When we kiss I taste your sorrow. Your sadness gladdens my heart, staunches my wounds. The desecration of your soul bathes me in beauty; I can finally see the wonder in something broken. A shattered figurine upon the ground. The leavings, pieces of you torn asunder, rent from the fibre of your being.


Fuckers, they don't care, so I don't. Nothing makes sense anymore, losing myself in the waves. Apathy washes over me, grinding my soul into sand. Maybe, one day, beautiful beach glass will be made from my uncaring bones. Swept up on a distant shore, memory of a glory past, better forgotten. Digging into deepest marrow, maggots rot out and fall as I bleed and flounder, body and mind adrift on a sea of madness. They ate my heart, consumed my life. Too weak to make them pay, I just lay down to die. Falling, always falling, on my knees, in my soul. Begging for one more chance, release from this never-ending torment. If only they would stop, if only I could make them go, but they were always here, inside, devouring, twisting, heartless. Trailing streamers of crippled thoughts as the last of my strength is stolen. A groan from the depths of my tattered self as it comes to an end. At last, an end.


When we kiss I taste your heart. Warm and soft, the sweetness of strawberries. Your soul reaches out to me, touches the heavens, brings gladness and joy to all it illuminates. Raw unbound energy, I don't know how you contain it all. The walls of time and misery are meaningless to you, as delight explodes outward from your very being. Nothing can stop it. Echoes of its call are left, footprints across the sand of my soul. Instead of a battered fortress, an open plain, sun lit, beaming in every direction. You're so different from the others, it shines from your eyes. I gaze deep, lost in endless possibilities and wonder at the value of my being.


Chasing, hounding, footsteps echoing off alley walls. A mad dash to freedom. An arm in front, catching me in the chest, winded, stars, ringing ears, knocked down, gasping. Breath comes back slowly, painful creaks with each inhalation. A broken rib, maybe more. Hands pushing, now lifting, shoving into dark corners, probing pockets, metal clatters on the ground. Not that, I can't lose that. But it’s gone. Darkness now, blurring, then bright neon as lights pulse, reaching through midnight depths, fading in, out, more darkness. White flare, squinting, then shapes, no, objects, flat, hard, uncaring. Red splatters, wheezing, vital fluids escaping. Contrast, collapse, liquid.


When we kiss I taste your fear. The sharp tang of it, coppery adrenaline, bitter, rising from the back of your mouth. Your fumbling, grasping eagerness, as you try to smother the cold tickling finger of dread in your heart. The panicked rush of your pulse, fluttering at your throat, betraying you. The darting of your eyes, as you realize what is to come. Breathy noise made by your tiny gasp as it dawns on you, why you are afraid. Tremors sweep down your spine, cold in the warm room as we move closer. Chill, goosebumps, yet still you give in. Not wanting to startle the deep thirst you have awakened. Not wanting to provoke your end before it’s time.


I watch the cops dig the slug that killed her out of the brick wall. Gah, useless Imperial doughnut stuffers. Officers of justice and the jack-boot, stomping on the little guy, crushing bent necks beneath black heels. They weren't all bad, just mostly. Covering up jaded hearts and indifference, striving to look out for themselves. Not appreciating the finer things in life, not like me, never like me. I wasn't a pig, I was a dick, a bad one. The cheapest, most half-assed investigative job you could buy in this town, leading no one by example. I only worked long enough to chug back another bottle of whatever came my way. I drank when times were good, I drank when times were bad, but mostly, I drank. Drowning my way through the chaos. Has a funny effect on you, drinking, hazes over the world in a particular way. Makes you not care that your daughter is graduating that afternoon, or that your wife is raging against the unfairness of your life together and leaving you. Makes you forget all those times, the horrors of the job, horrors of life, time spent. That’s what I was trying to make up, time spent, behind the lines, of my marriage, my job, of my life. Fuck, if only the drink worked, but it never did, not enough. Couldn't push away all the thoughts, those terrible invading thoughts, worming into the front of your brain like a dental drill, leaving you weeping on the floor as you came to, hungover. Such a hard thing, to destroy a life the way I had, such a lot of work, put into this hopeless endeavour. I would never get it back, the life I truly wanted, so I drank. And drank, and drank some more. Minutes, hours, days, all made meaningless. Somehow, I kept working, just enough, and the work paid, so I drank. I think if work ever dried up, just... stopped completely, I would sober up. But it never did, and I never wanted the pain to come back. So, here I am, in an alley, looking down into the pretty blue, glazed-over dead eyes of this week’s prostitute calamity. I couldn't bring myself to care. Drinking was the balm to wash away my sorrows, and it worked as well as I did. What was this girl's punishment? Was she too pretty? Had the pretty whore not moaned the right way? The sick bastards who came through town were offing a lot of girls lately. A lot more off-planet traffic since the spaceport expanded. Ship crews, here and then gone before their dirty deeds could catch up to them. This twisted fucker probably already left orbit, heading out to another colony, heading out to do it all over again. Some of us drank, some of us killed girls. We were all dying in the end.


When we kiss I taste your tears, salty tracks cascading down around the gentle curve of your lips. I think of better times, sandy beaches, moonlight trysts. Laughing as gentle caresses tickle your cheeks. A smile breaks through clouds of sadness, I have made you happy again. Snatched life back from pain, lifted the veil of darkness and brought you back from the precipice. Despair no longer clouds between us, and I clasp you firmly as we touch for the first time since it happened.


The bubbles lead me down into the water, I must follow. Not upon the well worn path of many feet, but further, deeper, into the dark places, where few go. Places where some fear monsters lurk, but only meet themselves. Their shadows cast strange lights on the cave walls as the bubbles pass them by, faces frozen in horror at the selves they found. I dive past, leading or being lead, never sure, but moving downward. The surface recedes, light from above lost in shadows, lost in the reflections of these glowing orbs. They meant something to me, the bubbles, a future, a holy enlightenment, release. Whispering in my head, promises, higher knowledge, as if sacred true selves were tiny statues. Trinkets you held in your hand, elevation obtained, if only one tried hard enough, and followed them. Deceitful orbs, I knew their promises for lies, but I would follow. Chase them all the way down, seeking, trying to find that which was lost.


As we fall I taste your kiss, failing to stop time. Hoping the end never comes. Deeper into the abyss we travel, wind whips our hair, deafens us, rushing past our ears. Nothing can stop what is to come, not even a kiss. Though this kiss has changed worlds, evoked memories, stopped wars, pulled us together, torn us apart, it cannot stop our fall. The descent slows for a moment, time put off by the bitter-sweetness of it. Our one last kiss. A goodbye.