Mirror, Mirror Ch. 01bySilken_Steel©
The world is now painted in the crimson of sex and the dark secret colour of fear. Other emotions and colours are leeched and blackened by the waiting, the expectation of punishment. Flashes of intensity and rebellion break through, but I control them.
It wasn't always this way. One of the strongest memories from after my father died and my step-mother became the cold and hungry Queen of everything:
Curled up on the cold stone window seat, raggedy-hemmed dress underneath me to keep my feet from touching the chill, I talked to the mirror. We whispered in the dark often; me trying to make sense of the changes in my life, and sympathetic to a girl whose memories of loving safety were almost as fresh as the welts stinging on her back.
"I think," I said slowly, "that she's so horrible because she can't have any children of her own. That's why she hates me." I was only nine.
The mirror was silent, turning his floating face away from me into the blackness on his side of the glass.
"What?" I asked, fearful of being childish.
"You search for goodness in one who has none," he replied heavily. "You think evil must be the result of some tragedy." There was another long silence. "It's not."
I didn't say anything. Sometimes silence achieved more with the mirror than the prompt of a question.
"She did have children once, long ago," he continued. "Before she became powerful."
Quietly, I waited for the rest. Mirror's stories always finished with a strong ending.
"I was one of them."
* * * * *
My dress, no longer ragged, whispers against my legs as I climb the narrow tower stairs. The stone steps wind up into the pressing darkness, lit dimly by the candle sputtering in my hand. The queen does not permit me to have a candle holder. I think she likes to imagine the hot wax dripping onto my hand, to know that if I want light, I must choose pain over my fear of the dark.
When I was a child, I'd bounded up to my tower room, eager to escape the endless chores and petty humiliations dreamed up by my step-mother. Now I walk slowly, my long legs carrying an adult weight, plus my burdens of anticipation and dread. The cold iron collar at my throat, full of heavy enchantment and sordid malice, wears away at my body and my will. I feel it with every step.
I've learned the skill of hemming over many candle-lit nights, using the silk threads teased from the fabric and a broken needle smuggled with careful slight-of-hand from the floor of the seamstresses' workroom.
It took me far longer than it should to realize my step-mother let me make my careful alterations because it pleases her to keep me on the barest edges of dignity. How much amusement could I provide if I slipped into abject servitude? The work I put into my garments creates an illusion of modesty, one she delights in stripping away on a whim.
Everything I wear is a cast-off from her closet, from the enormous boudoir where she keeps her endless wardrobe. The dresses start as resplendent silks and satins, elaborate and beautiful, but by the time she drops them at my feet with a knowing, cruel smile, they are rags, ripped by her partners' desires, stained with their desperate sweat and the results of their coupling.
Often she makes me wait in attendance on her while she receives her paramours, men drawn by the intensity of her dark eyes and the candle-lit sprawl of her curves. They pause briefly in the doorway to take in the rounded shadows and breathe in the musky scent of her arousal and -- no matter their intention beforehand -- be drawn deep into her, passing me without a thought or a glance.
She lets them live for a few days. But in the end, she breaks them all, drains them all, leaving nothing behind but the husks, withered piles of white sticks curved like bone, but without its strength, bound together by the flaking parchment of old skin. I gather them up, with reverence if she allows me, and take them to her garden, where I bury them in neat careful rows.
Unpredictably, on random nights, she sweeps out into the garden, trailing silk and darkness behind her, to examine her 'conquests', walking between the carpets of flowers to finger the mementos on each grave-marker. It pleases her to fix a reminder on each of the crosses -- a ring, a brooch, a scrap of their cloak, so she can summon to mind their flavour as she strolls through. Her fingers will trail absentmindedly over her trophies, and she will smile to herself in feral, sharp-toothed satisfaction.
During her gloating walks, she often clips a leash from my iron collar to her jeweled belt, or dangles it from one negligent white hand. These times she might speak of the men, of the intensity of their desire, the hardness of their cocks, the desperation of the thrusting. Watching my face to see my reaction. If I give her none -- for my tears had dried up long ago, and I find it difficult to fake distress past the numbness ruling my life -- she draws me in closer, hand over hand on the leash, and echoes the stories she tells.
Her long-fingered hands trace the curve of my breasts, dipping inside my bodice to spill them out into the crisp night air, so she can enjoy the sight of the hardening points, and brush a glistening nail against the tips. Her voice hisses in my ear as she presses herself against me, thrusting her knee between my legs, and working my skirt up my thighs.
"You wish it was you," her favourite whispered theme, "spread open, wet and waiting. Your sweet little pussy stretched, opened, filled." The queen's fever-hot hands slide up my bare skin to find my heat, and the quivering, wet lips of my inner-most self. I always tremble at this point in her ritual, with fear and longing. Sometimes she strokes me gently before the pain, easing one fingertip inside my slick folds. "You slut." She draws her hand out of my body, and rubs my wetness between her finger and thumb, her other hand twining in my hair, a sharp pull to jerk my head. She stares into my normally downcast eyes, the lines of contempt on her face. "With the men, I have to use a little spellcasting, a little help to bring on mindless lust, but with you..." she would trail off, her perfect face hard with derision. "You're naturally a desperate little whore, are you not?"
The words change, but the meaning behind them never varies, and the ending remains the same. Her hands become cruel, pinching and kneading my sensitive breasts, flicking her nails at my clit, harshly pulling the soft curls surrounding my pussy. I end on my knees, face pressed hard into the fabric of her skirts, breathing in the faint scent of lavender and the underlying smell of hunger.
Nails digging into my scalp, she grinds my face into the cloth, her unnatural strength keeping me imprisoned as the bone under her pubic mound grinds against my mouth. The thick smell winds its way through me, into my limbs, making them weak. The skin of my chest flushes red and grows hot, my breasts changing into something heavier and fuller. I grip the sides of my dress, pressing the mended seams into my palms so I will remember why I should not open my mouth, or reach to touch my aching flesh. If I give in, perhaps she will give in to her hunger too.
And then who will bury my corpse in the garden?