I still remember the smell of it. That's really the one thing that stays with me.
It was in a place uptown, a few days ago. The door was ajar, and most of the lights were on the floor in piles of broken glass. I saw people on the floor, dead from whatever struck them as a good idea. I could hear the soft scream of a man setting himself on fire, all the while facing the darkest corner of the room, with a huge smile on his face. Like he was doing something magnificent, something to be praised.
Another person, I think it was a woman, had cut her face so that the lines of blood formed a mask around her eyes and mouth. She had her hands raised, as if giving this carnal sacrifice to God or Whatever. She staggered to the corner the flaming man was facing, hands raised, mouthing a prayer, or a curse, or maybe a plea. She fell before she got too far.
The smell reached me then. Sweet-rot, like corpses buried under fall leaves. Something you smell when you’re walking through a forest and you know something is after you. The smell of the fanged thing under the latticed porch.
And then, I saw Her.
She was the One sitting in the corner. Her hand slithered out of the dark to wrap two fingers around the stem of a glass of absinthe, garnished with a lily. That hand was covered with swirling blue tattoos, and it was glorious, that hand.
Her name was Lily, and we were Hers. We always were.
She was perfect.
And I wanted Her.