Published in Issue 18 of Visionary Tongue, 2003.

Before her stood her own image. A lone figure framed in air, then supported on equal points at its middle, held upright by wrought iron towers of twisted black knots. Studying herself as though she were the art her image made her out to be, she saw nothing that would distinguish her from any other naked woman. Long moist jet black and freshly dyed, her hair had been separated into tiny columns by her imitation ivory and silver comb which now rested on the cherry wood vanity next to her. Her pale flesh starkly contrasted all the blackness surrounding her. A skinny body with faint curves and oddly placed bones sticking out from her flesh. She could easily count her ribs in the image opposite her. Small breasts hung like any others, pink nipples upturned, looking to heaven seeking redemption. She took a step closer to herself and looked at her face haloed by the wet blackness of her hair, again, very plain. A long, oval face with thin lips and high cheekbones, her large brown eyes were all that truly stood out. She dare not smile at her image, hating the crooked expression that would be thrown back at her. Looking into the mirror she saw herself for who she really was: all the pain, all the hope, her empty heart.
This made her think of him. His beautiful face had been floating about in her thoughts for some time now. Last week she had finally approached him while the little nothing her was with was up dancing. She spoke to him briefly, asking him if he knew a friend of hers, just an excuse to talk to him. With a dismissive tone, he said that he did not know her friend. Agitated by his lack of interest, not something she was familiar with from the men she talked to, she had actually surprised him as well as herself by lifting her top and bra and asking whether or not he liked her breasts. Before he could recover from his state of shock, she had walked off. This week however, she was going to speak to him. She had planned exactly what she was going to say. She would of course have to wait until his young admirer wondered off. The girl was foolish to leave such a beautiful man alone for too long. The fashionably gothic teenager was no match for her skilled charms and seduction techniques that had been proven time after time.
Again she stood in front of the mirror and studied her own metamorphosis into Gothic Faerie Queen. A simple crown composed of fake plastic petals and stems, woven into a beautiful crown, artfully tangled into her now matted black nest of hair. Her face she had painted the appropriate gothic mask of white, carefully outlined in the most intricate design of black lines that highlighted her large eyes and small mouth. Her slim figure had been carefully poured into a long sleeve tight fitting black dress, held together at the midsection by an antique, red, boned under bust corset, tightly cinched in to accentuate her small waist. Black stiletto boots laced to the knee, added height as well as the last sensual blow. She was transformed and ready to stalk.
As discreetly as a Queen can enter a place, she appeared through the doorway of the loud club, screaming and heavy bass assaulting her ears, sweaty bodies thrashing ceremoniously together as if performing a sacred ritual, contorted before her while her eyes adjusted to the erratic lighting. Lights flashed on and off, the smell of smoke slithered into her nose with a slight tang of alcohol following on its tail. None of this bothered her, this was her realm, these, her people. She saw him immediately. He was standing King-like at he bar, casually waiting for a drink. Her stomach tied itself in knots at the sight of his beautiful dark form. He was wearing a long black velvet skirt, a maroon tight fitting sleeveless girl’s top with a slash across the chest, with black and white tights stretched down his long arms. She could picture him in her bed, beads of sweat across his brow, hands exploring every curve of her body. Keeping that thought in mind, she walked over to the bar, slowly, conscious of every seductive move her body made. He was leaning against the bar; his long red streaked black hair cascading behind him as he watched the dancing figures collected in the middle of the crowded club. Curious, the Faerie Queen looked to see whom he was watching with such intensity. A long- haired girl dancing from her hips was looking back. She smiled and mouthed words of love to her lover. He smiled and returned the sentiment. At this, the Faerie Queens heart froze under a weight of icy jealousy, and pungent hate. It was the girl from last week. Surprised by the foreign emotions, she pushed them down, focusing on her confidence in herself and her abilities. She had to get his attention away from the temptress dancing across the room.
“Can I get you a drink?” She gazed at him from under her painted lashes and gave him a coy hinting look. He stared at her, studying her for a moment. His eyes covered by a film of red coloured contacts. His face was pale and thin, cheekbones standing out above the chiselled shape of his nose, his feminine lips painted in a whore’s red, his eyes surrounded by perfect rings of faded black. He took her breath away with the one look. She wanted to melt against him.
“Vodka and coke.” She wasn’t sure if she had heard him correctly, captivated by his hypnotic gaze; all sound had been drowned out, faded into static behind his eyes. He repeated his request, an indefinable smile playing in his beautiful lips. She wanted to press her own against them, but restrained herself, barely. Tearing herself away from his stunning look she ordered two of the drinks. She looked up to take in more of his beauty and noticed that his gaze had returned to one of love and was once more directed to the clumsy girl, dancing on her own. Her six long plaits were whipping around her head like Medusa’s snakes. She was too thin and looked awkward in her own body. Every few beats, she would loose rhythm and have to find it again, clumsily fumbling to keep up to the complex song. She was pathetic.
The Faerie Queen turned back to see her prize begin to walk toward a table. Hastily, she paid the barmaid and followed him. Standing next to his impressive figure, she turned to face him, leaning her elbow on the table; she displayed her own stunning figure. She could feel heavy stares from various other patrons in the loud club, male and female alike; she looked around drawing confidence from them. She caught the eye of many people: a pink haired girl with various piercing adorning her face; a short wide girl tightly laced into an outfit which was easily a size too small; a tall bleached blonde male dressed in a red and black striped top, all were staring at her. Perhaps some were jealous at her closeness to their King, perhaps staring in lust for her own body. Taking a step closer so that she was only a hairsbreadth from his tempting flesh, she leaned over to his ear and spoke. “I am Mab.”
A bit startled at her soft voice in his ear, he turned to face her, surprised to find her lips to be very near his own. “Kern.” She hungrily watched the movement of his lips. She closed her eyes and leaned in, hoping to capture his lips in a sweet kiss of desire. She had to have him, the proximity of their bodies stressing this point. She made a vow to herself right here and now to have him. She leaned in closer and came into intimate contact with nothing but air.
Shocked, she opened her eyes and met with the sight of two lovers locked in a passionate reunion of lips. Appalled, she closed her wide eyes and shook her head. That kiss was hers! Opening her eyes, she saw Medusa standing before her, six long snakes now hanging lifeless from her head. Her arms were wrapped around Kern, a smile across her sweaty round face.
“Mab, this is Angel. My Angel,” he spoke to her, looking down at Medusa. Recovering her composure, Mab smiled an oversweet smile and shook the girl’s hand. “Angel and I are to be married next spring.” Kern spoke lovingly, while Angel just beamed. To Mab, it was impossible that he spoke the truth; such a match was too displaced to be true. His presence towered above all and she was hardly noticeable among all the other weekend Goths. He was everything, and she nothing. Mab decided that he must be entertaining one of her childish whims until he could simply throw her aside, never to think of her again. This must be it, thought Mab as she resumed her stalking mode.
A new song began to shriek over the speakers and Angel kissed Kern before she went off to dance. Mab looked away disgusted, not wanting to see their intimacy. When Angel had gone, Mab suggested that they sit, carefully choosing a booth facing away from the dance floor so she could capture his full attention. Mab thought that once she proposed, he would happily discard the young girl that clung to him. And so she set to work seducing him. She told him of herself and her life, finding it easy to speak to him, and dragged as much about him out as she could, finding it frustrating that he spoke so little. Angel came over every so often between dances to kiss Kern and speak to the seemingly innocent presence of Mab. Always full of smiles, she made Mab feel ill.
As closing time neared, Mab made her move. She dragged Kern out into the corridor, professing that she wanted to talk to him for a moment sans all the heavy music interrupting their conversation. When they were both behind the closed doors, she pinned him against the wall and asked him to come home with her, to help her quell her high sex drive. She asked with as much desire and insinuation in her voice as she could muster. Leaning in to whisper what she would do to him as soon as she got him alone, she felt firm hands on her stomach, pushing her back. Confused, she looked down to see the hands belonged to Kern. He looked at her, studying her more intently than he had all night. This was it she had him! Then a puzzling look crossed Kerns’ face, one of agitation and disgust as he spoke to Mab, “No, Mab, no. I don’t want you.” Confusion spun Mab’s comprehension and she struggled to find meaning to the rest of his poison laced words. “ I love Angel, she is my light. You can go back home alone and fuck yourself, maybe that will help.” Then he walked off. Fighting to ignore the stinging behind her eyes, the explosion of disappointment in her chest, she followed him back into the club, to plead her case, but saw him go to Angel, take her in his arms and whisper in her ear. A look of sadness crossed her face and she looked at Mab, disapproval and obvious disappointment evident in her expression.
Mab left right then, her face red from the blatant rejection. She could not handle those pitying feelings emanating from her King and his Queen. On the drive home, tears smeared her mask and caused it to run down her face. Her Queenly being quivered in such hurt and rejection that the Jaguar staggering back and forth between the lanes was a welcome presence as it smashed into her. As Mab lay across the steering wheel of her car, blood freely flowing from all over her body where glass and metal had opened her, she perceived her own looming death as a release. Now she could go home to the land of the faeries. For she had met the love in her life and had been painfully rejected by him. She knew that life would no longer be worth the effort without him beside her. As her last breath gently fled her lips, Kern was on her mind, while only a few miles away, he was also on his Angel locked together in passions embrace, both of them were happy and blissfully unaware.

© Rain O’Brian

“Rain O’Brian is a very promising writer with a firm grip on the descriptive and a lively and complex imagination. This story has a mix of everything, from the gothic to the myths of the faerie and the Gods of Olympus. A modern tragedy of love that the reader can relate to I enjoyed working with Rain in developing the strength of this story and look forward to reading more work by this author.”

Mischa Laurent