Compiled in Nine


Sophia Maybin

Deceiving life.

In her fingers stands a slender vile no longer than a rose. The top was pinched at the edges while the body cascaded down to a point attached to a quarter-sized stand. Filled nearly to the brim with wine, Kate realized that what she was holding was not made for the liquor but for, instead, a single flower; it was a vase.

Her eyes crept around the vase from each round side, and with every twist of examination, she remained in a state of confusion. Even in the obscurity of the situation, she pursed her lips and drank from the oddity.

Around the corner she could hear whispers of indiscretion tossed between one woman to another. Sentences became single words through the wall. Only the two words “carry” and “disheveled” were visible through the thickness. Within the same moment, one by one, like the ticking of a clock, nine pieces of glass were terminated against the hardened floor with a small pause between each smash.

The attendants gazed around the room, looking for another pair of shocked and conscious eyes, only to reach the aversion of the innocent. The few seconds of suffocating stagnation ceased as a set of sharp heels advanced into the dining room–side by side in total synchronization. She emerged with a stolen grin.

The woman, illuminating a serene dominance, continued to walk forward with no intention of halting. Attendants displaced themselves away from her path and watched with colliding intent. Her walk was discrete and singular; however, with each echo escaping her steps, the room was retreating to a familiar scene.

The woman stoped abruptly in front of Kate and swiftly plucked the vase from within her grasp; in the same motion she glided back to her tavern of mystery. The room watched with the same confusion and awe that remained in the air.
The woman was soon approaching, as indicated by the sound of each descending heel. From the shelter of the corner, she emerged only to be trailing behind the vase, full of ash.

The rim of the vase was covered in a sheen of gray, as was any surface the ash had graced. The woman walked to the center of the room, capturing and mounting to be the center of attention. Her limbs became parallel and concrete while her body remained strikingly upright. Contrasting this image, she raised the vase up, with shaking arms, up above her head. In an act of supreme carelessness, she began to bathe herself in the ash.

Within seconds, she became unrecognizable to the masses. From head to toe, she was fitted by the remnants of the ashes.

The room watched the scene in awe and no one attempted to remove themselves; they remained a picture perfect image of oppressed agony at the hands of confusion. They watched as the woman fell back into her statue-like stance, and they waited for a following action to no avail.

As the seconds combined into the exact count of nine minutes, she uttered at the last tick of sixty: ‘let his arms further caress me in hell.’