The air is cold in the street outside of your house.

It paints the windows white, the dripping tap in the bathroom a poor imitation of rain, and you tug the sleeves of your favourite dress over your arms with reverence.

You can hear the music playing in the apartment next to yours, the song woolly through the plaster of the wall that separates you, and you sing along faintly as you bend your hands awkwardly back to do up the open zip that rests so lightly against your spine.

It feels like a lover's kiss, a secret touch of hands or lips, and the thought of it makes you burn hot white.

You think of the way Gabriel looked the night before, curled so tightly into the sheets of his bed, the overhead light dim and flickering over the skin of his back.

You recall the way he looked at you, how his lips caught on his teeth when he smiled, and for a second you feel such choking anger that it is difficult to see anything past the pounding of the blood in your veins.

It's a strange feeling, powerful and fragile all at once, and as the zip of your dress slips closed you feel more complete than you have in weeks.

Today you will break up with Gabriel Jones and you plan to make him cry.

The hallway is empty when you step outside your front door. The key rests heavy in your hand and you slip it into your pocket as you walk down the corridor, clenching your teeth against the sudden chill that threatens to slip in beside your bones.

You are stronger than him. You know this with certainty.

He cried the first time that you fucked him. You can still feel the echo of those tears, trapped as they are against the skin of your neck, and the memory of the way his thighs had trembled against yours makes something cold twist in the bottom of your stomach.

He conquered you so simply, without even drawing breath.

He traipsed mud all over your pristine floors, but he did it with such tenderness that it is only now that you have recognised the mess he has made.

He is a cruel master of the heart, a sinner hiding amongst the petals of summer, but now winter has come.

Winter has no time for golden boys with easy smiles, especially not ones called Gabriel.

Your footsteps are loud on the footpath, grass seeds clinging to your ankles, and the sun on the metal of the train tracks burns bright lines into your vision.

It is still too early for anyone else to really be awake, and the town is quiet in a way that makes the hairs rise up on your arms.

There is a dark shape ahead of you, lounging against the broken fence that keeps the danger of the train tracks at bay, and Gabriel raises a hand in greeting when you grow nearer.

You aren't surprised to see him waiting for you, an unlit cigarette hanging from between his fingers, and he holds your gaze as he lights it, his cheeks hollowing out with his first inhale.

You have never believed in having an Achilles heel, and Gabriel is sorer than most.

His blonde hair is pale in the early light, the lines of his face sweetly crooked, and you feel the weight of that burning hand against your spine once more.

"You were waiting for me?"

Your voice is winter sharp, and he cocks his head, smoke curling in his smile.

"You expected me to."

Beat for beat.

You stand still when he approaches. You hold your shoulders stiff and straight, and his hand feels wrong when it touches the side of your face.

His knuckles are clumsy, oh too clumsy for an angel, and his breath is stale behind the cigarette smoke.

You can see the tip of the cigarette in his hand, a red sun caught between his laughing lips, and you resist the urge to press your mouth against his, just to feel that burn.

"Do you remember when we first met?", he frowns at your question and you find yourself unsure of why his answer is so important, "do you remember the first time you told me your name?"

His hand shivers across your cheek, his thumb resting at the corner of your mouth, and he leans close.

You can feel the faint heat of the cigarette on his tongue when he speaks, and his breath is cold on your chin.

"You said I was an angel."

"You're no angel", there is a tremble by your cheek (the echo of wings) and his eyelashes catch on your mouth as he lowers his head before you.

His part is crooked, golden hair on a golden head, and the breath stops in your lungs as his forehead presses against your throat.

The cigarette has fallen to the cement, crushed beneath your clumsy feet, and the sun has tripped beneath a cloud.

"I never said I was", his words are warm behind you ear and you almost believeā€¦

"I would rather die than have you ever kiss me again".

And there it is, what you had planned to say all along.

You whisper it against the top of his head, the lace collar of your dress scratching your neck, guarding your heartbeat.

He shivers.

"Then I won't", his voice is cold, edged with salt and reluctantly damp, "I won't ever kiss you again".

He does not look up when you step away from him.

You can feel the wire of the fence catching on the skin of your stockings, and you slip through the gap in the fence easily, the metal of the train tracks cold at your ankles.

They are cold beneath your legs as you slowly lower yourself down to them, they push persistently into your back and your thighs, your head coming to rest on one icy sleeper.

The sky looks impossibly pale and wide above you, not a cloud in sight, and you feel a faint smile grace your mouth.


The word chokes out of him, his eyes wide and glassy when he finally looks at you, and you turn your head away.

"God- please-"

"I would rather drown that have you speak to me".

You relish the expression on his face when you turn back to him.

Gabriel's eyes burn into you, his fingers wrapping through the wire of the fence, his knuckle bones white.

There are shadows pooling beneath his cheekbones and his hair becomes a wild halo as the sun slips behind it. There is a burning vengeance in his face, an angel's wrath, but he makes no move to follow you out onto the tracks.

He watches you, hollow fire burning in the corners of his mouth and you speak again.

"I would rather burn than have you look at me."

And he cannot speak, because he has already promised he won't, and so his eyes slide closed in silence, his head bowing down once more.

There is a shiver in the metal beneath your cheek, a rumble that chatters the gravel at your shoulder, and the train whistles in the distance.

The sound is pure and harsh in the quiet morning, and Gabriel's face is a terrible picture.

You can feel his heartbeat, it tugs across the distance between you, rattling inside of you ribcage.

It is not a stable sound, it jangles and slips like a dying bird and you want nothing more than to crush it in your fist.

You reach back behind you and scoop a few pieces of gravel into your hands. They are a careful weight, a reassuring tether, and you squeeze your eyes closed as the train whistles once more.

You can feel the sleeper trembling beneath you, your heart trembling with it, and you are not surprised to feel the morning sun burn you cheek.

Gabriel has broken his promise.

You do not open your eyes now, you lie still and do your best to pretend that you aren't breathing.

The sun is biting into you so ferociously it feels as though it is peeling your very skin from your bones and Gabriel's footsteps are clumsily harried as they skid over the gravel towards you.

He kneels beside your head, his shadow cool in comparison to the blistering heat that has become your body, and his hand covers the gravel curled inside of your palm.

"You promised me" The words tear free of your lips, bitten through the clench of your teeth, and his hand above yours is as fragile as moth wings.

"Then I have no honour".

And you go to tell him that you could have told him that long ago but he is crying again and his tears have fallen into your mouth, making you choke.

His face is wet when he leans down towards you, and all you can taste is salt, his tears filling your mouth, filling your throat.

You should have known that it would come to this.

"I have made my choice", and as his lips press down against yours, ugly and shining and cruel, you realise the mistake you have made.

He is purity, he is devotion, and you are nothing more than a grubby little girl from the suburbs.

You were foolish to presume that you had power over him.

"Don't touch me" you bite his tongue and force the words in his face.

His hand is still holding tightly to yours and no matter how hard you fight you cannot free yourself.

He has the strength of all the heavens beneath him and you have nothing more than your petty anger.

He has bound your ankles now, he has cut rope from his own golden hair and he has tied them so tightly, so gently.

The sleepers are cold beneath your heels, and you lie limp and burning bright hot when he raises your hands backwards above your head and ties them down to the tracks.

"I will save you", his voice is horribly sincere, his eyelashes shuddering like wheat across his cheekbones.

"Fuck off", you spit at him, arching and hissing at him like a wounded cat.

He shakes his head, hurt, and you don't miss the tears that sit so perfectly upon his face.

You can feel the train now, like a second heartbeat as it rattles through you, and your hands hurt as they are bounced against the steel tracks.

You don't think it's possible that you have hated anyone more than you hate him at this very moment.

"I'd rather die than it be you."

And there is a smile on his face, forgiveness in the curl of his lips, and no matter how tightly closed you screw your eyes you cannot escape it.

"I love you".

You turn away but his hands are there, the approaching train shaking you so hard that the teeth rattle in your jaw. The sun is behind his head, it lights him gold and white and beautiful, and it is all you can do to keep from crying out.

He leans close, pauses before he kisses the corner of your eye.

The train pauses for nothing.