The sun shone brightly through the trees. The birds were singing. He walked his horse through the forest, enjoying the unusual warmth of the early spring day. His leather brown boots crunched softly through the twigs and dirt and scared a squirrel away. A gentle breeze would now and then ruffle his shoulder-length raven black hair, bringing with it the fragrant perfume of flowers from a nearby clearing. His silver sword hung comfortably around his waist, the ruby jeweled hilt glinting like fresh blood in the sunlight.

A new voice suddenly joined the singing of the birds, crystalline and pure. It was soft and sounded like it came from a ways ahead of him. He unconsciously picked up his pace a little and strained his ears in order to hear more. The song drifted lazily through the air to weave itself around him like a cloak. He had never heard anything so lovely in the short twenty-one years of his life. He walked a bit faster.

He hardly noticed when his horse started to slow down and dig its hooves in the ground, its eyes rolling in panic. He couldn't hear or feel anything else other than the voice, the voice that called to him. He couldn't hear the whinny of his horse as it screamed in terror or feel the sweat that suddenly started to pour down its black flanks. He paid no heed to the sweat that dripped into his own emerald eyes and ran down his cheeks like salty green tears. His horse galloped away as the brown leather reins slipped through his numb fingers. The metallic scent of blood replaced the sharp, tangy smell of sweat. He was close enough to hear words now.

Shards of blood keep cutting me

My eyes are blind, I can not see

Dull blades are in my ears

Come, come, I can not hear…

The voice now had an undertone of shattered glass, jagged pieces of it rubbing together insidiously. The razor-sharp shards of the voice cut him, crimson blood pouring copiously out of his ears, spilling down his smooth, pale neck and staining his dark green tunic. The song snaked around his pure white throat like a noose. The brilliant sunlight beat down, giving everything a dizzy halo.

A lifeless gray tower came into view in sharp clarity against the white brightness of the forest. He came forward, against his disintegrating will, helplessly drawn by the sound of breaking glass.

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair," he said gutturally. His voice was a dagger, slashing his throat as it ripped its way out of his mouth. As he spoke, blood flowed and bubbled out between his lips like garnets, soaking the dry ground, pooling at his feet. His blurry green eyes started to melt.

A thick tress of golden hair was lowered to the ground, settling in the ever-growing flood of wine-colored blood. He grasped the locks of gold with both hands, each little strand cutting into his hands like a knife. Blood streamed down the rich gold in rivers with each seizing of the flaxen plait.

I collapse on my blunt sword

As each glass of my blood is poured

There is no one near

But you are here

The uneven stones of the tower pierced his feet like metal nails as he ascended.

Out of my mouth comes a lie

You are not here to die

There were stone spikes on the window sill. He placed both hands flat on them, effectively pinning himself to the ledge, the spikes coming up red out of the backs of his hands. He cried tears of blood when he saw her face.

She sat beside the window, delicate hands placed demurely in her lap, long golden hair draped over one of the spikes in the window. Her skin was milky white, her lips ripe and red as a rose. Her black eyes were empty, a deep abyss of hell. She lifted a colorless hand and placed it on the curve of his jaw, rubbed her thumb over his full bottom lip, smearing the blood from his mouth over his pale cheek. She leaned toward him, slender neck arching as she kissed him. He gave one final excruciating scream as blood gushed out of his mouth and into hers.

The sun shone brightly through the trees. The birds were singing.