Her eyes met mine as I left the elevator. They were green. She smiled. I froze. I could frame her face in my mind forever. A soft oval, high cheekbones, full kissable lips, short brown hair—never been into short hair on a woman, but on her… on her it worked magnificently. Her eyes held my gaze and stole my breath away.
I should have gone to the right. Instead, I went left, following her without realizing it, my legs carrying me of their own volition. I caught up to her, held the door open.
Her thank you was raspy, but smooth all the same. My throat closed up, tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. Nothing came out.
Her eyes sparkled, lips curved up. My heart raced, legs grew weak. Tears of embarrassment filled my eyes. Heat flushed my face and I looked away.
The sound of her heels on concrete brought me back to the vision before me. She wore a dress—green with black trim. Or was it a pant suit? Maybe it was neither. I can’t recall those details. Nor what she looked like from the neck down. My mind tells me she was petite, short, average breasts and shapely hips. I can’t say for certain that’s correct. No. I don’t recall those images at all.
All there was is her face, her voice, a natural tone that sent shivers along my body, made my skin dance with excitement.
She stopped at the corner. The light was red, the sign a blinking orange hand with two words beneath it: DON’T WALK. She did so anyway. And I followed. Cars honked at me. I’m almost positive of this.
Along the next block her heels clopped, their rhythmic tapping spurred me further. She weaved in and out of people, her head held high, her eyes forward, hands in coat pockets… or were they swinging by her sides? And where did the coat come from? It was a dress before. Green with black trim.
Streets fell away and the day gave to dusk. People dissipated, the world around us nonexistent. At the end of the road, dirt greeted her. She stepped from the sidewalk onto the path that led to… where? A house? A farm? Nowhere? Everywhere all the same?
Trees grew along the path, brambles and briars, bushes and weeds growing about its sides, pushing closer in, narrowing the trail until grass grew from its center and her footfalls faded to nothing. I caught her eyes as she looked back. They flickered bright, her smile stretching outward, embracing me…
Then… she was gone.
Around me stood a jungle of trees and moss; veils of leaves that hung like hair from branches, blocking the sun and casting a gray pallor on my surroundings. Shadows quivered with a soft breeze, life forms too inanimate to take full shape, their hands like claws, fingers like knives waiting to sink deep within my skin, to tear and rip until I am no more. Behind me, where the city should have been, lay a wasteland of darkness, a spill of black from a palette of paint. Closer in the world crumbled, the ground dissolving into nothing, leaves crackling, crunching and fading. Trees splintered and the sky peeked out for a moment only to die in the darkness with the rest of the world.
I ran, heart in my throat, tears trailing down my cheeks. Branches whipped my face, tore through my clothes and ripped skin. Hot liquid spilled from new wounds. A scream hung in my throat as I looked back, saw the world dying and folding in on me.
The cliff sent me soaring. I fell without knowing. Reality sunk in as I struck the ground, feet shattering, legs breaking, tendons and ligaments rupturing. Pain, blinding and vicious lit in on tortured nerves and the scream finally broke through.
She held my head in her hands, my shoulders laid atop her lap. Her eyes were green, hair cut short, lips so very kissable. One finger touched my own lips and I quieted. She smiled, leaned forward and kissed me. I closed my eyes and became weightless, a feather cast about by the wind.
When I awoke, she was gone and I was back in the city, in my building, waiting for the elevator on the ninth floor of my place of employment. I shook my head, not sure of where I really was or even if I was… The doors opened. I stepped in and everything was familiar. My image looked at me in the mirrored doors. Stubble lined my chin and my hair was cut short. I wore black paints and a green shirt. My eyes were green…
The elevator doors opened and I stepped out. There was no one there. Just an empty lobby, void of sounds, and my image staring back at me from the mirrored doors. She was not there. She didn’t walk by in her dress that was green with black trim. Our eyes never met. And my world… my world was a little colder…