THE DESIRE IN DARKNESS
On waking, Sudanenka found himself confronted by a beautiful woman, with large almond eyes and long black hair streaming over her naked body. And she was of savage strength; magnificent and proud. She moved in strange motions, as if she were part feline, shaping her form in never-ending angles of shameless desire, for she was the desire in darkness; the great adulteress of the abyss whose lusts are insatiable. And she spoke:
'I am the terror and the call within the heart of man,
And the transference of sorrow into joy by woman,
For I hath stained the holy cup of brute desire;
I hath defiled death with my breasts of fire.
I am the worldful whore and my scarlet kiss
Is the infernal blossom in the darkness.
For I am the core of sin that saps
In caressing the tomb... These purple paps
Hath long crusaded, for they ache with lust:
I hath turned the hearts of oaks to dust!
And the palace of my joy is found
Three-form, for I am bound
To take of flesh, for my flesh gives
To all that dies and all that lives!'
Sudanenka watched as she danced around the circle.
'Am I not desirable, master?' said the pale seductress, stroking Sudanenka's forehead.
'I am not of thy flesh, for thou art false: thou hast paraded virtue in the mud!' And the holy man closed his eyes. Her nakedness coiled about him, and she kissed him, yet he moved not. She whispered obscenity after obscenity in his ear, and yet he moved not. Then she opened her mouth and her sharp teeth glistened as she spoke in a tongue unfamiliar, yet known to Sudanenka. And she clasped her hands to his throat and writhed upon him as a serpent. Sudanenka reached for the pyramid box and thrust a coin into her mouth, and she turned many shades of the earth as her beautiful skin became old and ugly, hanging upon her in loose folds. Her screams of ecstasy and passion became the agonies of the damned; an abomination of filth and horror. And the ground opened up and swallowed her vile carcass.