She turned the page to a large picture of an elderly man feeding a shark in an aquarium. The blood from the first fish had floated delicately through the water below, the other sharks approaching from the depths of the tank.
"Do sharks eat people, too?" Derek asked.
"Stupid people," she said.
"But I thought killing people was bad."
"It is," she said carefully, "but sharks aren't violent to be cruel or evil. We've all got hungry bellies. Birds gotta fly."
"Okay," he said, satisfied with her answer. "Next page."
Jack held her hands tightly; she interpreted it as protectiveness, smiled at him. But he looked down at her hands in his and did not understand what he saw. How peculiar that he could feel her flesh and blood, the elements that made her a living being, simply by engulfing her small fingers in his. The thought made his spine itch, and he squeezed her hands even more tightly.
Their foreheads touched, the scents of his scotch, her gin, floating in the small patch of air between them. He turned his face ever so slightly to kiss her. For a moment, all he could do was kiss her, and it was what he felt he would work to do for the rest of his life, what he would dedicate himself to, what would drive him to do things: the feeling of her lips on his. In that moment, he would have absorbed all crisis if only to prevent her from having to go through any. Her pain was his, and he wanted to soak it up so she would be left clean, stark, free of self-hatred. Then the moment was gone, and his humanity with it.
They separated, and the only sound in the room was their labored breathing. Her eyes were still closed; she opened them slowly and looked at him through his mask. She noticed for the first time that one of his eyes was brown, and the other was blue, and her finger stroked his face to reassure her he was real.
"I feel like I've just been born when you look at me," she whispered.
They embraced again, his mouth traveling up and down her face and neck, slight moans escaping her, the soft scrape of their masks rubbing against each other.
"Take it off," she said.
He ignored her, kept kissing her, his hands moving across her, his nails scraping at her bare skin. She began to take off his mask for him, but he gripped her arm so she could not move.
Her body stiffened as she tried to pull away, but he didn't stop. Red marks began to appear on her back; he stifled her vocal protests with his mouth. Finally, she wrenched a hand free, hit him, and he ripped himself off her and threw her to the ground. She blinked, her face a mixture of confusion and shock.
He took off his mask.
"Jack the Ripper," she whispered, then screamed, "Jack the Ripper!"
His mouth oozed a sickening satisfaction.
He watched her run for the door, scald her hand on the doorknob, he watched the smoke begin to slink into the room, he watched her shout for help, for Derek to run, to get out of the house.
"Stop crying like a child," he said as he stabbed her.
She stopped crying like a child.
Animal Collective builds such beautiful stories into their songs.