill wind shall blow
exposing all you hoped to hide from
exposing all you hid throughout.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Need

You believed me gone, did you not?
Gone
Relic; forlorn by Lords of Depravity
Keepsake plucked from dregs of gutter whores and
impoverished mimes
Gone
Raped; whisper of promise
Possession, tarnished and forgotten atop
your bureau
Fool—
I have bred within you all the while
Gratifying your need
sucking you dry
You sang of me maggot’s lament
begged of me torturer’s divine
So I tell you now
I am your Molester of Truths
I—
Your Addict of Lies

wolf_rule_full_sat

You

In a trick of light I found you
pouring venom from callous hands
ripping faith from gibbous moon
I loved you ever since.
Your cruel grace dampens
even the coldest of grey Januaries and
even as the sun goes to die
you speak to me the foulest nothings
whispered from your alligator snout.
You poured acid in my ears to
quell my methods of thinking when
you knew full well
I hardly think at all.
Oh, chant me a new birth song of
turpitude
Blasphemous act
I loved you ever since.

wolf_rule_full_sat

Pseudo Cerulean Queen

Pseudo Cerulean Queen, I can see the storm come loping across your eyes,
your darkness a dead giveaway that the only thing blue about you is your soul.
Drench me in sorrow;
open the deluge of your being.
I wish to reach out, cup your pain,
feel it dribble from between my fingers.
As the puddle at my feet grows,
I’ll watch your reflection shimmer,
the lightning above dividing us always.

~ Joseph A. Pinto

© Copyright 2012, 2013, 2014 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

Got Milk?

Pushed to the edge of despair

this rocky place offers no hope

fear lapping ankles around

against empty waters we grope

*

silent, though nothing is still

fear pounds loudly our hearts

no where have we left to hide

cold surrounds each, every part

*

though I stand here in a crowd

ice-cube tray we all huddle

so alone am I in this moment

shivering my blood froths til

it bubbles

*

the predator, dark he has come

my bones weaken and shudder

they know but their glance faints away

no consolation have we left to utter

*

past this place my eyes strain to gaze

beyond, bare feet rub raw

our ancestors’ bones all the same

torn clean, foul consuming claw

*

child’s distant cry distills thoughts

though sanguine I have become

what courage there once was

I offer myself that you might run

*

slowly the creature now circles

selection part of its way

it has broken much in its jaws

I offer to be its next prey

*

Large “It” opens like a cave

stalactite are its teeth that rake

dripping with frosty blood

putrid tunnel offers no escape

*

will memory mine be but a creature belch

bravery had run out its course

screaming meets my ears

 my own that have now been scorched

*

I am but an appetizer

“flee” last words from my lips

“before you become the main meal”

metered crunching I hear as it rips

*

how quiet are the skulls

resting as stones a score

laying once living and free

no more on this cavernous floor

~ Leslie Moon

© Copyright 2014 Leslie Moon. All Rights Reserved

Beneath the Tree

December

a month of hopefuls

 romance fragrant like a rose

dreams from the sky blow

lacy snowflakes danced

gracing eyelashes

kissed away

in a magical embrace

beneath the living Christmas Tree

*

The new year passes

“will you” and “I will”

sung in a wonderland of snow

gifts elegantly circled with red satin bows

 8 knives for carving

1 rope for climbing

bridal silk embellished with white seed pearls

promises of forever

beneath the flocked Christmas Tree

*

Time passes

trying to pull out good memories

“they must be there”

rummaging through the box of Christmas ribbon

I caress an eight inch lamp-post

to it we raised a toast

  once there glowed

 declaration of love

 beneath our barren Christmas tree

*

The seasons and the gifts got stranger

oddly shaped sweater

a perfect fit

for your octopus arms

wrapped around others

untying their bows

repackaged promises

the lamp shone green

beneath the scrawny Christmas tree

*

Each year’s end,  always hoping

 for the gold-edged red ribbon

magic sparked from its edges

hiding in fresh pine needles

 tied around a ring

that hung shiny and bright

for me

beneath the tinsel Christmas Tree

*

I looked for years

 the ribbon it seemed

confirmer of dreams

the magic it held

would imbibe our love

restart the music

light the lamp

beneath the leaning Christmas Tree

*

Eons has my search

 been in vain

the tree was old

 no glitter nor gold

my hands reached for the ribbon

teasing, it hung in brown branches

I grasped it

the lamp-post guided the way

beneath the dead Christmas Tree

*

Triumphant moment

willing the magic to work

pricking my finger on a needle

drawing rusty

rather than satiny red colored blood

drops fell

I saw knives, a rope

beneath the artificial Christmas Tree

*

The gold-edged ribbon

tightly unforgiven

about the neck of an eight inch doll

dressed in white silk

embellished with red seed pearls

that fell

an eery light flickered

beneath the strung up Christmas tree

*

The years of “wasted away”

I looked up eyes agape

death’s eyes dilate

no longer could they focus

 all there had ever been

strangulated

the light shone

on a lifeless form

beneath the fresh-cut Christmas Tree

*

This year a celebration

four boxes with satiny bows

covering brown stain

romantic starry-eyed blur

 arms encircled her

she picked up eight seed pearls

“red, oh how festive”

“Yes,” sinister was the light in his eyes

beneath the re-gifted Christmas Tree

~ Leslie Moon

© Copyright 2013 Leslie Moon. All Rights Reserved.

Reaping the Harvest

There was beauty here they’d say
the remains are black charred crows
because of that horrific day
nothing green dares to grow

*

corn stood tall and harvest ready
livestock munched on fresh-cut hay
our crops productive and steady
“each year better” the old folks’d say

*

 the earth moved alarming, concussed
no explanation for the disturbing din
rational farmers we never fussed
mouths and eyes wide agape, open

*

the air split with blood curdled screams
each second clicked death’s hand
no where to go, no place to flee
darkness moved over fertile land

*

pitch forks were all that we had
as blood flowed beneath our feet
we intended to make one last stand
“what Hell’s bane need we defeat?”

*

The threat rolled steadily forth
we bustled women, children and granny
futily we barred the door
hid love in nooks and crannies

*

Then something sucked out the air
we left with nothing to breathe
look at our foe we didn’t dare
our souls in mortified unbelief

*

coming, coming was all we knew
inexpressible feelings it caused
on knees “let this terror be through”
“Keep steady lad” I heard pa

*

Courage I gathered at the last
I stared down its fire filled eyes
bravely my legs would not let it pass
from its foul mouth flew about flies

*

It stripped me of my straw hat
mumbled words spoke in my head
“I’ll stop now I’m feeling quite fat
you’ll find hundreds are missing, more dead”

*

“Someone to clean up my mess
you boy are the one for the job
Go, you have passed today’s test”
bloody stench rose, his head bobbed

*

“I should be too,” I thought as I scoured
my world flipped inside, upside down
all that breathed had been devoured
friends colored prints in the ground

*

the green place that I’d known
had been watered red and died
nothing was left to atone
the sun on that day must have cried

*

There was beauty there they’d say
all I see are black charred rows
it was our harvest’s price dearly paid
nothing green dares to grow

~ Leslie Moon

© Copyright 2013 Leslie Moon. All Rights Reserved.

True Colours

True Colours

BIANCO —

To use a cliché or maybe four,
I am full of them you will see for sure.

As a true master of disguise,
It’s within the shadows I spin lies.

As has been and so shall be,
I always stand right here with thee.

As you walk I’m beside you now,
As the sweat runs down your brow.

It is my breath that warms your neck,
While in the mirror you do check.

All the lines down your face that stretch,
Across your flesh that once was fresh.

I’m the eternal conquistador,
As is now and forevermore.

It’s with me you begin the fight,
Your body tries with all its might.

So the battle for you begins,
As I struggle for your sins.

ROJO —

And upon this stallion’s rigid back,
There is stealth in my attack.

It’s the war you attempt to wage,
Your soul locked in its fleshly cage.

But there is no way for you to fight,
And of that you know I am right.

You succumb to my every pain,
As I ravage body and brain.

And with the first stage now being won,
Soon the second shall be done.

And then the third it will commence,
With only the slightest of your defense.

NOIR —

As my misery closes in,
It is your bowels that begin to spin.

Because within your guts I dwell,
Home to this dark carousel.

With rot and ruin they decay,
As they eat themselves away.

Without a thing left to digest,
Comes a weakening in your chest.

As hunger flees your deadened throat,
Your organs they do twist and bloat.

With no longer a want for food,
The next stage has thus ensued.

GRAU —

And thus the time is now at hand,
For the warriors to disband.

As filth runs thickly from your bowels,
To the chorus of our beastly howls.

Your soiled life stains virgin sheets,
As the refuse of your God retreats.

There is only but decay,
As your flesh cage rots away.

And somewhere in the distant sky,
Through darkness angels they do cry.

But in the land below our feet,
The demons grin and gnash and bleat.

As they plan their greatest feast,
Wherein they swallow your sweetmeats.

EPILOGUS —

And now your world has met its end,
While you believe it is godsend.

But you question at what cost,
Humanity has again lost.

And so from the dirt it now begins,
The struggle between the heinous twins.

To one above and one below,
You are only a mere tableau.

In this never-ending play,
To make the horses stay away.

~Daemonwulf

© Copyright 2013 DaemonwulfTM. All Rights Reserved.

My Damned Pen

The black penumbra grows

rising, rising, rising

greying forms its shadow

pages turn unclear

misled me from the light

penetrating screams are near

begs a blood curdling plea

from where I do not know

“before I’m bound, free me”

***

Pensive were my thoughts

trudging, trudging, trudging

to the mire my shoes brought

it’s written “I was here”

the scribe of evil’s night

rending through night’s fear

I am searching for  her life

was she calling out my doom?

innocent, I am now in doubt

blood merged before this moon

***

Pensive are the times

extra, extra, extra

read me between the lines

misled by moon’s eclipse

body slumps, I cannot stand

listless I wait for someone

her pendant in vacant hand

I’m judged and by dawn hung

seemingly torn and  cursed

the last chimes have been rung

***

Pendulum cold doth sway

left ,right ,right, left

endless sound so fey

will it never stop

no end to futile strife

tickings  mark life’s blot

pending seconds of my life

swing to rope’s end

a hanging part of speech

death’s  letter’s do portend

***

Penitent begs to live

“father, father, father

my transgressions please forgive”

echoes in my pent up mind

reams cast a shudder

save this memory and bind

“unjust” will this history suffer

last thing that I heard

a gasp , then

steel sharp against the word

***

Pen away my life

scribble, scribble, scribble

black against parched white

penult is lead etched

no sensible jot or tiddle

telling of  penury’s wretch

timeless life once seemed

inking just a fool’s dream

hark, someone else’s screams

~ Leslie Moon

© Copyright 2013 Leslie Moon. All Rights Reserved.

Lady Crocodile

‘Your Winnie,’ she mutters, pressing harder with the face wipe. ‘Your dragon, your beautiful dragon girl…’

Sitting before the mirror at her dressing table, she doesn’t recognise the woman staring back at her. There is familiarity in the face, as there is familiarity to be found in anything if a person is subjected to it often enough, but that is all. Still, she keeps looking. She must look, every night, before Seth turns in for bed, desperately studying the features that emerge from beneath her makeup. The ritual of recognition is on-going.

The bedroom is dark, save for the light from the first-floor landing, which spills through the open doorway. It is easier when the bedroom is dark, as though that makes it all right; as though it is acceptable that she cannot properly see herself when she can barely see anything else. Canned laughter carries through the house, and the sound of audience applause, as Seth’s own evening ritual comes to its close. Soon he will ascend through the house, as if chasing the vestigial laughs, the sound of company, until they lead him into the bedroom and are silent.

The evening had begun like any other. Dinner was ready for when Seth returned home from work. She had cooked lamb, rubbed with rosemary and a selection of other herbs. She ate silently while he told her about his day. She nodded when encouraged, smiled when he smiled, laughed at his jokes.

He told her the lamb was nice, that his ‘dragon’s done herself proud with this one.’ They drank wine; his white, hers red. He said the white went with the vegetables. Her palate favoured the red; rich, velveteen flavours in her mouth, against her tongue. She agreed with him regardless.

Seth loves it when she agrees with him. He says it shows their unity, that they are two made into one. ‘In sickness and in health. Till death do we part. My Winnie, my fierce, beautiful dragon girl.’

She turns her attention to her lips next. Pulling a clean tissue free from the box to her right, she dabs it to her mouth, as though kissing it gently good night. Her lips have not kissed anything gently for a long time now. Seth does not like his love gentle, and on the occasions he does press his mouth against hers, it cannot be called a kiss. Once, before all this, he might have kissed her in the proper sense. There had been tenderness then; enough to tempt her from her family home into his arms.

She presses harder, then begins rubbing, until all of the lipstick is gone. Underneath, her lips are thin, and slightly raw. The tissue comes away red and streaky in her hand.

When they had both finished eating dinner, the dragon washed up while her white knight took the wine into the front room. Heat seared her hands as they dipped in and out of the sink. Drowsy with wine and the silky, sudsy water on her skin, she thought things that she had not dared to think before. ‘What ifs’ uncoiled themselves in her mind; fiery thoughts roused and riled.

Staring into her bright, shining eyes in the dressing table mirror, she remembers every slight, every wound, every wicked word intended to belittle her. This is not love, she thinks. She dares to think it again, giving voice to the doubts that have for a long time now been hatching in her head. This is not love. It was never love. She is no better off than when she left home; lost and lonely and unloved by a world that does not know the meaning of the word.

She remembers the feel of his hand against her face, the sound it makes; a ringing slap that sinks beneath the skin and seems to burn. His dragon, scorched!

She thinks of all these things, as she had thought of them at the kitchen sink, her eyes fixed firmly on the wedding ring by the taps. Her hands had moved automatically through the water, her mind caught up in a twister of realisation. So much pain, she thought, so much upset for so little; a small piece of jewellery and their names on a certificate. God, she was sure, played no part in this; an ancient force dead to the modern world. But there were yet more ancient forces, not dead but sleeping, and they stirred now, suffused with heat and hunger –

Tears cling to her long, black lashes, before breaking free and running down her face. Most of her make-up is removed now but she does not stop wiping. She covers all her face from her forehead to her neck, and with every wipe she feels more familiar, less false to her own eyes. And what eyes, she thinks, reaching to rip off her fake lashes. The lids come too, peeled clean above her sockets, revealing mad, majestic orbs underneath.

Silence falls suddenly over the house. As her opened eyes regard themselves in the mirror, she hears Seth at the bottom of the stairs. He comes perhaps to slay her with his lance, to penetrate the folds of her flesh, to pierce her in her most vulnerable place until she is stilled beneath him, and he spent.

She wipes harder, with less care, and it seems to her that every movement sloughs skin from her face. Her flesh smears like concealer, revealing new skin underneath. The tissues tire quickly, turning red and rancid in her hand. Their remains litter the dressing table, and in the mirror, her new face; sharp and scaled. His dragon girl, a woman!

He reaches the top of the stairs, and she senses him on the landing. Then she sees him in the mirror, a silhouette in the doorway. His body blocks the light.

‘You’re cold again.’

‘I’m fine,’ she says, still staring in the mirror.

‘Come off it, I can see you shivering from here.’ Seth moves into the bedroom, his silhouette reappearing by the window. The cross-framed sheet of glass stands open; the bedroom exposed to the black sky, the silver stars swallowed by that blackness so that they barely seem to shine at all. ‘What have I said about leaving this open at night?’

He is still talking but she does not hear. Time seems to stop as she considers him; not Seth but a silhouette, featureless and without meaning. He is nothing. It is nothing. She feels herself shaking as she considers what she has given to him. Every smack scalds her skin, embarrassment sears her cheeks, abuse burning between her thighs until she can barely contain the heat inside her. Her mouth stretches into a silent scream, jaws wide, like the dragons of old. Lipstick and lashes, for lamb!

‘– to make an effort. You know I love you, Winnie? Your knight in shining –’

She rushes at him through the darkness. They stumble into the en-suite, half in and out of the bedroom. His head hits the smooth white of the wash basin and he lies still beneath her. Heat spills from her mouth in hurried words.

‘Lamb,’ she breathes hotly, ‘lipstick and lashes, for lamb!’

His eyes flutter, head lolling on the linoleum, and she wonders if he can see her, if he recognises that she has changed now. Her breath rattles in her throat; a beautiful, crocodilian croak, which seems to say I am a woman and you have wronged me. Then her mouth closes around his face, jaw loose, like that of a great snake. Her teeth sink into his skin and he burns beneath her, this modern knight, this meat, this man.

~ Thomas Brown

© Copyright 2013 Thomas Brown. All Rights Reserved.