Downfall I: The Umbrella Man

A tall, lean woman stepped from the train gazelle like with her blonde hair trailing behind her.  Heads turned like falling dominoes as they watched her move fluidly amongst the crowd, a soft skinned spectre smelling faintly of vanilla.  She had a date and she was late.  The woman was obsessive about punctuality and abhorred the state in which she now found herself.  How had this happened? 

The crowd came to a bottleneck, forcing her to slow, and she pushed a stray hair behind an ear and brought her long, slender arm up to look at her watch.


There was nothing to do but accept that she would arrive less than ten minutes early.  This was unacceptable.  Her attire was immaculate, purchased at all the most well known designer stores and her body she kept with equal care.  Her skin was moisturised, her hair meticulously washed and conditioned.  Even her scent was perfectly researched so as to perfectly accent her natural aroma.  She spent an hour a day doing vigorous exercise and ate only all natural foods.  Her body was a temple and it was cared for and accessorised as such. 

The crowd began to pour from the building and she was released into the night only to be approached with a new horror.  It was raining and she had no umbrella.  This was the second thing this evening she had not thought of or planned for.  Her brows knit in frustration and disbelief.  She must have checked the weather report before leaving her office.  This was a detail a woman of her organisation would never overlook. 

Exasperation began to overwhelm her when a man emerged from the crowd like a dark god stepping out from the mist.  A man in black with eyes like a dragon and a knowing smile.  He saw her plight and had come to rescue her, umbrella in hand. 

If pressed to answer she could not have said what it was about him that caused her to completely lose track of all the things she had been thinking and feeling but she had.  He was stark and real unlike any man she had ever seen in her life.  He took her hand and led her into the night. 

“I have a date.”

He only smiled and she followed.  They stepped from the train station into the darkness, the rain pelting down.  It was a hot, summer rain at the end of a long day. 

The stranger led the woman into the heart of the storm and her mind began to fight back.  It was the time that did it.  She could not be made to be any more late than she already was.  She reached up to dislodge herself from his lead and he spun her into his arms.  She pushed back halfheartedly, anticipating his lips and the heat they would bring.  Her feelings were all wrong.  What was happening to her? 

When she came face to face with the stranger her eyes locked with a darkness she could not comprehend. 

This was no gentleman. 

This man was death. 

She realised it a moment too late and the piercing pain in her back just below the shoulder blade told her there was nothing left to fight.  He kissed her, long and deep, and she felt her life leaking from her in a torrent. 

“Why?”  The words tumbled from her trembling lips as her heart betrayed her, pumping faster and faster, speeding her to the end.

“For the same reason any man destroys a beautiful thing, to ensure that it is his and his alone for all time.  It was the only way to truly have you.” 

She slipped from his arms to collapse into the dark street.  The rain began to wash away her perfectly painted mask, all the time and care amounting to nothing in the last moments.  Not a single eye turned to see what had become of the creature only moments ago they could not pry their eyes from.  Her life flowed into the night and the man with the umbrella strode away.  The darkness enveloping him as completely as it had produced him and her last fleeting thought was of how terribly late she would be now. 


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