She was thinking of swans when he killed her.
This was a moment recalled with precision; a blackbird singing sweetly, a dragonfly hovering momentarily above the water hawthorn before turning and disappearing into the patchwork canvass of the lake.
She yearned for his smile to cleanse her.
Three swans approached silently, white and yellow flashes through the reeds. She held her breath and fixed her eyes on the long necks bending and straightening among the lily flowers. The dazzling feathers blinded her.
She waited for him. She was not afraid. Maybe she had been that moment she closed the door, afraid that he might hear her leaving. Once she began walking towards the lake his desire filled her.
He had left a note in the usual place - only two words written in his precise writing, "tomorrow afternoon", but that was enough.
Now she heard a sound behind her. She did not turn. She knew it was him. She closed her eyes and felt his hands on her shoulders. She shuddered and waited for his lips to caress her neck.
The swans slowly lowered their heads and quickly faded to black.
He turned her round to face him. Her eyes were large and bright, her lips parted for his kiss. A single drop of saliva hung delicately on the tip of her tongue. He bent forward and gently licked her mouth. He clasped her neck, she sighed and he felt her smile. Oh, this longing. He kissed her harder, squeezed her neck harder, felt her grind against his groin, grab his hair and tear at his clothes. He threw her on to the ground and delighted in her passion. He straddled her and roughly tore at her dress.
It was then that he killed her with his love...
...and afterwards as he lay slumped on the grass staring at her limp body, her legs spread wide, her head thrown back, her eyes...her eyes filled with his lust, he resisted the urge to hurt her further. Instead, he stood up and fixed his clothing, raised his hands to his face and smelled her scent for the final time.
She waited until he left before she moved. She could not bear to look at him afterwards. Every time he entered her he smeared her soul with disappointment. She tried to sit but the pain in her throat forced her down. Eventually she made it to her feet. She began to walk home around the lake all the time smoothing her dress and fixing her hair. She had to appear exactly as she was when she left. He would notice if she wasn’t.
Her exact steps traced a vague path through a backdrop blooming with colour and sound. All the time she thought about him. She began to realise that between the blundering steps of their relationship a shadow fell, concealing cracks created by a reluctance to solve the riddle of their shared desire. She still didn’t know why she was unwilling to confront that.
Eventually she stopped at a holly tree standing alone near an old church. Before her the dipping sun scattered its light upon the lake and small waves lapped hypnotically on the shore.
She lowered her eyes.
Within her lay a deep distrust of the world.