9.14.2004

Surreal Shots III

"He hurt me," she told him.

A dog was growling, somewhere out of sight.

"Want to go to the diner?" he asked her. "Maybe have some coffee, if you aren't hungry."

"And?"

"Talk. Vent."

She shook her head. Her hair flickered in the dying of the light, but no tears were falling. She was in the eye of her storm, and it was anything but calm.

"I want to know what would really hurt him," she murmured. "I can give you...I know when he was born. Where."

He leaned back against the wall. Someone had carved Hell Hath No Fury upon its surface. Black etchings on blood-red brick.

"No," he told her.

"Why?" Her tone was simmering in its dismay. She waved her hand through the air, trying to push away the metallic perfume of her frustration.

"You're supposed to be my conscience," he replied.

"So you won't help me," she fumed.

"I will help you," he told her. "Just not in that way."

"Because of your stupid principles," she accused him, walking away in a huff.

He intercepted her by the cliffside.

"No, that isn't it," he told her as the sun sank into the sea. "Not because of principle. I am not some grandly moral person, and I doubt principle would be enough to stop me."

"Then why?" she implored, pulling her sleeve higher up on her shoulder. She had drawn her heart there in soft pink lipstick, though now the image was streaked and smeared.

"I am afraid," he said simply.

"Why?"

"Because I doubt principle would be enough to stop me."

He leaned forward and kissed her forehead. Then he gently turned her towards the diner, and away from the slippery slope they both stood upon.

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