Friday, March 21, 2008

And History Awoke

He smells different, she thought. What is it? Something sharp but not unpleasant. Woody almost like the nose-tingling scent of burnt coconut leaves. But less harsh. It's fresh like the air after a morning storm but yet mellow like a setting sun.

She tilted her head a little towards him, subtly. Caught his eyes leveled at her.

Boldly, she looked up and straight into his blue-gray eyes. 

She saw her own reflection in them before they wavered as his gaze sharpened and chiseled shards of awareness pierced her brash facade. Her lashes fluttered of their own accord as she felt an unaccustomed blush creep into her face.

Resolutely she kept her glanced pinned to his, refusing to be the first to break under the intensity of their silent entanglement.


The heat was almost unbearable and he felt it in the sweltering vice around his collar, the unrelenting beat of the perpetual humidity on his skin. He was tempted to take a good sniff of himself to make sure he did not reek of stale cologne and misery.

He tried to shuffle unobtrusively further from the Princess. Yes, that was what she was. Not just the delicate, glittery harem princess of his torrid dreams but a real life, walking, not-quite talking one. He cursed his luck.

The one female who sent his pulse racing and his senses into a frenzy would be ridiculously out of his reach. I hear you, Lord. There is no necessity to rub it in.

She'd moved a little closer. Not good. She might smell him. He shuffled away a little.

Was that a look of annoyance? He looked up and caught himself again. How was it that every time he looked at her, her beauty still made him catch his breath in surprise?

Her face was by now almost permanently etched in his brain. You would think with his obsessive tracing of every fine line, curve and swell of her face and body with his lascivious gaze, he would be used to the fierce shock to his system when he looked at her.

But it still hit him like a brick to the face. He almost sighed as he watched a rebellious lock tickle her cheek. He could feel his finger yearning to reach over to tuck it away or rub it between his fingers to test its silky resilience.

Curses, she caught him ogling her like a lovesick calf. He tried to look away quickly but at the last minute, decided to brazen it out. 

Her eyes. They were so dark they glowed in the light. There were facets of amber and rich browns that came to the fore in the sunlight. You could drown in them. He was a willing victim.


She placed the leaf in the copper holder. And sprinkled the red powder as directed. She looked up at the woman before her, anxiously watching her heavily-drawn brows, white chalked face and red-dyed hair. She had known her all her life but never failed to shrink inwardly in dread at her fearsome visage.

She sniffed delicately at the sharp scent of camphor and spices emanating from Troubled Waters. It both comforted and agitated her. The comfort of knowing a solution for all your troubles. The agitation of having to face them before you could exorcise them. If only things could resolve themselves without hauling them into the unforgiving light of day.

Sighing inwardly, she waited patiently for Troubled Waters to open her eyes and direct her unflinching, all-seeing eyes at her.

Delicately she dabbed at a stray trickle of perspiration she could feel winding its way down the back of her neck. She waved languidly at her maid to fan more vigorously and caught her breath as a pair of piercing black lodes torched the air around her.

"It's an evil spirit that has its claws on your sister. You must remove it from her. Otherwise it will sink into her soul and blacken her heart. The poison will spread to every part of her body from inside out and her fingers and toes will rot from the disease!"

Night Cloud felt faint from the shock of the revelation. Evil spirit! She had feared the worst but the confirmation still sent unholy rings of distress through her body. Tears pricked her eyes ash she fought to calm her stuttering breath.

"Wha ... what can we do, Aunt Troubled Waters? She's so reckless I cannot hold her safe! Please help us. What can we do?" the beleaguered twin wailed.

The medicine woman shook as she reached deep within her to her guardian ancestors to face the demons that breached the gates of the royal sisters. 

The air seemed to percolate with every harsh shiver. The floor started shaking imperceptibly as she threw her head back. Around. Forward.

Alarmed, Night Cloud shuffled backwards away from the woman gripped in the thrall of the spirit world. The maid started backing away, remembered her duty and remained trembling by her mistress' side.


He felt himself melting like one of those red and white snow cones they sold at the markets. Fast melting ice. Swimming in rich coconut milk. White and smooth.

Like her skin. Why was she so fair when majority of the locals were so dark? She was a rare gem flashing its desirability and unattainability like a vicious slap to the loins. You could almost flinch from such remorseless beauty.

It wasn't only just that she was physically perfect. He had seen many beautiful women but there was an air about her. It challenged and provoked while alluring and was completely soft and feminine in its appeal.

Whatever it was had a relentless grip on him. The pale suggestion of dew on the clavicles of her neck peeking just slightly from the silly ruffles of her shirt. He wanted to lay his tongue gently on them to feel each minute, teasing drop. A sudden slight breeze brushed the soft, fine hair curling next to her ear. He resisted the urge to lean forward and rub his nose against them and lick the smooth shell of her ear.

Unconsciously, he leaned forward and breathed in her strong perfume. Some French perfume. He thought he recognised it. They sold this in the store. Very popular among the expatriate women but somehow on her it acquired a exoticism that made it unique.

He leaned closer and eyed the stray hair that caught on her shiny red lips enviously. Without thinking, his hand reached out to remove it from its silky perch, shaking almost in its divided intent.


He was coming closer! She squealed internally in girlish delight but remained still and quivering in eagerness as his hand came perilously close to breaking her composure. She inhaled deeply of his scent. She was starting to get used to it. 

The seconds seemed to lag and the air hold its breath as his hand came closer. Closer. She could now feel the heat from them reaching across the slowly diminishing space between them.


"You must put space between them. Separate the evil spirit from its hold on your sister. When she sleeps, cut a lock of hair and bring it to me. In the mean time, give her this to drink every day. It will protect her until we can banish this spirit back to its hell hole. Try to make her stay within the palace too. You must do it quickly or it will be too late."

The harsh sibilance of the warning studded her conscience. She should have been more vigilant. She should have stood her ground and stopped Night Wind's reckless behaviour.

Unbidden, a tear wove a silent path down her cheek. She clasped the hands to her heart as she nodded grimly.

"Can we do anything else? Can we place better protection on her to stop her from leaving the palace?"

The older woman raised an eyebrow quizzically at the agitated princess. She let her eyes roam over the svelte lines and polished skin.

"You know there is a price to pay for greater boons from the gods. Are you willing to pay it? Will royal blood flow for the gods' favour?"

The princess caught herself from fainting. Stalwartly she braced herself as she nodded.

"Then let us begin."


So red. It glistened with its stolen coat. He had to pry the maverick from its pillow. His finger gently pressed into her lip.


So gentle. His slightly rough finger stroked her quivering lips. The slight pressure incited a reaction. Her lips parted breathlessly. The hot, humid cavern of her mouth peered through the broken line. 


Hot. Humid. A slight puff. A small opening. Moist curls of curtailed breath wound themselves around his finger. The hair was banished but now his finger refused to relinquished its stolen place.


Heat. A sharp pain. Vermillion strands. Blurred flashes of silver. Small linear parting of creamy skin. Little beads of red. Joining a small rivulet and into a basin of white. 

Blood to call the spirits. Royal blood to call the gods.

Lights. More heat. Smoke. Strands of sea kelp around the face. One torn to blanket the small pond of red.

Heavy line of black across gleaming eyes. The white faces of past ancestors peering from behind the sun darkened wrinkles of muddy water.


Their breaths caught on a sigh. Their eyes muted the sounds around them. Their faces flushed with heat and quickened heartbeats.

And history awoke and stole a moment of their time.

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