Her nails were coated in chipped stardust, a lit cigarette dangled between strong fingers. Crimson lips, slightly parted, exhaled smoke into the cold Winter night. She was here for a purpose, for a reason, for a person not even she knew; but she was here, waiting, watching. Silent. Dark glittering eyes taking in everything, missing nothing.
Words and voices, scents and movements, tastes and touches whirled about her, but she sat unmoving, the calm center in the eye of a human hurricane. Quiet. Still. Watching… always watching. They would find her, or she would find them… eventually, as always.
He watched her watching from across the smoke- filled bar, fascinated by her stillness, by her silence, by her worn black lace- up boots that looked like they’d seen more than their fair share of scuffles in the dark. He watched her and finally she noticed. Her gaze shifted to him and he wasn’t sure it was good, because oh dear god, she could see everything, knew everything, felt everything in just that one moment of locked eyes. His face paled, blood draining to vital organs in preparation to flee, and he turned abruptly and left, fled through the side door into the alley and then deeper into the velvet blackness.
Not fast enough, though, not fast enough by a long shot. Sharp pain, slicing through his body and throwing him to the ground. A thud and the world shifted and the ground was suddenly beside him instead of beneath him and there was something pinning him down. Face and palms pressed to the rain- slicked pavement, loose gravel burrowing into soft, terrified flesh.
How had she known? How had she seen? How? How? HOW?
He’d been so careful and so quiet and so quick and so neat. HOW?
He never found out how she found him or found out. Her knife, a beautiful black blade of silence and death and the endings of things, slashed swiftly down and opened his neck.
Carotid and Jugular, Subclavian and Aorta, all of them severed and pouring their precious, life- carrying liquid onto the pavement. Thirst unquenchable, rain or blood or worse things, the pavement drank it all in. Sucked it down through the cracks and fed it to the roots of the tenacious weeds that dared to grow where man had tried to assert his dominion. Fed their roots and gave them strength to flourish a little while longer.
She whistled, then, a sound that was soundless to human ears and her pack appeared from the just- beyond where they’d patiently waited. They sniffed her kill, then nodded their thanks and devoured the meat and bones and organs before them. Nothing went to waste. Then after licking their faces clean, and paws, too, of course, they howled together their thanks to their lady and then vaulted from this world back into the just- beyond, where they’d wait for their next meal.
The lady, with her nails coated in chipped stardust, crimson stained lips and scuffed, black boots turned to leave the alley. She’d found what she’d been waiting for. She flicked her lighter and lit her cigarette, smoke wreathed about her once again. She heard the rain as is started to fall, freed from the clouds oh so high above to descend to the waiting earth below. It would help the blood sink deeper beneath the pavement and further nourish the weeds that grew in the alley. Her painted lips curved upward, smiling.
She cleaned her knife so its blackened blade was no longer shiny with blood and sheathed it. She walked back out of the alley and down the street filled with lights and lovers and shoppers, people rushing to get home, rushing to get to dinner, to a date, to a late appointment. They rushed around her, swirling colors in the darkness. She was a slow- moving shadow amongst them, barely noticed or fully ignored. As it should be, as it almost always was. It was only when those who shouldn’t notice her, did, that there was an issue.
Her issue tonight came in the form of a small girl- child, maybe nine or ten, who looked right at her and smiled. The girl- child went back to walking with her mother, then, tiny hand in the somewhat larger one, no more attention paid to the woman cloaked in shadows and smoke. The child was one of the special ones, one of the few whose gifts hadn’t been medicated or beaten or shamed or scared into hiding. How interesting. How novel. How unsettling. She smiled to herself again, and hoped that the child would grow and keep her gifts intact, for she was getting tired of being the only one to exist in smoke and shadows, stardust nails and lipstick, black leather boots and a blackened knife.