I take her hand, she holds it softly, curling her fingers around and placing it over her heart.
Even though the pain is clearly intense she says quiet. The only indication is how beautifully she winces when it hurts. When the fists connect, I watch the depth of pain flash across her face.
She’s the vision of innocence, her white dress just a touch too short, contrasting against her red apron and cape and hiding her pretty white lace panties. Her long hair pulled into two plaits and secured with ribbons, soft wisps falling and framing her face, giving the slightest hint of dishevelment. A question over what came before.
Her whore make-up is all but wiped off, no trace of red lipstick on her gently parted lips. She gasps as another round of pummelling is unleashed upon her back but doesn’t complain.
I’m enraptured, I watch the way she absorbs the impact, she’s so small, she looks too vulnerable to be standing up to the barrage of punches against her back and shoulders.
Her expression is far away, she keeps her eyes closed and when granted a reprise from the consistent beating she is blissful and beautiful. A contrast to the contortion in her face with each round of punching.
When the fists slam against her flesh she crumples slightly, battling with herself to stay in place, to stay upright, her mouth turns down but she doesn’t object. I can hear the thud of each connection over the music; yet she barely whimpers.
She releases my hand and I go to move away, planting on kiss on her lips and somehow telling her through my haze of awe how much I enjoyed watching.
She doesn’t let me go, bringing her right hand to lie gently on my hip, keeping us close. Everything fades into the background, the party, the music, the people. She is my sole focus, her reaction, her struggle to process what’s happening. The pain seems to satisfy a longing. Her body language says what she doesn’t; how nicely she stays in place to take the onslaught.
I realise time has slowed to let me drink in her expressions, to watch with wonder the emotions so evident in her expression. Her story without words. All too soon it’s over.
She barely pauses before bouncing back, shaking it off with a beaming smile. Bounding on to the next friend in the crowd after a brief hug. Red Riding Hood ain’t afraid of the big bad wolf, or anything at all.