A Fissure in the IcebyUnsung Muse©
She had painted herself white.
As she stood in front of the full-length mirror admiring her handy work, she became vividly aware of the intense scent and gentle sting of greasepaint for the first time. It stirred something unknown in every inch of her flesh.
At one point she must have been thinking Geisha? Suddenly, that seemed trite. Cliché. But now where would she take this?
Lost in the mirror, it was as if she was seeing herself for the first time. Covered as she was in the thick aromatic paste, she both looked and felt more naked than she had ever been. And beautiful – how the paint fractured slightly around each nipple. It invoked images of delicately lined bone china caught in a pretty web of crosshatched patterns with the passing of time. Pristine beauty laced with even finer detail – character not damage – lovely fissures in the ice.
Her eyes burned and watered a little. She realized they might become quite red and irritated as the night progressed. She would need a mask or a veil... something to detract from or hide this.
But would he know her, behind a mask? Did she want him to? And why was she incapable of planning in advance like everyone else?
She had known about the party for more than a month now. Others would be stunningly adorned in elaborate rented costumes. But she approached this in the way she approached everything. Head first, no forethought, she plunged without knowing what lay before her. Forever watching herself from outside her own body and as surprised by the outcome as any bystander might be.
Her left leg had been iced-white up to mid-thigh before she had even realized she might actually accept the invitation.
Whitest white. Colorless. Had she thought to erase herself? If so, it had backfired.
Despite still having no idea what the end result of this strange transformation might be, she was pleased. All she knew now was that she would most certainly be visible and that she no longer wished to cover what she had inadvertently exposed.
Of course, she could not attend a Halloween party dressed in nothing but greasepaint. Could she?
She toyed with the idea, playfully batting it around in her minds-eye. Entering a crowded room to a collective gasp. The women would cluck and hiss, attempt to divert the attentions of their escorts. She would appear not to notice this, head held high, wearing a well-practiced expression borrowed from the Mona Lisa. And he would feel the air in the room change. He would turn to locate the reason for the sudden halt in conversation. And he would see her. The murmur would dull to throbbing around him and time would freeze as he approached her. He would tell her that he thought it quite impossible for her to be even more beautiful in reality than the vision he had held tight in his mind for all these years. He would say neither written description nor photograph nor video had done her the slightest justice. She would tip her head toward him slightly in polite receipt of the compliment. She would smile knowingly, but she would not speak. She would endeavor to remain that perfect image from his mind – the object of his lust come to life.
But as the night wore away, so would the paint.
* * *
Three and a half years ago, their strange tryst had consumed her. Casual flirtation had given way to a darker obsession. Harmless correspondence had spawned long soul wrenching hours of carnal bleeding, but all this with mere words. Just words. Distance and detachment had allowed them both to purge something base that lurked inside – without shame or hesitation. The things you think but never dare say, not even to yourself. Secrets born of a part of the brain that failed to evolve beyond raw animal lust.
As with all things, for her, none of it was planned. Head first into a seemingly still glasslike pool, only to have it swallow her – freeze around her and halt her breathing. Encased in a trap she herself had helped lay.
But the costumes, they came much later.
This was a game they would play. When the words were no longer enough to sate them, the tasks – the assignments – had begun. He would set the stage, request the apparel and theme: forever the off-site director wielding his control from afar. And she would always comply – the artist in her – rising to the challenge with fervor.
She would lose herself in these sweet secret missions. Her frightfully vivid imagination craved them. The resulting footage never failed to exceed his wildest expectations.
But the tapes were for him alone. The performance itself being the main event for her, she never kept copies for herself. In truth, she had only reviewed portions the first couple of times. And that was just until she mastered the position of the camera, the angle that would catch the full-length reflection, the confines of the frame, and the lighting.
Since then, there had been upwards of seventeen of these intensely intimate moving portraits. Each installment dramatically overshadowed its predecessor. But it was always in this mirror... always only in the mirror. And she found some fool-hearty comfort in knowing she only ever gave him a recorded reflection, as if that held something of her 'true self' back.
This game had spanned roughly eighteen months.
Funny now that the first seemingly genuine request for in-person contact would come in the form of a Halloween party invitation. He had upped the anti. It would seem tonight he aimed to see that which was reflected... to discover what flaws the mirror may have kept from his gaze. Or, had he changed the game now in attempt to restore her interest, to reclaim something she had taken away?
With the exception of the arrival of the invitation, it had been over six months since even a word had passed between them. It had all stopped. She had stopped it. She told herself it was so she could breathe again. In the beginning she had been unaware of the dark pressure rising up around her. But in time, it made her feel she was drowning. Swallowing thick mud. Inhaling clay. Pulled inside out and exposed for the wretched creature she secretly felt herself to be. Raw and naked, but far from beautiful – a bloated corpse dragged from the bottom of a lake after the thaw.
This mirror had been such a large part of all that. It had offered up her soul to the camera. It had become a portal – a gateway – but tonight it only reflected back what stood before it. Ashen. Drained of color. But beautiful, proud, free...
So why, in any guise, would she willingly walk herself back to that dark place?
Suddenly, this was the thing. The exercise. She understood this to be a ritual she had to undertake. She was never going to his party. She knew it now completely. She had gone through the motions, but she had never been working toward a costume.
She had striped herself of body-hair, soaked herself in fragrant oils, painted fingernails and toes a glistening pearly white, painstakingly rid lips and nipples of distinguishing hue, and smoothed the thick cool white mud lavishly over her skin.
She had washed away what she believed he had made of her. She had cocooned herself for an awakening.
* * *
But the exquisite white creature that stood before her now... had known all of this already. Of course.
The smile that came to her lips now felt like it lifted her off the ground. Elated. Renewed. Restored. She breathed dizzying scents in deeply. A powerful thirst came over her, as though she had just risen from a long dreamless sleep.
She couldn't remember feeling this alive. Awake.
Floating, she retrieved the bottle of champagne she had set to chilling on ice earlier. Presumably, purchased as an offering for her Hallows Eve host? Her own soft giddy laughter echoed back to her, as she popped the cork and poured herself a glass to overflowing. She raised the glass to her reflection in a light-hearted toast.
As she drank deeply from the flute, she paid little mind to the sweet erupting bubbles that streamed down her chin and traced a dainty line of flesh between her breasts down to her belly. But, when she lowered the glass, she sucked in her breath audibly at the image before her. The sparkling nectar had drawn a seam down her middle, beckoning her to release the fragile shell. She followed it with her index finger, trailing it hesitantly at first, as if she might disturb it... a cracked porcelain doll about to split... a fractured dam set to burst.
These images too made her giggle – cheerfully chided for such mental melodrama. But, then again, what else was new! Her twisted brain was prone to it. She had no desire to quash this delicious detour. How she ached to lose herself again. And, clearly, it was her game now.
She threw back her head whimsically and, with a sly smile, tipped the glass in mock accident toward the base of her neck. She reveled in the remarkably vivid patterns that resulted. Bare rosy flesh revealed in slow ribbons – crisscrossing, branching, entangling, entwining, joining and separating. It was hypnotic.
She refilled her glass and sipped indulgently while her free hand demonstrated it was indeed free... exhibited a mind of it's own. It played naughtily in the milky mess left in the wake as the champagne chased the paint. Tracing out elaborate designs, circles and swirls, finger-painting. Occasionally smoothing it back to ready-and-waiting white canvas... to begin again.
In graceful fluid motions, she moved the ice bucket to the floor from its tentative perch on the small cushioned seat from her vanity table and slid the seat with her foot before the mirror. Mindless of the effects of greasepaint on fabric she lowered herself onto it. She purred while spreading long lean painted legs wide and holding the icy wet bottle between her thighs – firmly against herself, back arched – letting the delightful shock shoot through her, before pouring herself another glass and returning the bottle to the bucket on the floor. Her left hand held the champagne flute against her lips (pink again now, a rebel bloom in the snow), as the right resumed its willful journey. Her clumsy champagne glass continued to allow the occasional sparkling drop to spill out, racing to lubricate the right hands' path.
It's amazing what the over-active imagination can do, when one lives outside oneself. Especially when the blood rushes to feed a more demanding center. She – her conscious self – was gone now, but the adventure had just begun...
* * *
Navigating the melting snows, pretty fingers slid – agile skiers – down the steep smooth slope, expertly skirting the treacherous naval, drawn by gravity and the force of longing toward a silky swollen bud. Visibly deepening in hue and rising in insistence, presenting them with an unmistakable destination – a sleek pink beacon in its stark white surroundings. It eagerly showed its plump rosy self in delighted anticipation of their arrival – the ravenous hostess awaiting weary travelers at the bottom of the trail. She called out to them... beckoned them inside to get warm. Shamelessly boasting her 'chalet' was worth braving those icy slopes for.
Hungry too, they willingly accepted this invitation. Four slid in together, right past her, and indulgently burrowed themselves in soft folds of slick flesh until the chill from outside had passed. Their temperatures climbed quickly, readily adapting to their cozy new haven. But their engorged hostess paid little mind to their diverted attentions, occupied as she was by the long slow rhythmic kisses of their chubbier fifth companion.
Knowing full well she would encourage their relentless familiarity, the playful foursome made themselves right at home. She always gave them the run of the place. They bathed themselves in milky sweetness and – as their collective senses told them their lusty hostess was fervently humming in the throws of her own gratification – the impish little nymphs took turns plunging into the deeper heat that sucked them in lovingly and licked them clean of their snowy trappings. Their newly-found nakedness now blushed pink, as they melted into softly textured walls that hugged them tightly and then yawned sweetly... let them go. The horny little ski bunnies glistened as they dipped -- now two and three at a time -- into the deliciously fragrant pool. They wriggled with pleasure as it drew them in deeper and faster each time.
Propelled by envy – either drawn to the warmth or anticipating avalanche – an icy gush of chilled champagne streamed down to join them. They thirstily welcomed this cool shower. It gave them unneeded cause to warm themselves all over again...
* * *
Back on another plane of consciousness, the glass that champagne had escaped from was (quite recklessly and rather brutally) abandoned and now rang out a shrill cry of pain as it rolled across the hardwood floor. The one who dropped it – jolted back into being by the harsh unexpected sound, but reluctant to resurface – inadvertently spurred forward. Her left hand and face and shoulder mashed hard against the cold mirror. Still thickly white and slick with greasepaint, they slid upon contact, emitting a high-pitched screech while leaving stark oily smears. The vanity seat was kicked off to the side as she turned around – still sliding – her upper back pushed forcibly against the icy surface of the mirror.
Eyes wide open she focused on the camera lens. She dared it. Issued it this last challenge, eye to eye.
The mirror had been painted over. She appeared to dangle from it now by the head and shoulders – a puppet, a doll – as her hips jarred forward and her legs began to give way. All of her weight now seemed to be supported by a powerful unseen force. It kept her upper-body glued tightly to the grimy mirror and filled her with a strange delicious terror. Her quivering right foot triumphed in finding an elevated perch on the discarded vanity seat. Her right hand had never abandoned the warm wet pleasures she had lost it to, and now – with leg raised and spread wide – her left hand slid gratefully from mirror to shoulder to breast to belly to join it.
Sharp intake of breath, heart-pounding intoxication, dizzying full-body quake... falling. Would she fall into the waiting mirror when she came? Would it open up and swallow her, rapidly freeze back over her and keep her there – suspended at the height of ecstasy – like that, for him forever?
She had never been his puppet. She had never been under his control. She had invented those strings, made herself his plaything. It had always been her game. But to imagine he presided over it, over her – dare she admit it – had excited her like nothing else.
Icy pain-come-pleasure ripped through her body. The loud crack of her head thrown back into the mirror accompanied the sweet unbridled cries issued by her throat. The vanity seat slid with a horrid screech out from under her trembling foot.
The willful broken white doll heaved, collapsed and crumpled to the floor.
* * *
"I found myself distracted while dressing for your party. Thank you for the invitation. Maybe next year..."
The note had arrived at the party by taxi. It was attached rather haphazardly to a soggy paper bag. Inside, an open semi-chilled half-empty bottle of champagne – wet and running with strange mottled white handprints – three smudged shards of broken mirror, and a tape.
* * *