• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 07
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First I’ll wash away the dirt, the stains of grass, the tiny motes of dirt between her toes, and the dark lines of scratches, until the skin is as clean and soft and pale as I could wish it.

But the skin is so soft it, too, comes away beneath the gentle caress of my fingers, melting away in a swirl of pink and brown to reveal the richer, deeper reds of muscle and sinew and blood.

But I can’t stop there. There are bones, tiny, soft, creamy-white, that still flex, still wriggle with delight beneath my caresses. These, too, must be washed away.

And once there are no longer feet, I work my way up the smooth certainty of the legs, the round happiness of the belly, the pale strength of the chest, the gentle comfort of the arms.

The face is always the hardest part to wash away. Lips that only want to kiss, to whisper, to suck. Eyes that only want to seek, to study, to absorb. But stroke by loving stroke I watch them dissolve.

I brush the darkness of her hair. Soft, softer than my own, softer than my fingers, softer than imagination, until the last of it drifts away like smoke from a dying flame.

And she is gone, like she is every day. She is gone and I am left, like I am every day, alone with my wishes and my dreams and a bowl filled with pain and regret and two years of tears.