A tall woman rustled towards me at the ball. Her wine swayed ruby in a thin-stemmed glass. Drums ruffled. A papier-mâché mask patterned with tiny red flowers and green tendrils hid her face. Two words were tattooed on her neck: ‘Love’ above and ‘Death’ below. She bent to kiss me. I pulled away from her midnight lips and woody smell.
‘Love,’ she whispered.
I showed her my pocket watch, scrubbed by the rubble of time.
She unfurled her fingers and stroked my arm. ‘You have twenty-five minutes left,’ she said, ‘use them.’
First published by Mslexia
Image by Matt Benoit