It ends with the door slamming after she is shown out. And then it ends again as the door opens and her shoe is thrown out after her. She makes an effort to rise but he has his foot on the fullness of her dress. Her mistake was in falling.
The sky opens up a red blade. Her prince is watching and waiting for her to rise again. If his fury were not so latent it would be obvious. The princess staggers to her feet, gives him a cock-eyed look. He measures his knife against her throat, hands her a box of matches, invites her to light the emery of his stubble. She knows it is no use, but she lifts her trembling fingers to his jaw. He shudders at the sudden cold.
What did they tell you? he croaks into her ear
She can barely remember. Adrenaline drills into her finger tips.
What? Forgetful my princess? Surely not. Try harder.
He presses home his advantage. Tiny beads of blood rise to bracelet her wrist.
Fancy a shag?
A cormorant lifts itself, heckling her memory.
They told me to hide in the sea.
Which sea? Let's think of words that begin with C.
The sea that surrounded the castle.
For how long?
For the time being and until my presence was necessary.
And when would a princess, who is after all only a thing that begins with C, be necessary?
He closes in. She stumbles through the dirty rooms of his mind, trailing apologies, hearing everything collapsing behind her.
He catches her by the hem of her argument, lays her down in a sweaty band of gold. How can he use all these ephemeral elements to bring his desire to fruition? The thing about women is that they split like fruit. He is an animal toying with her.
Ladies, he purrs, are not protected in the human world. he places a paw on her breast, claws out. The first the mouse knows is the smart of being opened.
He reads the signs, the skin's uncensored diary. He sees a ship going down, he sees how little he means, and how large he is. He beats upon her rib-cage: Open up this door I say. But when the latches of her chest are sprung all that remains is the smell of blood, and the sound print of her voice crumpling the air: Fuck off Perseus. As if all this glory never happened.
The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele