There is a desolation to the hooting of a fog horn that suggests an isolation, ancient and oceanic, pervasive, penultimate, heralding the end. It floats a double agent bobbing on the border between the worlds of air and water, and it warns.
Restless waves of gunmetal blue, storm-cloud grey, and bile green slap against the intruder’s alien skin. Thick blankets of fog offer no resistance against the intrusion of its voice. As basic as the bass note in a forlorn minor chord, it bays a one-note threnody and warns of devastation.
In a tribute to its delivery, the fog horn gets a Best-Of in Category for its portrayal of anguish and despair. But for its fidelity to misery, and its pitch-perfect delivery in its rendition of the wretched, there is no wail as wrenching, no choir more stirring, no chord, no note, no sound as lonely, as forlorn and hollow as a train remotely crying before fading into silence. Bleak, doleful, distant, it sinks like blackest ink into the liquid well of night.
Three cheers for the rising note that announces their arrival, but not so for the descending note, the mournful dirge known as Doppler’s Farewell Blues. It sounds like the taste of love and last-time lipstick, of sendoff tears and the salty kiss of every tortured goodbye. It starts a shriek and parts a clamor, drifts, recedes, fading faintly to a rumor before its wispy exit, before its ending tiptoe whisper … before the silence.
Listen closely, stand unflinching and feel the grief, know the loss of being left behind as your world pulls away. It is the sound of death to poets, of rending hearts to lovers, the
mortal scream of a wounded world to a prophet lost in visions.
Loneliness and feelings of desolation were weaknesses for others, tho, and she was not like them. Jade was her name, the name known to her sisters and the people in the land of night she once called home. To her peers in the League of Assassins tho, she was known as Absinthe. Stealth and beauty were the black and white notes on the keyboard of her craft.
With a body to crack wide the flinty souls of heartless cads, that turned splinters into timber, she possessed a spotless beauty to provoke lust in a saint. She was, nevertheless, avoided like the kiss of Death by her colleagues in the League. She was shunned as an outcast for possessing the Devil’s evil eye.
People turned up dead around her. If not by her hand, then by their own device, or thru some other misbegotten fortune, or another bizarre example of grotesque bad luck. Often. Repeatedly. Good people died needlessly when she was near. It was her curse. She respected society’s quarantine, tho. Even the rare one who would have dared the curse for friendship, she turned away.
Tho she fit no description commonly agreed upon these last few years, her peers were unanimous in respecting her brilliance with disguise. She made magic with makeup, posture, and costume so that no one knew the who or the which of her; and all tread softly when she was rumored to be near.
If someone familiar with her history had reason to suspect her presence and knew what to look for, her eyes were the exception. They were a changeable green (often a milky green), and she could not, or refused to, hide them. They were her one tell, a distinction beyond unique and her single salient feature.
Tho harmless on their own and innocent in their sockets, they acquired icon status as omens of doom predicting someone’s pending, sudden death. They were dreaded far and wide more than any weapon. The difference they displayed was to be found in the many shades and multi-hues in the green house of Jade.
The greens ranged in cast from lime and avocado to olive and blue spruce, anything chlorophylled, verdigrised, patina’d, or viridescent. They spanned every stained shade and painted tint native to her namesake. Their most admired trait was that they morphed to match precisely any color that she wore.
Exotic greens: from pastel pure to fertile verdant, from motley molds to hunter velvet, from the silvery greens of sage to the black, bitter greens of aromatic teas: all these found expression and countenance in her eyes. But among all the shades and hues of green available for her use, none was more feared than the limpid sheen, the green of liquid crystal as the milk of human kindness left her at the moment of a kill.
Tho barely credible, this change has been verified by several people, on different occasions. A gemologist/part-time bartender (certified, he was proud to say) had witnessed one of her contracts; said her eyes lacked the darker green associated with emeralds. More lucid than transparent, they glowed with a shimmering brilliance that was less about clarity than an inner fire instead. They possessed an ethereal quality refusing description, but gleamed with a deadly shine, the pleasing wormwood poison known in mixology as Absinthe.
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