Sunday, August 02, 2009

Possession (The Art of Roses)

A story

Disclaimer: This is a story for adults (as all my stories are.) If sexuality or sensuality disturbs you, this is not for you.


“Remember, nothing cheap or tawdry,” the man in the black raincoat stated, staring down his beaked hawk-like nose at the lackey. “I pay you to be discreet.”

“Of course, my lord,” the servant affirmed. He was dressed in alarmingly foppish clothes, scarves fluttering prettily about his butterfly wrists.

The man in the black raincoat was distinguished, his hair silvering at the temples. He looked wary. Under his arm rested a cadeau of the sort that Rochester’s Adele would have admired. He seemed to be the sort of distinguished lord who kept an appropriately handsome wife, two lovely children who could be brought out at tea time and shown off to the nobles, and suffered through dinner parties. This assignation seemed most peculiar.

“I trust you with my very soul,” the lord reminded the servant. “Worse, actually,” he informed him, flashing a grin. “With my reputation.”


She ran through him the way that butter melts on bread. Thin, indivisible from the grainy slices, merging, a melding that cannot be undone. She coursed through his veins and danced in his heart and he swept up her hair and let it trickle over his wrists and hands so that it caught him, entwining. The tendrils of her hair were one with the locket of his heart and he loved her softly, so that she moaned quietly. Their passion was a silent endeavor; she slept in silence and dined on strawberries in the middle of the night. Champagne and strawberries was the only fare for such as they, outcasts of the night. She was the fire darkly burning, quicksilver threads of silver shot through with the heretical fantasies of youth. She was his indulgence and more than that, his only point of pride. Without her, he had nothing.


They lay on the bed, his arms curled underneath her head. Red tendrils of hair tickled his nose and swept across his bare chest; he crooked his arm around her to bring her closer to him. “You are exquisite,” he told her. She snuggled closer to him.

He had created this code with the servant; when he desired something that was neither cheap nor tawdry he meant Aris. Aris with her silkened skin and red curls that tumbled around him, capturing him entirely. He knew that she was loyal to him. He had once been loyal to her.

Then he had been told he was to be married. He had brought her to his house and made love to her with a desperation she could easily sense. She did not know what was wrong. “You can barely look at me,” she had stated.

“I’m to be married,” he said.

She shrugged, as though to suggest the information did not hurt her, but he saw the flash of pain in her eyes. “Does it matter?” she asked.

To me, he wanted to tell her. It does matter, to me. He answered her, “I suppose not.” She bent her head, her flaming hair wantonly displayed upon the pillow. He stroked the long strands of clinging fire, curled them around his fingers. Then, he lifted her head, cupping her chin. Tears swam in her eyes.

“I am so sorry,” he told her, bringing her head to his chest, crushing her against his body. He rocked her as he would a small child. “So sorry, so sorry, Aris, my dear.” Her sobs were quiet; she would not utter a word. Whatever pain she had, she suffered in silence.


It was the little girl that ruined her. His wife he respected; it was the child that he loved. She watched him fade away, looking at his watch, staring at his briefcase, thinking of the child who awaited his presence at home. It was the watching, standing on the sidelines of his life and seeing as he grew to love someone else, that was unbearable. But she preferred to have a piece of his heart even if she could not have him in his entirety. So she offered him her body and swam with him, retreating to the milky shores of beautiful oblivion.


Aris was no longer very beautiful. She had taken on another profession; she had become a miner. Some men and children slaved over the coal mines, watching the canaries die and scuttling about, blackened with soot, searching for the valued ore. Aris searched the hidden territory of the soul. She mined the blackest and deepest voids, searching for chips of the soul, looking for the heart. She loved him still and searched for the glittering chips of his heart, the ones that belonged to her. And she still came to him.

Aris,” he would sigh, and wrap his arms around her, her body molding familiarly to his. She kissed his eyes and nose and the hollow of his throat, trailing her fingers across his chest as though rippling them through lapping water. She watched him arch in response to her touch, saw his eyes glaze over, dim, then darken.

His voice would catch in his throat. “I love you,” he would say, the words hoarse and seemingly meaningless. After all, what of his wife, his child, his lands? But to her they were not meaningless. In them, she identified a chip of his soul.


“Touch me,” she demanded.

He sighed. He was weary. His wife was unhappy and the child, now grown, wished for nothing but fripperies and follies and jewel-encrusted gowns. He did not want Aris to express her ownership over him; he merely wanted to find release with her.

“You exist for my pleasure,” he answered mildly.

She stiffened. He did not try to apologize. He was the master and she a mere courtesan. She made her living amidst the pillows of the night; she had no status, no name, no occupation. What did the loyalty of a prostitute matter? What honor could be upheld by a common whore? He laughed at her and turned her beneath him. Her lips were soft beneath his. She did not fight him.


“Tell me that you love me,” he stated. He meant it as a request; she saw it as a demand.

She stood. She was glorious nude, her hair tumbling down her back in fiery red streaks. “You are late,” she stated.

“What is this; you think I care that you won’t say it?” he teased her. He walked over to her, placed his hands upon her shoulders, kneaded at the muscles beneath them. He looked at her in the mirror; his eyes met hers. An extraordinary expression crossed her face; he was hard-put when it came to identifying it. Suddenly, a strange smile crossed her face.

“Yes,” she said very softly.

He laughed lightly. “I care nothing for the words of a prostitute,” he stated, placing his hand upon her breast. He cupped her nipple, tweaked it. She gave a slight, sharp sigh. As though surrendering to him, she eased her body against him gently, her head upon his shoulder. He spun her around to face him, then kissed her harshly. She made no protest. The most peculiar light danced in her eyes.


The flowers were torn as he walked to the bed.

He had always thought this was the way she would do it. The rose petals were ripped; it was a reverse wedding. She had dashed them against the ground, completely torn them up. As he walked through the door, he saw the blood against the silk sheets, the red driblets against the satin. There was something erotic, even arousing, about that. He moved closer and saw her face; it was pale in death, but there was a touch of red to the lips. Ah, vanity, he thought. Even here it finds her.

Her arm was limp and fair, her hand lifeless. But he noticed the rose she had tied to one beautiful wrist; the other rose she wore around her throat. The trickle of blood that crept down her neck was deliberate; she had pierced herself, as though by a thorn. It was artistic in an exceptionally beautiful, sickening way. He was fascinated by the beauty, by how carefully she had orchestrated this death, this scene.

He knelt by the bed, careful not to disturb the careful arrangement of the torn rose petals. She had not allowed anyone a claim upon her; here she was entirely at rest, entirely at peace. He pressed his lips against hers; his reddened with the kiss. She tasted sweet, like cherries; so it was not only blood that outlined her lips. He smiled at her.

She had won this part of the game, but she had far underestimated him. She assumed that he would be impressed by her victory, but in truth, he had expected it, anticipated it. He had come home slavering, his mouth salivating, for he knew how tantalizing the scene would be, how beautifully perfect. There was something in him that hungered for this, for the unabashed violence of it, the sexuality with which she was able to imbue everything.

Just the image was enough. Nothing else was necessary.

But in his mind, whenever he felt desire, this was what came to mind, the pale face, the touch of red, the scent of roses, their fragrance rising from her throat and wrist; the desire she had imagined for him, the one she believed would torment him. In truth, she seduced him far more in her death than she had in her life. In the war between sorceress and seducer, he had thought himself triumphant.

But she had captured him, made him entirely hers, in this death. Now, every time he felt unslaked lust, it was her wrist against which he desired to press his lips, her throat he longed for, the inner crevice of her arm that he wanted to taste. Here, with her rose petals and evocative delicacy, she had made him hers, and he, once triumphant, knelt before her, cognizant of how wholly the master was made a servant.

To taste her…that is what he longed for, and suddenly he thought the scent of crushed roses would drive him mad, overwhelm him, and he forced himself to overcome his mad desire, to walk slowly out of the room, to turn on his heel and order the maid to “Clean that thing up.”

The maid obliged him by bowing, at which point he walked steadily to his room. Rather than attending to bed, however, he doffed his top-hat, correctly unbuttoned his shirt, then, still wearing his trousers, laid down upon the bed. Almost unconsciously, he closed his eyes and imagined her. The scent of roses filled the room…

He could not sleep that night. She woke the fire in his blood, her carefully positioned body had seen to that. His thoughts were not his own; she blazed through all of them. Unseeing, he felt her, as though she were there with him, and aroused, he reached for her…but she was shadow. Less than mist, unsubstantial as the wind, she taunted him, mocking him mercilessly, dancing through his thoughts, having won her final victory; in her death, she had made him want her. The woman he had humiliated and thrown aside had burned herself into his mind; he would never touch another woman without touching her, kiss a woman without feeling the imprint of her lips against his tongue, and through it all he would hear her laughter…taunting, merciless, yet pretty as a child’s, tinkling bells running through his mind. He would try to grasp the intangible to him.

And as he lay with those women, pinned them down so that they gasped, took more than they thought they could give, ran his fingers across their shoulders, over their skin, touching so as to take, he would hear her mockery, and know that it was no use. He forbade any woman to wear rose-scented perfume, and yet he smelled roses everywhere. He saw the rose petals in his mind and felt his naked desire increase; he was sworn to her. That bed was their marriage canopy, the blood spilled was that of her virginity. The roses by her wrist and throat pledged her to him. The cherry taste of her lips called to him. He could find no release; there was no repentance. And so damned, he writhed, his body on fire and called to her. In dreams, he felt the prick of the thorn across his throat. Blood trickled down the crevice of his neck. “Kiss me like this,” she breathed and he watched her lick away the blood, first from his mouth, then his nipples, his armpits, and finally his wrists. He surrendered to her and she hurt him to seal the fact that he was hers. But then, laughing madly, she danced away, and he awoke to nothingness, cursing her memory, and wanting her.


Uri said...

Interesting. Could fit well with stories based on Norse tradition,an old and forgotten remnant of classicall literature.

me said...

deep i tell ya, deep!