Miss Christina

XVMiss Christina stood there, very close to him, with her breasts uncovered, her hair loose, waiting. "Egor, you're humiliating me!" he could hear her thoughts. "Turn off the lamp, come closer!"Egor tried in vain to resist. He could feel Miss Christina's command in his brain, he could feel her poisonous calling in his blood."If she kisses me I'm lost," he thought.But he could at the same time feel how the frenzy was seizing him, how he wanted that flesh, so full of life and so wild in its starts. Miss Christina's body was waiting for him, so hungry that Egor staggered bedazzled, heading for the bed. He could feel with devilish lucidity how he was losing himself, how he drowned in nausea and voluptuousness. One more step, one more step…In front of him, in front of his lips, Christina's mouth stood open. When did he get so close? He stretched his arms and held the girl's snow-white shoulders. The flesh was so cold and so hot at the same time, that Egor fell on the bed; he couldn't possibly face up to that fire unlike any other flame, that sensation that he was seizing something unseizable… he was suddenly aware of Christina's mouth feeling for his lips. Her mouth was so hot that Egor didn't feel anything at first except for an overwhelming pain throughout his body. Then the poisonous sweetness filled his body. He could no longer fight it. His breath passed into Christina's breath, and he let his lips to be sucked, fired by her mouth, sweet like an unimaginable disease. Her caress was so wild that Egor was weeping and he felt the bones of his head splitting, his bones melting, and his entire flesh shuddering in a supreme spasm.Christina raised her head and peered at him."You're so handsome, Egor!"She caressed him, slowly drew his cheek near her small shivering breasts. Egor thought he heard, coming from nowhere, a muffled, melodious voice reciting near his ear: Arald, won't you on my bosom your weary brow lay?You, black-eyed god… Oh! Such lovely eyes you have…Let my fair hair around your body weaveA life, a youth as heaven from you I do receiveLet your sweet eyes my being sweep away! But it didn't resemble, it seemed, her voice in the dream; and it wasn't her unheard voice either, barging into his thoughts. Somebody had uttered the fragment of the poem near them. The lines seemed familiar to Egor, he must have read them, one autumn, during high school, on a very lonely night."Egor, what color eyes have you got?" Christina asked him.She turned up his head with her tiny hands and looked at him deeply, thrilled."You, black-eyed god!... you have undaunted purple eyes… how many women mirrored themselves into them, Egor?!... how I would melt the ice from your eyes with my mouth, my love! Why didn't you wait for me, why wouldn't you love nobody else but me?!" Egor was shivering, but it was no longer a spasm of terror, but the eagerness of his entire body, his frenetic pining away, awaiting for the utmost caress. His flesh was breaking away maddened, for the voluptuousness was stifling him, humiliating him. Christina's mouth tasted like the dream fruits, the taste of all the forbidden, cursed misdeeds. Not even in the most diabolic love fantasies had there dripped so much poison, so much dew. In Christina's arms Egor felt the most sinful joys, and at the same time a heavenly dissipation, a communion with each and every thing… incest, murder, madness – mistress, sister, angel… everything gathered and consumed by this burning, still lifeless flesh…"Christina, am I dreaming?" he whispered pale, with unseeing eyes.The girl smiled at him. The dew of her mouth would not falter; the mouth was still kindled by the same smile. Nevertheless, Egor heard the answer clearly."…And still so, if I close one eye I see my hand smaller than I would with my both eyes… in the act, the world is our soul's dream…""Yes, yes," the thoughts were flashing through Egor's mind, "she's right. Now I'm dreaming. And nobody can force me to wake up.""Talk to me, Egor!" he heard her calling in his mind. "Your voice hurts me, kills me… but I can't live without your voice!""What do you want me to say to you, Christina?" Egor asked exhausted.Why was she holding him at her bosom forcing him to speak, forcing him to wait at the same time, to delay their complete embrace? Why had she called him so impatiently and had taken off her clothes in front of him and now, half naked only, forgot even about the light that had hurt her, and about his shyness, and her allurements?"What do you want me to say to you?" he repeated peering into her eyes. "Are you dead, or are you just a dream?"Christina's face grew sadder to despond. She wasn't weeping, but her eyes suddenly lost their sparkle and became opaque. Her smile surfaced wearily and the lips no longer gave off that poisoned scent that ravished the flesh of the man in her arms."Why do you keep asking that, Egor, my love?" he heard her thoughts. "Why do you want to know if I'm truly dead and you're mortal?... if only you stayed with me, be only mine, what unheard miracle would happen!""But now I love you," Egor moaned. "I didn't want to love you at first, I was afraid of you! But now I love you! What have you given me to drink, Christina? What kind of belladonna breeds on your lips?!..."The frenzy was suddenly seizing him; as if his blood, his mind and his speech were poisoned at once. He started rambling, drawing his forehead ever closer to Christina's breasts, whispering and kissing, searching shivering for the snow white flesh in which he wanted to vanish.Christina smiled."That's it, my love, talk to me about passion, keep telling me that you like my body, stare ceaselessly into my eyes, lose yourself!""If only I could just kiss you!" Egor whispered troubled.He then felt again the fire of her lips, that still beatitude. He felt he was losing himself, that he was about to faint and closed his eyes. He heard Christina's thought again."Undress me Egor! You undress me!"He started to thrust his hands in her poisoned silk drapes. His fingers were burning, as if crushed between blocks of ice. His blood was rushing to his heart. The desire Egor felt now threw him blind, mad in a voluptuousness mingled with disgust. A devilish impulse to lose himself, to vanish away in a single spasm. Under his pale fingers Christina's body started shivering. And still he could hear no sigh, no breath on her parted, wet lips. Christina's flesh was living in a completely different way; self-enclosed, without steaming, without whispers."Who taught you to caress, goblin lover?!" Christina's thought asked him. "Why do your hands burn me, why does your kiss kill me?!" Egor unlaced her stays and moved his fingers down her silent back. Suddenly he stood still and started shivering. It seemed to him that he was waking up on the banks of a rotting puddle, nearly falling in. Christina stared at him, questioning him with her eyes, but Egor didn't look up at her. His fingers had found a wet, warm wound; the only warm spot on Christina's unearthly body. The palm of his hand went bedazzled over her skin like an unknown sea – and froze shriveling, trapped in blood. The wound was still fresh and so alive that Egor thought it appeared only a few seconds before. The blood was gurgling. And still, how come it didn't go through the stays, and it didn't stain the dress?!...He suddenly stood on his feet, dumbfounded, holding his head with his hands. A disgusted terror was ravishing his entire being again."Thank God it was only a dream!" he was telling himself "and I woke up before"…But that very moment he saw Miss Christina's half naked body sprawled on the bed, humiliated –and he heard her thought: "It's my wound, Egor! That's where the bullet went through, that's where the brute shot me!"Her eyes were sparkling again. Her body was even whiter, more distant, but the spell vanished. Egor looked amazed at his hand. A small stain still persisted on his fingers. He groaned, wild with terror and dashed in the opposite corner of the room, behind the table."You're like the others, Egor, my love! You're afraid of blood!... you're even afraid of your life, of your destiny as a mortal!... for an hour of love, I didn't hesitate in front of the harshest curse. And you hesitate in front of a drop of blood, Egor, you, mortal…"Christina got up from the bed, proud, sad, unappeased. Egor, terrified, saw her drawing closer to him."You're dead! You're dead!" he howled, starting to hallucinate.Christina took a few steps, calmly, still smiling."You'll be looking for me all of your life, Egor, without finding me! You'll perish longing for me… And you'll die young, taking this strand of hair to your grave!... take it, keep it!"She drew closer. Egor felt again the scent of her unusual body. But he couldn't reach out. He couldn't bear the touch of her silent flesh again. When Christina lifted her arm handing him the stand of hair, Egor shook the table, maddened. The lamp fell down, the glass broke with a muffled noise, bursting into a yellow flame. A strong scent of gas spread in the room. Christina's half naked body looked even more terrifying lighted by the flames coming out from the carpet, from the floor. Her head was almost a shadow."I'm starting to wake up!" Egor told himself happily. "Now I must wake up."But he couldn't understand why he was standing, crouching, grabbing the wooden table, he particularly couldn't understand the flames that were spreading along the beams, surrounding his bed, burning the bedclothes."Miss Christina was here, it was in my sleep," he was saying to himself, trying to grasp the meaning of so many unusual events. It seemed to him, that instant, that Miss Christina was moving away from him, looking at him with contempt, pinning her hair which fell on her shoulders with one hand and grabbing her clothes to her chest with the other. He only saw her like that for another instant. Then, by an incomprehensible miracle, the room was empty.He felt lonely among the flames.

by Mircea Eliade (1907-1986)