SHROUD OF OBSCURITY

She opened her eyes and the world rolled in on a cloud of dark ink.

It caressed her like a lover; enveloped her in its velvety arms. The throbbing of Night's heart drowned out all other sensations and left her, floating, within a dusty nebula.

Free from arm and leg and body, Payne drifted, merely a head slipping in and out of consciousness.

And the sound of existence was muffled Silence.

Slowly, slowly the scurrying of spiders returned to her brain. Her hand came up to taste her neck; glide across its smooth terrain. The fingers slid along Payne's jaw line, idolizing its triangular formation. And the rustling of snakes amongst leaves returned to her brain.

"The right to expire."

She was delivered from chaos. The Tiger came forth and beckoned, entreating her to embark. But the Spider and the Snake grew envious, and they fought.

Snake hissed within Payne, commanded her soul; became her essence.

Payne succumbed as every time before. She listened to Snake and pushed back Night; her eyes cautiously scanned the vicinity.

The world rolled in on a cloud of red ink and Payne smiled.

She slunk toward the chair and the girl restrained upon it. Payne reared up and gazed into the girl-child's glazed eyes. Placing a kiss on the young one's lipless mouth, Payne slithered downward, past the exposed (and vacant) belly, past the skinned vulva and thighs.

And the sound of existence was muffled Fear.

"The right to expire."

Payne kissed the girl-child's ankle, and lapped at the dried blood there. Her tongue glided upwards, over the calf, teasing the carmine rivulets.

Snake moved inside her, and Payne obeyed.