Beneath your bruising skin


She looked so peaceful she could be sleeping. Her lips, a pink rosebud, were slightly parted. Her eyes were closed; long, fair lashes pressed together like soft feathers. Her cheeks still had a slight pink hue and warmth still lingered on her skin. Her warmth was a soft, tender caress, mixing with the scent of her flowery perfume when he pressed his head against her breast.

But her sleep was one that could not be awoken from.

That became obvious when Kinzo, fingers pressed on the inside of her wrist- blue veins crisscrossing oh-so-delicately under the white skin- and his head against her chest, could feel no pulse.

Beatrice Castigilioni did not stir.

Why did Beatrice Castigilioni not stir?

She did not stir because she was dead.

That was an obvious answer to a simple question. Kinzo did not even need Nanjo's opinion to confirm it. Beatrice, his beautiful Beatrice, was dead; life slipping from her grip as she gave birth to her child.

The child was called Beatrice, too.

He hoped she grew to look like her mother- though she would be no substitute for the real Beatrice- oh, Beatrice, Beatrice!

There was no way of denying her death even though Kinzo- his eyes rimmed red raw, his tears already shed- wished he could; oh how he wished he could. He wished he could take the hands of the clock and turn them back, back, back, right back- all the way into the past, to the happier days when he and Beatrice would sit in the rose garden sipping tea and talking. The sky overhead would be bright blue, clouds drifting along, and the air in the summer was always so sweet; infused with the scent of her perfume and the surrounding flowers.

Her favourite tea was jasmine, with plenty of sugar. She had such a sweet tooth, and he would always tease her about it…

They would discuss anything and everything, and she would always laugh. He liked it when she laughed. He always felt as though he had accomplished something, eliciting such a beautiful sound from such a beautiful woman.

She was even prettier when she was laughing.

Beatrice was his captive princess; the beautiful, exotic, Western bird in her golden cage. No other man could look upon her, for she was his and his alone. She gave his life meaning- without her, what was life?

Life was nothing but a passing dream- and Beatrice, his beautiful Beatrice, had slipped from it altogether. There was no pulse in her heart; no tremor of her eyelids; no kiss to awake this spell or potion that could bring life from death, for this was no fairytale.

She had been his princess- but he was no deserving prince, for he could not revive her.

Life was no longer a cheerful daydream spent drinking tea and watching clouds; watching Bice's face, too, as he made her smile and pout and sigh in succession. Life without Bice was a cold, bitter nightmare; almost as cold as Beatrice's skin would soon grow as she festered in the ground…

No!

N-no- Kinzo's eyes widened with horror- t-that was impossible.

He would not let that happen!

He would rather die himself- and yes, if that was an option, he would give his life for his beloved and the lives of all his family, his dull wife and useless children; all of them, sacrifice them all!

Beatrice would not become a lump of flesh- a home for worms and maggots; a water-logged corpse! As the head of the Ushirmomiya family, he wouldn't let such a thing happen!

…But titles have little influence over the dead, for the process of decay does not account for wealth or prestige. It is the same end all meet, no matter how loved or hated the corpse may be.

Kinzo stared at Beatrice desperately, cupping her porcelain face with his hands. All of a sudden his hands seemed so big, so clumsy, and he feared he might crush her. Bice's blue eyes would rot in their sockets- her flesh melting off skin- her rosebud lips wilting- only a grinning skull remaining with a rictus smile-

No!

Such vile thoughts were too much; they were simply too much! That could never happen to his Beatrice! Other people did rot away their flesh and blood when they were in their graves, but Beatrice was too beautiful, too perfect; it would be a sin if that happened!

Oh, how Kinzo wanted to hold her in his arms! He wanted to talk to her, to laugh, to dance- he wanted her, he wanted Bice, he wanted Beatrice, he wanted his beloved, he wanted her to come back! Why would she not come back?

Beatrice, why would she not answer?

He wanted a miracle, he wanted magic- through witchcraft and demons or deals with devils, Kinzo did not care; he only wanted his beautiful Beatrice back by his side, smiling, as she always did- or mocking him, or crying pearls of tears, or tearing at her hair and grinding her teeth and saying she hated him and every unworthy bone in his body-

He would do anything so long as he could see her again!

Beatrice, oh, his lovely Beatrice- cold and dead, never to return...! He would not allow that to happen!

Seized by a sudden madness- a sickness of heart, sudden misery, faced with a bleak future filled with nothing but love for a decomposed corpse who could never return his affections or sip her tea or find patterns in the clouds, no more, no more!- Kinzo gathered Beatrice's limp body in his arms (oh how lifeless she was!) and pressed a kiss against her slightly parted lips.

The flowery scent of her perfume was almost overpowering- though that may have been his own imagination. If he closed his eyes Kinzo could almost imagine she was kissing him back- that her tongue was not dead, her mouth not a crypt, her blue eyes filled with joy…

But the magic spell, brought about by insanity, was broken when he finally opened his eyes.

Beatrice was dead.

Beatrice would always be dead.

The dead did not come back to life.

Beatrice, his Beatrice!

How could he let her decompose? How could he allow it to happen? He had to save her beauty; her couldn't let her die!

Kinzo would remove her eyes from the skull- preserve them in pickled vinegar so he could gaze upon them forever; tear out her hair so it would not fall from her scalp; salvage her clothes, sew together her skin, stuff her body so it would not lose shape- anything, he would do anything, even give away his gold and his title, slaughtering his children with his own hands, if he could keep Beatrice by his side!

Kinzo's trembling fingers brushed against Beatrice's face, pushing her blonde hair out of her closed eyes. At least… she looked peaceful. Kinzo wondered whether the dead could dream. If Beatrice could dream, was she having a fond dream? Was that why she looked so happy? Would she dream of him, Kinzo wondered, even whilst she was cold and blue- as her skin would surely turn?

When the blood drained from her rosy cheeks and the nails fell off her fingers, when water entered her body and all internal organs turned to liquid rot, when her perfume turned sickly and sour and her stomach a burst sewer home to worms, would she still dream of him?

He would dream of her.

He… would not let her go.

Beatrice, his Beatrice- he did his best to love her whilst she lived and breathed, and why should he change that now? Miracles may not be enough, magic may not be enough, but… But didn't love conquer all? Maybe he was naïve- naïve, and a fully grown man with a wife and children, too!- to think such things…

But he had loved Beatrice with all his heart and soul when she was alive.

Why should that change because she was dead?

She was still so beautiful, so perfect; still soft to touch and still so warm…

She could be sleeping.

No.

She was sleeping- and she was dreaming of him, as he would forever dream of her. She would come back, surely, as a phoenix rises from the flames- for her daughter would bear the sweetness of her mothers' eyes, her same blonde curls, her same smile and sweet tooth and love for tea and ice-cream, and Kinzo would gather his Beatrice back into his arms again.

He couldn't turn back the hands of time, and he could not reverse Beatrice's fate… but he could share one last memory with the woman he loved; the woman he would never stop loving- whether in this rotted body or another.

It wasn't so insane really, Kinzo reasoned, as he slowly, painstakingly, removed every last bobby pin from Beatrice's hair- combing the loose blonde curls with his fingers; burying his face against her chest, pressing kisses against every inch of still-warm flesh.

It wasn't insane at all.

It was love.

Anybody who was truly human would understand.

And so it was that Kinzo gazed upon Beatrice's unclothed body- so soft, yet so still, no heartbeat and all and no words on her lips, her eyes forever closed and her golden hair pooling around her like a halo for a real angel- and, with tears he believed he had already shed, joined himself once more with the woman he loved so deeply, as he had never loved anything else, with all his heart.

Beatrice did not move. Her body was unresponsive; eyes closed, breath stilled, heart not beating, she didn't stir- yet she still looked so lovely Kinzo could help but cry as he kissed her; eyelids, the tip of her nose, and then, finally, her mouth.

This wasn't a sin.

How could such determined, unrelenting, unyielding love be wrong?


a/n: I think somebody wanted me to write a horror-themed Umineko fic, so... :D I'm not really sure if this is 'horrific' though, despite the subject matter… I was trying to make it tragic/romantic with a large dosage of creepy, but not completely gory horror with lots of detail… I hope it turned out okay ^_^ And if it squicked you, that's good, also XD~
This was based on the song 'Deathmask Divine' by the Black Dahlia Murder (which, in turn, was based on the RL story of Carl Tanzler, which is more messed up than this story XD). Have some lyrics:

I could never let you go, my darling cold and blue / I wonder, are you dreaming still spread eagle, blood removed / I weave the sucking trocar beneath your bruising skin / Tonight I'll lay beside you, darling, in necromantic sin.

See any correlation between that and this fic? XP

~renahhchen xoxo