The eyes of the beholder

Her shape shifted slowly until she seemed little more than a liquid shadow before him. Limbs lost their solid forms and faded into mist-like tentacles, squirming awkwardly. The tongue and lips withered instantly, seeming to creek and moan with every movement. The eyes, once blue and full of life, lay deep and dark in her face, void of any familiarity they had once held. Pus and blood oozed from the broken skin on her cheeks and hands, every movement causing new fissures and springs to erupt, as she reached out towards him… reaching… grasping at the thin air just inches short of his cloak.

He drew back with an angry hiss and spun to confront her. His face distorted in a mask that seemed as foreign to her as hers did to him. Who were they…. but the shadow of ghosts? She threw her head back with a shrill sound. Maybe laughter, maybe a despairing cry. Who knew. It was impossible to tell now. Whatever it was… it clung to the walls like a moist blanket… too thick and soggy to draw free of…. it just kept hanging there between them, resonating like music, threatening to shatter glass.

The mangled shape stepped a little closer towards him. It tried to talk. It used to be her and still somehow believed that it was. She tried frantically to compel some kind of recognition from him, tearomh desperately at the floaty fog that not long ago had been garments wrapped about her. Now it was as intangible as she herself was. As gruesome and repulsive. She could tell that he wanted to turn away, yet stood staring as if frozen in place. Frozen but for a single convulsion in his throat. He double over and retched, unceremoniously, never taking his eye off her. She couldn't look.

Slowly, she began to fade. Perhaps, if it were dawn one might have thought it the coming of the light that dispursed the mists that conjured her form… but in the heart of night there could be no such luxury. She simply faded. Painstakingly slowly. Slowly enough that she had time to reach out for him one last time, pleading with him to take her hand and hold on… to keep her there with him. But it was a look of disgust and hatred only that met the wrinkled and rotting hand. She saw it in his face all too clearly.

Swirling like mists in the morning sun the last throngs of presence spun about themselves, leaving only her grieving empty eyes visible and locked on him…. as if it was that very sight, causing the final sense of cohesion to dissipate. Perhaps, he heard her sobbing cry. A shift in his eyes just moments before she disappeared and clean night air took her place seemed to suggested it. Perhaps, it was his imagination playing tricks with him. Yet for a brif instant it hung in the air… her final words… seemingly so ambiguous and accusing…

… “please, don't do this”….

Then all fell silent. Only the night stood as it had. Blind and dark. Imposing and yet comforting in its own way…. leaving some vain credibility to the hope that when morning comes it would all just have been a terrible nightmare. And who know? It is, after all, all in the eye of the beholder.

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The eyes of the beholder

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