Six Word Stories: Wet


The problem with Venice? Wet streets.

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Cocoa Lagoons

My Mornings

I’m reclining in a cocoa lagoon where the natives all wear the same clothing and the colours never change. I like it here in this snippet of another world, my personal escape.

I breathe. I write.

The sound of grinding coffee is not a vexation but a soothing balm. Here, people talk as though in dreams and Venice accepts them with open arms, and an open cash register. I prefer my privacy but somehow am less disturbed by this than I am the Prefab Sprout that slips from the speakers.

I breathe. I write.

I talk to the girls behind the counter in a way I otherwise could not and would not and try to smile back. The irony, one is Italian, a Venetian, and I wonder if my dream is solidifying. I hope not. I like this dreamscape too much for it to become real.

I breathe. I write.

My time comes to an end. Social media has been answered, words written, and the routine I love and crave beckons though it seems a continent away. But I won’t run, not today. I choose another route, a smile playing across my face. I’ll take a gondola across these cocoa lagoons to remind me of my time here.

I breathe. I breathe. I breathe.

Conjoined

They shared everything in life. And, despite the restrictions forced upon them, Francesca and Francine were happy, I think. That all changed with the masquerade ball. That all changed because of me.

Francesca swept towards me with the grace of a butterfly on the wing. She was radiant in her copper-coloured dress and gold sash; Francine was less so. I’d heard of them of course. Who hadn’t? But there was something mysterious about the two who were one. Conjoined was the correct term; unfortunate the reality. For what one desired the other inevitably did too. But there was only one me and I did not wish to share. So, when Francesca removed her mask, unlocking her sister’s whether she wished it or not, and offered me her cheek, I kissed it with ardour. I had to, you see, I was enraptured.

We left as a pair, plus one. Francine never spoke, not once, and offered not even a look. She was so adamant in her neglect that it angered me. I did not like being angered. I was not used to refusal.

Their palace was the best in Venice, a veritable cornucopia of colour and class. I did not get chance to admire it, as Francesca led me away up marble stairs. Francine followed; she had no choice.

What we did was wrong in the presence of another, an unwilling other. At the time, I did not care. Francesca was the most beautiful creature in the Adriatic and she was mine. She was also her sisters.

I heard the screaming when I left the room. It was awful, unrepeatable, and ended in a crash of splintered glass and broken bones.

I rushed out into the courtyard to see them laid in shared agony. What one suffered, so did the other. And as I stooped to kiss the girl I adored, her sister in an act of final malice covered her lips with the hand she controlled. Francesca died without a final act of love; Francine died soon after, my hands at her throat.

Conjoined was the word most commonly used, but never by me. I preferred two separate terms: evil and good. I had sampled both and would never do so again.