In a Centaurian world gone mad, ruled by the madder, she stalks. The maddest of them all, her name is Blue.
She crouches in a dank, skintight alley. Sleek and poised. She waits for him, whoever he might be.
“He would be,” she had often told the maidens who attended her, “dark-haired and tall. As a rule. And chaste. Pure as driven snow.”
The allusion had been lost on all but one maiden, the only one old enough to remember snow. “But, madam,” she had said, “Cannot even a man pure of heart and innocent, succumb if infected with lust?” Blue had responded only with a sly smile, showing even, white teeth.
Back in the alley, Spandex creaks as she stands, moaning like a lover clinging to every curved nuance of her lithe body. Bristly short blonde hair shines from the edges of her black mask as she moves deeper into the darkness of the alley. A brushed-silver utility belt accents her hourglass figure, swaying with her hips as she walks. A black weapon, a handgun of some type, rides her left hip, goofy-footed, grip facing forward, for use by her right hand in a cross-body motion.
To the old woman crouched at the back of the alley, it is as if a blue liquid is moving towards her, the shadow of a person in haze. Then the haze solidifies. Blue towers over the old woman as she clutches a tattered shopping bag to her chest. The old woman feels warm breath on her forehead and asks in a wavering voice, “Who are you?”
The old woman jerks reflexively at the harshness of the voice but the breath that propels it smells of fresh bread. The old woman’s heartbeat quickens as the memory of bread bursts within her like lust but her mouth can raise no saliva. She coughs and shakes her head. In a moment, shock and despair retake her. She speaks sotto voce, “What do you want with me?”
Blue grabs the old woman’s bag and tugs. “Why do you think I want anything with you? Because I came up to you? It’s free country, you know. I can walk up to whomever I please. Do we understand each other?” The old woman releases her bag and puts her hands up in surrender.
Later in her chambers, Blue empties the contents of the bag on her bed: a change purse, a Virginia State quarter, a bent paperclip, fingernail clippers, an empty lipstick, a small vial of poison, and the fragment of a poem:
In jasmine blooms and white marble tombs my lover’s heart still lies.
Uninterested in the items, her concubine runs his thumb lightly over the crescent moon tattooed in the valley of her right hip. “Damn,” he says. “That must have hurt.” He leans down and presses his lips over the tattoo and slides his hand between her legs.
“Wasn’t bad,” she says. “A tattoo is a lot like life; you bear with the pain for a bit then it’s over.” She props herself on her elbow and lays a hand on his, guiding. There is blood under her fingernails. “Here,” she says. “Like this.”