I’m tired of being alone. Inside the mansion on Pensive lane, inside the bedroom with silk and satin sheets, inside the closet of stainless clothes and dark secrets, Aranya pulled open the lid to a shoebox. Huddled in the corner, there was enough room for her to sit and count her money. She lay the crisp bills on the carpet one by one, until she saw the right amount of ivy paper to fill the hole inside her.

Locked in a prison…locked in a palace for 18 years, she rarely escaped to the streets only a mile away. Living with the three aunts, all in their late fifties was a task for titans, and they loved her so dearly the burden only grew. They had never let her go out, never let her date, they never let her go to school. Bad things happened at school. Drugs and Liquor and Violence…they had home schooled Aranya from the time she was four years old. Even when she was so young, she was beauty. With curly yellow hair that fell of her shoulders, with blue eyes the color of icicles on a Christmas card. With eyelashes like spider webs, with the frame of a Jayne Mansfeild doll. They had given her every wish she had ever desired. Fairy Godmothers. Aranya had been a mistake to their younger sister, the product of an affair with a much older man. Selphie left the princess baby on the doorstep to the lavish home the sisters had shared for twenty three years. The three women had become no less than slaves to the girl, trying to fill the empty space that grew inside the golden child, but only made her feel like a jagged piece of a perfect puzzle.

The makeshift mothers hadn’t realized that while they slept, for the past three years, Aranya had snuck out nearly every night. She had walked the distance to the bustling city that was closer than anyone dared think of, to become a part of a world of darkness. She was snow on the asphalt. She tried to make herself invisible, but on a street of vagabond hustlers, shade-man drug dealers, steel eyed old men, skin women and starving children, she looked like a goddess reborn. The poor tugged at her skirt hems, begging for her to take them with her…wherever they assumed she would go. Heaven or hell, either must be better than the streets of LA in the dark of the night. Dirty men eyed her with prowler glares. Her clothes sparkled like diamonds, her hair shone with dignity. The drug dealers and the wrist watchers followed her at a distance. Pressure always would win over, and they waited to feed on that moment, and reap the benefits into their trench coat pockets.

There was one boy who watched her, and his eyes were not black with sin. They were green with poetry, they were gold with a child’s innocence in a mans body. His hair was a sandy brown, but it was smooth like mud under your bare feet. He didn’t appear rich, didn’t appear poor, he appeared beautiful. Tall and skinny, he caught sight of the girl almost every night, but his soft lips never spoke a word to her in greeting or parting. On the rare occasion Aranya spotted the green eyed watcher, she wasn’t afraid like she was of the men. He never looked away. He seemed not to care that she knew he was watching her with poem eyes, simply smiled at her until she turned away, and ended his night satisfied because she always smiled back. What a beautiful smile...it made her ice eyes glow when darkness was all around.

This night was the right night of the week. Aranyas pockets were laden with crisp cash. On a night like this, money smelled like life. For the past three months, her money had become part of the fluid she pushed into her arm, her desire had become gritted teeth and watering eyes. The man in the cheap black coat was waiting for her in the dark alley, his hands shoved into his pockets so no one could see them shaking, his collar pulled up so no one could see the purple veins in his throat. His prowler eyes were bloodshot, you could see that even in the dark. Aranya wasn’t afraid of him as she had been. The first time she saw him she had wanted to cry, wondering how life could be so ugly. So dark. But now, she had gone from seeing him once each three weeks, to once every two, to once every, and she was short on money. The ladies on the street had suggested she join their skin game, but the yellow haired princess had a pure body, although thinner than it should be, strung out on a magic potion that was more intoxicating than sugar to a young child.

The bloodshot man sneered when he spoke. It was a good thing he didn’t say much but to ask her for her ivy, and he never said thank you. But it didn’t matter anymore. He dealt her the poison she pleaded for, and left down the alley to sin away her money, knowing it wouldn’t be long until he received more. The poison was so beautiful…the golden child had never known how corrupt beauty could be, how the sweetest fruit could be crawling with maggots at the core. She only knew how good it felt to fall to the concrete and slip away…slip away from the darkness, to a place where colors smiled at her. She had heard the woman on the television say that heroin could kill...and if you found yourself with an addiction to seek help immediately. Aranya was not a fool, she knew she was playing with death each time honey touched her veins, but those shaking, shivering girls in the street were not her. She was golden, she was not dark, dirty, and haunted. Her eyes weren’t hollow like theirs were when the cameras showed them…nothing bad had happened to her, and it never would. The princess never died in the fairy tale.

She leaned back against the brick wall in the dark of the Alley, behind the dumpster where only the garbage belonged. She tightened the chord around her fair skin, and clenched the lax between her pale white teeth, until her arm felt as if tiny fingertips were writing promises of heaven on her skin on an icy night. The Beauty child clenched her eyes shut as she pricked her skin on the cold of a needle, and a single drop of blood welled like a ruby on fresh snow. She felt the poison in her veins. She remembered all the times before as she pushed the head of the plastic needle to its hilt. She remembered colors, she remembered the darkness melting into the skyline and being reborn in a light as pure as her eyes. She knew that any moment, she would feel the warmth, she would see the colors on the darks of her eyelids. But this time wasn’t the same.

The elixir was fire. Is this what a glass bottle felt like, when the fire couldn’t escape? When it burnt at the skin, but the air couldn’t help it burn out? She slumped to the asphalt in a head of gold. She didn’t see colors, all she saw was darkness, like a tunnel that would never end. She felt her muscles, not relax, but draw as if a puppeteer was pulling on her threads of steel with all his strength. Instead of tasting honey, her tounge was swelling, all she could taste was bitter flesh and the air she couldn’t breathe. A shaking hand betted the needle from her skin, before coiling to the rest of her shaking body. It was like watching the sun fall from the sky, and wither in the cold. She tried to make herself still, trying to control her sinew by sinking her teeth into her tender lip, only drawling blood to run down her pale chin. Her heart screamed, her head throbbed…everything was so fast, yet so slow. Yet poetry eyes were watching.

He had waited in the park that night, hoping to see his beauty as she strolled past with her hands in her pockets, but she had never come. He went looking for her smile, and saw her. She was not easy to miss. He saw her slipping into the alley, a world of darkness around shining gold. Since he had lived in the city, since he had begun to slip out his door every night to catch a glimpse of the golden princess Aranya, he had seen those kids spend money he would never have, as if paying for an end to life. Yet he had never seen her become one of these people, one of the dark. Maybe that was because, even as he watched her fall to the frost bitten ground, she was still vivid in a heaven sent lightness he had never before seen. Like an angel loosing her way. He stood frozen as the girl plunged into darkness, into a sleep that few awakened from. Sleeping Beauty. Beauty. Finally, he snapped from his stupor of frozen fear and his feet pulled from the quicksand that had held him to the ground, from the ice that had froze his tongue. He carried himself as fast as long slender legs could allow, but everything was in slow motion…Beauty was falling still and he was moving too slowly. After mere seconds, which felt like hours, days, years, Poetry eyes fell onto his knees on the ground beside her, lifting her slender and ice cold form into strong and protective arms, cradling her like a lost child against his heaving chest. Aranya…don’t die. Don’t die. Why not? What did a fallen angel have to live for, when it had already broken its wings, which were its only pathways to where it was meant to be? Pathways to heaven. Don’t die.

Poetry eyes, green, silver, gold and black, watched her with terror in those gentle hues. She was going to sleep forever, and a sleep where her ice eyes would never hope to open again. Love from afar an be the most powerful emotion in a humans heart, for love from afar is so true when the onlooker has a sight for a soul. The boy who was so much at once, so dark, so light, so beautiful in his ways, felt such overwhelming grief, sadness, as her body drew even closer to that sleep. One kiss. Let him feel one kiss, even if her lips shook and bled. At least he will have felt it before…he kissed her. His lips were so soft with care for her, with that tender emotion, with that sadness, with that grief, with fear and with joy. And Aranya felt every emotion. Perhaps when angels could not return to heaven, they could find heaven on earth. Could there be a reason to live…? As emotion filled lips pulled from those ruby tiers, her fingertips, cold as ice but softer than the kiss he gave her, stirred against his upper thigh, where her hand had fallen as he cradled her, rocking softly as he imagined her dying. Imagination was less than reality. Ice eyes. Her spider web lashes parted and she came alive, as if brought back from darkness and thrown like from a raging sea into the arms of poem eyes. She felt the retracting sensation that was the after effects of his kiss on her once cold lips, yet now they were full of life. When you have a reason to live, that reason is life itself, and life is a power stronger than death can wish to become.

That boy, a stranger in his words, a voice never spoken once before to her, said nothing at all and remained silent in her renewed life, yet his eyes, green, gold, white and black, showed more than words could ever explain. Sleeping Beauty kissed him.