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Victory by HarrietHopkirk
Format: Short story
Chapter 3: I love you.
You can feel my mark burn into you and you can feel my heat spread across your skin. The sweeping, gentle touch of the wind and the biting of the sea spray touch and caress you, but all you can feel is the memory of me. From across the miles, from across the oceans and from across the never-ending expanse of your extremes, you see the moon drift out of the clouds. You think of me.
You wonder where I am.
The thought of me sends you back to your dark corner, and it sends shivers down your fragile, breakable spine.
I remember you, sitting outside in the sunlight. You managed to eclipse the great ball of fire and gas that fuels our galaxy. You fuelled my life. I wondered how you were so cold when you always insisted on being outside in the warm.
A cigarette was stuck between your lips, the orange light blazing and the smoke curling around your features. It is bad for you, just as you are bad for me.
“You’re beautiful,” you said, and I was stunned by the compliment. So stunned that I leaned over and kissed your toxic lips.
The rain falls. Lightning streaks across the sky just as I streak across the ground towards you.
I call out to the darkness. It is a low, mournful sound, but I am not crying.
I am closer now, so close I can almost smell you. I can almost smell him too, another rotting corpse discarded at your feet. It is a shame that you killed him first. I would have liked to get my own hands on him.
The darkness is my friend. It comforts me, guides me. And me, as a creature of the night, of the moon, I was drawn to you. And then you crushed me, and blinded me, until it was impossible to walk or do the things you asked of me, and you grew tired of my inabilities and flitted away. The sun set, and I was left to wither.
The sea is crashing against the cliffs and the sound of the waves is whirling around my ears. Your hair is a mess, getting in your eyes and your mouth but you don’t care. You are walking dangerously close to the edge. Your feet touch the white of the chalk, and I think that you must feel at home.
This, of course, was your idea. The sea is rough and dangerous. The rain is pounding on the ground and on our skin, and the cold is searing through my body. Of course it doesn’t affect you.
You give me light to do the things I would never have tried. You make me do things you want. I am blinded by your freedom, your frivolity and your apparent carelessness with life. I watch you from a safe distance; watch the way you move, the way you dance.
When you stop - right at the very precipice of the cliff, of life - the wind suddenly stills. Your hair stops blowing, and the look on your face is so calm and serene that I am jealous. I stand behind you. Ready to catch you if you fall.
I see your eyes follow the movement of the water below, watch it as it crashes against the rocks. White spray flies everywhere and the smell of the sea is ripe upon the air.
I taste salt upon the winds. I sense you.
“I am beautiful,” you say.
You nod in my direction, whether in thanks or in agreement I don’t know. I never really know what to do when you begin to talk about yourself in this way.
“People want to look like me,” you continue, and you pull your fingers through your hair, “people try to look like me.”
I want to go towards you, but you look so free, so alone, so independent that I am worried I will damage this vision of yourself.
“Many will succeed.”
I don’t know what you are talking about. I don’t understand you.
“Soon everyone will be beautiful.”
I want to leave. I can feel myself shaking.
“Then where will I be? I won’t be needed. I won’t be wanted. No one will care. No one will love me.”
“I love you.”
You finally look at me, and you step back from the cliff edge. You keep your gaze locked with mine as you move. You take my hands in yours and it surprises me so much I gasp at the contact. I can feel your iciness through the wool of my gloves.
“You don’t count,” you reply.
“You were born to love me, just as I was born to be a companion to you. You were alone, and I was created so you could share your life with someone. So I could share my life with you.”
I hate it when you talk like this. You are so completely superior that I feel small.
You leave me, and walk back to the cliff edge. You walk so quickly and stop so suddenly that I think you are going to throw yourself off. I take a step towards you.
“Share death with me,” you say.
I think you are saying something else, because at that moment the wind roars so loudly that I become unbalanced and I cannot hear your words. You remain stock still, of course, still graceful and elegant and wonderful in this weather. It, of course, is the weather that suits you. The cold brings you in a dark coat. It brings you in red lipstick. It brings you to me.
“What if I take one step? What if I cross the line?”
I am suddenly so frightened that you will go through with it that I go to stand beside you. Rocks at the edge crumble away under my feet, crashing into the water below, where they will be churned and cut by the power of the waves.
You put your arms out. Your white fingers are stretching towards the ends of the world. You are beautiful.
“I am an angel,” you say, “I should be up there with them. There is nothing to keep me down here.”
You’re insane. Suddenly I imagine you with a halo and great feathery wings and I feel like laughing. I have always pictured you as the devil. Angels don’t have lips of blood.
“I will keep you here.”
You look at me again.
“I will keep you with me.”
You put your arms down and step closer to me.
You fling yourself into my arms so violently that I think I will fall, and that the two of us will tumble over the cliff and onto the rocks. For a second - before you press your lips to mine - I think I can hear the sound of bones breaking. But I catch you and you fall into the safety of my arms and I hold onto you so tightly that I think I might never let you go.
And I won’t.