Black as BloodMature

The shadows had taken flesh and before her Garnet saw a slight woman in a blank tank and baggy black pants. For a moment Garnet thought the woman was wearing a shirt under her tank top, but then she realized that the tattoos were thick over pale skin, patterns and images entangled, making her fingers itch to trace them and try to make sense of what she saw.

Garnet must have shifted her weight without noticing, because the chains of the swing made a slight noise and the woman in the shadows twitched, a sudden movement that seemed odd. But then she took another step closer and Garnet got a better look as the light slithered over the woman's face, streaking her hair with sharp highlights.

To call her a woman was incorrect, unless Garnet was ready to claim that title for herself. Neither one of them was all that old, the other girl perhaps a year or two older at most. Not far out of her teens if she was at all. The hair was a black that wasn't quite natural, but was striking against her pale skin. Silver glinted and Garnet noticed that the girl had her lip pierced.

For a moment Garnet felt envy spike through her, and her hands clenched on the chains. She had thought about getting a piercing so many times, and yet the only options she had were a single hole in each ear. She had done but, but something about the sight of a ring through the other girl's lip made a part of Garnet clench inside, long to feel the prick of a needle through her own lip, feel the metal against her teeth.

It was that part inside, that piece of her that paced and longed to roam free, that Garnet hid from everyone. In that instant she knew she would not need to do so from this girl.

Erinye felt taken aback as the girl stared at her, hunger flickering in her gaze. The wolf within her, although still sated by the kill, still whined softly. She shouldn't be there. She should be gone, away, somewhere safe and dark rather than standing in a pool of light staring at a girl who was still soft around the edges. Erinye's wolf momentarily considered what it would feel like to sink her teeth into that soft throat, to tear claws through that giving flesh. It was an idle thought, though, and Erinye let out a sigh of relief. She had no urge to hurt this girl. She wanted to get closer.

"Hi." Erinye's voice was rough; she didn't speak all that often, especially not to random strangers who drew her like a moth to the flame. She wasn't used to being the moth and it set her on edge, made her voice thicker. Clearing her throat, she cocked her head, shoving hands into her pockets.

Garnet felt a nervous smile curve her lips. The girl standing there in black was such a contrast to her own white sneakers, faded jeans and pale green sweater. There was something in the way the other girl carried herself that made Garnet feel a shiver run along her spine and the hair lift on the back of her neck. It wasn't explainable, but it was there.

As was something else. Something that kept her rooted to the swing rather than running home to safety. Something that made her open her lips and utter a squeaky "hello" of her own. Clearing her own throat, she tried again. "A nice night."

Inane. Utterly inane. Garnet felt herself shrink inwards, her own stupidity and blandness embarassing. Here stood this girl who was everything Garnet was not allowed to be and all she could say was "nice night."

"Umm." Erinye considered the statement, weighing it. She knew it had been an idle phrase, and yet the girl's reaction made it seem like the phrase should have been more important. Like it was the wrong words to go with what was said. Erinye inhaled, and some scent tickled her nose. Cinnamon maybe. Or cloves. It didn't matter aside from giving her a moment to think of rolling in that scent until she too smelled like that.

Shaking herself from her reverie, her face hardening slightly, she shrugged one shoulder. "It's ok. Still can't see the stars."

Garnet let out a sound of sadness, tilting her head back to look up. The poles of the swing, tree branches, power and telephone lines and street lights marred her view of the sky. "It's better out of the city. I go out sometimes when I can get away long enough." There was longing in her voice, something that seemed to echo the howl of the wolf within Erinye.

Erinye must have made some sound because Garnet looked at her, a frank look of assessment tinged with fear. That fear smelled good, almost as good as the spice.

The two girls stood for a moment, neither speaking, merely looking at one another. One painted in light, the red of her hair standing out against the pale colours of her clothing. The other was a study on contrasts, the light reflecting harshly from black hair, sinking into black clothing, making her white skin glow and her tattoos seem to snake over her skin.

The reverse mirror held for a moment, and then Garnet leaned forward, drawn towards the other girl, and the tableau was broken. Erinye startled and then turned, racing into the silence of the night. Every instinct inside her said to hide, to get into the shadows. The quick movements had Garnet scrambling back, surprised and afraid of the way the other girl moved - not like a girl, but like an animal.

It was over quickly, a brief exchange. It was only as Garnet righted herself, dusting dirt from her jeans, that she realized that the black smear on the other girl's jaw she had taken for dirt had shimmered and dripped. The light had painted it black, but as the girl ran Garnet would swear she'd seen that smudge glint red.

The End

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