Resting her pale hand on the ornate chest of drawers she gazed into the mirror, trying to recognise her own features in the dim reflection staring back. Her soft blue eyes burned as icy pools of fire. Mocking. Daring her to look away, daring her to turn around and confront what she had done. Too afraid to turn away yet too afraid to keep her own gaze she stared past the chilling glare into the depths of the mirror where the smoke was beginning to clear.

Delicate ghostly tendrils spiraled into the air, whispering affectionately through the darkened room. The sheer beauty of the scene was quite stunning. For a moment she remained where she was, chin resting on fingertips, gazing intently into the mirror. Admiring her own handiwork, admiring the perfect picture she had created. Mahogany floorboards. Emerald satin curtains. Iridescent smoke spirals. All fused together with a little splash of red. The only mar in the pristine image was the crumpled body, spread-eagled on the floor. One hand still reaching out for mercy, one eyebrow still raised in shock.

The faintest hint of a smile lifted the corners of her lips and she was struck by the beauty of her reflection; for she emanated power from every visible pore of her body. With a sigh she unwrapped the thoughts she had tied up so tightly and let her memory spiral back by three hours to the nightclub, to the moment her world had cracked…

Noise. Pounding, blaring noise. Invading her senses, conquering her sight, smell, taste. Stretching out her hand, her fingertips tingled as the powerful beat, pulsing through the air, obliterated the nerves. That's why she did not see, not at first. Flashing neon lights overwhelmed her eyes, shooting tiny poison darts to the back of her head where they burst like fireworks. He had bought her a drink and she was grateful for it now. She took a sip and felt shivers of pleasure vibrate through her body as the icy liquid served as an antidote to the venom. She remembered his fleeting peck on the cheek as he set the brimming glass down on the scratched wooden table in front of her. His hand had lightly traced across her shoulder blades as he looked back over his shoulder, his notorious wry smile playing across his lips. Where was he? Snapping her eyes open she forced herself to see past the music throbbing through the air to find her partner but the sight made her wish the music a thousand times stronger. Strong enough to have vanquished her eyes forever.

His arms entangled around another woman they wove together to the rapid beat, crafting an elaborate pattern of hair, arms, legs, hands. She stared, transfixed, as he inclined his head to the other woman's neck, as his lips traced their familiar path across her nape just as they had across her own back mere moments ago. Deep inside she felt a crack. Not a break, not a crack of weakness but a crack of strength. A catalyst had been triggered, sending icy shards slicing through her soul, freezing each droplet of blood in her veins. A cold smile flitted across her face as she envisaged her revenge and she made a silent vow never to allow anyone to dishonor her again.

She jerked slightly upon returning to the present, knocking a tiny vial of perfume with her elbow as she did so. She watched it roll over and over across the dressing table until it finally tumbled over the ledge and smashed to the floor, perfume mingling with blood. Summoning the courage to confront her deed she forced herself to survey the seen and it was only then that she truly realised what she had done. Suddenly aware of the fact she still held the pistol clasped in her gloved hand she flexed her fingers, letting the weapon fall to the ground. A slight tremour tickled her fingertips and grew, vibrating uncontrollably through her body until it reached the tip of her spine where it died instantly. A tongue of flame in a pool of icy water. No more trembling. No more shaking. Nothing. She had killed a man.

Waves of horror and disgust washed over her, each one attempting to pull her under. To hurt her. To drown her. To kill her. Like she'd killed him. With difficulty she wrenched her eyes away from his tangled body and forced herself to think clearly. It wasn't easy. Clammy hands pushed deep into her mind, their cruel fingers pushing at her eyes, wanting her to keep staring at the man she had once loved. They wanted her to drink him in, though whether their motives were to bring her pleasure or pain she could not tell. Clammy faces stared at her inside her own head, their clammy eyes boring into hers as their clammy lips whispered words to her. "Murderess" they murmured, "Murderess". Their voices whispered like silk in the breeze, bringing dignity and elegance to what she had once considered a repulsive crime.

But what to do now? Slowly she walked around the body, taking care not to disrupt her artwork. Cautiously she reached down, hair swinging in front of her eyes to let her fingers curl once more around the handle of the pistol. Straightening up, her feet carried her to the side of the bed where she sat on the smooth covers trying not to think. Trying not to feel. No longer trembling, she raised the pistol to her head.