danse macabre

dear, he murmurs,
his savage voice a gentle caress
wouldn't you like to dance?
dance with Death
as the children do?

no, she refuses, eyes wary,
you frighten me.

he smiles now
and it is a macabre sight
his handsome face twisted
and torn in a parody of adoration.

don't worry, love, he says
it only hurts them because
they know not what they do.
but I—
I know Death.
I am its guardian.
and you are safe with me.

as safe as one can be with Death, she whispers
as he trails her throat with one pale claw.

but the little ones—
must you harm them? she asks,
they are only children.

I? harm them? he laughs
—he is truly amused—
they harm themselves.
I receive them.
let the little children come unto me
and I will grant them rest.

please, she asks, please.

I take none but those who come to me willingly,
my lady, he breathes in response,
their blood is shed not by I
but by their brothers.
I merely take what is offered.

you could stop it—refuse them—

my dear, he cuts in,
no one can stem the flow of blood
when the source is determined
to bleed itself dry.
you cannot end it.

he takes her hand—
now, persephone, love,
dry your tears
forget them
and dance with me.

dance with Death, my lord? she asks bitterly

and hades answers