Raven

It was a feeling. Fleeting, just barely there. I heard soft footsteps approach. When I turned to face that familiar shadow, his visage was expressionless but his eyes betrayed him. Was he afraid of me? Yes.

No.

Fear. I could smell it wafting through the air, like the smokey afterthought of a wildfire. Such an alluring fragrance, overflowing with weakness, hidden under defiance. Papery thin layers of deepening humiliation. Restless ignorance.

An unjustified fear at best.

I wasn’t interested in his fear or his false confidence or his arrogance. None of it.

That’s not what I want.

I want the sky, the moon when it’s dark out, the canopy of stars. People beside me as we sail deeper into the galaxy. Up, up, up we go until we reach the darkness of an unseemly universe beyond. We can bask in the brightness of daytime when the clouds float effortlessly amidst a silk backdrop. We can drink and kiss and dance when nighttime welcomes us in its velvety embrace. And we’ll wake to the same dream, over and over again.

I want blood when the world has dehydrated itself of its credo. The fire of the living rising high around me when they’ve drowned in their corruption, the hope of redemption forever gone. A bath can be drawn where we soak ourselves in our defeated purposes, until we reek of the scent. Roses as black as obsidian and powdered to the touch can float aimlessly in our tub, adorning and infecting our pallid skin all at once. My beast groans in agony at the thought.

Defeat.

A thought I level with infrequently.

But why? Why must you make me feel this way?

My actions are controlled by the unnecessarily complicated switchboard in my core but they’re not wholly robotic. I know nothing is black and white. I feel where feeling should be. But you, your humanity, your people. You’re the catalyst to my bloodlust. How can you be so loving one moment and so distrustful the next? I don’t understand. I won’t understand.

He stands there, his breaths growing shallow as the seconds pass. He looks as if he’s about to sprint toward me, pull out a dagger and stick the pointy end straight into my gut. But he also looks paler by the minute and I wouldn’t be surprised if he suddenly passed out. These scenarios play out in my head until his eyes grow wider as he looks at me incredulously. Have I done something wrong?

R.

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