WHAT IS MAPPALUJO?


CHAPTER 05

MISTER TEARDROP goes nightly to his mirror. His pale, wet face stares back at him; trembling fingers trace the cold reflection's skin. His voice is nothing more than a whisper, filled with desire.

'Oh come to me, my love.'

His veins tingle with stolen promise; the effects of the drug reaching towards the heart. For many nights gone by, as the church bells sound their dark lament, Mister Teardrop has surrendered himself in this way. Each night, more and more droplets of the potion are pricked into the blood. And always the looking glass refuses him, offering only his own sad face in return, or else glimpses, flashes of some other, more beautiful presence. Lost, even as it seems within grasp.

'Shall I ever be loved?'

A dark light glimmers, briefly, in the mirror's depths. It plays there as summer lightning played once over the guests of a royal garden party; a woman caught on camera, long distance, her features blurred, forever out of reach. It is the same blurring that Teardrop sees now, and yet surely this time some extra detail can be seen, a flickering, this jewel gleaming at the throat of a distant apparition. And then suddenly, as though a gilded phantom possesses him, the lines of his face shimmer and dissolve. Love's poison has summoned a sweeter reflection.

'My lady of shadows...'

The princess is not yet there, not completely, but still, Teardrop cannot resist her. He moves forward, gently, closer to the mirror. The two faces mingle, male and female; their lips touch, each side of the glass. Delirious, the heart floods now with a sudden warmth, the surge of hot, rich satisfaction coursing the body.

When finally he pulls away, his own face has returned. In sadness, his passion spent, the keen devoted suitor already plans the next stage of courtship.

Mister Teardrop goes nightly to his mirror.

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WHAT IS MAPPALUJO?