“I want this,” I tell her.
She looks at me. She was never really what others would call a classical beauty: at least, not classical in this day and age. There is nothing tawny about her: nothing golden, or blonde, or blue-eyed. No, despite whatever they’ve said about her mother, her hair is neither yellow nor strawberry. It isn’t even black.
She, the person I define by what she isn’t, looks at me and purses her pale lips. The moon outlines the top of the alleyway and when it nestles into her tied-back hair, it makes her face glow like silver.
“No shitting?” her voice is an underground river, making her profanity smooth and sibilant. She leans in closer to me, “You know the risks, right?”
Her scent, of ashes and myrrh, makes the ache come back again. I can only nod. She leans even further against me: her head coming up to about my chest. She grabs the lapels of my coat and I can feel her breath on my collarbone: its iciness on my flesh making my back tingle with layers of goose bumps against the graffiti on the brick wall.
I close my eyes and somehow despite our differences in height, I can feel those pale cold lips brush against my lower neck. Even with my eyes closed, I can still see her somewhat oblong chin slanted consideringly one side.
“Once,” she tells me, “and you will be dizzy and light-headed. More, and you’ll probably cum in your pants,” my crotch prickles at her words in my ear, “And anything more than that,” I can feel the flat edge of her straight bold nose touch my chest as she rests her face there, “and you will have more than a little death.”
I hear her nostrils flare as she takes in my scent, like an animal, and I see those white thin lips swelling strong and red with barely contained desire. And my legs … they’re shaking. I don’t know whether I’m bending them, or kneeling on the pavement, or if somehow she has grown taller than me. In a very real way, she is a lot greater than I am. Or ever will be.
“Are you sure?” her voice purrs less in my ears now and more inside my mind.
Then, she does it. It’s nothing like I expected.
The alleyway disappears. The night is gone too. I feel the blood thumping in my ears less and less … I still hear it, but it’s more abstract now, like the sound of thunder off in the distance. It all falls away into her twilight silvery self.
I see her. And the moon. Within a circle of moonlight, she and her silver-haired sisters dance around a ring of shattered pale monoliths dressed in robes of purple and red. They dance until the moon itself is soaked in red. And I see her eyes — greyer and sharper than an athame, than Athena’s gaze — and the ache grows so much I can’t bear it anymore. My hand grips her head, and I make her take more. I feel myself drifting away, becoming ephemeral and crystal clear. Drifting … into her …
The breath gasps out of me and I’m sprawled on the hard concrete near the brick wall. The world’s spinning and I can’t, or won’t get up. My arm hurts. I try to get to my feet and wince against the cold wetness suddenly inside the seat of my jeans.
She stands over me. Her face is flushed and she is breathing heavily with intoxication and fury. Her hair like a silver mantle whips across her face from a very cold breeze while her eyes are older than night, burning and angry.
“No,” she says again and her face is a beast’s: with a beauty and terror that brings out the deepest, keenest longing in me. And then I realize what I almost had her do and just how close she was in doing it, for her to be flushing this hard: just how close I was to having it all fall away from me forever. I feel myself crying.
Slowly, her bestial rage softens into something like sympathy. She leans down and sits beside me. I’m still sobbing, choking on tears and snot as I feel her fingertips on my throbbing arm: the one I probably hurt when I fell. Her touch burns but as she grips my arm, the pain seems to lessen, and disappear altogether.
We sit there for a while as the sky begins to break into an orange-red dawn. Then she turns to me, with an expression almost too human: too human, and old, and long-suffering to belong to any being living on this earth. It’s a glance that makes all the disappointments and empty nights in my life look like short painful breaths by comparison: brief cramps not even worth talking about.
“Next time,” she tells me with a tender croon to her voice, “Come find me when you feel like you have something to lose.”
She smiles and I want to kiss her. Of course, by now, she’s already gone. The sun’s up over the alleyway now and I try to straighten out the mess of myself for the day. Her touch lingers, like an echo, like a fingerprint, or the faint outline of the moon still hovering in the dawning sky. Then I look up at the hidden moon above me and I say to it, “I will.”