The pattering rain welcomed Kandy rising from the depths of her home. As she climbed the stairs, feet padding the warm carpet, the scent of the rain carrying a hint of evergreens invited her to the window of the empty bedroom on the second floor. Gazing through her naked reflection, she spotted the silky strands streaming from the clouds lit by Roseland nestled in the valley below, soft glow like moonlight on a pond. The cool glass met her bare shoulder and breast, tingles racing down her flesh.
Gazing over her neighbor’s home, through the tops of the evergreens, she imagined the three million beating hearts, some slowing to the call of sleep and others thumping to the dance of lust. A few drummed the final stanza of life. Within the rain, moist evergreens, she could nearly taste the blood.
Somewhere down there within the chorus, creeping in the shadows, a quiet heart danced to a different song. He had returned with a new name and the empty head of a child. Only he learned quick and remembered tomorrow like a lingering rain. And he walked within the darkness, a ghost crossing from the other side.
Sometimes the dead forgot their place and needed reminding.
Stepping back from the window, Kandy gazed at her pale reflection. Her breasts sagged. Strands of white disrupted the smooth flow of her raven hair. Nothing blood couldn’t fix.
Maybe his blood. What did the blood of a ghost taste like? She imagined it sweet with the vitality of youth and sharp with age. Drinking from the dead was like consuming poison, but he was no longer dead. Not a ghost. Steve Reynolds was something else entirely. Blood surged through him, a fire raging out from his quiet heart, the eye of a storm.
Kandy imagined feeding on his fire turning her flesh radiant, her eyes smoldering. And when she drank his husk dry, she would dance a storm righting the world. The dead stayed dead. She would make certain of that. The fleeting lives of Roseland would remain the kindling for her fire.
“Oh, lover of mine,” she said, whispering. She licked her lips tasting death. “Dance with me one last time.”