RECAP: “I’m keeping the door open because there will come a day when you will see how hideous I am and not wish to be here anymore, and I would rather help you to leave than give you reason to stay.”
Pain jabbed her ankle with a finger and her heart cried out as if it had been pierced by a needle. “Why did you tell the truth?” Pain demanded of her, “He’ll only give me more work later… The truth hurts doesn’t it? You’re a woman with a taint… an invisible taint and he will smell it on you in the night as much as Death smells you… Nightfall… you bloom in darkness. You need me.”
Death took Pain by the scruff of the neck and threw him in a corner.
“I’d like to stay; but not with that fat child talking.”
Night reflected on the truth of those who were grateful for Death, at which point Death blushed a little.
“Then it appears… that you are not fine”. Handsome said gently.
“No… I am not. I am a woman with a taint. An invisible taint.”
“I can make Pain go away if you’ll have me.” Death said urgently like a lover.
She put her head in her hands.
“No you’re not.” Handsome said. “You are not tainted.”
“You’re mixed up and repainted.”
He took the brush, put red in the black to create a blue-ish purple and put a tail on the alif. The alif became a lam (ل ) and then he wrote the rest of her name on the wall.
“That is only the signifier… what is signified is far more. Think how beautiful the night is. The moment I went past your room that alif was screaming in the ‘ah’ note to me. I had to relieve your pain, but I also know it only is a part of you. An atom. Do not neglect the rest. Your whole name sings.”
“He is a scholar of God.” Death said, hushed.
Her soul said: I know. Although she still she sat with her foot keeping the door ajar because now that he was here, her only fear was that he would leave.
“That is the last pain Adam felt…” Death said to her, “Loss.”
“If I leave,” he said, leaning on the brush a little but turned towards her in compassionate frankness, “I promise to tell you before I go. And if I stay, I hope it is because I am welcome.”
She blinked rapidly with pleasure and surprise and Handsome wished for nothing more than to while away eternity under the temporary shade of her eyelashes.
They had written the truth, and it had power in it. “You are braver than you know.” He said.
And then, at last, she put her foot down, let go of the door and went to him.
All text of the whole work to be attributed to the writer known as Pola Negri, and all visuals of the whole work are to be attributed to writer Sarah Doughty.