Cigarettes and Rain
rating: +7+x

It rains outside, and you smoke. Jets of vapor leave your nostrils, your mouth, coalescing up and up, away into the storm, into the night sky. An Eldritch voice mourns out of the speakers, echoing the distant thunder.

Stupid habit you've made for yourself, smoking. Out of all vices, you chose the only one that kills without true satisfaction, peddling death to your lungs, yellowing your teeth with every rod, stinking up the room like a dead man walking.

What good is smoking? None.

Alcohol will change your humours, break your chains– even the ones that should not be broken. Drugs will get you flying, or bury you nicely in the darker layers of your brain; hell, you might even see God and live to write the tale. And sex… well, you've held on to enough bodies to know the virtues and horrors of lust fulfilled. But cigarettes? No good, never.

Never. No joy, no euphoria, no wrath, no seductive madness. Only fire and rot.

Why, then, do you smoke?

I smoke because it rains, you tell yourself.

No. You smoke when it rains. Stupid.

What good are rain and cigarettes? Curious intersection you make for yourself, lifebringer, deathseeker. Tobacco smoke and acid rain.

One.

It goes out between your fingers, its spark extinguished before it's even done unloading its noxious vapor. Off you flick it, into the darkness beyond your door, into the roaring deluge. Somewhere out there it will flounder, sinking without a single noise. Sometimes you'd like to do the same, to go into a watery grave without complaint, without offering resistance.

Two.

You look ridiculous, prostrated at the edge of the storm, feeling the warmth between your fingers, down your throat.

Careful now.

Too soon and you'll waste it; too late and you'll burn. You'll burn like every other night, when another wraps their arms around you, when you are made prisoner between two thighs. Acrid kisses, empty words of desire, carnal, violent. And once done, what remains, but smoking your night away in the rain?

One time you writhed together as the sky came undone, as jagged lightning tore the clouds apart. What strange magic came from your union, you know not, only that her throat moaned maledictions, that your skin crawled as her fingers ran down your back. Then came thunder and the creaking of strained wood, a flood of things unspeakable. Are you marked, oh pilgrim, by her flesh, by your lust?

I smoke because I fuck, you lie to no one, yet you insist on it. In your temple of love you smoked together, believing yourselves gods. Gods of love, gods of lust. But gods don't bleed like men do, like women do. Gods don't come undone.

Out. Another spark is snuffed out, and again you flick away its ashes.

Three.

Love and lust and loneliness. Three.

Are you lonely, love? they ask when they see you prowling by, like an animal on the hunt. Are you looking for some fun?

Fun? No, that's not what they mean. They mean satisfaction. That's what they offer, what they rent by the hour. But none of that satiates you, appeases you. You are restless, for what you seek is not something they can grant you. So you offer them a cigarette instead, to stave off the cold within, to light the way as the night grows darker.

It's been empty for some time, hasn't it? No matter how many bodies caress you, please you, you stand in silent torment, in anguished prayer for that which you do not have– for the one who is no more.

I smoke because I love, you whisper to the night, but she knows otherwise. You do not love. You do not know what that is. Once, perhaps, but now? Glimpses and tender memories cannot make up for her absence, for her choice to walk away.

What is it you even feel now? It isn't resentment, is it? No. You know what that feels like, the seed of hatred. This is not it.

Is it jealousy? Perhaps, for you've seen in your mind's eye the image of the other man, the one who now waters the roots of a love you thought your own because its petals bloomed for you. But you cannot bear ill will against one who loves her as you did, who fears the same dread of loss. So you swallow your poison and wish them well.

What, then, is this you feel, this restlessness that dares not allow you to shed but a few tears? You cannot weep, so the sky weeps for you. And so you lie awake on a stranger's bed, unloving and unloved, unable to forgive, unwilling to forget. And tomorrow you'll write about the warmth of the other– and of the misery it has brought you.

I smoke because I write, and in doing so, you mourn.

Fuck. You've become a cliché: the tormented artist, half-starved, half mad, making frugal love with frugal women, writing accursed works after drinking himself into a stupor… and smoking his night away in the rain.

And so goes on the man who makes himself an archetype, a stereotype, hoping it will ease his pain, that all the suffering will gain him recognition, that his struggle will be romantized, fetishized, held up in morbid spectacle for a jeering crowd of ignorants and ingrates.

Embers and burned flesh, between your fingers, between your lips.

I smoke because it harms me.

And so you smoke in a flood as your soul burns to ashes and the night weeps on.

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