Vivid in purple splendour
Dream within a dream
Vivid in purple splendour
Dream within a dream
It was not her eyes,
Raven-black and glinting;
No it was not they.
It was not the piled silks of her hair;
Nor even the exquisite trappings of her status,
For she was Geisha,
One of the forbidden ones,
Those of powder and pomade.
Not even the look, glance, demure raising of lashes
That captured my heart in a dragon-bone cage.
It was none of those things or a million others.
No, it was the mere twirling of her porcelain hand,
A teapot in the lifting,
And the beautiful ballet of her fingers upon the lion which adorned it.
If her hand alone encapsulated perfection,
Then what of the rest?
Like the rising sun, she approached,
And the intoxication of the Orient came with her.
I bowed my head,
Smelled the Orchid Phoenix fragrance waft over my senses
And waited my turn.
It wasn’t her perfect figure, raven hair, nor exquisite taste in clothing that mesmerised me, but her scent. She smelled of Himalayan blood orchids, so rare as to be known to only a few of the mountain people and myself, of course.
Part adventurer, part scientist, I had stumbled my way across Asia until I ended up at the end of the known world: Nippon. But it was not the Nippon of Shogun and temples that interested me rather than the shanties of the poor. These people had accepted me, a gaijin, into there lives and in turn I did my best to help where I could. My expertise in tracking and medicine served me well. The former less than the latter until now, that is.
I had no idea what one of the Geisha, the Nipponese hierarchies most treasured possessions was doing in an area such as this, especially in the evening. She slip-slopped her way through this roughest part of Meaco, the countries capital city, parasol obscuring her features, in the direction of the river. I had no option but to follow. I was totally enraptured. To follow such as she could cost a normal person their life, a foreigner such as me, far worse!
Tailing her from about twenty yards, I snook my heavy footed way through the sludge of the street in her measured wake.
I marvelled at her tiny footsteps. If one didn’t know better you’d think her gliding through the chaotic mess of the area. Not one speck of grime touched her snow-white kimono or trappings. The fur around her neck gave a strange balance to her outfit. This was most unusual! I had never seen the like before. I could have been mistaken, but it seemed that of a Himalayan fox! I spent two whole years on the roof of the world and only once saw even a fleeting glimpse of one. It was considered a bad omen to see their face, a precursor to your own death, or so the superstitious natives would have it. Not in this instance though, as it was clearly the creature that had met its end, not I.
The Geisha paused in her tracks and inclined her head as though sampling the air, then turned into a particularly small and smelly lane. Yet her own scent transcended that of her surroundings and I felt in my own personal nirvana. My normal wary self would have thought the lack of another soul odd, but in my current state I preferred it this way.
Before long, the foul smelling river surged into pungent view. I hated the river, particularly at night. The water flowed like blood from a wound, jet black and turgid in the moonlit night. The geisha appeared to pay it no heed as she approached the water’s edge and stopped. She remained as a statue, completely motionless, frozen in time, but for the flapping of her gowns in a newly risen breeze. I didn’t know what else to do, so I walked to her. What choice did I have after following so far? If she knew I was there she did nothing to acknowledge it, only twirled her parasol a little more than she had previously. I closed the distance quickly, but with each step I took it grew incrementally colder. It was as if she was an iceberg and I the sun, the two of us competing for dominance: she was winning.
By the time I reached her I was quite chilled to the core. Knowing not what else to do, and desperate for her undivided attention, I cleared my throat. At the disturbance, the fox fur twitched then contorted upon itself until I looked at its cold, dead eyes. Then it’s wearer turned in the same direction. Eyes of obsidian depth stared lifeless at me. She was quiet dead, of that I was certain. The orchid scent dispersed in the wind and was replaced by a gut wrenching stink. I wished to run, but could not. I wished to withdraw the knife I always carried and free myself of her charms: I could not. Instead, the geisha parted her lips, as though to speak, but was unable. Her frustration manifested in a tear of tar that slowly traversed her alabaster exterior. She reached to my jacket pocket, freezing my heart as she brushed my chest, and withdrew my blade. She cocked her head to one side and regarded it with some glee before drawing its razor edge steadily across my throat.
The last thing I saw, as my lifeblood spilled about me, was her perfect form descend into the river. She slowly sunk below that gushing vein of blood as the moon disappeared behind leaden clouds. The last thing to go, the fox wrap about her shoulders that winked at me as I died in agony in the rancid mud.
(Image dark134 on deviantart.com)