Charlotte would be happy to see the lilies blooming. White was always her favorite color for flowers. She would say they were the purist form of beauty. Rising from the earth, or the depths of black waters, their ivory petals unfolded unblemished and unsullied.
She would see them as a sign that her sinful ways were forgiven, that somehow Charlotte was reborn through the blossoms rising towards heaven. Her body nourishing their roots, her spirit resurrected.
Brahm sat at the bank of the pond in his sodden clothes, skipping flat stones across the glassy surface. A few feet away, a profusion of lilies bobbed upon the water. Dragonflies flit from flower to flower, their legs dusted with yellow pollen. Their hypnotic droning soothed his grieving heart.
He didn’t mean to hurt her, but Charlotte had to be sanctified, her wicked life redeemed. Her seductive smile, her divine skin and sanguine lips, taunted and teased him into unclean thoughts. What better way for her to atone than through baptism. Cleansed in the healing waters, laid to rest in sin, to be reborn into the light.
Nodding at the brink of sleep, Brahm imagined each lily beckoned him to the water’s edge. He saw Charlotte as the puppet master, controlling the long stems of each lily like the strings of a marionette. Manipulating these flowers as she did him, twisting and bending them to her will.
In his near-dream state, Brahm peered into the depths, conjuring her pale face looking up at him from her watery grave. The long lily tendrils tangled around her delicate arms and graceful legs, her auburn hair fanning out like wisps of seaweed.
Her lips moved in a silent entreaty. A smile played across her face, inviting Brahm to join her beneath the blanket of white blooms. Not rousing from his slumber, Brahm crawled on his belly to where the water lapped at the shore. His face hovering over the shallows, he reached out his hand, his fingertips dimpling the surface.
Breaking the aqueous seal, Brahm slipped down into the murky abyss, down to where Charlotte waited.
A current, stronger than Brahm expected, disturbed Charlotte’s rest. Lifting her gracial arms, Charlotte caressed her paramour, her unyielding fingers catching the collar of his shirt. The cold water stirred Brahm awake. The lack of air burned in his chest. Unable to loosen Charlotte’s grip, he finally succumbed to the depths, slowly sinking into her welcoming arms.