~ The Sunset Beckons Danger ~
Crimson stood near the bank of Lake Karlberg watching the artillery, and naval forces, as they prepared for the pursuits of war. She listened to the distant sounds of cavalry that thundered from outlying villages, forests, mountains and gorges to unite with sail-fleets in defense of her homeland, Sweden. She secretly applauded the regiments of pike men making their way towards Stockholm, then to Denmark, Holstein or Gottorp. The pike men were supposedly ceremonial, but she knew the real reason why the tips of their pikes were made of wood; why the soldiers carried wooden stakes on their ox-leather waist belts and wore pure silver crosses around their necks. She knew why the other soldiers felt the pike was far more honorable and useful than the musket, especially during the shadows of dusk.
Crimson leaned against ‘their’ willow tree and daydreamed under closed eyelids while she mindlessly tore the petals from a pinkish-white Twinflower, “Loves me. Loves me not.” The harvested petals twirled on the southerly wind and pirouetted as a troupe of suspended ballerina’s across the surface of the lake. Then came the answer of chance, only one petal left and for the moment, it was settled: “Loves me.”
Slow, and as thick as honey, the pale recollection transformed into to a vivid memory and took over her thoughts. The kisses shared between her and Viktor, of his roaming hands, his tender mouth, and his romantic words. God, his tongue is clever and tender, she thought as she languished in the daydream.The way he deepens every expression with perfect wording and tone.
Just weeks before, her passion, their passion, had assassinated the young boy inside Viktor and revealed the man. She knew she wanted more from Viktor. She wanted to be pushed to a threshold of pleasure, held in suspension until the very walls of her world caved in under the intense weight and threatened to suffocate any lucidity of realism. She wanted to be taken to the point where the world melted away. She thought of Viktor and savored the flashback. She had lost track of time, and dropped the spent Twinflower stem to the ground.
Fading rays of the sun serenaded the well-worn path along the lake, and Crimson knew the dangers of being caught outside the palace walls after sunset. At once, she mounted her chestnut gelding, dug her heels into his side and caused the steed to thunder toward the safety of the palace. She could feel the beast’s powerful strides as she balanced on his back and raced the setting sun; she dug deeper, demanding more speed.
The wind plunged under the collar of her shirt, fluttering the silk fabric against her flesh pink nipples. The top button loosened just enough to expose her left breast but she couldn’t stop, she dared not stop—the last of the sun’s rays danced on the horizon, soon it would be dark. Soon, danger would be about her like the encroaching shadows from which she raced away. More speed and the diamond necklace around her neck fell in rhythm, tapping the soft tissue under her chin and the reddened skin of her breastbone.
There’s an enigmatic level of excitement in racing the setting sun. There would only be one winner, and she was fearful she had stayed out too long. The horse’s gallop settled into a steady rhythm when suddenly, as she turned a bend on the path, the horse stopped, reared onto his hind legs, and tossed her to the ground.
Crimson got to her feet, brushed off the seat of her riding pants and noticed a silhouette of man on the shadowy part of the path. He collected the reins of her gelding and calmed the animal with a single touch to the animal’s forehead. The precious last rays of the sun dipped below the horizon and the path darkened. Danger awakened in the grave shadows and howled in the distance, sending shivers down her spine, and goose bumps ran up her arms. Every hair and nerve stood on end.
Crimson was about to thank him when she locked eyes with the stranger. A chill ran through her and she froze, which caught her off guard. She was of royal lineage, and although a secret, it afforded her a certain prowess, and she bowed to no man, certainly not some wandering commoner on a path. The momentary beliefs of her royal position shattered and the truth emerged—this was no commoner. She drew on trembling breath and strained to look away. “She knew what he was and he frightened her. Her entire body cringed. A veiled force restrained her emotions and actions. She couldn’t act or react and stood frozen in front of the stranger.
In an instant, faster than humanly possible, as if he was flesh one moment and vapor the next, the stranger was in front of her, caressing the soft tissue of her throat. She tried to pull away but couldn’t. He lifted her chin, exposing the soft, creamy flesh of her neckline.
“Why struggle?” he inquired before placing a tender kiss on the corner of her mouth. She had no answer, he was far too strong and she felt powerless to stop him. She affixed her hands over her neck, trying to protect herself and noticed her diamond necklace, the love-gift from Viktor, was missing. She tried to scream out for help, but her voice betrayed her.
The stranger smiled, tilted her head away from him. He easily lifted one finger, then the next, of her protective grasp, and kissed her naked throat. He could feel her pounding heart course right through him. Her rapid pulses and thumps made the collection of her sweet nectar that much easier.
Danger breathed new life, howled a resonating ecstasy deep into the dark forest as Crimson slipped into a mythical trance. She fell limp in his arms.