All Her Wounds Excerpt 9

Vivian lowered her phone and pushed through beaded curtains that shimmered in the dark of the exotically-flavored, Gothic emporium. The adjoining chamber was bathed in vivacious blue light. Her lungs filled with the smell of amber oils that lingered copiously in the air.

The miasma of aphrodisiacs added a heightened sexual tension to the dark, clandestine space. The dream-like quality to the Yaksha Spirit House continued to weave its spell over her, ensuring there was no way out unscathed.

She appraised the shelves hosting antiquities and oddities that seemed imported from another dimension. A glass table awaited in the next gallery. Spiders encased in amber glowed like blue turquoise under the light. Vivian leaned closer toward the deadly specimens. She spotted a red widow encased in resin. Its hourglass motif glowed wickedly in the light. Was that a good omen that they were on the right trail?

“It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?” Vivian turned around to see a woman in the dark. Her face was partially obscured behind a glass display, contorting her features into something unfriendly and inhuman. A honeyed voice flowed over the woman’s chalky, pink lips.

“My name is Sayang Si Sae-Ung. Welcome to my sanctuary, where the realms overlap and lost souls are sometimes disgorged into our world. Is there anything I can help you find in the Yaksha Spirit House?”

She slowly emerged into the light, but the shadows seemed reluctant to sever themselves from her. Vivian had never seen a more ethereal face. Exceptionally pale, a somber beauty played with the elegant curve of her cheekbones and the round shape of her jaw. Ashen of color, her lips were petite and cold like the pursed mouth of a spider.

A kiss from this mysterious girl looked equally as corrosive. White teeth gleamed like jewels under the bow of her thin upper lip, as if she was about to say something but swallowed it up with a dubious smile. Vivian looked down at the arachnids encased under the glass, perturbed by the comparison crystallizing in her mind.

The Red Widow fixated on her eyes.Set against a moon-like complexion, Sayang’s eyeballs were tattooed black. The presence of pale cornea or colored irises were swept away in utter darkness, garnished with neon red eyeshadow.

Vivian wondered why any human would go so far as to tattoo their eyes black. Was there something in those orbs that she didn’t want the rest of the world to see? An ocean of perpetual grief? Unapproachable rage waiting to claw its way to the surface?