pay me here
He watched her lips dancing gracefully, red and moist. The words were important, he was sure, but muted, sounds floating like dark clouds just out of reach.
He was lying on the floor. Why? He could not remember. She lay beside him, clutching tightly to him.
They were in a basement. In the center of the floor, the concrete gently sloped down to a drain. Its rusted metal grate covered in flakes of white paint.
A drop of water fell, exploding against the grate. It fractured into a thousand glistening specks that fell themselves and were lost. Moonlight streamed in through a small window, highlighting her long red hair. In the shadows, five figures lay in widening pools. Dark liquid trickled down the drain.
He watched her eyes, so deep and sadly pleading, blue shadows cast from pools of gold. Still her lips danced, still soft sounds hung in the air, mysterious. Like ripples of thought on a calm sea, memories shifted in his mind.
They had entered the basement together. He remembered the descent down the stairs. The cold harsh light of the bare light bulb hanging above the metal grate. He remembered the warning he had whispered to her, the five familiar faces, and fear.
The sounds were becoming words. The surroundings were coming into focus. Her eyes were closed now. Her lips still moved in whispers, almost tangible. Tears streamed down her soft, pink cheeks, falling into her red curls, curls now a deeper red, a moist red.
Whose blood was it?
He fought to remember more. It seemed vitally important to know, but still the fog clouded his mind. The darkened stairs had seemed foreboding as they had descended. The cold breeze that wafted up from the harshly lit room even more so. He remembered the warning and...a familiar voice, then the staccato crash of gunfire.
He noticed for the first time, she was holding his hand. Her skin was growing warmer. He knew then, it was his blood. His eyes focused. Her hair covered the drain, and its frost of paint, red velvet sea.
He remembered a snowy December night not so long ago. When he had met her. He remembered her eyes, then so happy. He remembered her smile.
Commotion suddenly brought him back to his surroundings. More light. Men in white, swirling motion. Flashing cameras. Blood spiraled down the drain.
He was floating. He saw his own body. He saw his beloved. Saw her torn from his cold grasp. He felt her warmth. And its absence. And he heard her whispers now so clear.
Stay with me.