She whirled down the wide corridor with both elegance and haste, her long dark coat flowing out behind her like a cape with her dress following suit below. Her heels clacked across the bright tiled floor like the keys of a typewriter, cluttering away at the story that she was yet to unfold. She’d passed by many in her attempt to make it to the apartment above, a lofty abode at the highest level of the 30 storey building, smiling at the young man in the fedora as he passed by her, a knowing smile crossing both their lips as knowledge writhed between them like a concealed snake.
She arrived at the apartment with a swift opening of the door, her coat sweeping off her arms and hooking against the wooden coat hanger behind the door with a deft flick of her wrist. She shut the door with her foot as she placed her hat atop her coat revealing her long ash-brown hair tied into a ponytail down her back. She placed her arms around her shoulders in a mock attempt to keep warm as a draft blew in from the open window.
“You looking to catch a cold?” She asked jokingly at the man standing at the window, looking forlorn in his slick grey suit as he watched the passing clouds. The man waved a hand dismissively at her,
“Why do you care?”
She smiled at the comment, flitting across the room towards the chest high bookcase standing against the wall.
“I don’t but…” She shrugged.
A mirror encased in a gold frame hung above the bookcase, revealing her reflection of her rather pale skin with the peppering of brown freckles running across her cheeks and nose; the young bookworm look she’d been told. She took a furtive glance at her emerald eyes from behind her spectacles, seeing more than anyone else would within those enchanting eyes, before she turned her attention to the books lining the inside of the mahogany structure, her small fingers gripping the tiny golden handles and pulling the doors open.
The man spoke, his voice bearing the tone of one who was not willing to talk but forced to,
“You look different today, do something with your hair?” She looked at the man through the reflection of the mirror,
“Is that all that you noticed?” She asked. The man took a quick glance towards her, his bright grey eyes catching sight of her dark green eyes and he quickly looked back out towards the clouds. She noticed that his normally slick black hair was now an unkempt mess from the wind blowing against him and the front of his suit had been torn to reveal a dirty streaked white shirt, open to reveal an unsightly pot-belly; the wind ruffled the clothing.
“Why the dark garb?” He sighed,
She placed a finger on the spine of a book, a novella of sorts before she pulled it out to read the synopsis on the back,
“I’m attending a funeral.” She replied casually, as she waltzed towards the man. She pretended to be enthralled by the book though from her peripheral she was aware that he had shuffled further from the window to move away from her. She opted for the lustrous leather couch instead and sat on the rather cold seat, tucking her legs beneath her as she opened to a random page in the book and started reading as though she knew exactly where she was. The man was becoming agitated, shuffling at the window and breathing heavier until he finally spoke,
She remained silent. Reading. The man shuffled again, closer to the woman now rather than away.
“If you are here…” The man continued, “… then you know what has happened…”
“Yes.” she replied without looking up, “You lost everything and now you are about to commit suicide. How clichéd.” She replied in a rather bored voice
“So are you here to watch?”
“Naturally.” She kept her gaze transfixed on the book, aware that the tension in the room had risen considerably and that the man was now attempting to shuffle back into the room from the window.
“Well I’m not jumping!” The man uttered, his voice rising to something of a whine, like a pig that has realized that it is on the wrong side of the fence and it cannot get to its mud.
“Hmmm we both know that’s not true.” She breathed out, exasperated, “Of course you are going to jump, that is why I am here.”
“Well…well you can’t force me…” the man cried, almost truly whining now and she found him to be rather pathetic; his mask was finally coming off. No longer was he the suave business man who made it big with all the right choices but rather the lost man who had let his ambitions drive his life forward while driving everyone and everything else away. Now here he was alone, standing on the ledge of a window with his beer belly pouting out; the epitome of lost pride.
“What have you got to live for…you’ve lost everything.” She said to him, flipping over a page, “Now your lying lips must be silenced, for with pride and contempt you have spoken arrogantly… ”
“No! No, no, no! You cannot!”
“But I must.”
“I still have my life…I can rebuild…I can…I can ask for forgiveness and be restored! I go to church don’t I? I believe God….” he was interrupted by her laughter and although it was rather melodious, there was no mistaking the malice within. With a sigh she turned to look towards him, her lips opening to speak; a monotonous voice rose from deep within her throat that was unlike anything he had ever heard, his hands automatically moved to shut his ears but he could not shut the voice out.
“There they cry out but He does not answer, because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not listen to an empty cry, Nor will the Almighty regard it.” She rose from the couch in one swift movement, in almost a blink she was standing by the window now, her head level with the back of his legs as he attempted to shuffle back towards the window.
“You know…” she continued, placing her hands on the man’s calves and gripping him tightly in place,
“They say Pride comes before a fall…”
In response to the March Pictonaut Challenge:
For the woefully uninitiated, the Pictonaut Challenge is decidedly non-herculean. You have one month to summon up 1,000 words from the dark and mystic recesses of your brain-meat, the ones all filled with cobwebs and things with far too many eyes and a seemingly unnatural number of legs. these 1,000 words (eldritch or otherwise) will form a short story or “wordascope.” The completion of this story in the allotted time and the sharing of it with the world at large, will gain your admittance to the lofty and august ranks of the Pictonauts.
March’s Pictonaut Challenge