|Autumnal Equinox 1998|
Robyn, who grew up in Australia, lives in Calgary, Canada, where she edits New Currents in Teaching and Technology at the University of Calgary. When she's not working, she's writing or doing glass art. You can learn more at her web site.
And she wants to hear from you! So email her if you like what you see!
T IS AN ALMOST PERFECT rain. Steady. Even. The clouds are the same flat, dark grey. But the rain's intensity is wrong. It just isn't raining hard enough.
Warm nights, but the rain still feels cool, fingers creep in shivers down my back, drips from my slick blonde hair. I walk awhile in it before opening my umbrella -- I always do. People say my umbrella's white, but I call it colorless.
Like my life.
In my childhood, Mother said, 'Don't jump in the puddles! You'll catch your Death!' Her voice stern and face sterner. I would catch my Death.
Remembering Eleanor. Smiles and chuckles and wind chimes. Rolling in damp grass, stealing cookies. I was twelve.
She was seven when she caught her Death. Or was it that He caught her?
She died slowly, wheezing her life out onto her patchwork covers with every squeezebox exhale. She died, puddles in her eyes, single drops of rain on her cheeks.
Mother wept a torrent of tears, while I grit my teeth, tasted bile in my throat and vowed by all the Gods that my Death would not catch me.
Vowed by the Gods of Heaven.
Vowed by the Gods of Hell.
I was twenty-one when I first caught my Death.
Father had died in Africa, in some blood-filled war. Mother's heart broke in a flood. I left home.
It was a perfect rain, the night I met my Death in London.
He was dark and beautiful, his teeth the most perfect smile I'd seen. His eyes the most perfect black.
I was wet. Cold. So hungry.
He called to me in a voice sweet and song-filled. He promised warmth. Light. Food. I moved closer, under his wide umbrella, and he offered me his arms and life everlasting in the same breath. I died in my Death's embrace, woke the next morning in his bed. Naked and sated.
My Death grinned as he donned his boots and cape, telling me that he drank my soul, filled his belly with my thoughts. He moved to me and over me, kissing me. Telling me that I'd thank him. Telling me, Oh, the things you'll see. Telling me goodbye. I thought him insane. Mad.
Beside the fire, my clothes had warmed, while beside him, I had died. He left me in that shining morning, the aftermath of the night's rain pooling around uneven pavements in that grimy, filthy city. I'd caught my Death and lost him, but I was determined: we would meet again.
I didn't find him in London. Once, in France, our eyes locked across a narrow, winding street. He smiled, and I started toward him, wanting to steal back what he had taken from me.
So tired of being colourless.
He told me he missed me, asked if I'd join him that night. I went. No choice.
The door of his apartment opened. A young man languished by the fire, his bare skin wet with a sheen of sweat. Reflecting flames.
My Death said, "You haven't fed since the night we met." I asked how he could tell. He smiled. "You're so pale. You lack colour."
I watched while he took the young man, the two moving as one, my Death lapping up the new soul with each grunting breath. He finished quickly, a perfect smile gleaming.
I sprang at my Death, then, catching him off guard. He allowed me a moments pleasure, a taste of the colour I lacked. But my Death was strong, and threw me aside as easily as he would cast off his cloak.
"Not a chance in Hell," he grinned.
It's raining harder. Now, a perfect rain.
She's young. Cold. Wet. Probably hungry.
I was. I hadn't eaten in nearly a month. For a while I watched her from where I stood, under the awning of a restaurant. I called to her, and she stopped. Wary. Silent.
I offered her a meal, a chance to dry off. By the time the evening was done, I'd have her as my Death had me.
He's still out there, my Death.
When next I catch him, I'll not let him go.
© 1998 Robyn Herrington, all rights reserved
RETURN TO ARCHIVES
Premier Issue 1998, Updated March 13, 2002
BLOOD ROSE is Copyright © M. W. Worthen.
"A Perfect Rain"