Lillie Engel danced

Lillie Engel danced. Softly swaying, like a delicate leaf of grass, a fine silhouette against the night sky. She clutched a near empty bottle in her hand, as honey-coloured tendrils fell softly against her pale shoulders. The once tidy and artfully arranged hair glistened and shone as the moonlight kissed it and the wind invited the escaping locks of hair to dance. He watched her silently from a distance. A lone figure against the darkness and the distant lights of the city, lights that shone brighter than the stars above.

Her smile had been sweeter than the sweetest wine, and her charm had struck every man who’d caught sight of her. Without so much as a touch or a word she had made them her subjects. Though they’d never be able to afford her services, practically every man in the room had been lost in the dream of her as she’d drifted through the room. She’d laughed drunkenly along with the celebrations, loud and fine. She’d sung, oh God how she’d sung, with a voice just slightly hoarse from drink and laughter. Together they’d fallen out onto the street as the pub closed and as drunkards stumbled home, tired and worn. He’d followed her when she’d hitched her skirts up and climbed onto the roof, as men fought and bled into the gutters below.

She was different and he’d always known it. A strange bird that had fallen to the dusty ground with the rest of them. Some men called her an angel and, seeing her skin and hair reflect the moonlight, he could see what they meant. She did look as though she could be an angel in a church, carved from marble or alabaster with gilded hair. But if she was an angel she was neither carved from stone, nor born of fire and air. Beneath her skin lay bone, blood, and flesh. Thinking her the dream was no more than an attempt to lock her in a cage, a cage that could never hold against the beating of her mighty wings. These days she was clad in finer clothes than when she’d run, faster than anything and owning nothing but her name, but she always returned and he knew that she would always be the beautiful fallen bird with dust in her feathers. She was a breathing contradiction. Proud and humble, sold but never any less her own, dirtied yet pure. She could dance on rooftops like an otherworldly spirit, while the filthiest ditty he’d ever heard fell cheerily from her lips. Soft lips, stained dark with wine.

A drunken angel, made of gristle and bone, swaying on a rooftop as the city slept and dreamt beneath her feet. Swaying at the edge of the roof, as if ready to take a leap into the darkness. For a moment he could almost believe that her feet could part with the ground and that she would soar into the air rather than fall. As if her body could defy gravity itself and take flight, rather than break pitifully against the cobbles on the street below. She walked along the edge, as though she was a tightrope walker, her arms elegantly stretched out. She walked as if carried forward through pure faith that she would not fall. The wind caught her shawl and through his drunken gaze he could see her wings for a moment before she spun away from the edge and back to him, skirts swirling wildly. The bottle fell from her hand and shattered into glittering pieces at her feet, like millions of emeralds, but what did it matter?

Lillie Engel danced on the rooftop, over glittering jewels made from broken glass. A flesh and blood angel with dusty wings and wine-stained lips, her body like a leaf of grass in a breeze. Lillie Engel danced and he’d never forget the sight.

***

And here’s why you shouldn’t upload things you’ve written in the middle of the night (ok, technically it’s morning) whilst under the influence of a really good song.
Oh, which one? This one!

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