She’s an angel with demons.
Around her; a silhouette of shadows. A night with no stars. No twilight. The pupils of a blind eye.
Darkness had closed around her like hands brought together in reverent prayer. The shadows are her elements. And she is comfortable in this thin slither where rays of light run parallel to each other.
The dimness converges around her head like a halo. The air, the space, is full of melody, widening in broken spirals and holding time captive where the spirals do not connect. And the wind lends chorus to this scene of mourn. It carries around the silky ribbons knotted in her hair, and communes with them. Her dress fits around her loosely it’s no longer a dress, more like the negative shadow of her darkness.
This high, the element of night shouldn’t be darkness. It’s a vagueness. A black shroud thing whose vastness betrays form, whose seams wrap around universe and vortex of space.
Several layers abstracted from dream, infinity poised against unfulfilled matter. The answers she looks for, and the questions I do not want the answers to, are irrelevant.
She is too far gone. She has writ her name in the darkness, and yet she is darkness. And I, what may I be? A shadow?
A consequence. A result. A distillate.
I am late. I was always meant to be late to this midnight dance of devils.
She hears me approach, she expects me, she has already spoken to me. We have already danced this dance and stepped on our toes.
I have already failed to save her, what we do, now, is just act out something we have already rehearsed.
I feel too close to her, I constitute her boundaries. But I cannot really touch her.
I see her inch towards the ledge, her toes clench around the nicked edge. The basal golem stands poised for the leap. I can feel its shoulders tense.
She looks down. The crack-alley below lends the bleakness a lost depth perception. From this high you cannot see the cardboards and continuous loop of fellatio and knifings. You cannot see the prim grimness of people fucking each other. And fucking each other up. Up here, the immediate hell below is abyss-like, but if you lowered your foot, your heel would crunch down on the hypodermics and knee-pads and condom wrappers and crack-pipes.
“Hell is immediate… And reality is urgent… But none of them are real.” She breaks the silence. But it’s not a relief.
As bad as it had got, it could still get worse.
“You are doing this for all the wrong reasons,” I tell her.
“Reality and abstract—dreamspace and that dark conceptual space circling the concept of light—they’re all shadows of themselves—mirrors of mirrors. They’re all irrelevant if they take hostages…” she turns to me, her face a glimmer, “I won’t be your hostage.”
I have taken on a form, something as close to human as possible, nothing that would pass as mortal and insult her high opinion of my lofty self. Am the cybrid cloned from the persona of the Lady Saryel, a heretic poetess and artist of when Earth was still called Earth. Her paintings inspired the Rapture, through which we now survive.
She was humble to a fault.
I hold out my hand and nudged my presence closer to her.
“It does not have to be this way. You do not have to die so I can…” I assure her.
“Resurrection requires death, sacrifice requires blood. A life for a life—”
“—I am not alive.”
“Still…” She looks down. Then back at me.
The uneasiness in her could be vertigo, but no one suffers from that anymore, not that it was ever a thing. The uneasiness isn’t what I want it to be. It’s not doubt. It’s not a faltering. It’s nothing close to comfort. But I should know better.
She knows better.
She wants to know how this ends…
Somehow she has forgotten that nothing ever ends. Nothing ever begins. That eternal return isn’t just a concept, and gravity is nothing but a failing experiment.
She was one of us, the mechanics put in place to stop the ball from bursting loose of its lever. She sighs. As though she can read my thoughts the way I can read hers. I don’t dream so she can’t possibly know. She can’t gleam the magnitude of her actions, even those preceding this feeble attempt to rip resonance and implication from her own unlived history.
Death, or what she thinks is death is a power that lends implication to its receptacle, life. The threshold she means to pass would lend itself meaning in her passing, for there is no meaning to be lent.
There is no usury in the merchant mess of reality and abstract.
“There’s nothing you can do to stop this.” She says. As she moves along the ledge, further away from my lunging grasp. Not that I would lunge at her.
The wind has grown pale, static, like it has been affected by her motionlessness. The slurred silence is its primal vocabulary.
But this here is nothing primal or that can be wrapped around, contained, in any vocabulary.
“The reason you have not plunged to your supposed death, is not because you are sure I cannot stop you.” I assure her. Dare her. Throw down the gauntlet, as they used to say.
“I can’t save you.”
“Neither can you save yourself.”
“I don’t need saving.” She falters, but balances herself quickly. Steadily. The stealth of a rope dancer dancing on a flurry of seesawing feathers.
“And I do not need you to treat me like a concept. I was never meant to complete you, to fulfil you or to save you—“
“—Is that why you chose to leave—“
“—It is why I chose to be here now. This present. This reality.”
“Too bad, I really coulda really used you, ah, arghh,—“ She tries to balance herself.
And I just stand there. Present. Absent. Caught in a stagnant tide. Disbelieving in the miracle of consequence. My faith in causality unfaltered even though I am it’s biggest critic. It’s biggest fanatic.
And I stand there. All I have to do is lunge.
“Wai—wait—I nee—shit.” She slips. “Saaav—“
And the wind and the darkness and the abyss down below swallow what is the remainder of her plea like the dying intensity of a fading lisp.
And I stand there.