Flame����������� Ember����������� Ash
He tried to draw his eyelids away from the clinging globules as desperately as he'd clawed at the flesh they'd wrapped around him, encasing, entombing alive. Only the strength to do that remained, her perfume clouding every other region of his will. Smell was too new and distracting and this had never been, could never be his element. And such a smell, so rich and. . . . His eyelids were altogether shut and would not open. He strained until the perfume took that too, until nothing was that wasn't insistent perfume.
Until something touched them and they sprang wide. Perfume. A familiar woman's face, smiling, victorious, shrouded in pink luminescent tufts of steam and the undeniable scent of perfume. She gripped his jaw in one hand and showed him her other: the stained-glass fingernails a tableu depicting the evolution of man. The tip of her pointer finger, homo sapiens sapiens, glowed yellow, and she traced four vertical lines with it across his forehead.
"You have much to forget," she said, and tore back the peel. She made a fist and pushed it against his brain, twisting. Through the perfume he recalled his name for an instant, and something more, sensed it fading away, flowing with the juices that poured out over my face. She collected him from my cheeks and lips with a soft black towel, and smiled again.
I asked, "Who am I?"
She replied, "That's your decision now. We'll meet again, when you're ready to forget some more."
As I walked away, in the corner of my eye, I thought I saw her sucking on the towel.