“Demons don’t dance in the daylight. Keep your door locked at night.”
He turns to lo leave. I feel my heart leap like it wants to escape through my throat. I resist the urge to grab his wrist, to make him stay. “Will that k-keep them out?” I stutter out, because I can’t not ask. He looks at me over his shoulder, raises a single brow. “Locking the door?”
He shrugs. “Not if they really want to get in, no. But it sort of makes you feel better.”
He leaves. Fingers shaking, I lock the door behind him.
I don’t feel better at all.
You think you’re the scariest skeleton in my closet? You’re not. Real fear is the lights going out followed by the sound of a deadbolt locking. Real fear is wondering why, why, why as your hollow stomach groans. Real fear is being alone.
I knew fear before I even knew your name.
You? You’re nothing.
(…as well as other demons.)
I can’t believe you’ve asked me to do this.
“Are you scared? Are you afraid of me?”
“It’s not that I’m afraid of you,” I say. “It’s that I’m afraid of where you’re going. I see the path you’re headed down and I see that it’s in the exact opposite direction as mine. That’s what terrifies me.”
“How do you know which way I’m headed, let alone yourself?” Your voice is like velvet even when you’re angry. Smooth and just slightly condescending. It’s too rich for me. “You say yourself that you have no idea what you’re doing with your life most days.”
You smile, all white teeth and full lips, but it fails to sway me. Not this time. “I don’t. Not really. But I know what I’m not doing, and I can’t do that. I can’t follow you.” I shake my head and for the first time I turn away from you. A different path, the opposite direction.
“…I guess I was wrong about you. You’re nothing but a coward.” Your voice has become sharper at my rejection, losing its saccharine smoothness. Your words cut into my back as I walk away. “You’re just afraid!”
And you’re right. I am afraid, but not of you.
I’m afraid of what you’re becoming.
You satiate me.
You are the heavens in these skeletal arms, you are the cosmos in these shaking hands. You are saccharine starlight, so sweet, so divine, so good. I could pull the true skies apart – leave you unscathed and instead reach my talons upwards, tear open those celestial bodies and make the heavens themselves weep… but those crystalline tears would be flavorless compared to you: mere water to your liquid gold.
Everything you are consumes me… and it seems only fitting as I consume you, too.
When you’re here.
When you’re not.
Your radiant luster clings to my palms long after you’ve gone, your seductive sheen gets stuck under my nails – evidence that I’ve clawed just a bit too deeply, that I’ve taken just a bit too much.
It’s never too much.
I dip my own fingers in my mouth and taste the lingering notes of rapture.
I lick my palms clean and drink every remaining morsel of paradise.
Soon, too soon, achingly soon… my palette is cleansed, my tongue, dry.
I’m left thirsty again.
“What’s worse,” he began, “to regret, or to carry on unknowingly?”
She thought about that for a time. “…Are those my only options?” she countered. “Failure or ignorance?”
A pregnant pause.
“Regret,” she eventually answered. “Regret is far worse.”
“And what makes you say that?”
His tone was light, mildly interested. She shrugged. “Well, I’ve felt regret, and it feels something terrible,” she said. “But ignorance? I’ve never felt that. Ignorance doesn’t have a feeling. And I’d rather be numb than miserable.”
“…it means vampire.”
“Vampire?” Hadrian balked. “Why on earth is he named vampire?”
“It is a fascinating tale, how he got his name… and as fortune would have it, I was there to witness the birth of it.”
Aesthetic by my lovely friend Acnara.
Don’t lie, it’s all right
There’s no need for truth tonight
I just want to keep painting this fragile fantasy
Don’t try, it’s all right
There’s no need for us to fight
I just want to float around in this snow globe fantasy
I’d break skies for you
Grab the heavens with my fingers, rip them open, tear the clouds
Bleed sunsets into your pretty head
Make you hear navy, taste violet, know red
I understand now