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the world is not a cold, dead place.
The first snowfall of the year lifted everyone’s spirits, I think.
It certainly lifted mine.
The gentleness of the frail, white bits of matter touched my heart and my hand, and with heavy lashes I watched it, blinking, and felt a complete calm wash throughout my body.
I felt at peace then, and quietly, alone, I went to sit at the edge of the canyon.
Fresh was the air -- clean, beautiful, cold. Inhaling it made me imagine myself cleansed, pure, rid of my sins...the air I exhaled, it seemed, was somewhat whiter.
The world is not a cold, dead place, I told myself, but a living, breathing, paradise.
And to those who made it one, it was.
My finger trailed a pattern in the snow, of a heart, and I shut my eyes and breathed.
I could feel the snowflakes tapping against my cheeks, my hair, my shoulders. The soft pattering of them, undisturbed, whispered across my surroundings and painted a picture of my thoughts.
She was standing in front of me, bundled up in a hoodie with a blanket draped across her shoulders. The color was on her cheeks -- perhaps from the cold, or perhaps from something else -- and a shy smile marked her lips. She sighed.
Calmly I put my palm to the side of her face, remarking of how warm she was, and then I ghosted my thumb across her mouth. The metal there was icy to the touch, but her breath, slipping in little gusts, was hot.
It seemed to me then, that her color rose even more, and I smiled.
The snow was dancing about us, twirling in little patterns and dotting her head. The contrast was perfect. White snow upon black locks, and white snow upon black fabric; it was beautiful, and I told her it was.
She shook her head, giggled.
“It’s only the truth,” I whispered, pulling her closer.
She received me with an embrace, and shyly I moved to kiss her. There was a second where I hesitated, but she did not draw back and so neither did I. Our lips touched gently at first, and then again in a harder manner. The cold of her piercings met with the cold of mine.
My breath came out shaky.
Taking her hand, I pressed the palm to my mouth and kissed each finger in turn, watching her smile and look aside cutely.
“You’re silly,” she said, and I only smiled at the light in her eye.
I inhaled the cold again, opened my eyes, and stared out at the canyon. The snow had brought with it a sort of fog, and the canyon was so invisible and cloudy that for a moment I felt as if I was floating.
I would like to have been floating. In the clouds, perhaps, or somewhere on nothing but snow and sky.
The heart I had drawn before had been covered up now, -- it was marked only by a barely-distinguishable dip in the perfect white --, but I pressed my hand to my chest, and I smiled.
It couldn’t have been a second later after I had smiled, with my hand to my heart, that I noticed a woman approaching me from the distance.
The snowflakes thrashed around her as she came closer, and I noticed how perfectly the platinum shade of her hair matched the soft, silk gown hung about her frame. She almost seemed as a mirage, as a goddess, coming to me from the snow.
My breath caught when she was suddenly in front of me, and I stared into the hypnotic blue of her eyes.
“You know me?” she asked quietly, and somehow I did. I nodded.
She smiled then -- the most perfect smile I had seen -- and took my hands in her own and breathed warmth onto my cold fingertips.
Her eyelashes fluttered softly as she did this, for snowflakes were landing upon them.
“Why..?” I murmured weakly, but she only pressed one warm finger to my lips and placed my palm on her cheek.
Like porcelain, she felt -- smooth, cool, sublime. I couldn’t help myself but to touch her, awed by the flawless surface of her skin as it slid beneath my hand.
All the while, her deep gaze was watching me with a sense of satisfaction.
“You are as I, you know,” she whispered, pushing closer to me so that our chests, our stomachs, touched.
Her heart pounded with mine, her breath ghosted warm on my mouth.
Emotion stirred within me.
Briefly I drew closer to her, but I caught myself, remembering the heart I had drawn in the snow, and I pulled back.
Confusion decorated her features. “What is it?”
Shaking my head, I said, “I can’t...”, but she only chuckled melodically.
“Of course you can,” she told me, “you can do anything.”
Another dazzling smile drew me in, and our lips met before so much as a single thought could cross my mind.
Warm hands entwined into my hair, pulling me closer, and I allowed my mind to be seduced.
The silk of her sleeves brushed against my face, a hand slid down my side.
“Forget yourself,” she purred. “Forget yourself, and know only me.”
Through our lips I could feel us melting together, our souls touching, my own skin warming with a new, perfect glow. The cold was gone. Even as we both fell back into the snow, there was only warmth, breath, and her hair tickling against my face.
Perfection, I thought as her warmth ripped through me.
Perfection, as her fingers trailed across my body, beneath my clothes.
The word carried away on the breeze, I felt her melt beneath my touch, and I exhaled.
She was gone as my eyes opened, but her words still hung on the air.
“Now that you have tasted perfection...”
A mirror, in the shape of a heart, had replaced the drawing that I had done in the snow earlier this hour.
I reached for it, shook the snowflakes off that had stuck to it, and held it to my face.
Smiling at me in the reflection was Vanity’s own perfect face, but I knew it to be my own. You are as I, she had said.
A sinister, dark pleasure stole through my emotions, and with a haunting smile I pressed the mirror, this time, to my chest.