LEDA AND HER DEMON LOVER
By Robert Davidson
Mirrors are living lies, Leda Angelopolos thought. They reflect only the outside. And not the fiend living within.
Leda stopped a moment to look into her dressing-table mirror. At times she felt there was another person, other than herself, her everyday self that she knew so well, looking back at her. To her, this was a self she feared - one that she had many times tried to ignore, and yet here it was at this moment attempting to assert itself. She shuddered, and turned away from the glass.
Often she would find this other self wrestling with thoughts that would come against her will. Like longing for some bronzed athlete, more virile than Mars or even Priapus himself. Thinking such thoughts, crude, even obscene thoughts that she had never realized herself capable. And always she felt these lower thoughts, as she called them, were a corrosion of, and a threat to her better self, the self she saw herself as being. Passions like these struck like a sharp-pointed knife. As though she were possessed by a demon.
Leda finished applying her make-up and leaned back to survey herself critically in the glass. Why, she thought, had she chosen such a violent orange lipstick at odds with her olive complexion? And her cheekbones heavily reddened? And that mascara and eyeshadow? Oh, well, there wasn’t time to change it now. Gordon Pettibone would be waiting for her out in the car, and would be upset if she was late again. She smoothed down her dress as she stood up to leave the room. She turned and took one last look at her reflection. But strange to say, she could not see herself at all. Perhaps it was a trick of the light, for there was only a dark shadow where he face had been.
The telephone was ringing as she came downstairs. It was Gordon saying that he had been held up at the office and would not be able to pick her up for at least another hour. And there she was, all dressed up and waiting. Well, she would walk down to the shops to fill in the time. Perhaps check out the new café in High Street.
She smiled at her reflection in shop windows as she passed. Her dress clung to her figure in a way she hadn’t noticed before. She knew Gordon Pettibone wouldn’t like that. He was a bit of a prude and didn’t like her showing off her body in public. Outside the newsagency a headline caught her eye, ‘Serial killer strikes again!’ But her attention was distracted by a couple of hoons in a car whistling as she crossed at the traffic lights. But she didn’t mind that so much tonight. Although in the past, she had always hated it when men misbehaved.
Some minutes later a man came into the café and sat down at the vacant seat at her table. He was not unknown to her. It was, in fact, a man she knew as Spiridon, who worked in the same office building as herself.
As Spiridon was twice her age, Leda was sure Gordon would not mind her talking to him. His pitchblende eyes - so black and hard were taking in her whole body as he talked, seeing it as a promised land no doubt. A disconcerting stare, she felt. His voice was silk-smooth, his vibrant tones almost a caress.
She recalled the time he had trapped her between the filing cabinets last Christmas. He was putting his mouth close to her ear. Leda had laughed in his face when he said a woman was far happier if she had a master. At the same time she had struggled inwardly, fighting her own primitive instincts. Authority thrilled a woman, he told her. Nothing but complete subjugation.
She felt his difference from herself. They had left the café and were walking though a park down towards the beach. It was like being at the bottom of some dusty, flowering garden in Hades, she felt. And she an escaping Persephone. A man’s nature will get the better of him, he was saying. In the moonlight his eyelids looked as solid as stone. Her hips brushing against him as they walked.
In the animal world, he went on to say, it’s nature’s decree the male shall dominate.
Leda turned to him and laughed as she said. The higher primates have progressed, evolved beyond that.
And then she was refusing him her mouth. But shocked. Leda was forced to admit to herself that while her mind rebelled her body desired. Her indignation he would know concealed an unconscious excitement. What power was this man exerting upon her? His breath against her face. She needed to defend herself, not so much against him as against herself. It was as though she had crashed the door of some Bluebeard’s chamber. Her hand was stiffening in his hand. His thumb passing over her fingers and up to her wrist.
And now each time she raised her eyes, she found his eyes waiting to meet hers. In the end, the thing she didn’t want to happen yet wanted to happen, happened. She looked up. Eyes met. Mouths joined. He had locked his fingers in hers.
It’s too strong for either of us, Spiridon was saying. She felt a chill in her spine. Shuddered. Impelled suddenly by some force over which she had no control. Some compelling force held sway over her will. A strong magnetic quality that drew even while it repelled. His body against hers. There was no escape. His face was set, her eyes brittle.
The sea is a vast looking-glass reflecting moonlight and shadows Leda thought as they stood together on the beach. And for a moment she felt herself lost in this puzzle of moon-shadow. I don’t want to but I do, she thought struggling with herself. She was imagining his tongue upon her mouth; picturing how their bodies would interlock. And then she was letting him. She felt she was opening up her whole inner self as they slid to the sand.
At once she was startled and tried to sit up. He was pushing her hands away as she tried to touch the front of his trousers.
It was then that she saw his knife. She was able to scream only once before he put his other hand over her mouth. The knife entered her throat, cutting the jugular in a spurt of blood.
Copyright robertdavidson 2016
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