By Candlelight

His eyes were fixed on the door, a golden wedge of light spilling onto the stone. He was waiting. There was a candle on the table, already half burned. Between the flicker of that flame and the insidious golden glow of bedside candles, he had twin shadows—indistinct and gray and larger than life, clinging to adjacent walls as they kept him company in his , the sky was black as tar. That sliver of a moon, was gone now. She had faded with the death of maidenhood and chastity. How foolish it had been to allow the two to join in holy matrimony! A blind fool ruled in Heaven to allow such a thing... Somehow he knew in his heart that black and white would be cursed not into delicate gray but bitter scarlet. No, the darkness did not blind him yet, the truth did. The candle sputtered in the drafty hall struggling to catch its breath, A whisper wound into his ear like a serpent, so faint he could not tell if it was real or only an illusion. The words meet him either way: oh, honest Iago…His chest bubbled with a sudden, ravaging form of laughter. The name gave him more pleasure than they would ever know, because there was a truth to it they would never grasp, not even as they lay upon their deathbeds. They called him honest because they saw him so, because they did not know all he was. But honesty was the true enemy of the Moor, wasn't it? Othello knew full well that Desdemona was beyond what he deserved; there was no self-delusion there, no blissful deception in his keepings. So was it not Othello's honesty—and all the insecurities it wrought—that left him so prone to treachery? To watch them praise their false friend for what they mistakenly called a virtue—why, using them like chess pieces was pleasure enough, but hearing them call him thus? That was a true privilege. Iago stood and took five steps towards Othello's bedroom, where his master and his mortal enemy laid defenseless on the silken sheets. The wedge of gold stretched across the stone floor, growing and diffusing into the gentle calmness of candlelight. He hesitated in the doorway while his eyes adjusted, then he crept towards the bed. The newlyweds had fallen asleep without heed for the candles—or, at least, what was left of them candles. Careless, that they would leave them alight by the lacey curtains while their minds were wrapped smooth silk of pleasant dreams... And there was the Moor, peaceful and unaware, black against the tangle of white sheets—black and white, broken only by the crushed and fragrant rose petals. His alabaster wife slept soundly beside him; her tousled hair forming a dark halo around her head. They were so opposite, and yet so alike, both so vulnerable, in their minds as well as in their current slumber. It would be so simple to kill them both as they dreamed, leaving the consummation of their ill-fated marriage as their last act in this life. So easy and merciful… but the game had already begun, and what was any of it worth if he didn't get a turn to play? His hand drifted slowly to the jewled hilt of his dagger, he would kill them both for sure,just not tonight. Not without giving them a fighting chance, and never by his own hands. No, his words alone would lead to their undoing, and then what would he be guilty of? Men lied every day. Men built their lives off of deception, and never tasted the bitter consequences. Why should his own words, remorseless lies as they were, leave the guiltful veil of paranoia and persuasion on his own shoulders? What the man knew, the man knew. His words could never change what was already in Othello's soul. They only brought out what monstrous things were hidden inside already. The better for all of them if Othello was no more. He had watched time and insecurity corrode the poor man's heart;they would all see what was once white and pure grow manic and tarnished. What could Iago do, when he knew what was to come, other than put that damnable light out before it burned away the world? And if that was so, well, how Othello's heart was like the candle! A melted mess, destroyed by the very light it cast, a danger to all so long as it was left alight! And oh, how the rose petals looked like blood spilt upon a fresh canvas. Iago blew the candle out with one long, slow breath; the smoke floated up, unseen, spiraling into chaotic nothing.