beauty, short fiction, women

Abigail 894

Duct tape and a set of cheap foam earplugs had made the journey an unsettling affair which left Randolph with an aching back and a migraine instead of a plan to escape.

Another plan. She had survived the last attempt by seconds after Belize stopped being a paradise and became another place to run from. Five years of evasion, and the money was ebbing away. Her first sight was the scuffed toes of her heels and she wriggled her toes inside them to get blood circulating. Her left eyebrow stung like a rejection, and when she touched it, there was another sizzling burst of pain and her fingertip was wet with blood. She had lost a chunk of flesh from the tape but he put it down to incompetence over malice.

Mad science and optimism went hand in hand.

She tested the crumbling plaster with her fingers, finding solace in the flaking dust which scoured her fingers and she wiped her hand on her thigh. The ceiling was stained, yellowing swirls like a chromatographic portrait of dilapidation. A few years ago, they had built a Perspex cell with radio frequency tags embedded into the floors and walls but she had escaped it after three months.

The door was plate steel without a lock mechanism on the inside. Rachel examined the frame and the plasterwork around the doors, stood on her toes to examine the vent and sagged down in frustration. She checked herself, disappointed with the thoroughness of her rendition. They had re moved the micro-laser embedded under her left index finger along with gel dispenser under her thumbnail which produced hallucinations. She tried subvocal commands to activate her defence system, but the silence mocked her. Rachel had no weapons or tools past her mind but that was enough.

She sat back down, crossed her legs and closed her eyes. Meditation was not a spiritual affront but an opportunity to go inside herself.

When she emerged from mediation, there were five possible methods of escape. Four included fatalities but murder solved problems.

She was not expecting the young woman sat there in front of her. Her hair was black, tied back in a clumsy plait with alabaster skin and wide, gleaming eyes and she wore a faded Jane’s Addiction t-shirt as she crouched against the wall by the door. She stared at Rachel with a cold, hard look she knew from countless agencies, local and federal.

‘So they’re sending children to question me?’ Rachel said.

The woman’s mouth went up at the corners and she stood up. She reached and tossed the plait over her shoulder, folded her arms across her chest and stared at her.

‘If you’re trying to read my mind, you’re wasting your time. I invented sub conscious defence protocols.’

The woman shook her head and sighed with cold amusement and warm disappointment.

‘No, I’m not interested in your thoughts.’

Rachel laughed and waved the woman off. She narrowed her eyes against the tightness building behind her eyes.

‘My idle thoughts have brought down governments. Everyone’s interested.’

The woman shrugged her shoulders and scratched her right forearm.

‘Not me. I’m just waiting.’

Rachel rolled her eyes and laughed, a bright sound awash with cruelty and grandeur.

‘Oh dear, you’re so uninformed this is insulting. Don’t you know who I am?’ she said.

The woman bent forwards at the waist, rested her palms on her knees and raised her eyebrows.

‘I was about to ask you the same question.’

Rachel’s headache had shifted like it was punching a way out through her forehead.  The woman turned around and lifted the sleeve of her t-shirt, showing a tattoo A894. Thick black ink, a utilitarian design which still gleamed against her pale skin. Rachel swallowed and tasted vomit on her tongue, hot and thick before she swallowed and struggled not to gag.

‘I thought I’d sterilised the last batch of you. Still, it’s always good to see my work out in the world.’

Her thoughts warped in the increasing pressure in her skull.

‘You don’t remember me?’ the woman said.

Rachel went to speak but her stomach lurched and the inside of her head rung with a vicious note of anguish.

‘No. You were batches. Like a tray of cookies.’

A894 rubbed her upper arm and raised her eyebrows as she walked over.

‘It’s important you remember me. Us.’

Rachel sniffed and tried to sit up but her head blazed with pain. Her body throbbed with poisonous exhaustion and she slumped against the wall. She tried to speak, but the words were thick, slow and sticking to her teeth like old gum.

‘You were tools.’ She said.

A894 nodded in agreement.

‘Yes, we were.’ She said.

Rachel could not place the designation. The last batch had been her finest hour, Z767 had generated enough kinetic energy to collapse a DEA office on her and walked away from the rubble without a scratch. Z682 hadassassinated the police commissioners of six major cities before she was  shot. A series had been useful, but a stepping stone rather than the destination itself. Her memories were shelter from the chaos of a life of evasion. Thinking hurt.

She tried to speak but a gout of vomit dripped down her chin and she leaned over, brought everything up in a twisted, barbed rush which splashed to the ground. She could not raise her head without more pain. The clip of footsteps felt distant and the hand at her forehead made her flinch.

‘I was carbon monoxide molecules and dioxins fused to fetal tissue and fed through an atom smasher.’

Rachel reached inside her thoughts, connected to process over outcome and remembered.

Carbon monoxide. Dioxins.

‘Ah, Abigail.’ She said.

Her words were soft, slurred and confused as she tried to get to her feet but her body betrayed her and she collapsed back down again.

Abigail came over, brushed her fingers through the meat of Rachel’s cheek and passed through it. Rachel swiped at her but her arm passed through Abigail like she were a hallucination. Rachel collapsed as a raw tide of agony pushed her to the concrete floor.

She rolled onto her side and looked up as Abigail stood over her.

‘Now you remember me.’ Abigail said.

Rachel tried to speak but her failing senses took her down hard into herself. Her vision blurred at the edges and when Abigail emittedtendrils of smoke from her arms and hair.

The tendrils slipped towards the door behind her, taking more of her substance with her as she slipped through the frame until there was nothing left. Rachel seized up as a horrific wrenching sensation took the last of her will from her and she let go, watching the tears hang suspended in the air, before diving into the blackness of oblivion with the gift of a fitting ending.

Abigail reformed on the other side of the door. She fell into David’s embrace and rested her lips on his A214 tattoo and wept.

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beauty, love, lust, sex, Sir, women

Breathe (Sir 2.0)

You dream of him.

The remnants cling onto you as you wake. His rough, strong hands search out the hot, perpetual ache within you and crack the clay over your soul with their knowing, focused touch.

You see his gentle eyes and full lips, sometimes bruising and urgent with want or considerate and placid in the aftermath.   You awake with the taste of him on your lips and you run your tongue over them, committing the tang of him to memory.

You hear your name whilst you finish the ramshackle sewing project. Your hands shake and you drop the needle onto the table. In the excitement, you stab the tip of your index finger and a small spot of blood wells up. You suckle on it as you dash to follow the blinking path of lights. Your stomach aches with the pleasant pang of anticipation and when the shower room opens, you dash inside, peeling off the sweatshirt and track pants. Your skin feels new and hungry, tingling with a charge the hot water does not touch. You soap yourself up, gasping when you wash between your legs, throbbing with anticipation at the thought of seeing him again.

You find a white shirt on a hanger. The dimensions of it are familiar and when you slip it on, the cuffs lurch over your hands and the collar is ludicrous around the neck. It is cotton and linen fibres, soft and gentle against your skin but it carries the faint musk of wear. You bring it to your nose and inhale, closing your eyes as a slow, deliberate heat rises inside you like a campfire on a summer night at the beach. The appetite for him has grown.

The underwear is black silk, fringed with lace and cut high at the waist. It feels wonderful against your skin, a slick, gentle kiss which rasps with delight where it clings to you. You button up the shirt on and it hangs to your thighs. Heels are next, black Manholos which lengthen your legs. You wonder if he chooses the things he wears.

A full length mirror shows you the answer.

The trail of lights leads you further than before. You don’t know how big this building is and the bonds of power keep you to a few locations even as his touch, his attention sets you free beyond anything you’ve known before. You have power and agency, and surrender reinforces it. The palm reader which tingles against your hand. Your knees are hollow and trembling, a feverish anticipation which tingles across your skin like a spring shower.

A bedroom. The four poster bed dominates the room. It is a charcoal sketch made tangible, distressed, lacquered black hardwood with brass panels inset into the teak base. The walls are purple and to your left, a docking station sits on a small lacquered hardwood table. Wireless round speakers sit either side of it, resembling a series of cubes

Daddy sits cross legged on the bed, wearing just a pair of black trousers. He grins at you with such warmth it makes your head swim.

‘Hey little girl.’

You blush and grin back at him. He gets onto his knees and picks up a small remote, points it at the docking station and the speakers

The music starts, the metallic clink of a synthesizer and the confident low voice, youthful without being sharp.

‘The club isn’t the best place to find a lover..’

He sits on the edge of the bed, places his palms either side and lifts his chin.

‘Traffic light?’

A squall of nerves runs across your skin. The music continues and you glance at him, the question apparent in your eyes as he leans back. The lighting here is soft, indirect and you stare at the sleek, dark hair on his chest and the ridges of muscle in his shoulders and down his arms press against his olive skin. You want to stroke through the hair on his chest, but you want to be a good girl for him. His displeasure excites you, sourced in warmth but still capable of pushing your limits.

‘Amber. What do you want me to do, Daddy?’

He gestures towards the stereo on the wall as his eyes take you in. His full lips curve in a smile and his eyes darken with lust.

‘Dance for me.’

You ask him if he can start the song again. He raises his eyebrows and points the remote at the docking station.  You slip the shoes off and he chuckles.

‘Those are Manolo Blahnik you’re not wearing, little girl.’

You giggle and wriggle your toes against the thick carpet.

‘Oh Daddy, I’d dance like a baby bird in these but they are beautiful shoes.’

You bring your hands above your head, fingers in your hair and pout. You’re working from a body of memories and experiences, rejecting what feels awkward and trusting to the music, as it illuminates and invigorates you. He sits with his thighs open, you turn so you are sideways to him as you sidle forwards, hips moving to the music as you mouth the lyrics whilst you gaze into his eyes. He shifts and you can see the outline of his cock through his trousers as a flush of blood creeps up his throat and his breathing deepens as you step between his open thighs. His hands reach out to brush up the length of your thigh and you pull back, shaking your head.

‘No touching, Daddy, those are the rules.’

He sits back, eyes narrowed as he tilts his head to one side.

‘Not my rules, little girl, but I’ll allow it.’

You keep yourself attuned to the rhythm. You look into his eyes as you slide the meat of your thigh against the soft bulk of his crotch, angling your hips so you brush along the length of his cock through the material. He growls and pushes forward, but you step backwards and turn your back to him, dipping down and pushing your backside where your thigh has been. You make a small circle, massaging him before stepping away. He gets up to follow you but you shake your head and pout at him.

‘Daddy.’

You say it in a sing-song voice and he sits back down, inhaling through his nose as you come back to him.

His reaction inflames you and you come back to him, unbuttoning the shirt to the collarbone and showing the outline of the bra as you dip at the waist and flip your hair. A squall of self-consciousness fires up but you dance past it.

Through it.

You lean into his space. The heat comes off him in febrile waves and you dance closer. Your nails rake down the planes of his chest, the dark curls of fur are soft against your nails and you enjoy the sigh of contentment he gives. His hands come over yours as the song finishes and he pulls you onto his lap. You sit on his lap and stroke his face, running a fingertip down the cleft in his chin as his hand slips up under the back of your shirt.

‘Did you like that, Daddy?’

He smiles and unbuttons the rest of your shirt, stroking your stomach then upwards as his fingers dabble in the hollow of your throat.

‘Yes I did.’

Your heart races as you feel his fingers dance across the line of your throat. The pads of his fingers rest against your pulse. You close your fingers over his and, driven by the simple urge to feel his power and to give him your own, you press down. On his lap, you straddle him and his other hand slips under the waistband of your panties and strokes the base of your spine before he smoothes his palm until it rests on your navel. You push against his hands, and his right hand slips inside your underwear, petting the ripe curve of your pussy as he rests the tips of his fingers against your arteries.

‘Traffic light?’

He puts no pressure on your windpipe as he watches you. His attention is powerful, intoxicating, the absorption and intensity of an animal without a loss of control. You wonder if his stoicism would prove maddening but he shows himself in slices, and you have taken him out of his armour more than once.

‘Green.’

The fingers of his right hand close on your arteries whilst his other hand cups your pussy, the tip of his index finger draws back the hood of your clit with the lightest brush. A pounding begins in your temples as he brushes around your clit. The muscles in your thighs tighten as you bear his gaze whilst you reach out and hold his face in your hands as you lift yourself up on your toes and press against him. Your vision wavers at the edges, like changing the reels of celluloid in a picture and the shudder shoots down your spine, riding the electric wave of sensation and deprivation into the pooling, seething bolus of ecstasy building in your pelvis.

‘Traffic light?’

You whimper, finding it difficult to think past the perfect storm of deprivation and sensation he wields within you. His hand inside your panties grows bold, lubricated by the thick mineral oil of your arousal as his touch strengthens and a finger slides inside you. The delicious pressure continues into every sinew and fibre of you as you feel the sentiment floating before you, almost out of reach.

‘Green.’

His fingers close on your throat as he pulls on your throbbing clit between his thumb and forefinger whilst his other finger is hooked upwards, undulating against the rough swollen patch of tissue. Layers of sensation build within you. You go limp in the face of such a powerful confluence of feeling and he lightens his grip on your throat as you suck in a deep, greedy breath. You prickle with guilt and unease away from him, but in his hands, you are broken and remade anew. Malleable flesh which reflects the internal conflict, and all your power to wield or gift as you need to.  You shake your head, compelled towards a fullness as you push down, shaking with the need for fullness as his other hand denies you breath.

You take flight without lifting from the ground. You try to ask for permission but your words slip from your grasp as you hump his fingers, urgent and ungainly but propelled into a hot, wet oblivion. His fingers let go of your throat but you carry on driving yourself onto his fingers.

‘Please Daddy please Daddy.’

Your body rages with a need which wrenches you from the fear, the uncertainty and into a state of sublime release. He breaks you with pleasure and you ride him to the world’s ending as you spit out a plea for absolution.

‘Yes, baby girl.’

Your eyes roll back in your head, all the pressure of release shoots out through every pore, nerves singing in perfect harmony as the crude pressure explodes inside you and you slip away, chased into euphoric oblivion.

You are not there long, but part of you remains there. At a remove, you feel his hands come away, replaced by his arms as he pulls you into his arms. The robust insistent strength becomes a firm, tender embrace as he strokes your hair and tells you everything is okay.

You don’t realise you are crying until you feel the hot splash of tears rolling down your cheeks. Every muscle in your body aches and you’re sensitive to everything. You imagine a dandelion, afloat on the breeze, fragile in its grace and propelled to destiny. You wrap yourself around him, dishevelled, damp and  triumphant.

He pulls you onto the bed as you continue to cling onto him and he lays down with you on top of him. He strokes your hair, unfazed by the sudden outpouring of emotion and the harder you squeeze him, test him, the more he remains present with you. You try to make conversation, to offer him something beyond the act, but he reassures you can just be. You drift off into a sleep as deep as anything you’ve known.

The last thing you hear is him speaking.

‘I want to take you out of here.’

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beauty, creative writing, fiction, short fiction, time, women

Bigger

I keep the tables clean. No one lacks for a napkin when Mike does his shift, no, sir. I keep watch without staring and remember to keep the tail of my shirt tucked in. I find laces difficult so I have these big Velcro straps and I love the ripping sound they make.

They sound like a big fart and I can spend hours just pulling the strap off so I can hear the big, raspy tear of them.

Mom says she should have buckled down and made me learn laces because at least it was quiet. The trainers have big thick soles on them so I can be on my feet all day and it doesn’t hurt. Iris, who does a few shifts with me, she wears special shoes, ortho something because she had a car crash and it hurt her back. I tell her she has a pretty smile and she says it’s the pain pills but it makes her happy so I tell her every day.

Oscar is at the register with his yellow tongue poking out the corner of his mouth as he rings up an order. He has a big shiny head and a bigger, but not shiny stomach. He gave me a job because Mom asked him to, but I work hard when I am here.

Mom says the key to success is showing up and working hard, but I keep doing that and the door stays locked. We sit in our small apartment, at a small table and eating small dinners but she believes in things being bigger and better as time goes on. Last night we had some of the Salisbury steaks which Oscar gave to me along with the money and tips I earned from the shift. Small things but it was nice of him to do. It tasted of wool but it made our money last a little longer.

Made it bigger.

I like Sunday mornings. All the families come in from church for breakfast. I like it when people dress up and they carry the glow from singing about God and Baby Jesus. I go home with less in my pocket than on a normal shift, but they’re nicer people and I feel better for making sure they eat at clean tables. It’s busy with happy smiling people and laughter dances through the sky when they’re here. It feels more like church than church does.

There’s a new couple here today. They arrived before church ended, a man and a woman. He’s tall, stooped over like he’s trying to hide how tall he is and he has a suit on, which is normal for a Sunday here. He doesn’t smile much, but he looks around and takes everything in with eyes which are cold but not cruel. Sometimes you see people who have so much hurt they need to share, but he looks like he’s expecting something bad to happen.

She’s shorter, red hair and moves like a pair of scissors crossing. Snip snack as her heels hit the floor. They look like they’re selling something but they don’t have briefcases as they come in and take a corner booth. Iris takes their order, and I am wiping a table down whilst glancing in their direction.

‘It’s too open here.’ The woman says.

The man sighs and checks the watch on his wrist. It’s too big for his wrist, held on by a worn leather wristband and there’s no numbers on there, just lights blinking on and off.

‘Eighty two percent says it’s here. Stop worrying.’

His voice is smooth like he’s reading aloud from a book he’s read before. The woman looks past him, glaring at me until my cheeks burn red and I return to cleaning the table.

‘Like I said, too open. Should have run this through a few more times before we turned up.’

He sighs and sits back. There’s something behind his ear, like a piece of jewellery and he touches it with his index finger.

‘We’ve got time for breakfast at least.’

She frowns and shakes her head. I look at the clock.

Church finishes in twenty minutes. Iris has given Oscar the order. Two specials with coffee. Oscar has the grill running before dawn, so it won’t take long until they are ready.

Time enough for what?

Mom doesn’t like me watching the news. I get upset when there’s bad stuff happening. If a kid gets hurt or animals, I fight tears and sometimes she has to find my blanket and hold me until it passes but I know things. Bad things happen and there’s nothing we can do to stop them.

I wonder if there’s a bad thing coming here. On a Sunday. Will it be taking a booth and ordering a coffee?

Are they the bad thing coming?

I look around me. Oscar is sweating behind the grill, Iris is taking a pair of plates full with gleaming eggs and bacon over to them and I am wiping the table.

The door swings open and Kenny Ambrose comes in.

Kenny’s face looks like someone filled a balloon and stuck another balloon over it with a picture of his face on. His eyes are too big and white for his sockets and what teeth he has are small and yellow and are loose in his gums. Kenny doesn’t have a mother to make sure he cleans his teeth, but as he opens the stained, torn overcoat, I see he has something else.

A shotgun. It looks mean and ugly, a blunt snout where he has sawn the barrel off and he swings it in front of him. There are five of us in here, and church gets out in fifteen minutes. Iris is putting their plates in front of them.

Kenny and I were in the same classes at school. The eldest kids because school was something we never grasped, like trying to knit with boxing gloves on. I tried but Kenny doubled down, huffing at recess and drifting further out from the centre of the world.

He has battered sneakers on, the laces are grey and dusted with tiny tufts and the ends had frayed into puffs of material like nylon dandelions as he shuffled forwards, terrified and angry at the same time. The skin around his mouth is wet and red like bubble gum chewed too long. He stinks of old sweat and metals as he points the gun right at me. The end of it is a black metal zero, there are rough edges where the hacksaw slipped and they look like petals on some horrible flower.

The couple in the booth watch it all happen with an open and terrible interest.

‘Register.’ Kenny said.

Oscar keeps his hands up as he comes around the counter. Iris is shaking, and me?

I look at him and see his eyes rolling in their sockets. He isn’t a bad person, he gets frustrated because the world is too fast for people like us. It’s why we keep things small.

Kenny hurts because he wants to be bigger.

Oscar opens the register and Kenny walks over to him lowering the shotgun as his forehead drips sweat.

I look down and see the stray lace slip under the heel of his sneaker, tugging to the right.

I try to call out but he lurches to his right, the shotgun turns in his hands from where he’s sweating and he keeps falling.

His head slams against the corner of the table with a damp crack sound, like breaking the shell on a boiled egg and the shotgun turns in his hands.

I look straight into the big black zero.

It rushes up to swallow me and I think about Mum, Iris and Oscar. Looking up, I see the couple stood up in the booth, they have smiles of awe and the look reaches into me, fills me up with a charging, rolling power. My left hand comes out with a will of its own, slaps the barrel away with a flare of pain for my trouble.

The shot takes out the window and Iris screams.

I put my hands over my ears and look at Kenny as a pool of blood spreads out underneath him and his lips pull back over his teeth as he looks back at me.

He looks smaller now and I get down on my knees next to him.

‘Oh Kenny, you didn’t tie your laces.’

He stares at me, trying to figure out what happened before his eyes roll back in his head and he falls asleep. It looks like it aside from the blood on the lino underneath him.

The couple watch from the booth, and I try not to look at them. I cry because Kenny was like me, or could be if his mom had been around.

It becomes a loud, nasty circus with the churchgoers upset they can’t have breakfast. It upsets me too until I see the couple in the booth slip out to the parking lot. I run after them, and no one stops them.

They’re at their car. It looks new and I can see my face in the windshield: bloated and sweating but smiling.

‘You knew, didn’t you?’

The blonde chuckled and shook her head but the man turns and looks down at me with a quiet pride in his eyes. People don’t look at me like I matter, but this is what I imagine it feels like.

‘We pick up on anomalies. You don’t know what those are though, but yes, we knew something would happen.’

I look between them.

‘Kenny died.’ I said.

He smiles and reaches into the breast pocket of his jacket, retrieves a small silver pin and affixes it to the collar of my shirt.

‘You stopped him. This is a reward for it.’

I touch it and it hums against my fingers. It’s not frightening: more like a baby bird or a small insect but I put my hand back in my pocket, still confused.

‘What does it do?’

He smiles and pats me on the shoulder.

‘You’ll know when the time comes’

The woman rolls her eyes as she opens the passenger side door.

‘You’re such a ham, Ryan.’

Ryan smiles at me and gets behind the wheel of the chair. They drive off, the engine is silent and I stand there in the sunshine, my heart thumping in my chest.

Everything is too big to think about, so I go back inside and see if anyone needs help.

 

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beauty, fairy stories, fiction, short fiction, women

A New Reign (The Wild Man, Season 3)

(Previous seasons are here and here. If you have liked this series, please share it because obscurity is overrated)

 

Eilhu,

I write this without expectation you will read it. The control I have is slipping away as my body is changing and along with it, my thoughts are rebellious and demonic creatures now.

Paul’s forearm spasmed and the quill fall from his fingers. He turned his palm outwards, examined the small dark spots underneath his nails and the root-like pattern of infection which blazed underneath the pale, soft skin of his hands. Women endured labour in agonies which lasted days, screaming and hollering until the child was spat out into the air, squalling and bloodied and sometimes died in the aftermath. Paul was subject to an inverted perversion of this, being both infant, vessel and midwife to his own transformation. He crawled from the cell, violated and nauseous as his thoughts clawed at the inside of his skull.

A sick king was a thing of derision, better to die in battle than bed. He laid down and closed his eyes.

The Dust was inside him, mounting an inexorable, silent assault and taking him by inches, merging itself in blood and bone as it altered him whilst maintaining his privilege and position. It had learned a measure of subtlety since transforming Ernst, realising the potential of harnessing a human viewpoint. It had shouted with Ernst, but in its possession of Paul, it had remembered the power of a whisper. By day, it sickened him and at night; it pinned him to the dirt of his soul and showed him the horrors of its world.

Paul awoke to a sky the colour of infected flesh, a liquid, rippling dance of green and yellow, clouds of bruised plum and necrotic black huddled around a malignant, poisoned sun. In the distance, a slick yellow fog blurred the outlines of mountains on the horizon. Beneath his bare feet, damp black sand scratched between his toes and stung the tender webs of flesh. The air stunk of decay, making each breath an insult and recalling long withheld memories of wars he had fought in.

‘Where am I?’ he said.

His voice faltered before the miasmal landscape around him. The air shimmered with heat as he looked around him.

YOU ARE WITHIN ME, AS I AM WITHIN YOU, PAUL.

He narrowed his eyes as he looked at the horizon.

The mountains in the distance shifted. Their outlines expanded, broke apart and reformed like ink in water, stirred by a mighty hand before they elongated into things which reached into the sky and extended barbed, slick tentacles. They danced and wavered in delirious triumph before they walked towards him.

I AM NOT ONE BUT MANY.

Paul turned and fled as the things moved towards him. They did not walk.

Some strode like proud potentates.

Others slid on chains of pendulous teats which oozed black ichor before them, staining and corrupting the sand to ease their passage.

A pair of creatures extended ragged wings and took to the air, spinning and diving with a carnal delight as they grew new limbs and curved claws with which to rend their prey into pieces. They screamed and it made the space behind Paul’s eyes hot with a grotesque pressure. Their throats swelled with a fair of grotesqueries and their new anatomies gave voice to songs which made Paul anxious and prickling with tears. The noise poked dirty fingers beneath his clothes, inside him and tested his wounds, old and new. Paul ran until his legs gave out and rolled onto his back with his hands raised to defend himself but it was too late.

They fell upon him.

Paul recalled rusted blades and the sharp crack of his own bones being reset, the sizzle of cauterised flesh and the dumb tugging of flesh to close his wounds. He tried to scream but a black, dripping tentacle slid between his lips and pumped a thick wad of something wet and wriggling down his throat. Claws tore away his clothes and he enjoyed the brief respite of warm air against bare skin before another chorus of horror fell upon him. His last memory was a blast of fetid breath against his cheek and the drilling sensation of a needle tipped claw spinning against the top of his skull.

He awoke and called for a servant to bring him fresh parchment and ink, water to bathe with and food. The servant remarked at the turn in Paul’s countenance, and how a new zeal had renewed their king.

Paul looked at the incomplete letter and read it as though for the first time.  He chuckled and tossed the scroll to the flames. Love was a useful tactic to draw upon and Paul had returned with a grand and awful vision for the world.

Paul returned to the throne anew.

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beauty, fairy stories, love, women

Have You Seen Your Heart (The Wild Man Season 3)

Once upon a time, Eilhu awoke from a thin, restless sleep. Beloved had pointed to a stack of cushions and told him he could sleep there. Her tone was light, but authoritative as she peered through the open door, cautious of more visitors. Her braids fell from her skull like vines as she shook her head and shut the door to the caravan.

‘He sends his troubles as single spies, but they arrive as battalions.’ She said.

Eilhu stooped within the caravan but Beloved negotiated the small space with a graceful ease, aware and cogent as she took a stoppered bottle and offered it to him. He took it and uncorked the bottle. It smelled of liniment and honeycomb, turning his stomach as he shook his head and passed it back. Beloved took a deep draught and swallowed with a deep grunt before she shivered with the bitterness.

‘Breakfast.’ She said.

Eilhu glanced around the caravan, hopeful she would produce a good haunch of meat or a crust of bread as a punch line to the general strangeness of the situation.

‘I’ve drunk my share of breakfasts but it smells potent.’

She smirked and shook her head.

‘It speaks to the second heart within you. We drink it every day.’ She said.

He took the bottle back and poured it into his mouth. It was thick, fermented with the pang of brine underneath the herbs and honey, coating the roof of his mouth as he swallowed it. He bent forward at the waist, struggled not to gag and kept it down. He shuddered before the warmth in his stomach smoothed out, turned the churning affront into a smooth, slow balm which made him glow from within. He stood up, banged the crown of his head against the roof of the caravan and winced. Beloved chuckled and opened the door, letting in the harsh curtain of sunshine as she stepped outside.

Eilhu followed her. The air hung with the matted warmth of worked horses, the smell of campfires and cooking meat but the sun hung high overhead and Eilhu appreciated the clean beauty of the morning as Beloved performed a series of stretches as other travellers and merchants acknowledged her with greetings in a variety of languages. Eilhu took a deep breath and glanced up at the mountains shrouded in mist.

‘We travelled far last night.’ He said.

Beloved kept her back to him as she dropped into a horse stance and sucked in the clear air, raising her chin to the sky and extended her arms to either side.

‘There’s no money in resting out here, Eilhu. The Wild Man has no use for commerce but us humans need a coin kept aside for food and shelter.’ She said.

Eilhu recalled the pale, fanged children who chased him through the woods. They had no use for commerce either. Beloved turned her shoulders and looked at him.

‘He sent you. I will train you and offer safe passage until we reach the harbour, but there are things you must offer.’ She said.

‘Such as?’

Beloved’s smile fell away.

‘Your truth. If you are to develop, then I must insist on your truth. Much of our training starts from here.’

She tapped her index finger over her breastbone with a controlled expression.

‘My breath?’ Eilhu said.

‘Your heart.’

Eilhu glanced away and made fists of his hands.

‘There’s no point.’ He said.

Beloved laughed and shook  her head.

‘Have you seen a heart?’ she said.

Eilhu recalled Paul’s knife, flashing in the afternoon light as it hacked into the Wild Man’s chest, how he had plunged his hands into the wet cavern of his open anatomy and pulled out a thick knot of muscle, dripping with blood. He grimaced and Beloved closed the distance between them and struck him. The blow was too fast to avoid and he staggered back, his sinuses sung with pain as he cried out.

‘What are you doing?’ he said.

She stood and appraised him with care, her hands by her sides.

‘Have you seen a heart?’ she said.

He nodded.

‘Can it break?’ she said.

Eilhu fought the threatened thump of his heart, the urge to retaliate charging through his muscles, compelling him to action.

‘You have faced greater odds than grief, Eilhu. The Wild Man raises no fools and I recognise my kin in you.’ She said.

Eilhu frowned as he rubbed his cheek.

‘And hitting me helps?’ he said.

She chuckled.

‘Would she want you to devolve into a mewling worm in her absence?’ she said.

He shook his head as an enormous grief weighed on his insides, like a slab dropped onto him from a great height.

‘ You slapping me changes nothing.’ He said.

She raised an eyebrow and stepped backwards.

‘Unless you try hitting me back?’ she said.

He shifted, uncomfortable with the invitation and appraised her with concern.  He sighed and brought his left hand up, jabbing at her with a speed which surprised him.

Her hands clamped on either side of his wrist and her fingertips found channels of agony which blazed down his arm. His head filled up with white agony and he fought the urge to cry out as he collapsed onto his knees. His left arm flopped down as Beloved relinquished her grip and stepped back.

‘Did you grieve in the moment, Eilhu?’ she said.

He grunted no and massaged his arm as he struggled to his feet.

‘No, can’t say I did. You said we were kin, what do you mean?’

Beloved smiled.

‘The Wild Man does not restrict his rescue efforts to princes, Eilhu.’

Eilhu flexed his left hand and put his hands up to defend himself.

‘Then show me what you’ve learned.’ He said.

She smiled and began his training.

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beauty, fiction, sex, Sir, women

Sir 2.0 (Interlude)

You see other women being called. The night times sing with their whispered stories, a chorus of solipsism and wonder at the release of surrender. Absence and isolation are cumulative and soon your body has forgotten the intensity of his touch, but you cradle the memory inside you. Bruises fade but your nerves are perfect guardians of your experience. When your fingers steal between your thighs, feverish and knowing, you bite back your cries as you press your face into the pillow, humping your hand until the orgasm washes through you. It is an act of maintenance like shaving your legs, something analgesic but unsatisfying for long. He has taken something from you which you cannot generate within yourself.

In your dreams, the pieces of you which belong to him glow with the need to connect, to surrender to his will.

You wake up tasting him on your lips and the sweetness makes you want to curl up and weep. If this is a test, then it is one of anhedonic torture, denial without release, supplication without reward. The world becomes cold and bland in its comforts. You’re fed, clothed, free to bathe, respected and acknowledged but you are forever apart by his absence. The phone goes unanswered and he does not reply to your messages.

He has not taken on other women. You’ve asked, disappointed at how effective a flagellant you are when someone hands you the means to hurt yourself but the thrill of him, the way he handles you, fucks you with an urgent mastery has left its mark on you. His silence, his absence becomes a thing of cruelty.

Your name. The effect is immediate, jolting you into sudden and savage action before you regain control of yourself. The thrill is too acute for anger, but you keep a morsel of your anguish to serve to him, already incorporating it into the baroque play of your fantasies made flesh. You’ve denied yourself, made your desires to be something awkward and shameful but in this world, they are as natural as the tides and the setting sun.

His world.

The thought excites and frightens you in equal measure.

You follow the lights to the room but one of the woman bumps into you as she strides from the opposite direction. You fall back, remaining upright as the piece of paper appears in the damp cradle of your palm.  She looks at you with warning eyes, full lips pulled back over her teeth as she shakes her head and carries on past you.

The paper is in your hand and you glance down at it, the small neat letters written with such intensity. It is the size and dimensions of a fortune in a cookie.

HE’S NOT THERE. SAY YOU’RE SICK.

Tears brim in your eyes as you look at the paper in your hands, reading it over and over, dumb with shock. The path of lights flash in irritated bursts as you swallow the piece of paper. Had he written it? You imagine the rough press of his fingers against the pen, the paper and ingesting it allows you to keep him close to you. Memories and imagination are fertile ground for the woman he’s made of you, but flesh and control are his seeds, planted with deep roots within you.

You stand outside the door and press your palm against the control panel. It opens with a soft hiss onto darkness.

‘Come in.’

The voice, altered to a shifting pitch, sourced in a cultured, controlled accent makes your bowels turn to water.

Sir.

You put your hand to your stomach and gulp.

‘I’m not feeling too good. I have turned up but I don’t want to play.’ You say.

His laughter is the crack of a stained glass window being shattered. Discovery coats the back of your throat like you’ve bitten into an abscess but you rein yourself in.

‘Neither do I. Come in.’ he says.

Your legs are hollow but you totter inside. The door closes behind you and clicks with a pneumatic rasp.

Thinking of him is a betrayal, but it is armour against the silent, cold darkness of Sir and his judgement.

It begins with a chair being slid behind you and an instruction to sit down. Despite the darkness, sweat gathers at the base of your spine and the backs of your knees as you sit down.

(Offered up in response to people asking for more episodes. Previous episodes can be found here)

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