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  • Kathy L

Sweet Venom

By Kathy L
Posted on February 1, 2024
A sunset landscape of the ocean and several islands captured in Thira, Greece
Cover Image Title: Ethereal Sunset
Cover Image by: Christopher Lin
Classification: Photography
Specifications: Resized from 4032 px X 3024 px
Year: 2023
Location of Creation: Thira, Greece

He was there, back against the pillar, waiting as shadows enveloped his figure. He was like Prince Charming, a smile crinkling the corner of his eyes as he saw her. She felt her heart jump at the sight, his gaze never leaving hers, but she maintained the calm composure of a lady, and weaved her fingers together. 

Once she made it a few steps before him, he bowed down to her and stayed there for a few seconds longer and she regarded him with a nod of her head. Steps shuffled from behind her, and she disregarded them, her heart pumping in her throat as she glanced at his face as if she were scrutinizing him. 

There was the thrill of secrecy, but one slip up would shatter the illusion. Finally, he looked up at her and held her cold hands, another smile softly blooming across his handsome face. 

“Come, Princess.” His voice was a whisper as he then brought a finger to his lips, and she nodded, biting her lip as she looked back to the safety of the castle. All her life she had been encased like a porcelain doll in a doll house, in beauty and comfort, but that was not what she wanted. Even if it was impossible, she wanted to experience something that she couldn’t obtain. 

Gold and diamonds weren’t the only thing that she wanted. And she always got what she wanted. 

He ushered her behind him, her petite frame hidden behind the broad back of his. He looked around before exhaling softly. 

 “Be careful, Princess.” His tone was warm as he said that, once again encasing her hand with his as he squeezed it tightly, even when he looked at her as if she were to break. 

“I have you with me.” She said with determination, though the fear was thrumming, and even his even pulse couldn’t calm her erratic heart. 

As they sped through the dark corridors hidden underground, she couldn’t help but count down the seconds till she could savor freedom in its purest form. 

But it was weird, she thought idly, that despite her excitement, the terror was filling her with a pool of dread. She felt a sense of foreboding as she made her way to the door, his hand tight in hers, but she couldn’t stop now. 

All these years of waiting led her to this point. She wanted to end the endless self loathing and the pain of self restraint tearing her down. To be a lady, a Princess, was to be patient, but her patience ran thinner than her will to live, her frustration now burned to determination. 

But without him, she wouldn't have come even close to this miraculous moment. 

“Princess, are you sure about this? It is your last chance before you see the sunlight. This could change everything. This could possibly prove His Majesty correct.” Worry was etched on his face, but she smiled and cradled his hand, watching as his face softened. 

She pulled the hood over her, and gave him the slightest of nods. “Whether my uncle is right or not, I must try.” No more hesitations. 

This was it. 

This was what she had craved and yearned for all her life. What she stared at for hours on end, the temptation rushing in her veins. Now, all she had to do was take her first step. 

He rubbed her knuckles, and they stepped out. 

The first thing she felt was something so warm it made it hard to breathe. She gasped suddenly, a hand to her throat as it constricted. Her knees buckled, the light too overwhelming as she finally registered the bright rays, but he caught her arm, her Prince Charming, and held her close. Cradling her cheek, he pressed a soft kiss on her forehead, trying to hide all of her exposed skin as he stood over her. 

 It was heartwarming, and if it was any other time, she could have swooned, but her heart was genuinely warming up like the ignition of fire, and the smell of searing skin was back. She clawed his forearms, trying with all of her might to press her desperation through the crescent graves she dug into his skin. Colorful dots clouded her vision, and she closed her eyes, praying to all that this wouldn’t end, even if the pain seared across her flesh, and she felt part of her dying. 

He pulled her back into the corridors, and pulled back the cloak to examine her. Immediately, she felt the burning halt, but her skin felt dry, and her breathing shallowed. He hissed as he examined her forearm and looked at her face, eyes wide. 

“Stay with me, Princess.” She could hear the distress in his voice, and the panic in his touch,  but the words swam in her head, and all she could see was sporadic sparks of colour. She slipped onto the ground, her knees knocking against each other as she tried to stand again. 

It hurt so much… but within her suffering, she felt it. The sweet taste of freedom. She felt so alive, yet she was dying in the arms of the man that she loves, and proving her uncle’s word.

It didn’t feel right. Not one bit.

“Uncle,” she croaked out, reaching out to touch her lover’s face. “Prove him… wrong.”

“Yes,” he said, holding back a sob so that his voice came out in fragments. “You must prove him wrong. So you need to hang on for a little longer till I get you to the infirmary.” 

She was lifted off the ground, and her head lolled, causing the darkness to spin with her. “I can’t die.”

“Yes,” he exhaled, tears thick in his voice. “You can’t die, my love.”

She couldn’t.

So she closed her eyes and hoped that she would open them again. 

[The End]

[Writing Editor: Julianna Ma]


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