by Nicholas Siennicki
She draped her head over the back of the seat, lazily looking up at the Jackson Pollock sky. Tendrils of smoke and smog played off the city lights and gleaming stars, the perfect mix of innocence and experience. She could feel the breeze washing over her as it kissed her skin and billowed through the airy dress that she felt made her look pretty.
It would have been easy to look at her and see anything that you wanted. There was that sort of corrupted impressionability written into her curls. It seemed to suggest limitless possibility and stifling cages all at once. She was a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, and one after another would come and try their luck, hoping to not happen across an abrupt ending.
But they could say whatever they wanted to placate themselves. It wasn’t their fault, it was hers. It wasn’t on them things didn’t work out, it was clearly a reflection of the personality she kept locked away beneath the veneer of self-proclaimed objectification. It was all simple. Or rather, it was kept simple.
A boy would come up to her in the club. He would touch her, and she would let him. He would pursue her, playing the fox as she played the rabbit. He would nip at her heels; she would run slowly enough so that he would get that taste. But then, he would run a touch too fast, come a bit too close, and her heart would begin to race. The game turned into a hunt.
He would lose her, they always did. But his exhaustion and fruitlessness would churn out negativities to label her with. Tease, slut, whore. He impressed upon her canvas a painting of conquest, of power and victory. Never mind the fact she hated being made to feel lesser, forced, and coerced. Who was she to tell others how they should view her?
Her eyes danced over the sky again, feeling the scars etched into stars as her own. They were her own.
Sometimes the fox was interesting. Sometimes the nipping felt so nice. Her heartbeat quickened, but she did not run. She would stop and play with the fox, and try to make it happy. Try to pacify it so it didn’t try to break down doors it wasn’t supposed to. It was such a pretty little thing, and she wanted to make it happy.
But the thing is, foxes and rabbits can’t be friends. Not forever, anyway. Foxes get hungry by the end. So how much could she ever really do? At some point hunger outstrips pleasure, and her lapin fluff ceases to entertain. She watches as craving crawls into the foxes eyes, and control seeps away. She’ll smile, he’ll grin. He might even tell himself he’ll get what he wants. He doesn’t, he can’t. She’ll bound away harmlessly and find another fox to play with. All she wants is a little friend.
She clicked the door shut and hopped the low barrier separating civilization from the cliff-side. The overlook could not be prettier in the intoxicating mix of lights, natural and fabricated. She pulled out her phone and watched the timer count down to midnight.
Of course, sometimes the foxes chased her.
Even after she told them she was gone.
Their hunger commanded them, pushed them.
They wanted to ravage her.
Once, or twice, they had caught up to her.
She could still remember those sharp teeth.
She could still feel the cold.
So now what?
One second remained left.
She took a step foreword, smiling.
This would be her year.
Banner photography courtesy of Harsha K R.