The Fallen

Competition Entry.

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1. The Fallen

 

Silent now, was the shore. Only the distant ebb and flow of the tide was to be heard. In the darkening sky, the clouds were beginning to pass and fade. The full image of the moon, whose rays shone over the vast beach, was now unveiled. Soon it would    cover the eternal waters, repeating the rituals of nature, centuries old. The moon beckoned the shimmering sea back and forth like a father would to a child, offering promises of gifts. Only a parent as wise as this could offer the gift of life, love and all the mysteries of nature itself.

The obedient child obliged, slowly guiding the life within its celestial waters. The life, which also saw the child as an ancient guardian, a master that provided food and all the wonder the birthplace of the earth could offer.

Ancient as the game was between parent and child, it still offered new mysteries, fresh wonders of new birth and death.

Death.

For now the child had been tainted crimson with the bodies of thousands of floating, silent warriors.

From the window, high in her stone fortress, the Scorpress watched these wonders as she had done for decades before. These wonders once held her mind captive. Now, tears welled from her depthless, red eyes.

Silence. The death-screams of her armies now gave way to the sound of the sea. Aside this, only the Scorpress' grief could be heard. She tore her eyes away from the window and walked slowly to her throne where she sat, staring at the time­worn stone floor. Her tears washed like tides. Her brave armies had fallen; all was lost. Thousands of warriors bobbed like apples in their watery grave. Others lay strewn on the beach outside the fort, their wounds staining the white sands the colour of berry wine.

Soon her enemies would smash their way inside. They would take her outside, parading their long awaited prize in public and slowly, ever so slowly, slay her. The Scorpress rose and walked to the great oak table to pour herself a tall goblet of wine. She took one last look at herself in the looking glass.

Her human form always pleased her more than the others she could conjure. She discarded her robe, made from the flayed strips of skin of her enemies. In the dancing flames of the many candles burning around her, her dark skin glistened smooth like highly polished crystal with blood-red flashes across her stomach and tiny breasts. The contrast of pigments hypnotised all who were privileged or cursed to see her naked. Long, straight hair, black as cancer, poured down past her sleek back, gently brushing the floor. The only thing which belied her human shape was the long, muscular, leathery tail which arced upwards from the base of her spine. At the end of which shone the deadly, hard ivory tip the size of a bull’s horn. The tip, which could gently caress a lover to the heights of passion and in the same breath, kill without warning. She lifted the tail over her head, the tip gently stroked the side of her face. Its warmth and smoothness gave her some ease.

Then, gritting her teeth and letting out a blood-curdling high pitch scream, she whipped her tail around at lightning speed, smashing the looking glass into razor shards which crashed to the floor around her. In her continuing rage, the Scorpress set to smashing everything in her path, unaware that the soles of her bare feet were being slit to ribbons. Tables, chairs, paintings; nothing was exempt from the scorned queen.

She fell to the floor helpless and breathless amid the havoc she had wreaked on everything she had once cherished. The stone floor was cold on her face, little pools of blood grew beneath her tattered feet. She whispered to herself.

‘I have failed my people.’

She heard the door of the great room open. Slowly, her breath now calm, she raised her head. Standing in front of her was Ethis, her lover. Staring into one another's eyes, they shared the un-spoken conversation of defeat. Ethis' black-robed figure slowly walked to his queen. He knelt next to her and began gently dipping his hand through the river of hair. His touch was soothing, as it always had been. There was no need for words, just a caress and a soft breath spoke volumes for the two lovers.

Raising their heads, they heard the inevitable thunderous booming, reverberating around the empty castle. They were here. Their enemies had begun smashing an entrance inside, desperate to claim their trophy. It would be a matter of mere minutes before they were both found. The Scorpress quickly turned to Ethis, her eyes dazzled with urgency.

‘They will soon be upon us my love,’ her voice quaked. ‘You know what we must do.’ Ethis nodded. They rose from the floor and gently embraced each other with a new calmness. It was almost as if, in the light of what they were about to do, they had all the time in the world. They now faced each other, their cheeks now traced with tears. The Scorpress blessed Ethis' soft mouth with a long, deep kiss. Silently the Scorpress arced her tail over her shoulder. Its glassy tip plunged into her lover’s back. As soon as it punctured his skin, she pumped her lethal poison into his bloodstream.

Ethis felt nothing. The Scorpress' arms took the full weight of the lifeless body. Tenderly, she laid him on the floor. Then one last kiss.

‘I love you,’ she whispered into his ear. Once more, her tail arced over her shoulder, she placed its tip carefully between her own lips. Eyes closed, she injected the deadly, warm, white liquid, deep into her throat. Her body rolled like a rag doll onto her lover. They both appeared as if asleep, in the wake of lovemaking; tranquil and at peace. The Scorpress had finally won, denying her enemies their glittering prize.

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