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26 July 2010 @ 10:54 pm
Reflections - The Ruins of Elizabeth's Bordello, 1901 (Ficlet)  
December, 1901 - cold, wet, an' fuckin' miserable, even to someone who'd grown up with those harsh Canadian winters. I'd promised myself an early Christmas present, another visit to the whorehouse I'd been goin' to every few years or so, whenever I got the chance; been fuckin' the Madam there for years, an' rightly so. I'd known her since she was a teenager. Hell, I'd been her first payin' customer - an' her first man, come to think of it. Couldn't help but think about what I was gonna do to her this time as I walked down that street, headin' for that big buildin' with the balcony where the broads liked t'sit and tease the men who walked past, the boys who couldn't afford 'em...



It'd happened too long ago for me t'smell the stale smoke. Flowers an' weeds had started t'grow over the fallen stones, an' only a couple of the doorways were still standin'. Even now, though, with the timbers long since burned through an' scraps of that deep red cloth showin' here and there through the rubble, I could remember the place as it once had been. I could remember the girls. An' one girl in particular, with deep brown eyes an' soft brown hair, skin like velvet an' a voice like silk...

I still think of you sometimes, Elizabeth. An' when I do, it always makes me smile.

Don't think I ever told you what y'really meant to me back then - at least, not as many times as I should have. There were times when me an' Jimmy were stuck out in the field, an' all I could think about to keep me goin' was gettin' back to camp an' makin' sure you were alright, climbin' into that bedroll next to you an' warmin' you up good an' proper. Jimmy never really knew what you were to me, Lizzie, an' neither did you. Shit, I didn't even know what y'meant to me until I'd gone back an' found your place in ruins.

We first met when you were only a teenager. You'd followed your folks into the army, your daddy an' your brother, but they'd died even before Scott's Great Snake had tightened its grip, an' you were alone in the middle of all those men. It was only gonna be a matter of time before I saw you, an' claimed you, an' showed you that men would give you coin for the kinds of things I wanted t'do to you - an' we ended up enjoyin' 'em more than you thought you would. Can't remember how many times we shared my tent, how many times we rutted an' coupled while the war raged on. Always thought of you as a fighter, a survivor - that's why I showed you how t'use a knife an' a gun, taught you how t'load my Enfield an' fire it for when I weren't there. Yeah, I worried about you sometimes. I ain't ashamed of that.

You made enough coin from that war t'start up your own 'business', an' believe me, I visited as often as I could. You knew my gold was always good with you. You knew I'd always pay my way an' get my money's worth, an' I never felt like I'd been short-changed. Shoulda known it was too good to last, huh? Shoulda known that one day, you'd be layin' down for the very last time, alone.

Heard you didn't die in the fire. You were fifty-two years old when y'lost your grip on this life, an' after you died, your place just weren't the same. The girls couldn't keep up the rent on their own, an' one by one they left. The place fell apart. There was a fire, no-one knew how it'd started, an' as I stood there an' looked at those burnt-out timbers I knew there weren't no reason for me to stick around in that town no more.

I didn't go back.

You weren't the first girl I lost, an' you weren't the last. That's somethin' a lot of people don't think about when they start goin' on about bein' immortal an' unkillable an' all that bullshit. Bein' able to heal is one hell of an edge, sure, but it ain't until you start to notice the people around you growin' older that you really start to wonder. Even by then, I knew that I was gonna have to leave you behind one way or the other...

...I just wish I coulda said goodbye.

(("Sometimes I see your face
Stars seem to lose their place
Why must I think of you?
Why must I, why should I
Why should I cry for you?
Why would you want me to?
What would it mean to say
I loved you in my fashion?
What would be true?
Why should I, why should I cry...
Why should I cry..."))
 
 
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