The Gunpowder Guild called the rockets chrysanthemums. The shells exploded into gigantic flowers of burnished gold, trumpets of unearthly blue, spirals of blood red and silvery-white streamers. Phoebe Gomear and her date, Philippe Nasreau, stepped lightly into the alley behind the back of the Moulin Rouge where a carriage waited.
"I've never seen anything so spectacular."
"That's the ee-leet's fireworks. You best not look at them too long. They might be jealous and come steal your eyes." A derelict with a hoary beard, stringy hair and ragged clothing wagged a finger at her from the doorway opposite the Embassy. Phoebe laughed and tossed her hair to one side.
"Oh pish-tish-pooh, no one can steal your eyes." She turned to Philippe, a smile on her thin red lips. "Isn't that the silliest thing you ever heard?"
"Beyond silly, my darling, but your eyes are so lovely, so like deep ocean in moonlight that angels might be tempted simply to gain a glimpse of that which lies beyond," Philippe answered. His eyes caught hers and sparkled. He could see nothing but her beauty while Phoebe's eyes saw only the derelict rising from the doorway, transfiguring.
A monstrous figure emerged from the torn, dirty cloak. Horns sprouted from the stringy hair; the nose sank into the pale, demonic face.
"Look out!" the demon shouted.
He pointed behind Phoebe at Philippe, who had whipped out a giant sword to carve out her ocean-like eyes. A dagger whizzed past Phoebe's shoulder and pierced Philippe's heart. He slumped forward, revealing the two white wings poking out the back of his jacket.
"Angels can be sick bastards," the demon grumbled. "All that talk about pulling your eyes out to see your bleeding brains, and you couldn't figure it out? Even after I warned you?"
Phoebe babbled incoherently in shock. The demon rolled his eyes, mumbled something about blonds, and vanished into the night.
Opening: Dave.....Continuation: Tamara Marnell