Sunset, Moonrise, Shadows Falling
When she reaches for him, he responds with such passion that their desperate kiss knocks her mask askew. Below the edge of painted porcelain, carmine smears her lips. He sees its color in the last of the light, as the shadows lengthen across Carcosa.
Even as his hands settle at her laced-slender waist, his eyes dart from side to side. The courtyard on their right is empty, its inhabitants fled or cowering indoors; and as for what will come sweeping down the street on their left hand—nothing can stop that.
His fingers stroke against the rough nap of velvet. Her hair is a wig; its curled ends bounce as she takes a shuddering breath. She reaches for her collar and with a short, swift movement rips the lace apart, baring the tops of her breasts. He finds the ends of the ribbons to loosen her stays, his knuckles scraping between her back and the ancient stones of the wall.
“Kiss me again,” she demands.
He complies, not looking at what the slipped mask has bared. It doesn’t matter. The glow of the rising black stars is kind to her.
Her gloved hand cups his cheek; the leather is supple but horny, cold in the evening air. After stripping his own gloves, he reaches for her bared skin, seeking warmth. He finds her breasts heavy and firm, even hard, as smooth as quarried marble. He feels the swell of her breath, but cannot detect a pulse.
It doesn’t matter.
Her hips grind against his as her arms wrap around his shoulders, and her weight draws him down when her feet leave the ground, legs crossing behind him. He leans forward to brace her against the wall. They’re pressed close now, thigh to thigh, core to core, and surely she can feel his pulse, his growing urgency.
Circling one sharp-peaked nipple, he schools himself in patience. There is no need to rush—after they finish, there is nothing left to do—but they do not have much time, either.
As they fled the palace, following the wails of Camilla and the prophecies of Cassilda, he saw the towers behind the moon beginning to crumble.
He kisses along her jaw and neck. She sighs in his ear, high and sweet, like a song from her very soul. For a moment he thinks he might love her. He is not such a fool as to imagine the reverse, and yet—they were close, for members of the Court. There is room for passion left in their hearts, some that had not been forced out by awe and horror.
Let that passion bloom now. Let it spread and cover them, let it be the last thing they know when the King descends.
Leaving her limbs around him to support her, he puts both hands to her breasts. They move quickly, almost roughly, though she seems untroubled. His mouth travels lower, and his nostrils are filled with her perfume: the most delicate essence mixed with the rawer scent of her sweat, her fear and lust.
She rakes through his hair, catching strands, pulling. “I can feel it.” The words grate from her throat, where moments before sighs had rung. “The echo—coming—through the stone—”
She, too, is reduced to touch, who once could see so much.
“Keep hold of me.” With one hand, he moves with deliberation and swiftness: hiking her skirts, layers of satin and velvet cast up, and then pulling aside the hem of his long waistcoat and unlacing his breeches. His frock coats tails flap like wings as he pumps his hips against her.
She shifts, almost writhing, frantic to help him find her entrance. Finally, he does, and she is slick, and hot—heat at last, there at the hungry folds that part around his cock—so hot their joining feels molten.
Their heads knock together in that first thrust, as they both strain towards each other, and as, perhaps, they each silently beg a kiss. His mask is simple felt, absorbing and softening the clack of porcelain and bone. Pain’s white sting is as welcome as pleasure in these final moments.
But her mask, connecting with his cheek and forehead, is jostled further. She throws her head from side to side as his thrusts find the right angle inside her—he hears her cry, thankful and demanding—and the mask loosens and falls. It might shatter on the cobbles below his feet; he doesn’t look.
Instead, he kisses her revealed face—modestly hidden still, because even if the shadows were not shielding her, he has sealed his eyes now. There is no more he needs to see. Instead he learns with his lips: her full mouth, her long, sharp nose with flaring nostrils, eyelids that the purse of his kiss can cup and cover. Which it does, delicately. More than passion, he finds something dark and small and warm to share: a trace almost of affection.
He is bared to her, with her, within her; he is sharing himself with someone at last, at the last. He is losing himself. Loss coils at the core of him, hot and hollow; his balls seem to swell with it, ready to pour out this last offering, a last sacrament of life, past hope.
She seems touched by it, too. He hears her shuck the glove off, and then her bare hand is against his cheek—silken scales rubbing, the finely manicured claws pressing his skin as gently as his fingers grip her gown’s yellow velvet.
His climax comes, and before he loses himself utterly in the pleasure that wrings him, wracks him, turns his mind in circles like cosmic orbit, but cannot quite reach the chill at his heart—before this comes, he showers as many kisses as he can on her uncountable eyelids.
And the twin suns sink beneath the far shore of Lake Hali for a very long night indeed.
T.C. Mill is a freelance writer and editor in Wisconsin. Her book reviews and fiction updates can be found at TC-Mill.com.