What is my war paint?

She asked

And I told her Four Fingers dipped in Black Ink
without concern or care for aesthetic or detail or application
two fingers on each side, starting at her collarbone, swept downward and diagonally across her chest, furious lines drawn quickly
two fingers on the top of each cheek, swept downward towards her chin, without regard for balance or symmetry
finally, two fingers on her right hand, swept horizontally across her forehead
all done as the simmering storm built, even as the fury was exploding out of her, dripping and bursting through the seams and cracks
in the short time taken to draw the lines her anger increased and multiplied tenfold, a hundredfold, a thousandfold, infinitely

She became the Crone,
the Swamp Witch,
the twisted, hideously beautiful Siren,
the compilation of everything that men have feared across countless centuries

She raised both arms, fingers extended into claws, and shrieked and howled the collective rage of every woman who had ever been shamed, beaten, stepped on, damaged, silenced,

but never, ever destroyed

Her visage, now terrifying yet righteously beautiful in its utter ferocity coalesced upward into something unstoppable

It was the last thing he ever saw

illustration by Nicole Lapointe

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