I used to imagine us walking through cities late at night, hands clasped and hair flying in the wind. I don’t know why; I’m not a city girl. I don’t even like them, really. They’re bright and noisy and full of people, and they assault all your senses at once. But cities at night have this foreign, almost alien beauty I’ve always found alluring. Cities at midnight, or maybe four AM, they’re transformed into a living darkness dressed in bright jewels of light. They’re free of the daily cacophony of work and play, leaving every sound amplified in the silent darkness; the scuff of a shoe, the flick of a lighter, the whispers shared between two bent heads. Cities at night, they feel anonymous and magical, like anything is possible. We could have been transported anywhere – Bordertown, Riverside, London Below… even the city where two men meet their entwined fate over and over again. I guess that’s why I imagined us running through dark, slumbering cities and leaning over rooftops to gaze down at the glittering landscape below. You felt ethereal, mysterious, impossible and unbelievable, and you needed a setting to match.
You’re haunting my dreams – why? Punishing lover, unattainable father, breaker of teacups and chooser of cliffs, why do you seek me? I’m not sure if you’re a snake or a hunting cat; I’m not sure if you have something to tell me or if your presence alone is the message. If so, who sent you? What am I supposed to glean from dreams of love and loss and jealousy all mixed together and tidal strong? You could be either of Them, your love burning hot as the sun and mind calculating cold as the moon – or perhaps both in one tailored human skin. Is that it, then? Have They chosen you as messenger and metaphor? Do They enjoy the parallels between Their story and yours? Speak to me, monster, messenger. I do not fear you. I know you as I know Them, and I am not afraid to drop the teacup and see if it will put itself back together.
It’s hard to get your snarl off my lips. Hello, mad king. Hello, dark angel. Hello, son of Magdalene. Hello, you who are the seventy-ninth card, the Deceiver dressed in red. Are you what awaits me in this deck of keyholes and veiled eyes? Are you the one who demands offering and obeisance, humility and fear? Don’t think I have forgotten. If we are going to do this, we are going to do this right.
united in blood, torn by love, demanding sacrifice, i don’t know what the fuck you want from me, what i should write, what i can offer you because you want an offering, oh yes, but you won’t say what, you never just say what you want, you’d rather I piece together the little shards you leave behind, no breadcrumb trail for you, just something sharp and glinting hidden in the grass, pierce my flesh until i’m limping, until i’m aching, you want blood and love and tragedy so here, take this, take Carmilla’s broken heart, take the bone-deep betrayal that cuts like rose thorns, take star-crossed lovers bright as dying stars, or here, take this, take the long plunge from cliff to cold water, take Will’s submission to love’s gravity, until death do us part, but death’s just the beginning and you know that, they know that, i know that so maybe that’s why what you want is blood, blood, blood, so take this howling, grieving monologue, take this final embrace, yes, i do think death can be beautiful and yes, i do think i know what you want but not yet what you need, what crime, what sacrifice love will have, you must know you’re driving me mad with this restlessness, the longing like a fish hook in my sternum pulling, pulling, at a word or a song or someone a little like you, broken like you, dangerous like you, is that what you’re looking for, just someone else because oh gods, oh my lonely wicked gods i would give you that if i could, there are others in other worlds who would understand but i don’t know if i can be a bridge to them, i don’t know how to give you their misery as proof of your own validity, and it’s true I felt you in that moment, felt myself slip to the periphery so you could glance out my eyes, sneer disdain at a disappointing body and a disappointing world but what did you expect, i’m not the cathedral, i’m not the gateway, i’m just the scribe who can step aside and let you hear a song, let you watch something where others like you dash themselves on hopeless rocks, if that might bring you comfort then i offer that to you, i offer you the blood of others, i offer you broken hearts and disaster, i offer you the ones who cannot bend and so end up shattering and the ones who cannot touch without bruising, cannot love without destroying the beloved in ecstasy and malice, i offer you anything, anything, anything, anything, take it and be sated
Fenrir didn’t ask to be born a monster. He didn’t ask to be feared because he bore claws and fangs and a hunger deep as the sea. He did not bite the hand that fed him; he bit the hand that betrayed him. If you are told from the womb that you are a beast, how can they expect you to grow to be anything else?
black as the Pit
and terrible as a demon
(as terrible as the night)
was Bagheera –
but even Kipling knew
a beast’s flesh bleeds red
and even a killer has a heart
(so don’t waste yours)
Tell me, my fickle gods of ink and steel, are you satisfied with this offering? Have I bled enough to please you, wavered on the edge of unconsciousness long enough to appease you? Are you honored by the brands, unalterable and permanent, that mark me as yours? Tears are precious, and plenty have I shed for you, but blood is the stuff of life. You know blood. You respect blood. That’s your language, after all. See? I can learn to speak it, too. I will become your Rosetta Stone written in red and black.