Shadow is too ominous, too dark, too silent.

He slides between the – oh, no, he sees the screaming shades of red and black; it is all over now – the water, the oils sliding across her lips like a slide from beyond, and he is following, following the red depth into the glitter of false diamonds from fluorescent lighting, the hum of the funeral parlor, the scent of her skin like violets.

And it is a song, a song like the rivers flowing and the hail shattering the windows of the parlor.

He breathes because there will be no tomorrow when the organ hums out a dulcet, quiet harmony, a fragment never meant for anything but the parades for the noblesse. Her corpse was a quiet thing, an item of his career. He had never known peach eye shadow to look so unhealthy, so he replaced it with the glimmering tone of snow.

The make up brush felt like tears in his palm.

"Beautiful…" He swallowed, smooth voice constricted with landscapes of sorrow, a tenor velvet crumpled by Death's fingers. He smiles. A wistful silence from deep inside. He would cry for the black strands of hair cascading over her sides from within the casket, flowers dulling the scent of phamaldahide with delicate, triangular petals like rows of lascivious lips, the curves of her eyelashes, the fragile lengths of her fingers crossed over her heart as if to give him the penultimate treasure of; -- but it is over now, lost to obituary ink, and she is already gone.

Mortuary putty covered the bullet holes well, a blizzard to disguise those fragile handprints of red; - the dress, antique, a delicacy of the 19th century, was like everything in nature, only at its most beautiful when there was nothing left to subtract from the design, even the vigor of trembling bridesmaid hands. The sound of exploding gun powder still echoed beyond the church walls, slipping down the sidewalks like a lonely voice.

-- It is the task of the mortuary beautician. His job, and his job alone, his task, his appointed duty to select the body's outfit, the colors, the finishing touches of what death would steal from the oil based cosmetics as the coffin's lid slammed closed.

A tear balanced along the edge of his eye like the dying light of a firefly as he pressed his thumb above her lashes, tugging upward, mascara brush in hand, seeing the whiteness, the blankness. Her gaze had rolled to the side. Cracks of red shattered that mother of pearl shape. His voice caught, choked by the aroma of embalming serums if only because she was not even looking at him anymore, not even in death.

He painted her lashes a brilliant silver.

"Did it hurt?" His tongue slipped into the appropriate syllables, her eyes shining like crispate fragments of a shattered mirror. She shined, she glowed, and she glimmered like a ripple across a stagnant pond, joining that stillness in a clatter of bones on harsh, cold, black asphalt, mouth unmoving. He set the mascara down. Selected a bottle of lip gloss. Could not meet her gaze, even now. "Not when you were murdered, but the…"

Shots ringing out, night falling down, darkness closing in.

"… The fall." The silence between them was like the space twixt the words 'I thee wed,' a confession of eternal renunciation, and the emptiness -- masculine fingers curled around her fragile wrist, treasuring it like the last of a robin's egg, skin a shallow blue beneath the flood of ivory powder, scratched with red, lined with it. Her arm was cross-hatched with shards of scrapes, everything about her final moments dark, dormant, and sleeping in a world of bloodied shades. "Of course it didn't."

He set her arm down and painted her lips a Valentine's Day white, letting them glow like strips of lace; a perfect match for the wedding dress she wore. Resplendent and flowing and blooming and not; - he would never allow her to be buried in the jagged corners of unbleached denim, of violent catastrophe's hideous uniform. She had been killed in blue jeans.

But she would shine like a glass seraph when the lid was removed for the wake, every part of her radiating unmasked, heartbreaking white, screaming it, shining it, from her eyelashes to gleaming led within the medical examiner's pan.

The cosmetic bag clattered as he zipped it up, the mortuary beautician admiring the white flowers he had slipped around her fingers, every memory of their love dissolved in these final moments – Can not see the bride before the wedding, bad luck, ill omens… - because the alter was a far away shrine, their wedding night dissolved into the angles of every dark shade. Every drop of red. He would not let a harmful color touch her, not again, nothing but the purity of colorless innocence and stranded romance, of white, of silver, of condensing breath.

Onyx tresses looked like frosted morning glories beneath the veil.

"No more night, and no more red…" His hands curled around the handles of the casket, absorbing the cold metal – a black box, but it would be shut away from her soon – "… Teach the graveyards an innocent shade."