“You’d want to keep me. I’d want to be kept. What a disaster that would be.”
It felt like a devastating blow to her ego that she might want to belong to someone, with someone. She had maintained her autonomy for such a long time, and relished her independence.
“I like the idea of it, but I don’t consider the likelihood of such a thing having any kind of duration. I sometimes fantasize about someone being in charge, but ultimately I’m a bit of a control freak.”
“Well, you’ll need to let that go. Control is an illusion. Ultimately, we are leaves on the wind.”
“Watch how we soar.” She breathed the words through a smile more than spoke them, though he heard her.
“Is that part of a poem?”
She turned to him, incredulous.
“I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar? You seriously have no idea what I’m referring to right now?”
“No. Should I?”
“I aim to misbehave?”
“Ooh, now that sounds fun.”
She bit her lip and turned away. This wasn’t going to work after all.
You're sure roses are red?
That's just one point of view
Because what I see as ruby
Looks emerald to you
What you might call green
In it's variable hues
All looks the same
Until it strays toward blues
To cries of 'misrepresentation!
Flowers labelled askew!'
Well, to me there's no difference
Between violet and blue.
I've learned to adapt
I do fine, I make do
But I don't believe all that I see
To be true.
Killing is more of a hobby than a career, but that doesn't mean I don't work hard at it.
Fangirl - a drabble
She hummed as she stitched, the delicate thread whispering through the thick material with only the slightest of resistance. Tuneless and meandering, it had become a mantra, to keep her focused. Where she had started, the letters were large and messy, before space consideration and the proliferation of his content necessitated she become adept at her practice.
yes I am
your biggest fan
Indeed I am...”
When finished, he would appreciate the masterpiece he’d helped create.
Glancing at the screen, she copied the next line of prose meticulously onto her thigh, then devotedly pushed the needle into soft flesh.
What’s to come - a drabble
Everyday, I dress for you.
When I pull these panties up my legs, carefully chosen to elicit reaction, I’m already thinking of them sliding back down.
Imagining your fingers tensing, relaxing, torn between the giggle gasp satisfaction of a violent rending and the sultry contralto sigh that accompanies a journey prolonged, the mere act of fabric moving across flesh inciting a riot within the blood. Standing still, while you advance my pleasure through the obvious claiming of your own.
With a sigh, I zip and button my pants, anticipating a future perfect that contains zippers, panties and you, going down.
The grandest surprise was that she could still be surprised.. a drabble
“It’s hard for me to look at you directly, because I find myself in this perpetual state of wanting to kiss you when I do. Wanting the feel of your hands pulling me near, closer than seems possible, and yet there we are, defying physics and reason with something that resembles need and yet isn’t necessary. We’re here because we want to be, we’re close because we crave it, not because it is desperate or panicked.”
There was calm there, and that was more intoxicating than she ever considered possible. She didn’t need him, but she enjoyed him so much.
Clothes make the man... a drabble
I want you when I’m naked.
But the moments I desire you most are when I’m clothed, barricaded against the fingers that grasp and hold. Your whispers that seek to unmake me from the inside out, without even the slightest touch. A hand, pushed between waist and waistband, breath sucked in to create space for the invasion. The feel of my hastily unbuckled belt, hips twisting to allow access, close quartered caresses that suggest possession. These are the moments that mean most. You make me wanton, unrepentant, a sexual creature comprised of arched back, tensed thigh and audible gasps aplenty.
I don’t think there was a single moment one could pinpoint as to when I stopped caring. It was a slow erosion, the idealism of youthful independence giving way to a realization that it weren’t no different with Madame Lalonde than it had been with my daddy. Except my clothes were a lot fancier, hand me downs from nameless girls I was too scared to ask about, wonderin’ who would go off and leave such pretty things behind. I used to pretend they had saved up enough and moved on, the way I would someday.
Madame told me, with that sweet note in her voice she used on the customers she was serving watered down whiskey to, that she was putting all my money away for me, and one day when I had enough, I could buy a train ticket east and go find my mama’s family, see if they’d take me in.
If I had to tell it straight, I would admit that I was probably treated better at Madame Lalonde’s. After all, daddy never had any doctor take a look at me once a month to make sure none of those men had tore me up too bad. All in all, it wasn’t a bad life, even if the parson crossed himself when he saw us leaning on the railing of the upstairs porch. Some of the girls teased him, showing him their lady parts, but my mama taught me to read from the bible before she went off and died. I tried to share with them, especially the part from Ephesians about ’let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving,' but they only laughed harder and called me a sweet and silly girl. I know what we were doin’ weren’t right in the eyes of God, but that didn’t mean we had to be unconscionable sinners.
I consoled myself with the knowledge that sweet baby jesus was kind to whores and let them wash his feet with their hair. Not that I had enough hair to wash anyone’s feet with, Madame made us keep it short, for fear that we’d attract louses from some of those dirty prospectors we entertained. That’s what she calls what we do, entertaining. Some of the other girls have different names for it, but they’re all what Pastor Ridgeley calls euphemisms. I think that means a lie, because of how he says that word.
He used to preach to me, back when I first showed up in town, on a wagon with that nice Mr. Armistead, who brought me to Madame after daddy was killed by claim jumpers. He was very kind and whispered to Mrs. Armistead that they should take me in, that I didn’t have no family here and that I was a victim of circum-ferences beyond my control, what with my daddy trading on my pretty face, bein’ that he was a no good snake and a terrible father. Maybe he was and maybe he wasn’t, but Mrs. Armistead didn’t want another mouth to feed, and she had given me up as a fallen woman. That preacher still had hope that I could be saved, even if Mrs. Armistead didn’t. But eventually he gave up too, seeing the set of my jaw harden over time and the shadows gathering in my eyes.
No, I couldn’t tell you when I stopped caring, but I remember exactly the moment I discovered I could still be surprised.
It was the 18th day in May, 1863. I know because I had been practicing reading with the newspaper as Madame thought it was helpful to have a girl who could read and converse about the current events of the day. It gave her house an edge over La Belle Riviere down the street. In more generous moments, she talked about bringing in a tutor to help the rest of the girls learn how to read and write, but then pointed out, “they’re not paying you to use your mouths for talking!” with a coarse laugh that made the smoke from her ever present cheroot tangle in the feathers that dipped over her forehead.
I sat on the threadbare sofa, like every other night, a tawdry display of violet, black lace and taffeta with the shine worn away. Madame said I looked best in violet, it set off my dark hair and made my blue eyes sparkle like stars.
It used to be glamourous, to sit half-reclined on what might have once been a dusty rose coloured velvet sofa lounge, waiting for someone to sweep through the door and lock eyes with my innocence. “What’s left of it!” Prissy used to tease before Lina or one of the kinder girls swatted her on the behind and told her to leave me be. Madame told me that my piety worked in my favour, keeping the light in my eyes from dimming. I figured that was those drops of belladonna she made us all use.
She said it was something that Italian countesses did, to make themselves look as innocent as a baby kittens. I must admit, I sometimes liked the fuzzy vision it gave me. Sometimes I could squint and pretend that the man I was leadin’ upstairs was a real genteel sort, rather than a dirty miner who’d got lucky. Though I didn’t figure on a real gentleman smelling like hard scrabbled dirt layered on top of desperate hope and sour mash rotgut.
I’d been sitting and waiting, trying to look innocent and frail, as Madame said men liked women who made them feel strong and needed protecting, when a soldier walked in.
He was wearing the blue, which I knew would make Madame happy. She was a staunch supporter of the northern side, though she never spoke of her allegiance in mixed company. She said a lady did better by being agreeable to whatever opinion her paramour might state, even if that opinion was a disagreeable one.
I had just been reading about the next state over, Nevada, having recently raised a battalion of calvary to aid the union, and wondered if I would have a chance to speak of such things with him. My eyes lit up when he glanced at me, there was something in his eyes I couldn’t read and he made a beeline toward me, before Madame intercepted gracefully. They did some negotiations quietly, him glancin’ over frequently as though worried I was going to slip away. I don’t know where I could have gone in any kind of hurry, being so busy trying to look demure yet seductive. Some of the girls were real practiced at it, but I always felt kind of awkward.
Madame gestured to Francis, the boy she kept on for menial labour and I almost clapped my hands with joy. If Francis was being summoned, that meant he’d asked for a bath!
He stepped to the small bar in the room to his left, opting to take a drink while the bath was being filled. I moved to join him and Madame caught my arm.
“The gentleman has a *special* request.” She emphasized special in such a way that suggested I might want to rethink my enthusiasm for the handsome young soldier. I drooped inwardly, allowing the emotion to touch my eyes only briefly, though Madame noticed.
“It’s nothing terrible. Not like Lacey and her Mr. Hughes.” I shuddered to think of the incident last March and Madame shook her head at the horror in my eyes. “Nothing like that, ma petite. No, our young soldier would like you scrubbed clean of makeup and wearing a night gown. I know, it’s odd, but he’s paying.” I nodded my understanding and turned away. He didn’t want to have drinks with a woman of easy virtue, he wanted the illusion of innocence as intact as possible. I walked up the stairs and turned right, there was only one room that had a bathtub. It was the fanciest in the house. Normally everyone bathed in the wooden tubs on the main floor, next to the kitchen, but on our birthdays, Madame let us have one decadent hour in the ivory coloured enamel. I didn’t remember when my birthday was, but Madame had decided my eyes were as blue as September sapphires and so I must have been born then.
She used to press me, surely my mama had said something about the special day I was born, but I didn’t have any memory of much before that year she decided I was to learn how to read, because knowing the words of the lord might keep me safe from the evil that exists in the world.
I guess she didn’t know about the evil that was residing in her husband’s heart because he didn’t have much use for my reading after she died. I didn’t consider it so strange that I had no nice memories of being a little one, no birthdays and the like.
Sometimes, when I thought really hard, there was the memory of a sound, a strange whistle or shriek that made my skin crawl so I tried not to think about it too much. Instead I smiled at myself in the mirror, looking at the pink cheeks scrubbed clean of rouge, my naturally almond shaped eyes bereft of the burnt cork I used to outline them. Hair brushed to a sheen and covered from chin to ankle in a soft cotton nightdress, I gawped at myself, for I looked the part of the innocent virgin pretty convincingly.
I sat on the edge of the brass bed, my fingers idly finding the pattern in the white coverlet atop it and waited, though I didn’t expect he would delay overlong. Men never did when it came to gettin’ their needs sought to.
Sure enough, pretty quick the door opened and he stepped through, glancing about the room before his eyes settled on me. The expression on his face was...sad? I couldn’t figure what he was thinking, so I waited in silence, like Madame had taught me. If he was one of those who liked to unburden himself before he unburdened himself, I just had to be patient.
He paced a moment, like he was gathering his thoughts and went to the table where there was a bottle. Sometimes they poured themselves a glass and sometimes they poured me one too. I didn’t like it much, the way it burned, but it did make everything fuzzy when I squinted, just like the belladonna.
He opened the bottle and then stopped, came over and sat next to me on the bed. I kept my eyes down, thinking he’d tell me where he wanted me to look. He cleared his throat, once, then once again and stood up quickly. He walked back to the table and, after pouring a drink, threw it back and cleared his throat once more.
“What is your name?” he asked me, something tangled in his voice. I looked up at him and he was staring intently at me.
“I am called La Petite.” He shook his head.
“No, not the name that woman downstairs gave you. What is the name your mother gave you?” I was confused, no one ever wanted to know my name. Sometimes men had a preference, something they wanted to call me because I reminded them of someone, but no one ever asked what my name had been before I came here. I thought back to the time before. Daddy always just called me girl. But mama, she called me...
“You can’t remember, can you?” He was there, on his knees beside the bed, as though he was about to pray, my hands in his. “You can’t remember because they never called you anything. Because they weren’t your parents. They lied to you, they used you. I’m so sorry it took me so long to find you but I have. And I’ve come to take you home.”
I never thought anything could make me feel as dizzy as the liquor did, but the room started spinning and my head started to hurt. The memory of that shrieking sound getting louder and louder until I couldn’t hear him anymore, his lips moving in a pale face with eyes as blue as september sapphires. And then darkness reached for me, and I fell gratefully into its quiet.
Stay open - a drabble
A long leg sun stretch left him momentarily blinded by her high waist shirt ride arms akimbo and somehow tangled in her own hair, which seemed to perpetually threaten to mess itself up if he wouldn't.
So he did.
And lay there while she drifted, twisting those titian tresses between fingers that he considered hard and rough, yet somehow made her soft skin sigh with delight. The sun teased with a trajectory that should have inspired him to do all the things that daylight demanded of him, but the way her legs wrapped his suggested he stay.
So he did.
Rubatosis - The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat
I woke up hungry and I called for you,
But there was no answer because you were gone.
I lay there and I tried not to think
tried not to focus
on the empty space inside me where you used to be.
I rolled over and I closed my eyes tight,
Whispered ’no, I’m not crying
These tears are a parting gift,
compensation for the prizes I didn’t win,
but thanks for coming out and being on the show.’
I wrapped my arms around myself,
I tried not to pretend they were yours,
But just between you and me...
Wait, the only thing between you and me
is the heavyweight quiet of a house where you don’t live anymore.
I didn’t realize how much room you took up
Until you took all that life with you.
What you left behind? It isn’t death
Death is not empty.
But at this moment,
It broke my heart that you didn’t say goodbye.
Just pushed me away in increments,
the silence pressing against my skin,
A surface tension stretched tight with unmet need.
I saw the fire dying, though I was still feeding it,
and you didn’t have the strength to tell me it had already gone out.
You didn’t want to be the one to hurt me
But that grim line that used to be a smile ripped me in two.
I think this is how a hedgehog must feel
on those days when it forgets
Which way to curl
And all the prickles stab from the inside out.
But hiding only works for so long.
Even with breath held and mind quiet
The dull thump in the centre of my chest
Pushes back against the sticky temptation of inertia
and 1 more time..
A consistent beat that finds its way
A slow motion woodpecker rat-a-tat
Poking holes in my theory that I can’t go on