Dancing With Glee Under a Hellish Sky


            He always demanded the eye but did so in a manner dressed like a polite—but never desperate—request. Though, he never spoke of his appearance. He never discussed the glitter of his shoulder-blade-length hair—gorgeously abyssal in its blackness. He never talked about how he liked or disliked the shade of those forest green irises, slickly applied to the whites of his eyes. And never did he discuss such a chiseled physique, etched from the slender frame akin to a man derived from some sprawling billboard.

            And as he sat behind the wheel, two fingers seemingly rested atop it, that other hand clutched her thigh in the passenger’s seat. Donning a trio of glistening, silver rings, his fingers found her flesh with the belongingness of a glove. His presence continuously swept over the car as they descended the highway. This presence wasn’t merely the fact of him being there. It was the sense that he controlled that clear sky above, encyclopedia of birds in the forests and steady pace of the wind.

            But there was no refuting his control over her.

            She was going nowhere. Gloriously and voluntarily trapped in his prism. She stared. Tried not to do so for too long. But what a task this was alone.

            When they arrived at their destination—his destination, his spot—the pair of them rose out of the car as the engine fell asleep. He raised his arms and stretched his somewhat exposed torso; the sun’s breath revealed its definition with a soft glow and even softer shadow. He led her silently down the gravel path, through the tall grass, and into the ever-thickening forest.

            Their collective breath was orangey mist, billowing in the air before evaporating into nothing. Footsteps gnawed. Words nonexistent; that was until she finally spoke.

            “Are you nervous?” she asked.

            “No, my darling. Nervousness equates to caring. And I could never care about something like this.”

            Throughout the entirety of their sojourn, she couldn’t tell of the path’s slight incline. It was only when they traversed the autumn trees that their altitude was unveiled. Beyond their eyes and at the foot of a steep, titanic cliff stretched only more of the hallowed season. The tones of orange and crimson and yellow glittered like acrylic streaks on a canvas. Fog commenced its advent, teasing the night as a labyrinth to come.

            He seemed to be the conductor of it all.

            They stood beneath a bare, twirling, spectral willow and peered into that valley. The cliff’s edge was feet away.

            “You brought it with you?” he asked.

            “That was the point of this trip, wasn’t it?”

            “No. Only this segment of our trip.” He took a deep inhale—smooth as silk. “Everything else we did today was in the name of us. The purist parts of ourselves.”

            “I forgot to thank you,” she said, “for today.”


            The following silence was not a silence at all. It was merely a pause in their words, and in that pause were the sounds surrounding them. The gentle symphony of the birds. The caressing whisper of the wind. The scuttle of dead leaves on dying grass.

            “When it sets?” she asked.

            “As soon as the sun hides behind that hill.” He didn’t point, but she knew which one he meant. “And you promise,” he continued, “that you will take care of yourself after?”

            “It’s the only way. Right?”

            He didn’t nod. He only closed his eyes. “Yes.”

            Both he and she looked out into the distance. They observed dusk’s arrival and vehemently watched its course unfurl like a ribbon upon that valley below. Their eyes—his that shade of green and hers a hue of blue—tracked the sun’s inevitable descent upon that looming hillside. And the sky dimmed.

            It lit a raging fire.

            A raging fire on their chaos.

            With the click of the hammer and reach of the barrel, her gunshot sent him over the edge. There was nothing stopping her from going right along with him—into the valley below.