The Contract

D&December, 2017

The lazy pit-pat of rain against dying leaves has not yet begun in earnest when you meet her beneath the slim, sagging branches of those ancient willows. Her shy smile is soft, safe, and there is a throbbing thrum along disbelieving heartstrings that spreads a golden glow from the tips of fingers to the tops of feet. If she notices, she is merciful, and the dusting of freckles wrinkles rather prettily as she draws a thin brush from deep within those drooping silk sleeves.

 

She presses the silver stem between your palms and clasps your hands closed. The warmth of her touch lingers like breath on a window in winter.

 

"I will miss you."

 

Her silence sinks like a stone in your stomach.

 

She does not even need to guide your strokes anymore: the crisp characters of your signature are fine and firm in the corner of the pressed paper. Seemingly satisfied, she pulls the brush from your open hand. With pursed lips, she puffs cool air across the contract and seals it with a careful kiss.

 

You do not know if these many nights have been figment or fact, but there is a gleam, a glimmer over her shoulders where the moonlight glances on curved horns, the glow of a third eye, the glisten of shining scales. You try not to think about what you've done, what she must now do for you.

 

Instead, you watch her tuck away the contract and the brush and slink back into the shadows.

 

You watch until she and her beast are long gone and you are alone with the rain and the guilt.

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