day after day love turns grey, like the skin on a dying man
She'd always had an affection for Van Gogh. An affliction.
Soft brown hair in seraphic curls around her head. Hands lay limp by her ears, fingers semiflexed, the slightest specks of blood and skin under the nails.
Her eyes were impossibly wide, bloodshot, unmoving. A warm, dark brown. Like moist earth.
She was dead.
A shudder wracked his body - violent and unceasing, sending thrums of nervous energy into his diaphragm until suddenly breathing didn't seem necessary anymore. His chest rose and fell so fast that it appeared to hum, or not move at all.
"My darling," he murmured, reaching gently to link her gelid fingers with his. Silas leaned in. The boundaries of time-space and life-death began to blur.
Dead. Strangled. Lips paled, losing their dark pink allure, as if she'd spent her life chewing on pomegranate seeds.
He kissed her. Coaxing response from cold lips was perhaps akin to these last few weeks - this very night. Greying love. Greying skin.
His grip tightened on her hand, pressing it into the pillow. Mouth moved fervently, and at some point, he tasted tears between their skin.
She did not kiss him back.
Silas pulled away. My darling, he repeated instead, tracing her clammy skin, stroking her dark hair. Pressing lips to her bruises throat, her purpling cheekbones, her blood-clotted fingertips. My darling, my darling, my darling.
Until the red tongues of a nascent sunrise ran along the broken French window, bathing her stony eyes in an ethereal glow. Until the first signs of weariness settled into his bones. Until he pulled the sheets up and covered her face.
Cordelia Stubbe had passed away.