Evil, dark, grim. She holds these words in her heart as she paints black grease around her eyes. The mirror’s reflection betrays nothing, but she feels the weight of her thoughts as if they were sewn into the black fabric she wears. Like stones, sharp and heavy. Evil. Dark. Grim.
Stepping into the curtain of night she slips between shadows, a silent assassin. Quick like silver, she darts into the circle and cuts, one, two, three, then is gone again. Behind, a scream slices the air and crimson runs from the marks she left. Shining pools glitter in the moonlight. The dance is on.
She moves to a pattern only she knows. We cannot penetrate her veil. She holds her secrets tight, so tight, spinning her web as she stalks through the streets. We watch, unable to predict, unable to stop her, knowing only her goal and its inevitable end. We are caught in her web. Held fast by the darkness and the death, and by the sad emptiness of her eyes. She is a beautiful hunter, our spider. Even knowing what she is, we watch.
The course is set. Resolutely, she turns to stalk her next victim. Her steps are light and sure, though her cloak still hangs like lead around her shoulders. Once, there were 11 names in the list. Now only two remain. The sharp stones of her purpose dig into her heart. She walks in darkness, her face is pale and grim. But is she truly evil, as they say? Does taking life to save a life not count for something when judgement comes? It will come soon, she knows. And time for doubt has long since passed.
Her blade is sure. The dance repeats. Into the circle to cut, one, two, three. Fade away again.
This time the moon is a crescent and the pools gleam scarlet only briefly before the ground soaks them away.
Only one to go.
She is tired, so tired. Her feet drag and her head hangs. Stray hair flies freely now, and her cloak of darkness is tattered. The last hunt is the hardest. She knows the end is near, though, and lifts her blackened face to the wind as it tries to blow her from her path. Her eyes are lighter now. Still sad, a little wild, but that focus remains. How soon until that light is extinguished?
He is waiting for her in the circle, the last one. He knows the dance, and they pirouette together as the pale moon rises. There is nothing left for her but this. There is no other meaning, no breath, no movement, except the next step, the next cut. He reaches out and grabs her hand, and for a moment they are locked together, neither willing to concede nor willing to end the dance. Then twin blades plunge, and it is over.
Tears are falling, ours and hers. She gave her all.
The light goes out.
Tomorrow night, they perform it live.
This 500-word story is a response to AWC’s November Furious Fiction writing prompts. See the winning and runner-up stories here.
PS: Subscribe below for updates