Obsession is an ugly word. It rolls off the tongue, heavy and cloying - like rot for the soul. It is sickening. Only partly an appropriate word to describe his feelings for her. Infatuation is only slightly better, encompassing the folly of his emotion, and yet it does not satisfy. Such a shallow, pedantic, hollow little word could never suffice for the maelstrom within. Enamored is a safe word - a weak word - but possession...

Yes, possession is perfect. He is a man possessed. He is driven by it. He is burning. He has no control.

In a cruel juxtaposition, the world is frozen. He doesn't feel the cold - not really - but the chill is always harder to bear by comparison. The snow against his skin does not melt. A sacrilege. Just another dead thing in a dead world. She sits in her room reading, unaware of his presence. It hardly seems fair for her to be so unperturbed. Shouldn't the very intensity of his emotion alter her course in life? Should not the feeling of his eyes on her leave some indefinable mark? Why should he suffer this solitary burden? Why not her, too? There are demons enough for both of them.

He holds them in for another night.

She plagues him, the silent disease. When he is away, the ghost of her infects every face. There is the curl that hangs past her cheek. Here is the scent of her shampoo wafting off some other neck. Her sweater walks past on a child. Hers is the hand on his arm... Every pulse he sips is her pulse. Every kill is unsatisfying. Her life is a catalyst he cannot escape.

The rules of his existence are clear: she must die. And yet, he has not killed her. She is horrifically alive. He left her that way in a moment of... something. Even now he can't say what. But because she is alive, he must watch her. She is human and cannot be trusted.

He dreams of her death incessantly. Any one of a thousand accidents that could so easily befall her fill his mind. She walks down the wrong alley. The driver coming round the bend doesn't see her. She misses the top step in poor lighting. So many close calls taunt him with his near escape. Not one of them taunts her for more than a day. Unfair.

Sometimes he imagines the hunters find her. She is kept alive for weeks but gives them nothing. She is his loyal little girl, her beauty ruined by the torture. Those curving legs are broken. Her soft, white hands are flayed. Gorgeous, gorgeous! When he comes to her she asks him to stop the pain. He does not hesitate. Other times he is the one who destroys her. The dream is so vivid he can feel her bones snap beneath his fingers. Her blood in his mouth is ecstasy. She would scream beautifully. Symphonies cannot compare to the music he would craft from her pain. Both pleasant dreams...

But most often he dreams of giving her the sharp kiss. He dreams of exploring her body, his lips grazing the nape of her neck, his nails against her sides. He aches to feel her clutch him in passion. Her grip would be so fragile, because ridiculously she'd fear hurting him. So child-like, so innocent... He dreams of hearing her moan his name as he fucks her. Is she so beset by phantoms of him? He hopes... and he doesn't.

She never sees him. He is careful to leave no sign that could connect back to him, but he can't rid himself of the delusion that she knows he is there. When she stretches her arm to reach the top shelf, her entire body taut, he pretends it is for him. When she cuts her thumb and sucks the wound, she is teasing. Everything she does is porn.

The snow is falling heavier. One hand reaches up to clear his eyes. As if on cue, she licks her finger to turn the page of her book. Is she a mind-reader too? Did she follow the train of his thought to torment him? His reaction is the antithesis of a human. His body goes still, utterly motionless. The snow settles thickly on his jacket. His entire focus is on her, poised to move... He waits. He is waiting.

In the depths of his mind the thought resounds. This cannot stand.

He knows this to be true, as he knows that he cannot choose to leave her alone for the rest of her existence. The rules of his life dictate the ending. It must be death. The rules are a bit less specific about whose death, exactly, but he knows himself to be selfish. She will be the one to pay the price. It doesn't bother him as much as he feels it should.

He prays she will have an accident. He, who gave up his god long ago, prays. Would she appreciate the lengths to which he has gone to spare her? Truly, any fate would be more kind than the one he is crafting. He doesn't know what face his fate will take, but he knows it will not be kind. Catharsis is always violent.

The fantasy wells up in him once more. He sees it: his hand around her throat, her breath rapid, gasping... He blinks the images away. He is still in the tree outside her window. Each time he dreams, it slips closer to the surface. One day he will blink to find he has acted. Her blood will be on his hands, in his mouth. She will be bent, broken, begging him for what he knows must come.

She closes her book. Prompted by his exertions? A heavy sigh lifts her breasts, her stomach. One foot taps absently against the arm of the chair. Her fingers twitch. She is restless. Outside the glass, everything is still. The world is silent, waiting. He is waiting.

In the whisper of the wind, he hears a voice. This cannot stand.

She stretches, leisurely, her body artless, and imperfect. Her eyes are puffy with lack of sleep. He yearns to see them spill over with tears. He can't say whether he'd like her to cry for joy or pain but entertains the idea of causing both in due time. She fascinates him with her flaws. There is none of the preturnatural grace he sees in his lovers. Oh yes, he has many lovers, chasing the pantomine of her in other bodies. Never successfully, but it helps a little sometimes.

Her sock-covered feet are almost silent as she pads to the window, but he can hear them. Her breath fogs against the pane, her eyes wistful. For one exhilarating moment he thinks she has spotted him but her eyes pass on, unaware. Relief and disappointment blend. He dismisses them as unimportant.

Her head falls forward to press against the glass. Her eyes fall shut. Another deep breath, but this time as it passes her lips, so does his name.


It is too much. He flees.

He has lived long enough to be honest with himself and dishonest with others. Tonight he is stronger than his demons. Tomorrow he will be, too, but the next night? A week from now? She deserves better than he will give her, and she'll have none of it if the hand of his forsaken god does not intervene. The only question is when, and how. He knows himself to be selfish.

Tonight, the world is frozen - waiting - but it cannot stand.