All I Want

I close my eyes as the tight fabric of my shirt slides up my torso. I can feel you dragging it out- making the moment last as long as possible. You purposefully trail your nails across my abdomen, drawing thin vertical lines into my flesh as you raise the shirt over my head and toss it across the room where it instantly melts into the recesses of the shadows. It belongs to the darkness now. "Just like you and I," you whisper, almost a breath in my ear. I shiver, in repulsion, I tell myself. I can feel the welts growing on my chest. I hadn't realized your nails had sunk so deeply into my flesh.

You laugh, the sound revealing something between amusement and sadism. I can't tell the difference anymore with you. Your emotions bleed into each other until every word you speak is diluted; every syllable drips with some toxic ugliness, a dark, twisted parody of what I once mistook for love.

"But I do love you," you croon. Dark fingers drenched blue by the filtered moonlight ghost over my face, trace the lines of my jaw and fall to stroke at my throat. I can feel your muscles tense sporadically as they brush the pulsing vein of my jugular. You're fighting the impulse to close your hand, to asphyxiate me- or rather, you're toying with the idea. I know you wouldn't let me die. I trust you that much at least, but I also know that you wouldn't pass up an opportunity to make me beg. "All I want is you," you continue, your grip tightening by a fraction, just enough to make me catch my breath. I understand that I'm to tread carefully. I am completely at your mercy.

"What is it you want, Malik?" I'm too scared to sigh, even as I feel your hand abandon my throat to stroke gently at my cheek. I can sense the patronization behind every word you say, every move you make. Every time your hand touches my skin, it burns like a brand. It burns like a knife cutting into the flesh. "But I would never hurt you," a whisper, "You mean too much to me. I see the pain you've suffered over and over and it saddens me. I only want for your happiness, Malik. I want to help you… I want YOU…"

The air seems colder suddenly. A high altitude wind creeps through the open window and caresses my naked flesh, biting at my abdomen and farther down to creep across my thighs, like so many burning pinpricks. It's only then that I realize what you've done. You have nearly completed your main objective of undressing me while I was distracted by your words and actions. All that remains is the tight black cloth over my waist. The rest is gone, lost to my eyes in the suffocating darkness.

I try to move, to shield myself, to hide from you, but you're holding me firmly in place. My legs refuse to move from this spot you've glued me to. I hear your voice again, a deep chuckle floating through my senses and I close my eyes, trying not to think of you. That's never really worked, though, has it? My thoughts betray my body, once again. I'm sure you've noticed.

"Poor little child," you coo, dark fingers tracing the elastic of that last fragment of clothing, "so conflicted and vulnerable… You're ashamed of this, aren't you?" My breathing sounds so quick and foreign, even as my heart tries to pound straight through my chest. Your touch is so unbearable, feather light across my last constraint. I wish you'd just finish your job and remove it, but at the same time, I am ashamed. I'm horrified of what you've done to me.

I have to wonder for a moment how I ended up like this. How was I reduced to this quivering, aching mess of a human being, nothing more than a fragment of purity lost in your vast ocean of shadows? I know it wasn't your fault. I am the only one to blame for my weakness. It was because of that weakness, after all, that you were allowed to take form. You saved me. I should be grateful.

Are these my thoughts or yours…? My eyes suddenly widen and my heart quickens nearly to the point of panic as I realize. I can't differentiate any more. I can't recognize myself in your reflection. My chest feels too tight as I struggle, in hysterics, to wrench the breath from my lungs. That last shard of innocence has finally been consumed.

Your resounding cackle denotes the thin air of kindness you've masked yourself with. I can almost hear the crackling and pulsing of your true form expanding, an ethereal cloud of malicious intent surrounding me, striking me like a whip. With every crack, an electric current shoots through my body, slithering through my veins. I can't even scream as my muscles twitch and spasm. I merely gasp, trying to catch my lost breath as my legs give out, sending me crashing to the floor. In my stupor, I can almost make out the clattering collision of something falling to the ground beside me. My hand is tightly gripping the edge of some meaningless piece of furniture, probably a desk. I can't remember reaching out for it as I fell. I can't remember knocking that thing off of it either, but I see it sitting there next to me, looking up at me with its single golden eye, mocking me. I can hear it calling to you. It's wanted you since the beginning. It's never wanted me. I was just a tool.

Once again, I try to get away. I close my eyes and will my body to get up, to run, to crawl away even; but you have control once more, and when I open my eyes it's there- in your hand, staring at me with its unblinking eye. You're nearly convulsing in your paroxysms of laughter now, not even pretending to be sensitive to my thoughts and emotions. There's a maniacal gleam in your eyes, reflected in my own which have been drained of my soul, my identity. All I can feel now is frigid emptiness.

The telltale clink of steel and gold inundates my ears. You've stopped laughing, but now you're staring down at me with that look, the one that signals the inevitable shift between playful condescendence and complete sadism. The blade in your hand catches a ray of pale moonlight and for a brief second I can make out your reflection just before the darkness envelops us both once again. I allow myself to drift into the realm of the forbidden as you raise our arm and plunge us both into that frightful plane of existence where my nightmares melt into your dreams.

I give myself to you finally, offering myself as a sacrifice to your alluring darkness, and as you devour and engulf my soul, I can't help thinking, "All I wanted was you."