Jill Be Nimble

jill be nimble; jill be quick; jill succumb to the candlestick.

The everlasting match alights in her hand, illuminating a pallid face meticulously masked with cosmetics. Her expression is predominantly stoic; it is clear she stands in anticipation, but is preoccupied with the task at hand. A cancer stick is produced from the depths of a clutch, her fingers fumbling slightly around the slim object before the end of the cigarette is engulfed in flame. When the lighter is shut, it emits an audible click; the exposure darkens, the only sources of light being the glowing end of the cigarette and some neighbor's porch light.

In the distance, a dog yelps. A gun fires soon after. She inhales, under the assumption that the noisy mutt was put to sleep for injuries. A multitide of parties down the street enjoy the hunt, regardless of permits, and gunshots are fairly common. Lord knows how many bitches they force into reproduction.

A car trundles down the tortuous street, gravel crunching underneath treaded tires. Headlights turn into her driveway, reflecting off the windows of a toffee-painted homestead. Her heel-encased feet cease their pacing, and the headlights target her figure, bleaching out a tight-lipped smile. "It's about time," she pronounces, flinging open the passenger door and tossing the butt of her cigarette over her shoulder.

Hungry eyes rove past set limits. She appears to take no notice, her brain refusing to accept the possibility of another mistake, shutting out knowlege she'd previously sworn to remember. However, she's taken on another personality this evening, reflected in the ignorance and the carelessness displayed so blatantly by her actions. One of these days, she'll practice responsibility, outgrowing eighteen- but the possibility reigns that such a day will occur only after tragedy strikes.

The truck retreats, takng the woman with it; headlights receding until they become faint pinpricks, blurring into the negative space of the night. The house slumbers on a lonely hill, empty as the promises of a caged bird's freedom. The girl's parents are celebrating the annual victory of their love, where white-capped waves crash against white-capped waves across the world, and there the alcohol shoots down their throats as they toast good fortune. The girl, in turn, greets the flickering lights of the city, her head thrown back in laughter.

The cherry glows, igniting a blade of grass.

"To good fortune!" She shrieks above the music, the volume turned to a maximum dynamic. The tequila passes through crimson lips, blonde ringlets swinging merrily as she tips back the miniature glass. Her counterpart starves; he is driven by lust. A famished gaze finds ringlets and red lips, ignorant of sparkling eyes that have yet to dim.

And so commences the loss of light. Alcohol muddles her thoughts, contorting reality into dreamland. The fluorescence revolves around her; gleeful shouts morph into panicked screams, evolving her perception. Somehow, she finds herself in a back alley, being devoured by the man who played her for a fool. Ringlets are tugged into oblivion, lips captured by a feral snarl. Her protests aren't heeded, but deep down she knows she should have been expecting this- ignorance is bliss, as they say, until ignorance becomes the plague, intent upon her destruction. Needless to say, joy is absent, the byproduct of a consequential habit.

Despite lack of monetary compensation, she manages to pay the fee for a taxi ride. As her fingers trail over black leather, and urban recedes to rural, she contemplates her life, eventually coming to a conclusion. Habit will never corrupt her again, she vows. Then she pulls out another cigarette, because it isn't really catastrophic.

"Hey, no smoking," says the taxi driver. A sigh escapes crimson lips. The cigarette is tucked away.

When she arrives at her chosen destination, her forlorn expression collapses into one of devastated shock. The toffee-painted homestead has burned to the ground. Cosmetics trail down her face; she believes this to be the last straw.

It isn't. Across the world, a cruise ship impersonates the Titanic, sinking into white-capped waves.