This is another installment that is part of something that has been percolating for a long time. It started with a shorter piece, The Miracle and there is a lot more to come. The working title for this collection is called, Vessels. I was having a terrible time finding the right image until I stumbled across Jenny Marie’s beautiful Pestilence illustration and while this isn’t my character, it sets the perfect mood. I think you will agree.
Pestilence appraised her reflection in the mirror. The very corner of her lip curled in an almost imperceptible smirk of approval. She dipped a brush into the little pot of powder on the table in front of her and swept a shimmer of violet across the pale skin of her eyelids. Next, charcoal liner for a touch of smoke and finally a quick whisk through her lashes with the mascara wand. Her eyes; bright green glass, shattered and reassembled, seemed to be swimming in the soft cloud of colors she’d framed them with. Reaching into the top drawer of her vanity she pulled out her comb. It was carved from the back of a tortoise and inlaid with silver. Something had died so that she could comb her dead hair. This amused her.
She ran the teeth slowly through the sleek icy bob. How long had she had she had this comb? She remembered that it was an antique. A gift from her mother, perhaps? Or maybe it had been passed down when her mother died. A piece of dead turtle from her dead mother to comb her dead hair. She laughed softly, white rectangles peeking out from behind rose colored lips and creamy skin. She slid a small clip into the hair just above her left ear. The elaborate little piece was carved, a dragonfly curled around a rose, delicate and detailed. In the center of the rose was a tiny skull. It was her favorite.
On the way out of the house, she gave herself final inspection in the hallway mirror. She ran her hands over her blue sheath dress and slipped on her coat, its crisp lines were echoed in the sharp triangle of her clutch. She smiled again. Whenever she smiled, she felt a buzzing, a rattle against the back of her teeth. She knew it must be her imagination, but she sensed a thousand flies beating their wings against the pristine enamel, pushing to get out. Sometimes she felt that she literally had frogs in her throat, but she had never seen one. She found the thought of being a creature full of other creatures more entertaining than macabre.
She had snakes sliding through her veins as well, their venom hissing through the arteries to her heart; invisible, but very real. Nobody knew, least of all Pestilence, who had been named Selene. Selene lived up to her name, cool as the moon, calm as the surface of the reflecting pond in the atrium where she spent an hour meditating every other afternoon. As far as anyone knew she was a lovely girl who added a certain elegance and grace to any room she entered. She was a woman who could turn heads in blue jeans or Prada. She made people uneasy and yet, charmed them with her warmth. She didn’t put on airs. She was the air; a flawless breeze.
Selene was the witty and gorgeous guest you wanted next to you at your event table. She was the most charming date of whom no parent could find fault. She donated to charity. She held season tickets to the ballet. She did yoga. She was always eager to pitch in when her church asked for volunteers. She drove an expensive, but not too ostentatious car. She never shared her love of dead things in polite company, even feigned the proper touch of disgust should a gruesome topic ever enter a conversation. She was a perfectly lovely girl.
And she was teeming with death and disease.