Nightfall For Rose

August 7, 2008
By Danielle Levsky, Buffalo Grove, IL

The soft creases in the folds of her hand outlined the path the caterpillar crawled through. They were comparable to burrows, like devising an exploration through tunnels; the caterpillar moved from the palm of her hand to the top fold of skin. Its beady eyes were concentrated on the circle route, yet Rose’s gaze remained fixated on the star that burned brightly alongside the moon.

It was their star. The brightest in the night sky. She used to imagine that the night sky was the largest piece of black construction paper rolled out before her, with holes poked in it to create stars. Many nights Rose would spend sitting on her front lawn, staring unintimidated at the blue sky, just waiting for someone to roll out the black construction paper.

But he would always fetch her before then.

“Some things should just be kept a secret.”

He would smile that crooked smile. Lovable and endearing. The cigarette clenched firmly between his fingers would reach his lips, and he would inhale slowly, deeply. The plume of smoke that he would emit reminded her of a sweet, sensual ghost. He would blow the ghost gently through her hair. A shiver, a stare.

Yet, she would persist on staying out to see the night become.

“Patience, my darling, patience.” She had none.

A tug on her hair, a gentle stroke.

The caterpillar sent a tickling sensation down her spine as it progressed slowly up her arm. Rose’s gray gaze averted to the creature. No control. No power.

And again, the night came.

It was then. The first nightfall. Then had her flawless spine been forced into the sharp roots of the underground. Strands of her hair tangled around the dandelions, strangling them, strangling her. Her limbs and her mind -- numb and bruised. The beet coloring of the blood that coursed through her veins was very much useless. And oh, how it hurt. The pain, incomparable; the long-talked-of pleasure, absent. All that was present was the body that burned and the tears that dug holes in rosy cheeks.



No one rolled out the black construction paper.

The menacing intruder, with poison-colored skin and intoxicated hair brushed against her collarbone. With shaking fingers, her left eye cringed at the stinging bruise on her forearm. Delicate, thinned fingers lifted the caterpillar and held him. Beady eyes met her own. They showed no fear… and desire. Perhaps.

She felt her grip on the creature tighten. It jerked in pain. Fingers tightened. And it gasped, twisted into several directions. Anything to escape. Pain.



Rose released the creature, who fell onto the grass and crawled furiously away.

A sad smile rested on her bruised lips.

“You still have your night sky. No patience. No secrets.”

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