A thousand candles flicker across the delicate evening vista. A thousand candles. No more, no less.

They bleed into the mauve sky like elusive ribbons, weaving a tangerine net into fragments of burnt umber and gentle chestnut. As the sturdy wicks bear each trembling flame, the fragrant wax melts slowly, allowing rivulets of its molten body to trickle gradually into the earth.

Clouds of aromatic sweetness fill the air, engulfing the atmosphere with wave upon wave of perfumed particles that dissipate into the dusk.

She circles the flames, watching them with an air of curiosity somewhat hindered by her greedy expression.

"I want them," she whispers, her dominant voice stabbing the beautiful silence like a dagger. "I want them all."

The flames respond furiously to her tirade. They become stronger, curling themselves against the sunset in protection, dancing tantalisingly across the edges of her vision. Their centres glow brightly, infinitesimal balls of red-hot hatred pulsating abundantly.

Her stormy eyes grow darker as she watches them mock her. She needs the flames; an intense longing fires up inside her, burning into her heart, singeing her soul. Her blackened soul. They are all she has left. She is willing to sacrifice each light, each fierce orb of energy – she needs them.

Hands, icy hands descend upon the flames. Human skin touches them, and one by one they die. Energy is squashed, pushed into fragile wicks that snap at the touch. The touch of her.

The lights fizzle out, and abruptly the magic of the evening has gone, leaving an ominous darkness.

She smiles maliciously, and it is the voice of triumph that echoes into the inky blackness.

"I always win."

There were a thousand candles.

And now there are none.