Meriah's Note: This is my attempt at taking a humorous character and seeing if I could plague her with angst. It needed to be done. Besides, there aren't nearly enough Domino fics.
"Pieces of us die everyday
As though our flesh were hell
Such injustice, as children we are told
That from God we fell."
- Amen by Jewel.
Sunlight poured through the stained glass tulips, casting a violet glow throughout the room. The inanimate objects were mysterious, for they seemed to become animated with the breath of life every morning, then die in the evening. Yet the woman, who was known as Domino, gazed upon them and understood the metaphor – the infinite cycle of death and rebirth was like her, if only in behavior.
Her eyes always met them, a ritual which transformed from desire into compulsion, and she pondered how long she had done this. She was always certain to awake early to watch this phenomenon of light bless something artificial, over and over again, never missing a day. She reminisced on Amaterasu, the sun goddess of her native religion, illuminating the sky. The kami was never absent; even in the dimness of snow and rain she painted somewhere else with golden-yellow brush strokes. The blonde smiled, relishing the image: Since childhood she imagined the deities as artists, writers, poets; truly, how else could the world have been fashioned if not by creative hands? Yet of these talents she most appreciated the artists. They possessed skills which she longed to master.
The truth was that Domino never wanted to be part of Team Rocket. Although then again, most of the agents were that way.
She wanted to paint, sculpture, draw. She wanted to take a plain canvas and make it into something remarkable, produce beauty from a lump of clay, or a myriad of other things. With endless attempts she produced results, but they were ugly, vicious things... and it was then that she abandoned her dreams to succeed as a criminal.
The irony in it, she thought. Her talent was only in breaking laws. Could that be considered an art form, an essence of beauty? For that matter, what defined beauty?
Even then her stare was upon those glass flowers. They were so insignificant when alone, but paired with the sunlight they were perfect. How could fake things seem real to her? It was as if they were still life to actual flowers, splendid as the subject of a painter's oils or the gods' pallets.
She remembered a time before the felony called adulthood, when innocence existed. Back then, her small hands gathered a collage of wildflowers – whites, pinks, blues, purples dabbled upon a green canvas – to be showcased in a vase. And her mother, startled by the young girl entering through the door with achievement in her gait, always commented on how lovely real flowers were to charm the home. Domino, in all her naivety, took living things and watched them die... and she hated herself for it.
The plants always withered. They appeared healthy at first, until soon enough their stalks turned slimy and weak, the water sustaining them became cloudy, and their petals cascaded. She attempted to preserve them, but found it was far easier for mortals to bring death than life.
Her mother suggested trashing the bouquet. "They're worthless now," she stated with that matter-of-fact tone. "Everything turns ugly. Everything dies." Hearing this tore at the child, not so much because they were dead, but because she was the reason and there were already countless reasons for an unavoidable fate that becomes us all.
If possible she would have returned to her youth to repair what had been vandalized in nature's art. Yet now she had to be satisfied with crystallized tulips. Their coldness resembled the catacombs of her heart, and their petals were as sharp as the persona she become.
She never understood how she could be a good person if she held the power of destruction. Thus, in her view she was bad. Only through creating life could she be redeemed... something of which she was incapable.
Women could give birth. Gods could shape mountains, rivers, valleys from nothingness. Writers and poets could give life with their words, and artists could do the same with their hands. They all held facets of life, literal or metaphorical.
It was simple: None applied to her. Even pregnancy. Or perhaps she could have children, but with such a career where was the time, the patience, the right to do so? It would be inane to enter motherhood under such conditions. "Rocket brats," the pet name for sons and daughters of Team Rocket agents, were always surrendered for adoption. There were two primary reasons: The grunts made limited income, and the elite ranked, as known criminals, were targeted by child protective services. Yet a handful chose adoption with mercy, hopeful their children would not become like them. For those few, the thought of possible futures were greater than embracing their young ever again.
To avoid the dilemma of parenthood, Domino never missed her birth control. Every morning, before focusing on the flowers, she swallowed the tiny white pill. And it was always at 6:30 AM – no earlier, no later, as precision was essential and habitual. She was so used to the action that it seemed automatic. It was routine to her, like all days in her life.
The repetition was unbearable. Her additional tasks included breakfast, showering, styling the hair, applying cosmetics, then reporting to Giovanni by 7:45.
Is this all I'm worth? She thought as teeth bit into the lower lip. The bouquet from years ago continued to burn through her mind. Even those flowers had more worth than me...
Something should have snapped in her then. In the past, the familiar taste of her external confidence resurfaced, causing her to break her gaze from the tulips. Her protective shell should have shielded her insecurities – something no one else noticed, for her expression was solid. But not today. Not today on this April morning, when she defiled nature through human arrogance and wantonness.
It was too quiet. She should have heard something, the footsteps on linoleum from the hallway, the songs of bird pokémon outside the window. Yet this chamber was empty of sound. There was nothing but absolute silence which sunk through her.
And then it hit her. The panic. She had never felt such vehemence in previous attacks, like it was an almighty god striking down his mighty thunderbolt.
What's going on?!
It began with a maelstrom of nausea in her stomach. Tense and foul, she felt as if her insides were burning with acid. Her hand immediately pressed on the area, yet that was meaningless as its degree increased. Bile geysered to her throat, and she swallowed it down, nearly choking on its rancidity.
Then her muscles jerkily tightened and eased. Adrenaline shot through her veins as she tried to calm herself, but the feeling only evolved. Her arms shook violently; nails clawed into the mattress to fasten themselves, while her legs throbbed.
Something was not right. This was too barbarous, too different from the other episodes. She took conscious breaths, hoping to ease the sickness. The pretty blonde was breaking.
Vomit surged upward again, and that time it was unmaintainable. Her head fell forward by instinct, and the the oily, yellowy-brown substance bubbled forth. It filthied her nightgown... her soft lips... her treasured hair...
And when a hand touched one of the filthied locks, only then did she realize what had become of her.
The vile aftertaste of bodily fluid triggered a sense of self-defeat, filthiness, disgust. She needed water.
She forced herself to stand with quivering legs, then moved with bare feet across the cold floor tiles. Impatient hands twisted the doorknob to the bathroom, granting her access to what could give her sanctuary. For a fleeting moment, her relief was announced with a sigh from within the crevices of her chest.
Perhaps I'm just on an empty stomach...
Domino turned on the water faucet, and cupped her hands to be filled with the precious substance. She brought it to her lips to drink. Then she waited in seconds which seemed far longer as the liquid slid down her burning throat to pool in her stomach, its icy burn leaving a sickened pulse through her insides.
Please... please don't let me be a fool.
The water would trigger her stomach to highlight its full or empty condition. Full would translate to shame bearing down on her small frame; an undeniable guilt, a statement that the Rocket was not brimming with confidence. A failure to her career, to her coworkers, to her boss. Yet if her stomach was empty, there was no reason for shame. Domino sat there, arms locked behind her as if shackled, legs frigid... and still she waited...
Yet nothing came. The gurgling she so hoped for – the indication of hunger, a murmured scream for sustenance – was absent. She had flunked the test; weakness bore its fangs upon her. Her eyes cast down, her body faltered.
You said I was the best. What would you think now if you saw me, Giovanni?
Her teeth clenched, bit down into the tender muscle of her lip. A red drop formed.
Would Giovanni still desire her? She remembered the few instances when his eyes fell upon far more than her face – the valley of her breasts, her hourglass frame... how he cooed for her as he brought white wine to his mouth, and savored it as if he were delighting upon her. Yes... he could taste her...
And that is why he was so dangerous. He was the boss, a man of stature, intelligence, resources.
He could make or break her.
Memories resurfaced of the man from behind his mahogany desk. He stated anything and everything could be hers. She could be promoted as an executive with authority cut just short of his own, and never once more have to endanger herself in the field. The love of power would be made hers, if only...
No... she commanded to herself, expunging the memory from the depths of her mind. She would never earn a title that way. Ever.
But that was all she was worth in the end, right? She was nothing more than a Rocket; might as well be Giovanni's little whore...
That was it. She was bringing an end to this game, this toying of the mind. No one would win.
Domino looked upon the bathroom, surrounded by the stark white tiles, ivory toilet and tub, and beige counter. The environment was ugly and bland, but perfect for the situation – suicide was never considered beautiful anyway.
A smooth hand turned the faucet in the bathtub, and a transparent cascade rushed forth, beaten down by the force of gravity to pool below.
The sun filtered through the window. It gilded all, painting her magnificent gold like the ringlets of her hair; she was like a goddess of the morning. It was soothing, as if caressed by a lover, recognized by the man she admired for her vitality and not her body. The rays swam over her, asking her to reconsider… but there would be none of that…
Her clothes fell as she stepped into the tub, allowing the steam to overtake her. She washed her hair, ran soup down all of her regions in a sick rite of purification… or perhaps as if to embalm the dead, for that was what would soon become of her.
She grabbed the razor, noting to herself that body hair was a repulsive thing. The beauty had never understood why women shaved their legs, arm pits and most private area but nothing more, and so the silver blade ran over her to leave slick flesh. This was how she was as an infant -- nude and perfect -- and that was how she would be once again. A spot was missed; the blade danced over it, consuming thin fibers, preparing the artist to paint on a new canvas.
With some effort, her a manicured nail dismantled the razor. She gazed upon it with two purple irises, astounded by its glimmer in that bleak setting. It was a fine instrument, as silver as an rain at dawn upon the petals of tulips…
It traversed across her wrist as a duet of lines, defined, exact, kissing muscle and vein. The sensation was foreign to her, but it was liberating like a once caged dove. Blood peeked through the opening and danced down, scarlet nymphs upon a pale ground. She laid there in the water, affixed on the liquid rushing forth from her -- an indication she was still alive; a victory over him and what became of her.
Domino spoke aloud in that moment, perhaps to the sun which still filtered her even now, maybe to the Amaterasu herself, but it did not matter. She laid there in the water and quoted a lyric by Jewel: "In the Bible only angels have wings, and the rest must wait to be saved."
Was that it? She was no angel, just a mortal, some pretty thing which would have died some other way. The wings would never decorate her now, not after her years of stealing and abusing pokémon, screwing with the system, leaving trainers as helpless to the elements and their dreams.
She should have felt pain from slitting her flesh. Perhaps she did, but pain was understood by the sadist -- she heard it in the screams of those pokémon, felt it whenever Giovanni feasted upon her with a hollow stare.
Her head sank below the surface, golden hair fanning out in delicate waves. The destroyed skin of her arm accompanied her, and together this woman and her once-beautiful skin were deprived of oxygen. What remained in her lungs escaped to merge with the liquid flowing into her, filling her insides. Only then did it dawn upon her that she was suffocating; that she was going to die… and there was a slight apprehension, but only because she did not know what would happen now. She felt darkness rise over her, a perpetual blackness, a lovely disaster.
They would find her naked, the red of her blood creating swirls in the water. They would find her dead.
A final lyric by that fellow blonde, Jewel, came into her mind: "Pieces of us die every day as though our flesh were hell." She created her own interpretation of what the Alaskan songwriter meant. Then only one thought rose in her mind: ...Perhaps I should have played 'Suicide Blonde' for this occasion; after all, everyone loves Jack's Mannequin.
And her final thoughts were on music, on an art which made her feel alive. That was one other thing – she always desired to learn the piano, to create life with notes. Perhaps only music could rival her love for the visual arts.
In the other room, the light of the greatest kami was lost to the clouds of an oncoming storm... and the tulips became opaque black, devoid of all light.
I remember the fateful day when I almost took my life: A pleasant day in April, the kind people look forward to after the long cloaks of white snow finally melt away. It was the perfect suicide weather. I remember a writer talking about that before.
So why didn't I kill myself? Well, I believe that brilliant writer could word it better than I ever could. She declared, "Suicide is a form of murder – premeditated murder." She was right. What we pitiful humans fail to recognize though is that suicide takes practice; takes getting used to. What separates a true suicide from an attempt is not the action, but the thought behind the blade or the rope or the pills. It takes planning and an mind cleared of emotion. One must be apathetic but logical, with the motive and the certainty bright in their spirit.
And so I did not die. Something stopped me in that final moment; my body broke through the surface of the water, and my hand acted as a tourniquet for my bleeding wrist. I had the intention, but not the organization. I was driven on emotions alone – something which differentiates between ideation and reality.
Besides, cutting wrists is too easy, too melodramatic, too safe. Last week a Rocket put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. The sound pulsated through the building like a thousand screams, bringing a stillness over us all. That was suicide.
Maybe someday I'll learn to do it properly. Maybe if I really do feel like dying.
But not today, not in this suicide weather. I'll go to the gardens to delight myself in a bouquet of tulips once more. They are the flowers of spring, you know. They are significant in representing life from after death, and the choice to end it all.
Maybe I'll kill myself in the summer if I finally let him win. After all, I have already fallen from grace.
Ending note: Okay, I don't know what the hell that was. Um... review?