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Death at the Blue Lagoon

It was that first scream that came to pierce the water, snapping away the beauty of his crime.  A second later, wading legs jostled fruitlessly in twos, shouts mere muffles from beneath.  The figure, anchored still, had been looking up from his lagoon bed, his body relaxed as the pump and valves worked so delicately to a stop, his breathing set to a bubbling whisper.  He shared a polite word with the bright blue above: a promise, perhaps.
The figure was reminded of a scene from his childhood.  A party.  Invitation only.  By that stage, his mother rarely left the house, but she delivered the R.S.V.P personally.  He found out later that she had gone without his father’s knowing.  Grave Danger, his father said upon their return, Grave Danger.  Insurmountable.  Going alone is bad enough.  Why did you take the boy?  His mother walked briskly to the house, a young figure herself.  Please keep up, darling.  Her hands were clammy.  She kept him as close as if they had been led together.  They walked blindly around corners.  Eyes lowered, she never once looked back.  And finally, a word with the sentry, she stepped through the gates, reducing their speed to a casual stroll.  She bent down and brushed the figure out as a maid would linen.   The greatest oak door soaked up her knock as if muffled by a glove.  The figure looked up to mother as she straightened out her pleated skirt.  [Absolutely!] Yes.  Formal dress.  A sweeping staircase glimpsed as she balanced against the threshold.

Just over a month later, stepping across it.  A low-hanging cloud of smoked tobacco was second to greet them - his father contributed, smoking on until his nerves were choked.  What else?  Women in gowns with outstretched smiles; chewing, laughing, cracking new hairlines through porcelain cheeks.  How old must he have been?  His mother and father were still together.  Eight, nine?  Young enough to sense that something was wrong.  Now twice the age of his father, grasping at his memory as the older man.

The trail of red mapped out a course in front of him.  He was reminded of the lazy tobacco smoke of that night as it clotted in the air.  Black ties and evening gowns.  The occasional uniform of High Command.  His thoughts lingered among those forgotten scholars for a while.   The fluid could have left his wound as if lazily dragged and expelled from those cigarettes set in holders stamped silver.  It may have considered a style close to the one adopted by the thickening haze, rising at the leisure of the night, shunning the pull from above, picturing the flaws it could find in laughing faces.  And later, it could have wound in derision of a crystal chandelier, talking it down -  a lecture on the attention it can no longer attain, of bygone glory, and of the aristocracy it had once hung for - before knotting in an intentional tangle of bitterness, then finally – finally - dispersing.

The blood did not want to linger as the smoke once did, and so the diluted maroon haze shot to its greatest twisted height, all of its winding destinations magnetised to one.  Marking the spot, the ink blot punctured the crystal blue.  The figure watched a shadow creep over him as his sun-soaked blood blossomed outwards.  And he saw that it did so cleanly, honest as a blush.


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