The Folies-Bergère is a carnival of fruity carnal indulgences, I thought, as Chane took my hand and helped me out of the carriage and I stepped out onto the walk. It was a carnival of color that you can taste, a taste to hold under your tongue like a secret. A taste to sink your teeth into when you want to forget what it is like to take a bite of something so forbidden, Eve’s forbidden apple. It was a taste that was like sunlight, sinking in through red stained glass windows. It was a taste of the underworld, of passion and pleasure, of forbidding. Just imagine the way it feels to eat chocolate after a lifetime of none, the way the rich creaminess of it will slide over your tongue and into the back of your throat with just a hint of bitterness. I could taste the way it called to me, like hibiscus whistling in the wind, wind chimes dangling in the evening breeze, the taste of potent Magnolia petals sucked in my mouth with an overload of sugar. It tasted of visions, it tasted of memories, it tasted of dreams.
A clown met us as we stepped out of the carriage. He was bald with a white painted face, and a fake smile of bold chalky red. His eyes were outlined in kohl and he smiled at Emilie, kissing her hand and making faces.
“Beautiful! Beautiful!” He squealed, dancing around on his heels and making faces at us until we laughed. Even Chane cracked a smile.
“What are your names you fine, fine beautiful ladies? Names! Names!”
“This is Emilie and Lyris.” Chane said formerly, indicating us in turn before taking both of us by the arm and linking it through one of his.
The clown winked at me. “Lyris, I shall remember that. As I am to remember.”
I frowned at him, confused. Chane pulled at my arm and dragged me inside.
“Come on Lyris, I don’t want to loose you in a place like this.”
In through the doors that were blown of pink glass, into The Folies-Bergère. It was an intoxicating interior, a blurred painting of figures that were all in the wrong colors. Visions of red, orange, and black blurred before us as Can-Can dancers twirled around the checkerboard dance floor, they swirled their skirts around them as if they were ribbons undone, flashing ankle, leg and more. I could see the swell of their breast trying to escape from their corsets as they danced, their hair flying around them as they spun and kicked. The rouge on their eyes made them look ethereal, clownish, and frightening. Demons. I watched them transfixed, like a child watching a lion pace in its cage. I watched them with the longing of a starving beggar on the street, watching as their skirts flew out behind them like wings.
“They are so beautiful, so le farouche” Emilie murmured.
“Despicable.” Chane sneered. “Come along; let’s go see if we can find a table in this place.”
“Oh Chane.” Emilie laughed, following behind him with a sway to her step, “You sound like some God fearing Christian.”
“Or just God fearing. You know I prefer the woods to some stifling crowded smoke filled place like this.”
“You’re such an Oak Man.”
Chane found us a table along the back of the club, a red velvet booth with a cherry wood table and Red silk curtains trimmed with golden fringe. “This should do nicely.” He sighed.
He took my dress coat from my shoulders, exposing me to the risqué club.
His fingers lingered on my shoulder, I felt the soft touch of him brush through me, as if his hands were gripping my throat instead of my shoulder, choking me instead of caressing me. Chane’s fingertips stroked gently back and forth along my collar bone. I stood there rigid and tight.
“Would you like something to drink?” He whispered into my ear. “Perhaps some champagne?”
I breathed deeply. “Sure.”
I went to step away from him, but Chane grabbed my shoulder and squeezed it tightly, pulling me back against him. “Tell me what he looks like and I’ll find him for you.”
“This man you came here tonight to meet, tell me what he looks like.” He sneered.
“Chane, you don’t have to do this.”
“Come on Lyris. Dégager” I could feel his hot breathe in my ear, a strange force of him building up against my back. Fire. “I want to help.”
“You won’t find him. He isn’t here.”
“Then why are you here?”
“Tarot, visions, dreams. Why else do we être stupide?”
Chane pushed away from me. “Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be right back with those drinks.”
I slid into the seat by Emilie. “He loves you mon petite chou, how beautifully tragic it is.”
“Wouldn’t it be sweet?” Emilie sighed, “If we both could find our dream boys tonight, and loose ourselves in rapports sexuels before dawn?”
“Taste testing.” Emilie corrected me. She looked up as a monsieur stopped by our table and offered to buy Emilie a drink, she smiled at him and took his arm, winking at me as they walked away.
I watched the orchestra upon the stage as it began to play a Waltz. Couples rose from their crimson booths and took to the dance floors. Gentleman and ladies, whores and pimps combined.
Emilie was led upon the checkerboard floor by her young man. I searched the crowd for Chane, and searched faces for someone else. But I saw no one promising, around the bar or other wise.
“Beautiful, Beautiful lady!” I heard a squealing voice call from my right. I turned towards it and watched as the bald, fake smiling clown wobbled towards me on his heels. “Lyric, lyrical…”
“Lyris?” I asked.
“Yes! Lyris! I told you I remember.”
“Indeed you do.” I said laughing. “And you never did tell me your name.”
“My name? My name? Why lady it is Riley, I am from
“Hello Riley from
He smiled at me, and reached out to shake my hand. I felt the bones in my elbow wobble as he bobbed my arm up and down. “Hello Apollo’s harp!”
“What can I do for you Riley?”
“My master, he wants to dance with you, Beautiful. I was told to take you to him.”
“I’m not so sure of that Riley.”
“Why not Beautiful? Are you waiting for someone else?”
“Well no, not really. Then again, yes, maybe I am.”
“Then if maybe is your answer, how do you know you are not waiting for my Master? Or do you never follow a feeling, Beautiful?”
I stared into the little men’s yellowish eyes. At the section of skin where neck met earlobe, there was a scar, a tiny pin prick silver scar just like…
“A feeling? Oh Riley, I would very much like to meet your master.”
The little men took my hand and led me from the booth, and down onto the dance floor.
People danced around us like puppets inside a vinyl box, spinning on strings, getting tangled around me. We pushed through the couples that rocked back and forth in their satin masquerade, smiling with their mouths and frowning with their eyes. Demons and monsters kissing in a waltz, embracing in their forgetfulness, no memories existed in the way their feet swept each other across the dance floor.
Riley brought me to the center of the dance floor. “Why is your master…?”
But Riley had disappeared.
“Riley? Riley from
“Amarante à fleurs en queue,” said a hauntingly shady familiar voice behind me. “Love lies bleeding, my sweet Lyris.”
“Or so you have taught me.” I whispered without turning. “My first lesson.”
“Death has asked you to come.” He said.
“And I heed Death’s call.”
“Do you really know who death is?” I feel him come up against me, pressing his body against my back, his magnetic fingers begin to stroke up and down the silk of my silver bodice, and I can feel his breath against the skin of my arm. I reach back and touch his face with my fingertips, finally knowing the way his skin feels pressed against mine, the smoothness of him, just like in a drugged reverie. I am not ready to turn around, too afraid to see him, too afraid that once I turn, he may cease to be real.
“In the grave he lies, in the grave where all the mysteries of the world are revealed, only in the grave. I wish I could kiss death’s lips and taste the blood upon them. The taste of those lips would gain me immortality.”
“Then turn and taste them!” He wrenched at my bare arm and spun me around, pressing his lips against mine before I could get a clear look at him. Golden hawk eyes reflected in my own before I closed them and felt the softness of him invade me.
He sucked my life out of me with that kiss, pulling at my insides until I felt dry and hungry. And with that kiss, he blew new existence into me, my heart fluttered with wings. In an instant I knew what it was to soar, to fly.
Resurrection, Rebirth, Reincarnation. Oh the way we pay for our sins.
I felt the press of something sharp against my lips, drawing blood.
I wrapped his pony tail around my hand before pulling away and looking into his Elvish face. He stared down at me with eyes glowing, licking my own blood from his lips.
Amarante à fleurs en queue.
“You remember now.”
“This is a waking dream Lyris. We don’t have to wait for sleep anymore. I want you to dance with me.”
He took me into his arms and began to sweep me across the dance floor in a strange kind of waltz that was unfamiliar to me. It was something ancient and nomadic, a constant movement. A spinning daydream. A hallucination. Just like he always was. Even though the dance was strange to me, my feet seemed to know the steps, as if they were drilled into them sense the day they were created in the womb. I followed Killian along the dance floor, my hands grasping his shoulders and hands.
He led me along in a sharp diagonal, twisting his body left and right. My body followed suit, like I was a puppet controlled on a string, mirroring him. Then suddenly, he jumped up and spun me around, catching me in his arms. He grabbed both my elbows and pressed against me, so that I strode backwards, my feet pulsating against the floor. I could still taste his lips on my mouth as if it was that taste that was controlling me, the mere recollection of him, the memory of the way his body felt pressed against mine, so that I moved as if I was apart of him, still pressed into him.
Killian lifted me up into his arms and then slid me down against his chest, grabbing my hair in his hands and twisting it around until my head fell back. “Now is the time for you to see what I really am Lyris.” He gasped against my mouth. “Let us leave this garden of ghostly delights, for another unearthly realm. Shall we?”
I murmured against his chin, peering up at him through slanted eyes. He looked down at me ominously, his golden eyes becoming cat like, glowing out from beneath his pale skin. He leaned down and kissed me again, biting down against my mouth with his front teeth, scraping my skin lightly with the feel of his incisors. I knew deep inside what he was, damned and immortal. But I didn’t care, for I wanted all those things for myself. I wanted to be damned. I wanted to be immortal. I wanted to embrace the visions. It was my fate after all, wasn’t it? He was my fate.
I didn’t bother to look to where Emilie and Chane were as Killian led me out of The Folies-Bergère and unto the street. I felt as care free as I was in sleep, flying.
By now, the moon was high in the clear sky. Shining out as ruler of the stars.
“Beautiful moonlight, no?” Killian asked me, taking my hand
‘Yes. Belle rayon de lune,” Was my dazed reply.
He led me down the street, pass closed shops darkened from lack of candlelight. I could still smell the remaining aroma from the bakery, the lure of coffee beans from the café, and I could still see the shadows of mannequins in dress shop windows, they were like frozen preserved corpses.
“Down here love.”
We turned into a narrow ally that reeked of the smell of sewer and rotten meat. I coughed on the rancid smell. “I’m sorry love. The carriage is not that far.”
Indeed it was not. The black carriage waited where the ally met another street, standing as inauspicious as a black cloud in the
“Her name is Bloodstone. My stone.” Killian explained, banging on the side of the carriage with his fist.
Riley opened up the door and stepped out. He had washed all of the make up off his face. I watched as he squinted up at his master with apprehensive eyes. “Hello master. Hello beautiful. I see you have found who you were looking for?”
“Indeed I have. Thank you Riley.”
“Riley,” Killian said coldly. “We would like to head home now.”
“Of course master.”
The little man grabbed the side of the carriage and pulled himself up into the driver’s seat, untying the reins and taking them into his hand.
Killian opened up the carriage door and took my hand, helping me to step up into the coach. He followed behind me and closed the door, taking a seat beside me on the cushion.
“Oh my over coat!” I exclaimed. “I left it at the hall.”
I reached out to take hold of the door handle but Killian grabbed my hand. “There is no need love, you won’t be needing it. That is lovely dress by the way Lyris.”
He released my hand and I curled it tensely into my lap, biting my lower lip.