Author's Note: I'm quite well aware that this is an experiment in purple prose. It seemed to be worth a try.


We went back to my place on the third night after he started following me through the smoky cafes and around the multicolored edges of the nightclubs, in the oh so prosaic alleys and through the all-encompassing blinding New York air. Those were joyful times; youth and energy and the end of the twentieth century, and me like the Romantics of old, a Goth in all but name, ravens like spiraling snakes engraved into my skin, tender paint on my face, and my violet-eyed stalker always just outside my view.

The first night I danced till I passed out, without needing one drop of chemicals. In the morning there was the dreary job to do and the dreary college papers to hand in, digging into the guts of stories that were dead before I was alive. In the night in the scene that was all fog and cigarette smoke and electricity we danced till we couldn't anymore, and I sat on the roof and in my one-room apartment and smoked and tried to write poetry.

Something for the ages, something to last beyond the tender paint and the multicolored light, something to crystalize the ecstasy and fix the moment of revelation in the dance to a point in space and time. Something to turn the pain of merely being into black roses, to make the ravens more than a cliche that I hung to because I had nothing else.

But long smoking hours do not a poet make, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Except somebody was watching me from the shadows.

His gaze had to him this quality that made me know his eyes were violet even as I did not see them, and I felt him watching me as distinctly as ever a frightened animal felt the gaze of the predator or the beam of headlights, man's metal butchery. I knew little else as I danced, except that his gaze melted together with the music, and the pounding and rhythm of blood in my veins became hinged on the faint scent of blackberries.

The second night I caught the scent as surely as the honeyed aroma of sweat from a hundred bodies, and before I knew it I was standing alone. There were violet shadows in one of the tables and I felt the scene stand still, a movie moment, archetypal almost. When later I tried to put the sensation into words it was as if a thousand little birds were flying through my fingers and my handwriting left deep tracks in the notebook and great blotches of ink, and I threw it away for a new one, poems and all.

The third night we struck a conversation.

He ordered drinks for us both and asked me to sit opposite him and told me a bit about himself, about the loneliness that lured him outside at night, how he found the music, with its certain rhythms we loved so because they never changed, comforting. Then he said I could have been very handsome if I got rid of the white paint and the ravens, or perhaps not the ravens, he said that as he drew a trail of skin-to-skin fire along my tattooed arm.

He had very plain green eyes, a mousy little man looking much older than his twenty-five years, he watched me for agonizingly long as I danced.

We went to my one-room apartment then and he threw me down on the bed, savagely, turned me around and put his lips to the back of my neck.

I didn't tell him my name and he didn't tell me his. I didn't show him my poetry or anything of sorts, told him what I studied, explained what it was that drew me to the darkened stages where drama was supposed to but never did happen, the nightclubs and the cafes. At first I thought I'd have made the mistake that makes young women give up on the tall and dark strangers. I did not go down heroically, kicking and whimpering almost wetting myself thinking that no mousy little man with simple green eyes should be to one to do it if fate decided someone had to. I'd have given up the ravens and the paint, the nightclubs and the music, given it all up to undo him.

He stopped, then, he shifted his weight until I could turn around, flushed and gasping without desire. Then he put a pen and paper into my hands while his face remained by mine, mouth open, tongue teasing along the sensitive bones.

"Write for me."

And his eyes flashed violet.

Then he tore off my shirt and jerked down my trousers, unbuckled his belt and went to his knees before me, and he worked his way up, slowly, with tongue and fingers, hair and plain skin, as I wrote.

I don't know what I wrote, not to this day.

It was one line, then stop – because sensation was becoming painfully pleasant, pleasant at first, quietly so, the mere fluttering of flesh to flesh. As his hands explored upwards along the inside of my thighs, his head resting already by my abdomen, urging the muscles to respond to the tickle and tease, the touch that was hinted at constantly but was never there. As the lines, I thought they'd never come, my terror, my pleasure, my uncertainty and desire at this madness that caught me unwitting holding them at bay. But my hands were not mine to be moved, as my flesh was not mine to command the blood rushing down well-known paths. "Write for me", and he nuzzled my crotch as if he'd never said any such things, as the lines started pouring out like sweat.

God, yes, he had violet eyes.

The words were hesitant to come as my fear slowly, slowly melted into arousal, snatched here, scattered there, my breath as he leaned over me easing me back, the sheets cold against my shuddering spine, he was taller than first I thought. Cheekbone brushing against the nape of my neck he worked his mouth just under my hair and jaw with a thousand nips and kisses for every contact of two aching bodies, breath and heartbeat forming a pattern, full sentences and at last a full stanza. His hair was darker than I remembered, longer, seemed to be growing there in front of my eyes, trickling down a black cascade and curtain over my back, down to my chest, soft as the touch, as I felt my hands shudder, my cock all but tremble, the words blur. I gasped and almost stopped – he took me in his mouth and didn't, he teased.

His eyes were slanted and arched, gentle, as the carefully drawn points of his ears, surreal, coming to light till I could not help but notice. As I could not help but notice, how he played up and down my sides along each rib – all but feeling the tender tissue within – weaving slow rings about the tip of my cock with all the time, and all the patience, and all the mischief in the world. But I kept writing, under no light but the ivory light of this stranger's skin, the pale glow of his smile, breathing in and out with whimpering desperation for all that he would not give me release. His lips came no closer flesh to flesh nor anything quicker than this dragging, urging, kicking, twisting towards the peak, as I found another stanza and another under my hands and it was not enough, it was not enough, and I had yet to see the clarity of the whole. I had yet to see the perfection of his body, had yet to see – or did I want to see – did I want to see emotion that would make him – the paper – the touch –

"No."

He breathed the word into my face and his breath smelled of blackberries.

Blackberries.

They were not mine.

His teeth drew blood from the vulnerable skin – just a hint of reminder, no pain, no pain at all in comparison to all he had given me till now. He turned me around as I wrote furiously, unable to move of my own accord, nothing but my hands, and I heard the rustle of clothes and knew he was standing in radiant, naked, but incomplete perfection behind me as he started to work his way in.

Slowly.

So slowly.

And I seemed to feel every nerve ending; inside, outside; buttocks, fingers.

Shivering. We could not hold much longer, either of us.

My hand bled.

And I heard him gasp, suddenly, as the final line was there drawn as sweet and explosive and as frozen as the moment of pleasure at its winding peak, greater than the orgasm could ever be, the release. I heard him whimper in the joy of reaching, completion, freedom, desire satisfied after what must have been an endless night. I heard the shuddering of his breath as his flesh left mine, and heard the dull fall of body against body as he went limp and lay besides me.

Was he asleep?

By the faint silver beams of the bedside lamp I studied every detail, from the magnificent length of his black hair – so black it was all but quicksilver – to the ivory glory of that unblemished skin, to the shape of the muscles that only marble could rival, the tender length of his own member, the face that poetry alone could describe. And the gentle points of the ears – the arching and turning of the eyebrows – the frame of the face too delicate to hold – the slant of the eyes –

And their violet, violet color, so violet it could be neither human nor real nor artificial nor dreamed, as they snapped open and he looked straight at me.

And that was when I knew his Name.

But in the morning, when I woke from the sleep I collapsed into that very moment, he was not there, and the blood and seed I spilt were not there, and the poem was not there. The ravens stared at me dumbly from my own skin, and perhaps I'd dreamed it all.

For sanity's sake, perhaps I'd dreamed it all. Yes.

Except the scent of blackberries, which lingered on my skin for many, many days.