An Excellent Choice
By Amduscias Albus
A tale of our resident blue demoness~
When I awoke, all I saw was lace. I'm serious: lace, far as the eye can see, like someone puked up some Victorian lady's frilly underpants. It's all black lace, curtains and curtains of it. Then I realize it's covering the walls too and floor -- there's shadows coming through them and darting around, which makes me think, where the hell is the light source?
'That's when you realize you're really an art geek: even after a disorienting car crash and waking up to a room chock full of wafting tentacle Goth lace, you're thinking about light sources. The goddamn principles of shading.'
I sit up, head brushing more stringy blackness. The tickle of fabric down my neck makes me jump away, hands sliding on the silkiness of the floor. That's about the point I realize I'm naked.
A second after that is where I realize I've got no slashes from the glass of the windshield. No bruises from the crunch of my car.
"Oh s**t. I'm dead."
This doesn't look a whole lot like heaven either.
From somewhere through the sifting curtains, a female voice murmurs, "You came to that conclusion faster than most. Very good."
Her voice, somehow, reminds me of the lace: it's lower than most women, with a strange rasping undertone. Not quite a smoker's voice -- maybe someone who sang for a living and had worn herself out. Either way, I'm a sucker for both ladies and sultry voices, so I heave my naked self up and look around.
"This way, my clever one."
My feet slip on the floor as I try to walk, grabbing at the drapes to keep my pitiful balance. To help me, she starts to hum, a slow mournful tune like an old lullaby --- a really old lullaby, one that rocks not a cradle, but a coffin and its quiet-eyed mother.
But sirens are irresistible for a reason, so I struggle through until her song smothers my ears. I can feel it pressing strange into my head, like the smell of gasoline leaks through pores and stays with you; like that, but into my veins and lungs until I am breathing her melody and the vibrations are my pulse.
Mid-hypnotism, she urges me to open my eyes.
'When had I closed them?'
But I do, and the lace parts like fluttering wings to reveal Her. She is not the devil I expected, though ethereally and impeccably inhuman: fluorescent skin like someone plugged the dawn sky into a socket and the whole thing lit up pure and gorgeous. She's reclined across a chaise Cleopatra-style, but with far less gold. Only a thin black strip of cloth covers her, with matching elbow-length opera gloves that I already want stroking my cheek and telling me how everything's okay and someone got it wrong and God's a woman with deadly, thick red eyes like the ocean at sunset and a wave of splendid hair, smooth and luxurious as iris petals.
Her smile is small and curled. Expectant.
"I'm dead," I repeat faintly, and she nods. "But... Is this..." I can't bring myself to say it.
"It is whichever you feel you deserve."
Before I can puzzle out her latest purr, something shifts behind her chaise. From the shadows unfurl tendrils, at first ambiguously dark and writhing. As they slither into the light, they take a green hint, trailing into yellow at their tips. One curls around an ankle, stroking the radiant skin of her calf with care.
I swallow. Try to think smart thoughts.
"Honestly, whichever one gets me laid, miss."
She drops her head back against the cushions and laughs. "That would be Hell, darling. An excellent choice."
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