No color or chroma reaches my night-dead eye. The sun sets over the ruined cathedral. And there is me, awake again, hanging in the middle, with the ghosts of the past on one side and the shadows of the future on the other, dangling between history and destiny, on this arch of time.
The hollow, no longer hallow, walls stretch above me, the marble has been stripped away, revealing broken brick and rubble.
Entering through my secret door, I taste the evening, taste her, taste the world, the world of the everlasting Now.
I walk through the cathedral, once the place of long forgotten saints and archbishops, of king and peasant long turned to dust. I can still see their faces on the crumbling walls.
How the mighty have fallen, the holy rotted.
I follow the scent, the only thing that I can smell. The scent is her, of lace and spice.
The rubble was long ago cleaned, the place given over to wild romanticism. She would consider me romantic. How ironic.
They told her. They warned. Do not stray past the setting of the sun. But aren’t the musty old ruins delightful? So full of mystery and delight. And at night? When they are seen in ivory and ebony, the skeleton of the massive building now a sonata of shadows?
The thought thrills her to her deepest roots, her most private places.
I can sense her and know she can sense me. She is not afraid.
The small sliver of moon, setting not far behind the fallen sun, casts an anemic shadow. I wonder why she sees the ruined bell tower as something sexual, waiting for it to take her to a place of pleasure. But they all do, don’t they?
Do I choose them or do they chose me, these strange, romantic women?
She feels me approach. Her mind is full of the dew on the grass and story of a coming sunrise, though deep down she knows this will be the final moonset.
She steps into the ancient doorway, the giant arch. I can see her now, as well as smell and feel her.
She is young, as they all are. Yet she is old, her blood smelling of lace and cinnamon, nutmeg and dust. She dwells in the modern, but her heart beats an ancient drum.
I reach and pull her into a shadow. She moans in ecstasy. I bite and the pain fills her with pleasure. She arches her back, exposing more flesh. All of the flesh. All for me. I willingly take what she has gladly offered.
We do our dance until the first signs of day approach.
They will find her empty husk, smelling of cinnamon and lace. Some will tell tales, but others will say she was just a victim of her own choice. None will know me, as I slink back into the shadows of the future, the nightmares of the past.
The arch of the night, the supported on the pillars of the setting and rising sun, is the doorway through which I arrive and leave once more when I have had my fill.
Once more I am in place of eternal night, as the sun begins its clime up of the arch of the sky, to kiss the good people good morning once more. I close my eyes and sleep, dreaming the dreams of that last partner I had the pleasure to have danced the dance of death. They are all still with me, from the first whose blood I tasted to this young woman, as we drift through the day, waiting for the next dance, for the next one to fill the arch of my doorway.
— — — —