Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Exquisite Beauty of Death

by Mercedes M. Yardley

She was so beautiful, all dandelion fluff hair and white skin. But she bled from her eyes, and it was most disconcerting, although Allen tried not to show it.

“What?” she asked him one day. It was a normal Tuesday afternoon, and she had sequestered herself under a pastel umbrella. Blood ran from her eyes and down her face like painful tears. It soaked into her white scarf.

“N-nothing,” he said. He tried not to stare.

“Do I…do I have something on my face?” She reached a hesitant white mittened hand, tentatively dabbed beside her mouth. Blood smeared across her cheek in an artistic swoop. “I had pancakes for breakfast. Did I make a mess with the syrup?” She blushed delicately. “Sometimes I make a mess with the syrup.”

Allen’s lips twitched up. “No, you don’t have syrup on your face.”

“Is it my hair then? I can’t get it to do anything in this weather.”

Her light hair was fighting its white knitted hat. It tried its very best to stand on end, floating about her face like water.

He smiled fully, then. “No, it isn’t your hair.”

She turned her eyes to him, big beautiful gray eyes that were wide like a child’s. She blinked and two more bloody tears pooled and ran down her cheeks, mimicking the rain. “Then what is it? Why are you looking at me?” she asked. Her curiosity was endearing.

“I think that I like you,” Allen said. She smiled back, and he continued. “There’s just…something about you.”

“There is. I can call the lightning.”

He smiled and she laughed.

“You think that I’m kidding, don’t you?” she said.

Allen shrugged. “I’m not really sure what to think.”

She stood on tiptoe, kissed his cheek. Her felt the warmth of her lips and the blood that she left behind.

“I’d like you to stay with me for a while,” she said.

“Yes,” he agreed, and she cried tears of joy.

He also came to realize that she cried tears of pain and tears of sorrow. There were tears of frustration and tears of anger. Those were the most bitter and the most torrential, and they stained the couch and the carpet and the warm gray blanket that she wrapped herself in. And she could, indeed, call the lightning. A man was struck while running away after a rape. A family was killed while picnicking in the rain.

“Sometimes I can’t control my aim,” she said, and sighed.

Allen loved her, and love can hurt, as he soon found out. He shyly opened his hands to show her a lovely diamond ring that somehow reminded him of a butterfly, and she threw her arms around him and sobbed.

“Oh, I want to, I want to, but if we marry, you shall die,” she cried, and there were tears and tears and tears. He nearly drowned in them.

Until one day she came out of the room wearing the ring on her finger.

“I think yes,” she said, and Allen spun her around.

Blood crimsoned her wedding dress. They stood in a pool of it, and when he kissed his bride, she ran her fingers through his hair, making it stiff and sticky.

“I love you,” he said. Already he was faint. He dropped into an empty chair.

“I love you, too,” she said, and kissed him again. He felt his heart pumping, but in vain, for there was no longer any blood to circulate. She had cried it all out.

“Don’t be sad,” he told her. She tried to hold him, but he slid to the ground. “Now I understand why you cry.”

“Oh, Allen,” she whispered. “I tried. They told me to take you and I wanted so badly for you to live. I want you to be with me forever.” Blood leaked out of her eyes and touched her lips.

Allen smiled as his eyes closed.

“There’s something that I have wanted to tell you,” he said, “from the very moment that we first met.”

“What is that, my love?”

“I never understood why everybody fears death so. You are so beautiful.”

And she cried.


Mercedes M. Yardley writes on a laptop that is undeniably broken. She has a special affinity for sharks and red lipstick, (but not sharks in red lipstick) and always covers her eyes during the gory parts. You can see a list of publishing credits at


Michael Stone said...

The imagery is nothing less than brilliant and I loved the denouement. It was a joy to read such a well-crafted story.

Cate Gardner said...

Beautiful as always, Mercedes.

Alan W. Davidson said...

It was exquisite. And beautiful. Nicely desribed with just enough quirkiness. Great job, Mercedes!

BT said...

Now that is different - in a very beautiful way - well done M

Alan said...


Jodi Lee (Morrighan) said...

Mercedes, that is what writing is all about. Achingly beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, everybody! :)


Fox Lee said...

I think this is the most beautiful thing you have ever written : )

Katey said...

Really gorgeous mental images-- the richness of each sentence makes it so vivid. This will stick with me for a while. Nicely done!

Anonymous said...

The reveal at the end: perfect.

Unknown said...

Great story. Loved the part with the blood stained wedding dress.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful imagery. I love it whenever Death is portrayed in such an unusual way.

Lovely piece.

Danielle Birch said...

A wonderfully tortured story.

Don said...

Simply exquisite!

Belkycita said...

Ooh!! Loved it!

Anonymous said...

I loved this one. I have a thing for Death as a character. I love how you accomplished the ending. Terrific!