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Giungla

Posted in Literary Fiction, Prose, Short Story, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2013 by JC Cecala

Cackle.

Slurp.

Chomp.

Hyenas gorging themselves full of anecdotes and Sangiovese. I collect the minutes that fall flat, one after one. This is as painful as the crooked smiles and sympathetic eyes that everyone has been giving my brother and I.

“Thomas.”

Standing across the table, a corpulent older woman I should know but can’t piece together from adolescent memories. Another attempt at forcing the corners of my mouth to unnaturally curl upward.

“Everything was done so beautifully today. You and your brother look so handsome. Bello.”

Artwork by Ryohei Hase

Artwork by Ryohei Hase

Beige flesh weaves into a tapestry. I can’t distinguish between them. I was (re)introduced to her earlier, I remember the gold, spiraled brooch pinned to her sable-colored blouse. My brother and I exchange looks and his eyes are as unsure as mine.

Grazie mille, grazie.” Is the best I can do.

The quaint restaurant has an outpour of laughter which startles me some. With wine, frutti di mare sauce, and Maddalena’s name comfortably on everyone’s tongue how could anyone not be having a festive time. I want to participate but instead my little stolen glances bloom into a fixation; immersed in the vivid shade of burgundy the table cover is.

Cascading from the edges of the table top, pleated ruffles draped, swaying when I stretch my cramping legs. A similar hue of her tailored outfit. The image, a permanent fixture in my thoughts so I attempt an escape. I close my eyes only to find it waiting for me, as if seared into the backs of my eyelids.

The make-up had been flawless. I hadn’t noticed how pronounced her cheekbones were or the natural outline of her delicate lips until today.

“What was that song you two used to sing? It was like a nursery rhyme or something.”

Giro giro tondo?”

“That one,” he rubs his chin and sighs “I can never remember the lyrics.”

I nod.

“Did you talk to her at least, one last time?” My brother asks.

I shake my head.

“Why not?”

A shrug.

I can hear the thuds of emotion clattering around my ribcage while I replay every opportunity I had to go up and say something, anything. Even giro giro tondo! I just stood there, far enough away to keep from crumbling.

“I think I’ll step outside. It’s crowded in here.”

“We just got here.”

“Lee, Thomas,” our mother calls “Vene qua.

Obedient, we are. Reluctant, we rise; Leave the solitude this distant corner has provided. Our own little den.

Making our way over to the table our mother has been perched at, I look down as she sits, adorned in solid black plumage. Head high, she knows she is atop the pecking order today and resembles a queen amongst her subjects as she turns to the gentleman on her right. I think he may be an uncle through marriage? I’m tempted to greet him as Zio Giuseppe but I learned my lesson earlier. I called Zia Rosa, Zia Teresa and I’ll be damned if I lived through that embarrassment again. Perhaps Rosa was the brooch lady?

“These are my sons.”

“Ahh, such big guys, huh? How old are you two?”

“Twenty-one,” Lee responded “Tommy’s twenty-four.”

“You’ve got yourself two handsome grown men here, Gianna.”

The smile she offers is brimming with pride. We continue to stand there like show pieces, in this jungle of wild Italian dialogue, absent in the conversation, lost in this uncomfortable space. Why? Confined by terracotta bricks walls, language barriers, unfamiliar faces. Desire to hold uninspiring conversation or listen to how handsome I am has been waning as the day wares on. I had been abused by intrusive questions:

“What’s your GPA?” I graduated three years ago.

“How’re you liking your new job. You work in accounting, yes?” I’ve been unemployed for months now.

“Find yourself a special lady in the city?” No. But that’s probably because I’m gay.

But all of this is clandestine. As with hurt, fear, and nostalgia, I keep truths to myself. These people don’t know. Nor are they interested, so I keep it simple. Flash white teeth, look wide-eyed, laugh at what isn’t humorous. I’d not seen them much before now and probably won’t see them again unless some other unfortunate circumstance arises. So I give them what they expect. It’s easier not to ruffle feathers.

No. Perhaps I’m just upset. Upset to see so many others having a (seemingly) good time while I’m stuck in the previous hour. Reliving what’s dead.

Ka-kaw

Ka-kaw

Keeeee

The squawking at my mother’s table reaches far corners of the room, bounce back and penetrates me against my will. I want to be one of the ravens. I want to be part of the unkindness. Still, I can’t stop thinking of Maddalena. I look to the doorway and await her entry. I know she won’t be coming.

I grip the steering wheel, slices of sunlight buttery and warm on my forearms. I glance at Lee, strands of his curls are iridescent, glowing red beneath the gleam coming through the passenger side window.

“It was nice to see mom laughing again.” I say.

“Mhm.”

I peek over just in time to see streams pouring over the banks of his prominent cheekbones. My tongue becomes captive to teeth that won’t part and lips that refuse to move.

Lee looks like a spitting image of our mother. That same olive complexion, the thin rosy lips, almond shaped brown eyes gone blue, shedding tears as regularly as they wince or blink.

I want to pull over and hold him. Instead I speed up and signal that I’ll soon be switching lanes.

Cenotaph

Posted in Poetry, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2013 by JC Cecala

I have gone mad this winter

Stargazers wither too quickly

blood droplets decorate

snow

blankets

wrinkled

by a quiet chaos

I suckled a belief outworn

like faded boots kicking

that dead white horse

I fell in love with

when I was three

Pristine Pleasure from the Cadere Innocens collection, by kikyz1313

Pristine Pleasure from the Cadere Innocens collection, by kikyz1313

Bedlam II: k-u-n-t

Posted in Dark Fiction, Literary Fiction, Novella, Prose, Short Story, Transgressive Fiction, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2013 by JC Cecala

A continuation of Bedlam: FAGGIT

Her nipples grew erect, rubbing against the soaked cotton shirt which was dry when she opted to wear it that morning. Droplets of water slipping from the sky felt as though they were being hurled by an angered God, colliding onto her bare arms and thighs, clinging before forming diminutive rivers trickling down flesh-made banks of elbows, hips, and shoulders. A faded and worn out denim jacket played the role of umbrella, hovering overhead, shifting heedlessly in attempts to protect her from nature’s hostility.

In the near distance was that familiar wooden sign painted white with red lettering: Old Farmhouse Market. I can wait inside until the storm lets up. The idea of remaining even semi-dry crumbled just as quickly as she wrapped jacket sleeves around her waist and knotted them loosely. Her sprint became a jog, her head tilted back and the rain consumed her.

Parked outside was the usual prehistoric grey lump; a 1980 Ford Granada, its paint chipping and donut wheel for a front right tire causing the car to tilt. A black car took up space right next to it and as she neared the door her pace began to slow, staring in a mix of intrigue and fear she found herself at a standstill. The pronounced hood stretched out, wide and long, as if it were reaching to touch, and with menacing eyes for headlights the tremors carving into her could no longer be denied.

Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, middle

Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, middle

Ringing of a bell as the door closed. Eye contact with one of the male teenagers standing behind the registers. She recognized him from school but couldn’t recall which class. Trevor?…Tyler? Tay, Tay, Taylor? Yeah, that’s probably right. Taylor. His smile was instant as was her scowl.

Their gazes fused into her body while she walked by as if these boys were as alive as the cash registers or loose pennies around their feet. Her body was saturated, sopping wet; exposed. Every curve and dip that weaved together to make her shape was pronounced. The curvature of her backside and bust were screaming beneath drenched fabric and eager eyes feasted on every sway and movement; devouring her, tasting with their lascivious imaginations, their hard-ons rubbing violently against tightening denim jeans.

“Hey.” One called.

Her response was a hair flip, beads of moisture sprayed like bullets into oil slick faces of longing. Peering down the nearest aisle she glanced over her shoulder; they were talking to one another excitedly. Moving out of sight, browsing glossy, multicolored packages lining the shelves, fingertips poked at plastic tubes and bags half filled with potato chips.

She grabbed a few Slim Jims and bent them in half before wedging the jerky snacks into her right front pocket. Stopping, her hearing strained in search of any nearby footsteps or low volume voices. None. Meticulous hands tore into the wrapper of a honey bun and brought the sticky, sweet contents to salivating lips.

Aimless were her eyes as they continued to scan, fluorescent lights, sleek packaging, tarnished refrigerators mostly empty of the beverages that should have been, all before she noticed him.

Standing by a shelf of baking products, a specimen that piqued her curiosity. His dampened hair had been bleached with no remorse and she could tell by the patches of short, brassy, brittle hairs on the nape of his neck. His taut, milky skin was reminiscent of the lumpy buttermilk her mother used to mix with mayonnaise, sour cream, and paprika in failed attempts of making salad dressing.

Something about the width of his shoulders and broadness of back stirred a heat within; something she had left discarded for quite some time because as it rose from forgotten chambers she found herself startled. He had to be at least six feet tall, and all that covered his torso was a worn out tank top one size too small, and wet from the rain. The jeans he wore draped over his lower half as if tailored specifically for him and there were rows of horizontal tears starting right beneath his backside and trailing to his knee pits. Upon further inspection, they looked as though they had been cut by hand.

She edged nearer, noticing he was speaking with someone. Someone smaller than him. A girl with wild, red hair and a face that was unusual but not new. No, not a girl, a boy. She had seen him somewhere before but struggled to remember. Focusing in, the blond was grinning, his body relaxed as he leaned onto one of the shelves and continued to talk. In complete contrast, the redhead read uncomfortable; clutching several rolls of aluminum foil, eyes shifting from side to side as his mouth moved so slightly she was uncertain if he was actually speaking.

Moments later those auburn locks were bouncing by her and she twisted her neck, watching him squeeze by and scurry towards the front of the market. Before he turned and made his way out of the aisle he threw a glance in her direction and for a moment their eyes connected. Then he was out of sight. She shoved the rest of her snack cake passed her lips. Swallowing hard, the faint scent of lilies trailed from him and she couldn’t help but notice that he was bone dry, as if God’s downpour had spared him, peculiar cat ears sprouting from tousled curls and all.

Yes, that’s where I saw him and those ears.

“Hey,” a thick tone swept her from the thoughts she had been tinkering with.

Crumpling the honey bun wrapper she tossed it behind an organized row of Chips Ahoy! cookies before turning, and there he was. Colossal he stood before her, little droplets of water collected along the brim of his collarbone and bends of eyebrows. Eyes dark, deep-set, and demanding. Demanding of response. Demanding of attention.

“The rain caught you too?”

She shook her head “Barely. I was about a half mile away when it got bad.”

“Looks like barely didn’t keep you dry,” his pink lips curled upward.

He was handsome in the way a brute was. Everything about him was strong; The build of his frame, features shaping that intriguing face, his presence.

“Hm,” she smiled “Barely. Sort of like you’re barely wearing anything?”

A smirk as he looked away “Nobody’s telling you to look.”

Rolling her eyes she couldn’t stop the chuckle that eased out of her.

“You think the rain let up?”

“Doesn’t matter. I drive.”

“…That’s your car out front?”

“The black one, yeah.”

“It looks like a hearse.”

“It’s a 78′ Eldorado.”

“But it looks like a hearse.”

“Want to feel like a corpse?”

The intrigue of orange and lavender hues strewn across the sky morphed simple glances into deep fixation. Clouds like cotton candy stretched from one corner of the heavens to the other. The afternoon thunderstorm blew through with ire but left a path of ease and serenity. Those mysterious sounds that only approaching nightfall could make swirled into an eerie lullaby so she basked in it for as long as it would allow.

“Mia!”

Heaving the sigh that crowded her lungs she rolled her eyes, slouched further back into the rusting patio swing.

The screen door swung open before slamming against the house, releasing a high pitched squeak of hushed agony as it slowly retreated back to the doorway. There her sister stood, nose high and hovering overhead, wide set pelvis and protruding, round stomach blocking her view of the heavens.

“You’re just getting in?”

Arms folded, vision shifted to the side before up to the plump, pale face staring downward.

“Girl, answer me when I’m talking to you.”

“Maybe.”

“Where you been?”

“Out.”

“Out where?”

“Out where you’d know had you been invited.”

“I’m not doing this shit with you today, Mia. Now this morning there was money missing out of JJ’s wallet.”

“So?”

So?…So Mia, did you take the money?”

Another strategic eye roll was given.

“Mia, where’s the money?…Girl, I am not,” She reached out and grabbed her shoulder, yanking with thinly veiled frustration “Playing with you!”

Pulling away violently, Mia was on her feet and inches away before shoving the woman into the patio railing.

“The hell is wrong with you!” She screamed, regaining her balance “I’m pregnant you asshole!”

“Keep your fucking hands in your husbands pants.”

“Where’s the money, you little shit? I know you took it!”

Glares were exchanged and briefly after, Mia turned her back and made her way inside. The angered woman wasted little time following.

“Mia, I’m talking to you,” She gripped her arm “Hey!”

Spinning around, the ends of long locks tickled the pregnant woman’s forehead before they swooped back, hanging languid. Tearing away, she stopped moving and looked at her sister like she wanted her dead.

“Mia, I told you, I love you but I’m not doing this with you again.”

“Good…because I don’t even want to be here.”

“Oh? And where do you want to be?”

Mia bit her lip, burrowed her brows.

“Hm? Other than here with me being a k-u-n-t.”

Heavy was the hand of disbelief that flung across her face. It wasn’t the actual vulgarity of the term that made her eyes bulge or her mouth snicker. She was more offended by the poor spelling if anything and the facade of ignorance in regards to where she wanted to be.

“With mom! I’m just staying here till she comes back for me.”

The woman stepped back. The corners of her mouth pulling up as her eyelids tightened, tiny crows feet crinkling in the corners. She then released a throaty noise. It started as a hesitant chuckle before blooming into something greater and eventually erupted in a gut-wrenching cackle that slowly dwindled as she wiped teardrops from round cheeks. Face rose red, flushed from the absurdity of it all.

“Mia, mom isn’t coming back for you.”

“Mama!” A small child called from the living room.

“Hush up, Jude! You’ll wake the baby!”

Snarling “You don’t know that, Daphne…she is, she said so.”

“She said that last time…last time and the time before. And you’re stupid as a box of rocks if you believe it.”

“Me, stupid? Said the 8th grade dropout…Fuck you, Daphne.”

“No, fuck you, ya’ ungrateful little bitch,” She retorted under her breath “Now go change Jude to some clean clothes. Make yourself useful.”

“Make yourself useful. That boy’s seven and he still shits on himself. You’re at home all day doing what? Too busy watching Sally and Geraldo? It takes a lot of energy heating up three Lean Cuisine’s and parking your ass on the sofa all day, doesn’t it?”

You don’t know what I do and don’t, don’t tell me how to take care of my kids, you hear me?” Daphne’s voice raised “I swear, girl. You’re gonna end up just like your mama.”

Brushing by, Mia walked back towards the flimsy front door before pausing.

“Hey! Where you going?”

The door was pushed open and she darted out, leapt over the five front steps onto the dewey grass and broke into a run around the house to the backyard.

Thick air slipped in and out of her, sticky and warm against her skin. Loose strands of hair clung to her temples and she wiped them away as she slowed down. A few yards ahead was her little sanctuary, tucked beneath umbrage and the darkening sky.

Closing the shed door behind her she flicked the lights on. One bulb had burnt out so half of the small space was consumed by black while the other was dimly lit with the glow of a dust covered bulb. She latched the lock shut and made her way to an old desk against the wall on the brighter side.

Bending onto her knees she pulled the bottom drawer open. Inside there was a music box. Made of wood, on the top was the picture of a young girl with a cherub-like face, blowing a dandelion. In her hands, she gripped it tightly.

She had been promised a boombox on her thirteenth birthday. Mia’s mother had been working extra shifts at the diner and the pre-teen just knew it was so she could get her that boombox. The rectangular electronic was all she could think about. Its sleek black body pulsating beneath her as she’d sing along with Ian McCulloch and Siouxsie Sioux, the melodies and rhythms twisting and swaying through her veins.

April had finally arrived and the twenty-seven days leading up to Mia’s birthday staggered. That morning arrived and she awoke in her self-made pallet in the tiny room she had once shared with her older sister before she got married and moved out. Wiping sleep from her eyes she felt her heart fluttering but remained as composed as possible. After all, she still had to make herself breakfast, go to school, come back, make dinner, and her mother probably wouldn’t be off of work until well after 10pm. Rolling over, she grabbed her pocket knife before climbing to her feet.

Tip-toeing towards the kitchen she was stopped by that same dark, raspy voice she’d spend so much time avoiding.

“Well someone’s up early.”

He lay sprawled out on the sofa in nothing but boxers, right arm dangling to the ground, left arm twisted behind his head.

“Morning.” She said before continuing with her routine.

There was little in the refrigerator which was nothing new; milk on the verge of expiration, leftover fried corned beef hash from a week or so ago, maple syrup, and some cottage cheese that had gone bad months ago; so she grabbed a few packets of butter and jelly her mother would bring home from the diner and smeared it on a slice of white bread.

“Gonna make me some too?”

Standing in the entrance of the kitchen, his figure was imposing while he looked down at her leaning onto the countertop.

“No.” Was sharp as she bit into her breakfast.

“Oh, now Mia, you’re too sweet to act so salty.”

Shoveling the rest of the condiment slathered bread into her mouth she opened the cupboard and reached for one of the small emptied jam jars they used for drinking. His arm shot out over her and snatched the intended before she could. Thin, pursed lips stretched and bent into an ugly smile as he handed it to her.

“Here ya’ are.”

She turned, walked out of the kitchen.

Johnny was a phenomenal pain in the ass. He was there more than at his own place but never pitched in for food or electricity. He was loud when he was fucking her mother, louder than any other man Mia had heard screwing in her home. He was proving to be far more obnoxious than the others.

Harold had been a two-timing slut, Larry possessed an abusive streak, Donald was lazy as a sack of cow shit, but Johnny was what Mia imagined Harold, Larry, and Donald would’ve created if they got together, fucked, and had some science fiction baby that was raised by ravenous perverts.

She’d never shower when it was just her and Johnny at home. The only reason she felt moderately comfortable being left alone with him is because someone was usually in the downstairs neighbors’ place in the split level house.

Quickly grabbing handfuls of water she slid eager fingers through matted hair, trying to smooth out the tangles as best she could. While brushing her teeth she captured him in the corner of her eye, again, hovering in the doorway.

“I wanted to wish you a happy birthday.”

She spit “Thanks.”

“Is it exciting?”

“Is what exciting?”

“Discovering womanhood.”

Shrugging, she spit again “Was it exciting?”

“Was what exciting?”

“Discovering fire.”

Rinsing her mouth out she was rough as she wedged by him and walked back towards her bedroom. The muttering of little brat slipped as easily out of her awareness as it had slid in.

Changing her underwear and bra she saw something brown on the bedroom wall. She knew what it was before she even looked. Instinctively she grabbed an old tennis shoe from the floor and slammed it with force onto the creature. Dropping the shoe, its smeared remains stuck to the wall and she took a moment to wonder what that had felt like for the roach. How it feels within that instant where life meets death.

Mia rummaged through the crowded closet, eyes eager to fall upon the saffron colored fabric used to make her favorite dress. She slipped into it like a second skin and glided her hands down the front before angst began suffocating her. It had to be zipped up from the back. Mama wasn’t home.

“Fuck it,” She mumbled while twirling, eyeing the ruffles as the folds spread, reminding her of daisy petals blossoming in springtime.

Squeezing into her jacket that she had outgrown in the seventh grade all Mia had was hope that she looked presentable. The only mirror in their home hung high above the toilet and wasn’t big enough to give a view of her entire body. She’d usually sneak into the girls restroom before first period class and make any necessary adjustments to herself.

“Have a nice day at school, snotty bitch.”

Turning to Johnny she looked him up and down, slow, intense. From the enormity of his feet to the baby-beer belly starting to form, to the hair spreading across his chest, to the aging face she had grown to despise.

“Johnny…just go. Go home to your knocked up wife. Go to hell. Go back into the womb you came from, come back out, and try again. Go crazy. Go fly a fucking kite. Go anywhere. But please, Johnny Wright…just go.”

Opening the music box, there was no cylinder or spring motors, all inner workings had been removed. The current contents were an empty Visine bottle and crumbled ball of aluminum foil. Taking the bottle, she untwisted the cap before placing it down on the desktop.

The foil in her hand, she took time unwrapping. Inside were several small, black, pebble-like chunks. She dropped all three of them into the bottle before unlocking the shed door and entering outside.

Nearing the back of the house she made her way to the water hose and carefully unraveled it before turning on the water, just enough that it dripped out in a thin stream. Holding the hose steady she slipped the neck of the bottle beneath it and watched it fill to the brim. Biting her lip, Mia turned the water off, carelessly dropped the hose, and walked nimbly back to the shed.

Propped up on the desk, she shook the little bottle and waited until the liquid inside was a deep brown, the small pebbles dissolving completely. Eyelids slid downward and did not open as she titled her head a bit and slid the squirter into her right nostril. She pinched the Visine bottle and sent the liquid up her nasal passage, inhaling slowly and holding it there, making sure it did not slide down her throat. She repeated this act four more times until bare was the recycled bottle.

Heat soaked into the skin on her face and she slouched back into the wall, monitoring this intense sensation while it spread across her cheeks into her neck, down her breasts, wrapping around her areolas, seeping into her belly and dripping down her listless legs draping over the edge of that old desk.

Fingers through hair lips softness dark black reds into purple the air is heavy pressing down grin tongue birthday cake party hats laughter mama staring into eyes stroking hair please hold me mama why don’t you let me stay alone beneath blankets thinking about rainbow sprinkles I never got to taste balloons polka dots clowns with doofy grins I sing and sing and sing and I can’t stop if I stop I’ll explode and I talk but nobody listens prayers unanswered fuck God why won’t you love me

 A knock on the door. The room was a blur and it took her a moment to focus her vision.

“Whaaaat?” was drawn out and breathy as it sagged from her tingling lips.

“S’me. Open up.” A familiar husky baritone.

Hoisting herself off, she stumbled, regained her balance quickly, and walked to the door. She cracked it open slightly, peeked outside. Night was upon them and she was surprised to see how dark everything was. When did that happen?

“Come on now, move.” He said as he pushed the door open and closed it behind him.

“J,J,Johnny…Johnny what?”

“How long you been out here?”

Hearing the question, she was having trouble formulating a response. Partly due to the fact that her tongue felt fuzzy, mostly due to the fact that the concept of time seemed foreign to her. One hour? Three hours? So she poked her lips out and gave the most nonchalant of shrugs as her final answer.

“Important question, old man. W, where’s my stash? And not… this cheap, black …Mexican shit. I want the powder like you normally get me.”

“Money’s tight right now. I couldn’t get it today. That’s what I was coming to tell you. Can you wait till Friday?”

Squinting her eyes she looked over her shoulder then back at him “Are…are you talking to me? You think I can wait that long? I just finished off what, what I had…not to mention, you’re interrupting my high.”

“Listen, money’s a little tight right now and Daphne’s been on my ass about new stuff for the baby.”

“F, fuck that…and fuck Daphne too. You know Daphne was, was a nymph of fountains…and, and streams and springs in mythology. But my sister Daphne is too big to fit in a fountain or a stream so…because…um…”

“Mia, how much did you have?”

Turning her back to him she took her time walking back to the desk and climbing onto it. She leaned her head back against the wall and let her legs dangle over the edge as they had been before, her legs spread, eyes closed.

Not a moment had passed before she could feel his calloused hand on her thigh. It seemed heavy, as though it would leave a bruise or fracture a bone but her reaction was delayed as it moved upward. She sprung up and her arm flail was instantaneous, a wild hand slamming into his right eye.

“Ahh, God damnit, Mia!”

“What the hell is wrong with…?” She yelled, anger festering from her eyes, her chest rising and falling with intensity.

He held his eye, looked at her with befuddlement all over his fourty-five year old face.

“You know what…you’re one grade A piece of shit, Johnny. You ruined my life. You did. You’re fucking selfish. Because I wouldn’t fuck you and your old man dick, you made sure my mama didn’t buy me that boombox.”

“Again with the boombox, Mia?” He shouted

Yessssssss, again with the boombox, Johnny! That’s all I wanted…instead, I got this cheap piece of shit music box,” She hurled it at him and he twisted his body out of the way so that it sailed by his head, slamming forcefully into the wooden wall “because you convinced her to buy your drugssss for you. What, what kind of fucked up person does that to a thirteen year old? Huh?” Her voice was sharp as she catapulted her words his way.

Silence consumed the quaint shed and she slid down off of the desk-turned-perch.

“I wasn’t dumb enough to fuck you when I was twelve, so why do you think I’d do it when I’m seventeen?”

“Because you’re high as a fucking kite.”

“And you’re lower than a fucking snake…you’ve got until tomorrow to get me more, you geezer.”

Daphne’s voice carried from the front of the house and the two stood within that small space, within that hostile moment, staring at one another while her words penetrated.

“JJ! JJ, baby, I need you to fix this damned handrail! It’s loose again!”

“…You hear me, JJ? Tomorrow.”

She could see the resentment bubbling beneath his collected exterior and as he began to leave she said “Oh yeah, and if you go crying to your wife again, about how I took money from your wallet, I’ll have to cry to her about how you were fucking our–”

“I didn’t tell her anything, damnit,” He spat “She’s money hungry and monitors every dollar I make.”

“Whatever, Johnny. Tomorrow.”

Once more Mia was in complete solitude but this was nothing out of the ordinary. She was always alone whether by herself or in a space filled with people. The music box did not break and as she dusted it off a part of her wished it had.   Returning her Visine bottle inside she crumpled the foil and tossed both it and the box back into the bottom drawer of the desk before kicking it closed.

Her body was still burning from the inside and she wished it could last the rest of her days. Slumping to the ground she rolled onto her back and stared upward at the bulbs on the ceiling. Digging into her pocket she pulled out one of the jerky snacks she had stolen earlier and bit into the wrapper, ripping it open and chewing on the salty meat inside. A gentle feeling on her chest, she placed her hand near her collarbone and felt a wrinkled piece of paper.

Holding it up to the light it dawned on her what she was looking at. It read: 603-624-1950 Alexander

 The boy from the market she thought, remembering his dark eyes and toned body. Chewing vigorously she took another bite as she closed her eyes and wondered how big his cock was. A giggle slipped out of her after the thought came and went and she shook her head, embarrassed that she even had allowed it to cross her mind. Smiling to herself she clasped the paper in her hand and stuck it back into her pocket.

Finishing her food she threw the wrapper aside and started to scratch her ribs. There was trembling that trailed her limbs and her stomach was beginning to feel peculiar. Running her tongue across chapped lips she was succumbing to feelings and delusions that began to flood her and she could feel her mind slipping back into a dreamlike state.

“Under blue moon I saw you…so soon you’ll take me up in your arms,” her voice was soft, hushed while she sang to herself “Too late to beg you or cancel it…though I know it must be the killing time, unwillingly mine.”

Nestled between consciousness and fantasy, for a moment, Mia swore she could hear mama telling her to pack up her belongings and come back home. Visions of ruffles on that pretty saffron dress lingered though she lost it somewhere within the confusion. The violent chaos that strung together eight moves, petty theft, stints in foster care she had made since she turned twelve. That’s when the pillar of mental anguish melted from her eyes and stained her flushed face.

Bedlam: FAGGIT

Posted in Dark Fiction, Literary Fiction, Novella, Prose, Short Story, Transgressive Fiction, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by JC Cecala

He pulled his dick out, wrapped with a slick latex, and pressed it against Saint’s lower back. He stood up. Saint rolled over. Stared. Watching while he pressed his index finger and thumb firmly around the base of his member, still filled with the excitement spilling over from just moments ago. Sliding the transparent, forest colored condom off, a familiar drippy white pattern cascaded down its insides.

Feet heels riddled with powdery dead skin pushed off of the ground, balancing two hundred pounds of bodyweight on their calloused balls and toes, distal edges like claws. Stretching, what little body definition this stout man had accentuated beneath the wild brown hairs coating rosy flesh. A twist of the neck, a grunt, pelvis poking out, he sucked in what seemed to be, as far as Saint could tell; all of the air his lungs could accommodate before exhaling. Mr. Giblin morphed back into the portly, short man he was during the pre-calculus lessons he instructed, adjusting the wire frames of his corrective lenses and transporting the beads of sweat consuming his forehead onto the backs of veiny, wide hands.

“Now remember,” Giblin gripped an imaginary key in his condom-free hand and put it against the side of his mouth, giving it a gentle twist.

Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, left

Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, left

With eyes slowly shifting to the side and lips twisting into an annoyed pout, Saint pretended the gesture was unseen. Each time they did this it was the same old cautionary motion, same doggy style position within the same old eight minutes of heavy breathing and erratic thrusting. Repetition in its finest form.

Saint’s clenched fist blossomed with expectation into an opened hand, palm exposed and dewey, slender fingers distancing from one another.

“Oh, right.”

Giblin became inanimate, another item amongst the moonlit background as Saint counted the crisp dollar bills. Twenty, forty, sixty, eighty, one hundred, twenty, forty, sixty, eighty, two hundred dollars. Two hundred dollars in less than ten minutes. Not bad as far as he was concerned.

The flick of a switch and light spread from the ceiling, consuming the room. Coiled ringlets of vibrant copper hair were prismatic beneath its intrusive gleam and as he approached the corner of the bed where Saint was standing, slipping into a mint colored t-shirt, Giblin succumbed to urges of curiosity. Sweat soaked digits glided through the untamed forest aflame growing atop a delicate face. Saint recoiled, etching a scowl over features that were usually gentle and demure.

“Don’t.”

“You’re just so exotic. Like an alien…and your hair.”

The reflection captured within the rectangular frame of a mirror hanging on one of the walls in that quaint, humid bedroom was still. Not even its chest moved as musk, sweat, and desperation tainted air slipped in and crept out. That boy trapped in the mirror followed Saint through lingering days and never ending nights. He was odd. Oddly wedged into the uncomfortable space between adolescence and adulthood.

His appearance was odd. Brownish red hair, thick eyebrows, burning ferociously against deep olive skin. Freckles dusted across a face that straddled the gender line. Eyes; bright amber circles seemed to burst out of their sockets with an eager naiveté, amidst all of this physical confusion.

Perhaps it wasn’t confusion. He certainly didn’t feel confused, giving his slim, toned physique a once over. Pronounced collar bones leading to sleek, strong shoulders. Trim waistline, hip bones just barely protruding. Flicking his flacid penis, he had seen enough dicks to know he was well above average. Twisting his torso he admired the definition in his supple thighs and round calves.

Sometimes he loved the young man in the mirror. Other times he hated that boy trapped inside.

“Alien,” was soft and low as it slid off of his tongue.

The car rolled slowly as it came to a halt and from where they were parked Saint could see diminutive squares glowing amidst an opal backdrop off in the distance. His mother was still awake and that realization sunk into his pores, like melted lead, and suddenly dread hung heavy from his heart. Ideas of disappearing into the surrounding black flitted across his stream of thought but they didn’t stick. They weren’t solid enough.

“I wish you’d at least let me drive you closer. I hate droppin’ you off so far away.”

“I’ll be fine. I’m a lion after all.”

“You know, you sound batshit crazy when you say stuff like that.”

There was a slight creak when the passenger door opened. Climbing into the night, Saint noticed that the moon was looming, hanging low and close to the treetops.

“I’ll see you in class tomorrow.. Don’t forget about your spherical coordinates assignment. Oh, and here, take this.”

He stuck his head back inside, Giblin’s stocky arm extended, a dangling denim jacket in hand.

“It’s chilly.”

Saint didn’t bother closing the door and the “Mhm,” he responded with was lost in a breeze, carried away from Giblin while he watched the silhouette walking away from his vehicle, slipping into the oversized  jacket he gave him moments ago.

Pinching his right pocket he felt the crumpled bills. He had checked to make sure they were still there several times already and that feeling of money beneath denim eased his worry. Looking over his shoulder, the space Giblin’s car had occupied seconds ago was now empty; a patch of dirt road with a new memory.

Within that small piece of time between getting out of Giblin’s car and walking towards his home, Saint felt something. It crawled into him slowly before growing into a notion that made his thoughts rattle with wonder. What if he wanted to make this arrangement with Giblin into something greater? Underneath it all, perhaps he wasn’t as terribly bland and unamusing as he seemed? Could there be, hidden beneath vapid speech and argyle vests, someone with the capacity to understand Saint? Keep his secrets and flaws a private matter and protect him from the arrows and daggers of the outside world? No, probably not, he thought. The man slept with a stuffed walrus and collected Magic: The Gathering cards. I wish I could gather everything wrong about Giblin and magically make it disappear. If not for purposes of morphing him, physically and mentally, into a man he could become enamored with, at least so the eight minutes of sex they engaged in twice a month could be enjoyable and maybe…last longer than eight minutes.

He couldn’t bring himself to acknowledge the barren space existing somewhere within him. He just patted his pocket, stargazing with hungry eyes and a starved spirit.

His left hand pressed flat on the doorframe while with the right, he gripped the knob and twisted as slowly as he could. Cautiously he slipped his head into the house and shifted his vision from left to right of the small living quarters. He eased in with stealth and and twisted the inside door handle so that the latch wouldn’t click when he closed it.

There wasn’t much space inside of the one floor home. Saint often found himself frustrated by the screaming plaid sofa, languid geraniums, and ancient coffee table crowding him. Busy patterns, oversized house plants, and out of place trinkets suffocated his thoughts, berated his concentration, so he never spent much time outside of his room.

From the kitchen came the sound of drawers slamming and monotoned ramblings. A high pitched giggle split the air and then the home returned to being quiet. Saint was reticent, easing towards the hallway leading to his bedroom.

“Penny!”

Still. He stopped breathing and listened for the sound of creaking floorboards.

“Penny, is that you?”

Creak. Silence. Creak.

 She’s coming.

“Pennyyyy.”

A slender, brown-skinned woman peaked from behind the dining room wall. With eyes more opened than any Saint had ever seen, he stared into those gaping black pits and felt himself slipping, helpless.

“Hey mama.”

“Did you see ’em?”

“See who mama?”

“You know who…you know who.”

“…Naw, mama, I didn’t see them.”

She glanced around, this woman, before cracking a wide smile. Her head disappeared back behind the wall and just as quickly, she reappeared in her entirety.

Her tiny torso was wrapped in layers of aluminum foil, her massive breasts being held up by her bra and spilling over the silver, self-made corset. Wild tufts of black hair looked as if they were pulling away from her skull as she stood there, tugging at the wrinkled ends of her lilac dress.

“Good, good, good, good..good,” She nodded quickly “I’m almost out of foil.”

 That’s because you wrapped yourself up in it all to look like a fucking Salvation Army tin man.

“I’ma need you to buy more tomorrow, I’ma need you to buy more.”

“Mama, did you take your medication?”

Fidgeting fingers froze along the hemline of her hiked up cotton dress. Her sharp chin sunk into her neck as she averted anxious eyes to different areas of the living room.

“…Yessss.”

“…You didn’t, did you?”

“I said yes, God damnit!” Lanky arms flailed, her right foot stomping the hardwood floor.

Taking a step back, Saint kept his vision focused on her. At sixteen he still wasn’t used to this colorful behavior but he had gotten much better at pretending to be and masking the fear it often evoked.

“Mama…you don’t have to yell,” He said softly “Remember? We talked about your yelling.”

“I..I know, Penny, sweetie,” A loud clapping noise could be heard as she clasped her hands together “I just…I get so riled up trying to keep them away all day long and I-I..I get so damn angry.”

He nodded.

“You know?”

“I know, mama…but that’s why,” there was a brief pause as Saint smiled, nodding in sync with her “That’s why you’ve gotta take your meds.”

“No,” was sharp as she spat it out of her mouth “No! I don’t like them meds, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t! They got to ’em!”

“Mama, no, they didn’t. I picked them up myself.”

“No!” She gripped handfuls of her hair “No, Penny! They’re trying to turn you against me too! They’re gonna hurt you!”

Legs beginning to tremble, his heart slammed around its prison of bone, begging to escape. The same way Saint begged God when he was alone at night.

“Mama…mama, please. Nobody’s turning me against you. Remember, it’s just you and me,” He crept towards her  in the way one might approach a rabid animal, hoping this would assure her of his sincerity “You and me against the world.”

“You and me, my sweet Penny,” Her hands dropped and she chuckled “That’s right.”

“Come on. We should…we should go to bed, huh?”

“Ohhh, no, no, no, baby, you go…you go to bed. I’ve got to cover the windows in the kitchen. They keep trying to get in through the kitchen.”

“Oh.”

“See! Shhhh…you hear that? God damnit! I gotta, I gotta,” Trailing off mid-sentence, his mother dashed back towards the kitchen “No!”

Pots rattled and a chaotic song consisting of cabinets opening and closing, foil tearing, and a one-sided conversation seeped through the house.

Retreating to his bedroom, the clamor slowly faded as he closed his door. The noises were still there, shaking up his thoughts and taunting his emotion, but they were dull, fading from piercing red to soft pink.

Saint’s room was small. No more than 10 x 10 feet, and there wasn’t much to it. He had no posters taped to the bone white walls, no television or decorative pieces. There was a neatly made full sized bed and next to that, a little cherry oak nightstand with a small framed picture and lamp. Despite the modest size, his closet was more than spacious. In it he stored his laundry hamper, clothing, and books upon books upon books.

Bending onto his knees he opened the singular drawer of his nightstand revealing it to be empty of anything but a pair of costume cat ears and a rosary neckless. He slipped the rosary around his neck, the golden ears on over his red mane and adjusted them before closing the drawer. Digging deep into his denim pockets he pulled out the money he had earned earlier that night and took his time straightening each bill before lifting his mattress. In the moonlight he could make out the outline of a neatly aligned rectangle spanning the length of his box spring; the money he had collected over the last year. He placed the new additions on top of what he had already acquired, gently placing the mattress back down.

 I’ve got to count that at some point.

Not completely sure of the total amount he had saved up, Saint had been procrastinating. He was guessing he had a decent stash of cash but he didn’t like to think about it. Mostly because he knew what he’d do once he had enough. He wasn’t even sure if enough would actually be enough. So he continued to push the festering idea beneath the excuses of homework and reading and guilt and everything else he could conjure. Just for now. Just for a little while longer.

As he stood up a glint of light ricocheted off the corner of the picture frame beneath him and before he realized, he was looking at it yet again. Holding it in his hands he glided a thumb down the pewter frame, going over the engraving spots made up of bunnies, kittens, and kites with whimsical tails. Inside of this frame was a park on, what Saint imagined to be, a spring afternoon. Perhaps during May or June. In this park was a four year old on the bench of a wooden picnic table. A mop top of curly, wild, fire red hair and a smile made of incomplete rows of tiny teeth. He clung to the woman  beside him, whose eyes were gentle while she gazed upward at the man sitting behind her on the table. She was wedged between his athletic, beige legs and his hands were placed on her shoulders. The man looked down at the woman, lovingly and seemed to be saying something.

The contrast of her cocoa skin against his was sharp, and the boy’s curls were reminiscent of the blond waves pouring from the mans tilted head. Saint used to look at that picture for hours, entranced by the different skin tones and hair textures, wrapping himself up in the variations of beauty he found.

 Alien.

That beauty that maybe wasn’t to some people. A sight that not everybody understood. He used to ask his mother about it. Why he didn’t look like anybody in his class. Why she was so dark and daddy, so light. Why nobody else had the same shade of hair as he did, and where did freckles come from.

“You black, Penny” She once told him, when he was nine “You black, just like me. Don’t you feel it?”

He looked at her long and hard. The chestnut complexion and thick, graphite colored hair. The fullness of her lips and the broad width along the bridge of her nose. Being completely honest within his thoughts, he acknowledged that no, he did not. He didn’t really feel anything. What was black supposed to feel like? If it had anything to do with how he appeared to his own eye, he certainly didn’t feel it. Looking at his mother he sometimes wondered how he came out of her as their resemblance was non-existent. He had seen pictures of his father when he was a boy and that was more or less what he saw when he passed by a mirror or caught his reflection in a pond. In fact, when his father got a bit of a suntan, they were the same color.

“No.”

“No?”

“…No.”

“You feel white?”

“No.”

“Well what do you feel like then, I’d like to know.”

He shrugged.

“You don’t know?”

“I just feel like a person.”

The sound of metal on ceramic tore Saint from his reverie he had succumbed to. He could hear the lid of a pot spinning on the floor, speeding, a metallic discord, increasing in harshness before calming and then coming to a complete stop. He placed the picture back down and backed away.

Opening his closet door he stepped inside. Curled fingers like claws swiped around in the darkness and he grazed the pull string. A tight grip and light tug. Easing some of his hanging clothes to the side, behind them there lay rows of books and pens and loose leaf paper pinned to clipboards. There was a small, worn out wooden matchbox on top of an off-white clipboard. Sliding it open, inside was a pair of ear plugs he slid into either ear.

Snatching up a book he had been reading he sat on the floor before tucking himself into a corner. Flipping to where the bookmark was wedged he picked up on the line where he had left off.

 “Den they’d tell me not to be takin’ on over mah looks ‘cause they mama told ‘em ‘bout de hound dawgs huntin’ mah papa all night long. ‘Bout Mr. Washburn and de sheriff puttin’ de bloodhounds on de trail tuh ketch mah papa for whut he done tuh mah mama. Dey didn’t tell about how he wuz seen tryin tuh git in touch wid mah mama later on so he could marry her. Naw, dey didn’t talk dat part of it atall. Dey made it sound real bad so as tuh crumple mah feathers.”  

They congregated in the hallways, selling stories of the night before, stringing together the real with the make-believe so that they might be deemed interesting. So someone would like them even if the person they liked didn’t exist. Leaning on lockers, hands cupped around mouths spreading rumors like a cancer. This is what Saint assumed anyhow as he made his way through his peers.

He always felt heavier when he was at school, well, with so many eyes on him, weighing him down, how could he not? Every now and then he’d overhear someone speaking of him, almost always in a negative light. But before school let out last year most of the name calling and harassment had dwindled to passive aggressive muttering and locker vandalization. Despite being painted over, when he looked hard enough, he could still see the word FAGGIT beneath the new burnt orange coating.

He arched his thumbs, hooking them behind the black straps of his backpack to relieve some of the weight from his slouched shoulders. A sound; one that was familiar and exciting. Saint stopped, mid-step and strained to listen. A song he had heard before and enjoyed. Turning to his right he spotted the source. A stranger to his recollection stood at her locker, a walkman attached to the waistline of black acid washed jeans and the sound of percussion and saxophone blaring from the massive headphones that devoured her ears. Soft brown tresses poured along her back like a chocolate fountain as she swayed her head back and fourth, hips popping from left to right.

“Don’t go for second best, baby, put your love to the test,” Saint could hear her singing under her breath before closing her locker and twirling around.

Their eyes met and the movement that trailed through her body ceased. Saint was right. This face was one he’d never come across in these hallways, in town, or anywhere for that matter.

With a heart shaped head, her slanted brown eyes sat atop angled cheekbones and were sparsely covered by the long, straight bangs sweeping across her forehead. The loose fitting t-shirt she wore was jet black and had: bauhuas in neat, white print placed beneath a picture of what looked to be a bat or something of the sort that he couldn’t quite tell. It looked as though the sleeves had been torn off along with the bottom of the shirt, as the slightest bit of her flat midriff was exposed.

Saint couldn’t decide what was most fascinating about this girl before him. Her milky skin was without a flaw. Not a blemish or a pore could be seen. Eyebrows, pronounced and arched to perfection, lips full and nude; it took him a moment before he realized just how long he had been staring and just how twisted with what looked to be disgust, her face had become.

“What the fuck?” She said loudly, rolling her eyes and walking in the direction Saint had come from.

A small group of onlookers were staring so he gave them his back. Rubbing his left cat ear, he continued down the hallway, hoping his embarrassment would settle before he got to class.

In the back of the class, the desk closest to the window, he sat. There was dialogue being spun between teacher and some nameless student in the front of the room about Steinbeck. Of Mice and Men. This was the current English assignment that Saint found no interest in. He had read the book twice; once at age twelve, again at thirteen. Listening to people his age, some even older after being held back, stumble across the synopsis didn’t interest him in the least.

Beyond the confines of a window decorated with oily fingerprints and crevices caked with dust, were stagnant clouds stretching across a slate sky. He hadn’t brought an umbrella with him and hoped that if it were to rain it would do so after he made it back home from the market.

“I think everyone was sort of, like…chasing the American dream.”

An uncertain statement or perhaps question drew him back indoors. He looked down at the blank paper beneath him, where notes should’ve been scribbled. He had enjoyed Of Mice and Men both times he had read it, but it reminded him of a space in time he tried not to think about.

Most of the colorful details had grown wan and Saint did nothing to try and breathe life back into them. They were living in a different town, Durham, and at the time he was happy, or as in reach of happiness as he had been for some time. It was around the time his mother had been diagnosed with schizophrenia but he didn’t fully comprehend what it meant. She started taking pills regularly and acted in a way Saint hadn’t seen before. Her movements were sluggish, and at times there was a listlessness to her.

It was May, no, it was June, because they were getting ready to take finals. Saint was told that he needed to go speak to the principal.

“…For what?”

“I wasn’t informed. I was just told that he needs to speak with you.”

“Oh…okay.”

Before he could gather his thoughts, his teacher tapped his shoulder.

“You should probably get your things from your desk.”

“I’m not coming back?”

She hesitated. Lips pursed together, she fiddled with the engagement ring on her finger before eagerly smiling.

“Well, we just don’t know how long it’s going to take, that’s all.”

The interior of the office was reminiscent of a museum. From the gold gilt picture frames hanging on the walls to the wooden floors creaking beneath his weight. The moment stalled for quite some time before the principal finally entered the office. He closed the door and turned to face the adolescent.

“Saint Goretti.”

He nodded.

“You…may be wondering why I called you down here.”

Saint’s eyes stalked the giant in a charcoal suit as he stepped behind his desk, towering over him like a tidal does, impending before the crash.

“A, uh, a very serious matter has been brought to my attention and I thought it’d be best if I asked you about it before it goes any further.”

“Okay.”

“Your mother is on her way to the school, she shouldn’t be long.”

“You called my mom?”

“Because of your age it’s most appropriate that she be here.”

“…Why?”

“Saint, you know Mr. Wall, yes?”

A lump in his throat.

“Yes?”

“Mhm.”

“How well do you know him?”

“He’s a teacher here.”

“He’s your teacher, correct? Sixth period, English?”

A hesitant nod. A knock at the door.

“Yes?” Called the principal.

The secretary opened the door.

“Mrs. Goretti is here to see you, Principal Sweeney.”

Before the woman could step aside, Saint saw his mother push by her, bounding into the office. Her body language was lacking in refinement and she did nothing to mask the contempt on her hardened face.

“Mrs. Goretti, thank you for–”

“I want him fired!”

The secretary quickly closed the door. Saint stared up at his mother, who threw her purse to the floor and stood across from Principal Sweeney.

“Do you hear me?”

“Mrs. Goretti, please, I understand your concern but there are channels we have to go through before any steps can be taken.”

“I send my son to school and this is what happens?”

He lowered his head and stared into his unzipped backpack, reading words from the covers and spines of different textbooks. Repeating the titles of them in hopes that he’d come across as too preoccupied with what was in his bag to be bothered with the world around him. Glencoe, McGraw-Hill, Algebra I. Of Mice and Men. Holt Science & Technology, Physical Science.

“Saint!”

“Huh?”

“Answer the man!” She gripped his shoulder and he felt the agitation pulsating through her.

“Have you ever spent time with Mr. Wall outside of school?”

“…Mr. Wall’s a good person.”

“But have you spent time with him outside of school?”

“…Yeah.”

“Do you know it’s not permitted for teachers to spend time with students off of school grounds?”

“No,” He was losing his composure to rattling nerves, this sinking feeling trying to birth itself through his chest for the world to see.

The air that seemed to be smothering him with an unbearable, thick heat “No, I didn’t know that.”

“You’re supposed to go straight home after school. Straight home! Why would you go with this man to his house?”

“Mrs. Goretti, I think it’d be best if we remain calm about–”

“Did he threaten you? Did he force you to go with him?”

The boy sitting in front of Saint passed him back a sheet of paper; homework questions for the chapters they were expected to read. He carelessly slipped it into his bag, looking around as everyone started getting up from their desks. He followed suit and made little eye contact as he exited the room, cat ears in hand.

Puss(Y)?

Posted in Dark Fiction, Dark Side of Romance, Literary Fiction, Prose, Short Story, Transgressive Fiction, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2012 by JC Cecala

“I love little pussy,

Her coat is so warm,”

Her knuckles rattled against the front door. Offbeat syncopation on rectangular, red panels. She shifted her weight onto one leg. Knockknocknock knock knock knockknocknock…knock.

“And if I don’t hurt her,

She’ll do me no harm.”

French tipped nails dug into the gray, leather satchel she was holding as her hearing strained. Footsteps coming closer to the door. Hard light from inside struck her momentarily blind as she stood on those front steps in the dark.

“What is it, Puss?” He recycled a rehearsed sigh.

Eyes were now tiny, brown apertures in her head. Looking at a face she had grown to abhor, her tightened lips slowly relaxed, spread back into their natural scowl before curling into the type of grin that made people uneasy.

“I just wanted you to know…I found her.”

The look of annoyance he wore moments ago melted into an apprehensiveness. He let go of the door handle and stepped closer to a night she was enveloped in.

The silhouette that draped behind her swayed. He looked at the satchel and watched her loosen the strings keeping it fastened.

“You found her?”

A slow nod. She gave it with deliberate subtlety, not once drawing attention from the man before her. Not to see if anyone else was in his home. Not to see which sitcom or sporting event was taking place on the 52” plasma screen she bought him for his 25th birthday. Not when there was a show taking place on his familiar face.

The woman looked on as this visage altered without him even knowing. Contempt, shock, panic, angst, excitement, moved across the brim of nose, the arch of his brows, his bottom lip, consecutively. All of this within the matter of a moment, without having to buy a ticket or sit through commercials or coming attractions. He didn’t express that much emotion the entire three and half years they were together. I guess he cares about his own puss more than mine she thought.

 She shoved her fist into the bag.

“…What?”

The hand she revealed had fingers like claws, gripping something gray and powdery. Puzzled, he looked from her hand to the mien of indifference she had.

“What the hell?” He raised on the tips of his toes to see over her, searching his yard “ Where’s Angel?”

Drawing in a deep breath. She blew the ashes she held into his face. Squinting, hands fanning, he moved back from her, back from the black outside. The right corner of her mouth edged upward and her eyes softened.

“…Meowww.”

The next show that flashed across his face was brilliant. Eyes spinning, blood draining from his head then reappearing, splashed beneath his pasty cheeks. Lips trembling, tongue jabbing at the roof of his mouth then his teeth, feeling around for the four letter words.

The satchel hit the ground just as a noise forced itself from his tight throat.

“And the next time you want pussy,” a slight giggle “Just look in the mirror, baby.”

Fists trembling, his vision lifted from the bag to the cackling woman running down the front steps of his house and towards the street.

“You crazy fucking bitch, I’ll kill you!”

I let the laughter burst from my lungs, feeling them shrink, shrivel, before I sucked in a deep breath and bolted full force. My heels clattered against the pavement…yes, I said heels. You weren’t going to catch me putting on a performance in a pair of flats.

Drew Fuller was just that. Full. Full of utter bullshit, and if he thought I was going to overlook that little character flaw he was dead wrong. As dead as that damn cat he loves so much…loved so much. Angel. More like ashes now.

Believe it or not, he’s the love of my life. We’re mad about one another. Really, we are. So much in fact, we were engaged. There’s a five carrot emerald cut diamond sitting on a lovely white gold band in one of these pawn shops somewhere in this town, that used to reside on my left ring finger. It resided on his grandmother’s ring finger before that. November 1st, our intended wedding date. He knows my deep adoration for autumn and his birthday is the first week of that month so it was perfect.

Don’t mind the expletives he’s shouting and derogatory names he’s referring to me as whilst we sprint down this quiet suburban street. He’s just a little…bitter about the way things played out. Don’t tell him I said that, though, because he’d never own up to it.

Now, I know, I know, I seem like a terrible human being. I blew the ashes of a dead cat in his face. The death was painless. I euthanized little Angel first…Then, I lit the bitch on fire. You see, I’m working towards my degree in veterinary medicine so I’d never allow any living creature to suffer. Unlike Drew Fuller, I have a heart.

There was a time when I was the only kitty in Drew’s life.

Puss, come here.” Drew called from the living room.

“What is it?”

“Come here.”

She rushed out of the kitchen in her imitation little Susie Homemaker get-up, apron-clad, spatula in one hand.

“What?” Potential whining lurked in her tone.

“I just wanted to see you, that’s all.”

Scraper flung to the floor. Fingers gripped the row of buttons trailing Drew’s shirt. Straddling. She infused their mouths into one before penetrating him with her tongue. Gripping her waist before palming her posterior, he slipped his digits beneath the hemline of her miniskirt, his fingertips gentle against lace underwear.

The buttons grew irritating. The shirt was torn open. His chest was beautiful. The perfect pectoral muscles sat solid above a hard abdomen that made her lips wet.

“The, the dinner,” he managed to get that and her tongue out of his mouth “What am I gonna eat? I-It’s gonna burn.”

“I want it to.”

She pushed her face back into his. Excitement throbbed through his blue jeans and she leaned into him harder, sliding her bare thighs against the denim, up and down. Basking in the sensations of her pelvis pressing against his he continued to caress the delicate skin on the small of her back, the supple round flesh of her backside.

“Kiss me…”

His lips were slapped away when he tried to press them onto hers. She dug her heels into the sofa and hoisted herself up, lifting her apron, pulling her skirt around her waist before tugging her panties to the side.

“Kiss me,” She repeated.

 Beepbeepbeepbeepbeep. Faint clouds of smoke were seeping into the living room.

“Harder!” She demanded.

A collision of the bodies. Pelvic bones slamming intensely, slick lips and cheeks aglow. Growling, thighs clenched around his waist, skin rubbing violently against beige carpet.

She flipped him onto his back and whipped a lustrous mane of dirty blonde locks over her shoulders. Gazing down at the prey beneath her, she dug her claws into his chest before completely consuming him.

“Puss..Puss!”

Drew’s focus drifted from the necklace of sweat beads trickling along her collar bone, the movement quivering through her bare breasts as she pounced, over and over again, wet flesh slapping against wet flesh. A thin veil of smoke crept across the ceiling, loomed above, and his eyes went wide. Unsure if it was from fear of the house erupting in flames or the unbridled sensations of euphoria trailing his appendages, his mouth gaped to mention the danger.

“Puss!..Oh my God, don’t stop..”

He can’t live without me, really. This entire charade he’s putting on is ridiculous. Ignoring my phone calls and text messages. Pretending not to be home when I come by. It’s all just a way for him to feel like he’s in control. To make me out to be the crazy one. Yeah, right. If either of us is fucking looney, it’s Drew Fuller.

Right now his hefty boy ass is chasing me down the street at 11 o’clock at night, shouting, screaming, like a deranged Fat Camp escapee . Don’t worry, he won’t catch me. You see, Drew has put on a lot of weight over the last five or six months. Probably trying to eat his sorrows away, not-so-secretly longing for me.

Shhh. You hear that? Sounds like he stopped chasing me. See, I told you. Nothing to worry about.

Distance between them was growing wider and his energy continued to dwindle. Not exercising in months, being unable to play sports, was taking its toll. Putting an end to the engagement wasn’t proving effective either.

He looked around and a few houses ahead he spotted a gravel yard he’d driven by every day since he moved into the neighborhood. Veering towards the tiny region of rocks, his pace slowed down. She was aware of this because her dashes were now a trot. Gripping the biggest stone he could find he dashed back into the street, keeping his eye on the target. His body twisted at a 90 degree angle and pulled his stone-yielding right hand by his ear. Pivoting his left foot he wound back before thrusting his arm forward in a circular arc, releasing the rock.

It went sailing smoothly across the starless sky but his focus, undivided, remained on the moving target; golden hair swaying on a bobble head, a bobble head that within seconds of being blitzed, collided face first into pavement.

Every step I took was one of caution as I approach her motionless body. You never know with her. She’s so hot and cold, so black and white. I told her she should be tested for bipolar disorder…I used to date a girl who was bipolar. She wasn’t nearly as fucked up.

Looking at her lay there I couldn’t help but think about the things I used to do to that body. She had the perfect shape…still does. Firm ass, tiny waist, great set of tits, beautiful face. Why are the most gorgeous girls always bat shit crazy? Ugh! I hate her…I do.

You have no idea how many times I’ve thought about killing this body beneath me. Literally, so many ways I’ve thought about it. On a cruise ship for her birthday. During a hiking trip she didn’t really want to go on, but did anyway to prove how amazing a fiancée she is…was…while she bitched and moaned the whole time.

Nothing gruesome. Something simple. An accidental drowning, or maybe she’d lose control of her car because of faulty wiring on her breaks. Now, staring down at her, not moving, I won’t lie… I’m wondering if she’d fit in the cooler I have in my garage.

“Get up.” No response.

There’s no one outside. Just a handful of parked cars and the full moon hiding behind soot-colored clouds. Other than that it’s just she and I and a few streetlights. I squat down, tap her shoulder. Still nothing. There’s a small patch of blood on the back of her head, saturating her hair. It doesn’t look too serious so I flip her over.

Her breasts are the first thing I notice. I grab them, pinching her nipples between my thumbs and forefingers. Wonder what it’d feel like inside of her when she’s passed out. She’s a head case but she still gets me hard. So I slide my palms upward, over her chest, her collarbone, and I slip my fingers around her neck. I look up at her face and that’s when I draw my hands back.

Crimson is smeared across the bottom half of her face, smudged on her nasal septum, tiny trickles sliding down her cheeks. Her mouth is a little opened which is how I notice– her front teeth are missing.

I look at the pavement in front of us. Maybe they’re there? I don’t see them. I should leave her here. Right here in the middle of the street. Maybe a car will run her over…make this world a better place. I doubt it’d be that easy to get rid of Sybil, though.

“You’re the prettiest mess I’ve ever seen…”

I sound like the second coming of Ted Bundy, don’t I? But you don’t know the torture Satan’s crafty minion here, has put me through.

I used to be in love with her…the bloody broad on the pavement. She’s like those girls in the movies. The one that enters a room and all attention is drawn to her. The girl that makes all of the other girls insecure so they instantly hate that slut and her fake Louis Vuitton bag, while the guys are secretly thinking I wonder what she tastes like. When you first meet her she’s real charming too. She’s got her sports trivia down and a tongue so sharp it could split hairs. That’s long before you realize it’s going to spend more time slicing you up like a pig carcass hanging in a butcher shop.

I first saw her four years ago, strutting around campus at Arizona State. She was usually by herself and I never really saw her talking to anyone. Always in her own little world, either listening to the music blaring from her earbuds or with her nose in a text book. It was my senior year and I had, I guess, a reputation for being a ladies man and she looked like the kind of girl that could catch a whiff of bullshit from a mile away.

When I spotted her at an off campus party, I couldn’t help myself. I wore my badge of liquid courage and I approached her.

“Hey.”

She met his greeting with a poker face.

“What’s your name?”

A smirk “Do you really care?”

“Of course I do, that’s why I asked.”

“What do you think?”

He rubbed his chin and observed her, his vision molesting her face, slipping in between her cleavage, sliding down her navel then making its way between the length of her legs.

“You look really sexy…sensual, but I can tell you’re smart…clever. You almost look innocent, but there’s something about your eyes. You look like a cat.”

“A Cat?” She chuckled

He had made her smile and for whatever reason, it made him smile. When her teeth came out from behind that mysterious mouth of hers, she wasn’t as intimidating. It almost made her seem childlike.

“Yeah. Kitty. Kitten. Feline. Pussy. You know.”

“No, you know.”

“I know what?”

“Pussy.” She raised a brow and stared at him.

Caught off guard, he stood there, fingers sweaty, wrapped around a red plastic cup. Had she really just made that bold of a statement? How was he going to respond without being deemed either chauvinistic or womanizing?

“Cat got your tongue?”

He nodded “You’ve had my tongue all night.”

She laughed “Oh, I forgot. I’m the cat.”

“Yeah. You’re a regular Miss Galore.”

“I should hope not,” She winked, sauntering by him into the darkened living room turned dance floor “For your sake.”

He left his thoughts behind. His let his body follow hers.

That was my senior year. We won the National Championship Game. I averaged 181 tackles that season; more than I ever have! 35 tackles for losses, 7 sacks, 3 interceptions. I was drafted in round one, 6% body fat, triathlon completer, gym junkie …and now I can’t catch this bitch running in a pair of high heels.

At twenty-two I was already a second string middle linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals. I was the protégé of a veteran linebacker. 38 years old and practically legendary, he was a great player, but every day he was getting older and every day I was getting better. I was going to be first string, starter until I had my accident.

I was in a great place. An amazing place in all facets of my life. All of these dreams I’d conjured up in my head since I was a little boy were finally here. I was a college graduate pro-athlete living with a woman I knew I was going to marry. She was a lot to deal with sometimes, a mouthful most times, but she made me feel what I had never experienced before. Sure, we fought and argued a lot, but all couples do. I proposed to her after my first year in the NFL.

The night before, we got into a heated argument. If you ask her, she’ll tell you I’m the jealous one. Secretive, possessive, always with an ulterior motive. Horse shit. She talks a good talk. Her mouth says one thing, but those roaming eyes of hers say different. I figured, I’ve been thinking about marrying this girl for months now. She’s not much of a cook but she’s learning, she’s smart as fuck, she’s got goals and ambitions, and she gives the best blow jobs I’ve ever had. Seriously, the things she does with her tongue…and her hand, mouth coordination…man.

We went to bed that night and said nary a word to one another. Morning arrived and she woke up. I wasn’t asleep next to her. She propped herself up on her elbows and whipped her head to where mine should have been and on my pillow lay my late grandmother’s engagement ring. Of course she said yes. Of course it was followed by some of the best fucking of my life.

Careless, Drew tossed the enervated body over his shoulder and trekked back towards the home he had abandoned, door open, lights on, fifteen minutes earlier. He dropped her in the passenger seat of his convertible and watched as her head slumped forward and droplets of blood splattered on her bare thighs. He threw an oil stained towel over her lap because blood was a pain in the ass to remove from leather seats.

The ash filled satchel was kicked into his house before he shut everything off and locked up. Not bothering to buckle her seat belt he sped out of his garage and she rocked and swayed with every turn of the steering wheel. Then the two were on their way to the nearest emergency room.

The day of my accident I met with a young woman named Angel at a nearby cafe. She worked at a jewelry store my friend recommended so I talked to her about some ideas I had for different rings and necklaces. I knew my fiancée wasn’t thrilled about the old school design of my grandmother’s engagement ring and I wanted her to have one she could show off.

Later that day I met up with my soon to be wife for some rock climbing. She was eager to climb which shocked the hell out of me. I stood back as she looked at the structural geology, checking for fractures and cracks. When she volunteered to do the anchoring I told her to go for it. I loved that she was finally warming up to an activity I enjoyed. She collected the pitons and aluminum chockstones before making it about 15 feet up and vanishing into the mouth of a small cave. Down dropped a lengthy piece of rope.

“You alright?” I shouted, securing my harness.

“I’m fine,” She responded “Come on up!”

I’m not sure what happened. The anchor wasn’t sturdy and gave way. I managed to break the fall…with my body. A broken ankle and dislocated shoulder later and I was sitting out the upcoming season.

I worked my ass off during physical therapy. I had to come back harder, stronger, faster. I had finally had a taste of the life I wanted and that wasn’t enough.

“I don’t know what to do. I’m losing weight..lost muscle mass.”

“Is that bad?”

“Yes! I’m a fucking linebacker, Puss! What are you, stupid?”

“You cheat death and suddenly you’re fearless? That’s real cute. Fearless or not, they all fall down when you run them over with a car.”

And that was the shit I hated. She always had some smart ass comment. Never could I have the last say.

“I’m sorry, Puss.”

“I know you are,” She gazed at her reflection in a hand mirror “You’re one sorry mother fucker.”

I rolled my eyes “I was thinking…I know this guy. He could get me…”

“…get you what?”

“You know…”

“Oh, that’s right,” She slapped her forehead before gawking at me “ I’m a mind reader! How on earth did I forget? Of course I know what you’re talking about without you giving me any sort of details. Yeah, of course I do!”

 Fucking bitch.

“Steroids…” I mumbled.

Turning towards me she hesitated.

“You inject those in your ass right?”

“Yeah.”

“You need me to do it for you? You know…since you’re all gimpy and what not.”

Walking into the bathroom, syringe in hand, she sat on the toilet as Drew leaned against the sink.

“I don’t think this is working.” He said, side-eyeing himself in the mirror.

He had noticed a roundness to his face. The definition in his arms seemed to be lessening as the weeks rolled by.

“Shouldn’t I be having bursts of energy..mood swings or something?”

“You have more mood swings than a pregnant, schizophrenic woman off of her meds. Trust me.”

She took pleasure in pulling down his basketball shorts and found the act of removing his briefs to be more than erotic. Two plump, round cheeks, not as firm as they once were, staring back at her. Her fingers grazed across his lower back and over the tantalizing flesh protruding from beneath.

“Puss–”

“I’m sorry! You’re just…so titillating.”

Sighing, he hung his head “What are you on? I’m an out of shape slob. My tits are almost bigger than yours.”

“Nonsense.”

She kissed the small of his back and the trembles sent an erection through him.

“Don’t.”

“Why not?” She quizzed, gripping his member “ Looks like you like it.”

She stuck the syringe into him. His upper right buttock clenched and she dug her teeth into the left one.

“Nutty fucking bitch!” He shouted, the expressway wind whipping against his face.

“Yeah, I gained weight alright. 30lbs…30lbs of fucking blubber!”

Ever heard of insulin? Don’t know what it does? Let me give you a quick rundown. Your pancreas produces a hormone; insulin. It’s responsible for moving all of the carbohydrates and fats and amino acids into your cells. Now, if your insulin levels are too high or too low it can have a negative impact on your health and cause you to start gaining weight. I’m a big guy…I play football. I get paid to crush, pummel, and slam into grown men moving like freight trains. I can easily consume 6,000, 7,000 calories a day.

Guess what my lovely ex-fiancée was injecting me with. Oh, go on, give it a go, guess. I’ll give you a hint. It wasn’t the steroids my buddy had given me. Here’s another clue. She’s going to school to be a vet and has access to all sorts of medications…think about it.

Glancing around, fluorescent lights shone brightly overhead and she winced.

“Thoo mush lithe.” She mumbled.

“I know. Evil prefers to lurk in darkness.”

Drew watched her look grow increasingly disheveled. She instantly shut her mouth and he could tell she realized her front teeth were missing. She was not yet aware of the bald patch on the back of her head or the seven stitches.

“Oh my Gah…oh my fucking Gah!”

“Calm down.”

“Fuck you, fat boy! My theeth.”

Writhing around in the hospital bed her screeching fluctuated in volume while she flailed like a princess out of her element. After about thirty seconds she ceased, a low growl bubbling in the back of her throat.

“You did thith,” She exclaimed “You guther crawgling peeth of–”

“No, you did this to yourself. I told you to stay out of my life. Leave me alone! But you just keep coming back. You’re like some sick, sadistic, obsessive–”

“Me?” She gasped with dramatic disbelief “I’m obthethive? You luth me, Ankrew. You luth me tho mush tha ith eaths away ath you when you’re by yourthelf. I’m awuh you think abouth when you’re shacking off thoo bad porn. A rithuh peeth uhb you dies efry thime I croth your mind becauth you wan me. You still luth me.”

Shaking his head he sat up in his chair, looking directly across the small room at this frizzy haired, bloody, perfect breasted, no-front-teeth having succubus.

Drew glanced at a pair of officers walking by the room, laughing with one another. A nurse stopped in the doorway.

“Oh…oh my, you’re..You’re Andrew Fuller.”

He nodded and gave a smile “Yes, miss, that’s me.”

“Oh…I, I’m sorry, am I interrupting? I don’t mean to be rude, I just didn’t expect to see you sittin’ here. I’m such a fan.”

“Oh, why thank you,” he stood up “That’s very nice of you.”

She sat there, propped up with a head held high. Her make up of smudged eyeliner, blotchy foundation, and dry blood. Two broken nails, hair styled like an utter catastrophe, donning a paper gown that was two sizes too big. All of this with no front teeth to bare while clenching her jaw.

Tears sat patiently in the corners of her eyes, remaining estranged to the conversation happening before her. Drew autographed a random piece of scrap paper and briefly discussed how he was currently in negotiations for returning next season. His injuries had healed pretty well and his physical therapy was helping. Apparently, he planned on getting back into the gym within the next few weeks. He never mentioned that, but freely shared this with a stranger, right in front of her

“Sweetheart,” the nurse said, her attention shifting from Drew “Are..are you alright. Are you in any pain?”

No was frail and passive as it squeaked from dry vocal chords and she pulled her knees to her chest, clutching herself like a timid little girl. Hesitant, the nurse was gracious as she thanked Drew for his autograph before leaving the room.

Once the nurse had gone he heard “Eben with thoo chinth and four thumicks you find a way thoo flirt.”

“What the fuck are you babbling about, Sandra Bernhard?”

She shot a glare across the room as she crawled out of bed and wrapped herself in the sheet.

“Oh, thath ith rish coming from Homer Thimpthon’s reaw wife thwin.”

“Where are you going?”

Without an answer she exited the room, powder blue fabric trailing behind her.

From the window he could see a handful of stars dusted across a 2am sky. Maybe she was right? Did he still love her the way a man loves a woman he wants to see behind an all white veil? Or did he love her the way a lonely man loves a prostitute? Could he still love her? A woman who injected him with animal insulin. A woman who committed murder. Kidnapped, burned and kept the ashes of a defenseless being. What turned her into this wild beast he didn’t recognize. She wasn’t like this in the beginning. Stubborn, outspoken, strong-willed, she was, but this insanity just came about within the last eight or nine months.

“Andrew Fuller?”

I watched him turn from the window and once the cops fell into his line of sight the show I had been watching earlier, the one that took place around his eyes, started up again.

“…Yes?”

I wiped my tears away and slinked backwards, pressing my back against the wall. Within my peripheral vision I could see a small group of nurses gathering, including the young woman who had just received an autograph. What do you think about your star athlete now? I thought.

“We uh, we want to talk to you…ask you a few questions.”

“Questions?”

The younger officer of the two moved in closer and in a low tone said “This young woman says that…you hit her over the head and knocked her teeth out.”

Instantly Drew’s eyes met mine. I forced more tears, felt them streaming down my face, leaving streaks of my skin exposed beneath the chipping, dry blood. I know I looked  like road kill. After all, I had been earlier that night.

“No! No, it’s not like that.”

“Mr. Fuller, we don’t want any trouble..we don’t wanna make a scene but, the nurses said that you’re the one who brought her in…and she’s telling us you did this to her. I mean…look at her…she looks like a terrified little kitten over there.”

“This is fucking bullshit!”

“Mr. Fuller, please don’t make any raucous or we’ll have to cuff you. We don’t wanna do that.”

“Arrest me for what? Where’s your proof, huh? Where’s your evidence? You wanna arrest someone, arrest her. She’s the criminal. She’s a murderer!”

“Ankrew please–” I started to protest.

“You!” Was all he said as he charged towards me.

I filled my lungs with as much air as I could inhale before releasing a blood curdling scream. I pushed myself into the wall and pulled the itchy, blue sheets eye level before slumping to the ground. I once found a letter he wrote, stashed in the back pocket of a dirty pair of cargo shorts. Somewhere in the chicken scratch penmanship read: blue looks best on you because it brings out your eyes…my brown eyes, huh?

There was a commotion but I wasn’t concerned with that. I was having my Meryl Streep moment and making it damn memorable. Oscar nomination, anyone? I felt gentle hands on me, pulling me up. Two of the nurses crowding my spotlight.

“Honey, it’s okay. Don’t worry, they’ve got him.”

He was handcuffed. Not putting up as much of a struggle as I thought, I listened as they read him his miranda rights.

“Andrew Fuller.”

“Cunt.”

“You have a right to an attorney.”

“You fucking cunt.”

“Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law.”

I love seeing him angry. It’s such a turn on. So brutish and manly when there’s rage smoldering under that cool exterior. I hate doing this to him…somewhere deep down within me, I’m sure I do. But Drew Fuller had to understand. You can’t go around stroking every cat you want to. Especially not in open areas such as cute, quaint little cafes with pretty blue eyed girls. You see, it’s like I said, Drew Fuller is full of shit. He thinks he’s God’s gift to this world so of course I had to show him, you can return any gift as long as you have the receipt.

“Puss, why?” His tone had softened and once near, he stopped walking, both officers on either side of him “Puss, why?”

“Offither…do be careful with him going down or up sthairs. I dun wan him haffing any other nasthy falls. He can be tho clueleth thometime.”

“We will, miss.”

“Oh, and–” I paused, gave my worrisome eyes “…hith girlfriendth name ith Angel. Pleath try to call her to led her know heeth there, though…she mighth be hard to reesh theeth dayths.”

Eyes wide, a light went off in his head. Suddenly, the show I had been watching was over. Drew Fuller was without expression as he was guided from the room through the cluster of onlookers that had formed. My chunky prince charming, drifting away right in front of me.

So I’ll not pull her tail,

 Nor drive her away..

 He’s killing me. Drew Fuller. How many lives does he think I have?

 But pussy and I,

 Very gently will play.

  Hm, I need a manicure, stat…I wonder what the visiting hours are in prison. 

 

 

Cinder

Posted in Dark Fiction, Literary Fiction, Prose, Short Story, Transgressive Fiction, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2012 by JC Cecala

Cinder had thin pink lips that never really parted and a penchant for pastels which his Father despised. A quiet, overlooked child with ivory colored skin, he was the youngest of three and the only boy. His Father was one of the most sought after plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills with a $1,000 tablet computer crammed full of PDF files littered with (confidential) celebrity client information. He shared a practice with his best friend, the godfather of his children.

Father doted on his two girls, attending tea parties and renting petting zoo ponies; key ingredients for making platinum blonde princesses. Their tiffany blue eyes would light up with every new English Weather cashmere hippo and Ralph Lauren lustrous taffeta dress, while Cinder’s mud colored features blended into the background.

Bleached hair, pinched noses, breasts imitating blimps, lips ready to burst, colored contacts, and fake tans that aimed for a shimmering bronze but fell short, landing somewhere between burnt orange and what the fuck were you thinkinhg? clouded his adolescence. Cinder had grown up watching these people come and go from his Father’s office, thirsting to be unforgettable but really, settling for unrecognizable.

Late nights, he’d open his bedroom windows to let the admiral and emperor butterflies in and he’d whisper to them about the living cocoons he had seen and how his Father transformed them into the most beautiful creatures he could ever imagine. Cinder would talk until his eyelids were heavy and images of (angels) pearl colored teeth and glowing skin consumed his dreams.

At five a glint ignited within him. Entranced by a buxom blonde goddess sailing across sapphire carpet and anchoring near tight faced receptionists scheduling appointments for new slabs of tortured meat. Last summer, this time, she was a rail sized brunette but his Father’s magic had solved that. Dowdy presence and dumpy posture were replaced with vivacity and a plump, high sitting ass.

“Mother,” Cinder would ask “Can Father use his magic wand on me?”

“Magic wand?”

“Uh-huh. I saw it. It’s silver and shiny and sharp on one end.”

“The only magic you’ll ever need is here,” She’d say, placing her finger on his head.

At twelve, that glint had become the nucleus of a blaze he attempted to stifle. He wrapped it up in striped Ann Demeulemeester oversized tank tops, cascading with every subtle motion. Forme D’Expression vests draped over its shoulders, nearly touching the ground, with shawl collars and asymmetrical hemlines. Valentino and Burberry lined its closets and Aubercy shoes studded with diamonds adorned its feet. But still, this was not enough. He did not feel like that gliding goddess with the platinum locks and his Father still paid him little mind.

“Mother,” Cinder would ask “Can Father use his beauty scepter on me?”

“Beauty scepter?”

“Uh-huh. I saw it. It’s cold and metallic with a blade on one end.”

“The only beauty you’ll ever need is here,” She’d say, placing her finger on his heart.

At fourteen, that blaze had swirled into a wildfire in the depths of his stomach and he could feel it rise, blackening his heart, searing his throat. He’d watch his sisters stand in front of full length mirrors, hips swaying, stuffed inside of multi-colored print dresses, their dainty feet being lacerated by the baroque cut-outs in their metallic gold leather Rupert Sanderson stilettos.

Golden brown beauties.Their natural sandy blonde tendrils were luscious as they cackled and mocked his flat, chestnut hair. Iridescent eyeshadow caused tiffany blue eyes to pop out of their heart shaped heads, fanning the flames, making his brown irises burn jade.

At fifteen Cinder was on fire. He’d sneer at his sisters, stealing their clothes when they weren’t home, trying to shove his feet into fire engine red flats and eggplant purple platform sandals that were three sizes too small.

“Mother,” Cinder would ask “Can Father use his scalpel on me?”

“Scalpel?”

“Uh-huh. I saw it. It’s hard and it slices and perfects God’s imperfections.”

She paused before saying “Why can’t you be happy with yourself? Why can’t you be more like your sisters?”

An obsidian sky devoured Beverly Hills and the only stars visible were starving in five star restaurants, standing on blood carpets, hidden behind beautiful masks, and snorting their six figure paychecks in nightclub restrooms. Cinder’s parents had a banquet to attend that evening and his sisters were stuck at home with food poisoning.

“It must have been something you ate.” Cinder guessed.

“Clearly! Rosa shouldn’t have let you help her cook!” His oldest sister exclaimed

“Do you want some more of mother’s cyclobenzaprine?”

“Yes! Hurry up with them!” The middle sister demanded.

He watched the two gobble the tiny yellowish tablets like addicts, two at a time, washing them down with bottles of Aquadecco spring water before collapsing in their beds and slipping into drug-induced comatose states.

While they lay like corpses, Cinder galavanted through their wardrobes, tossing Stella McCartney and Oscar De La Renta gowns to the floor. Leaving trails of leather biker shorts, and coated lace pullovers on Pietra Firma jewel encrusted tiles before finally, he found what he was looking for.

His parents pulled up to their mansion as the west wing was burning to the ground. Police officers held them back as they desperately reached out to the fire, crinkling their fingers, clawing at nothingness.

“My children!” Mother yelled “My children are inside!”

“Mother!”

Glassy eyes of a traumatized woman turned to the sound of what had been her name for almost twenty-two years. Mother. Thick charcoal eyeliner and smeared ruby lipstick was all she could see as, what seemed to be a ghost, crept nearer. Trudging barefoot towards her were raccoon eyes and a clown mouth bandaged up in a billowy, bone-colored chiffon dress, slouching off of broad shoulders and dragging against hard cement.

“Cinder?”

“Diane Von Furstenberg…It’s a Diane Von Furstenberg dress, mother.”

Pounds slipped from her body as hair strands broke from her scalp and Cinder’s mother died three short months after the loss of her daughters. The fire was ruled accidental and once his wife took up residency in a mausoleum, Cinder’s Father sold his mansion and moved himself and his excuse for a son into a spacious beach house  in Malibu.

Over the course of several months his Father had fallen for one of the hired help and before the close of the year he was remarried. She moved in and with her came two gigantic teenage sons and heightened hostility on Cinder’s part.

One winter day Cinder’s Father gathered his newly configured family and explained to them that he would be going to New York City to be the lead surgeon on a reality television show and shortly after, he was gone, leaving his new wife in charge.

The stepmother and her sons wasted no time lavishing themselves in riches they could now afford. Plasma screen televisions, name brand clothing they could not pronounce, and the most gaudy jewelry Harry Winston and Cartier had to offer. Cinder’s credit cards and bank accounts were soon revoked. He spoke less and less to his Father and was  eventually withdrawn from school under the false pretense that he’d be learning at home.

By spring, his closet was nearly barren, his hair hadn’t been cut in months, and without his jaunts to cosmetic stores and day spas he swore his once taut skin had become sallow and loose. He remembered his mother’s words, that beauty was in his heart and magic in his head and one evening he wished upon a star.

The next day his stepbrothers forced him to live in their two car garage because the family needed his room for storage. It didn’t take long for Cinder to realize he’d be having roommates. California mantes, squirrels, and salamanders seemed to have made this their home, hiding from red-tailed hawks and foxes, predators which they feared more than anything…until they met Cinder, who did not hesitate to crush them beneath his wide foot or douse them in bottles of car oil.

“If you want to stay here, you do as I say.”

And they did. Sneaking him protein bars and dieting pills, little pieces of his stepmother’s jewelry and his stepbrothers’ cocaine and stolen barbiturates.

“Listen here, vermin,” He stated, one night when the moon was full, swallowing a handful of rohypnol “You’re going to help me with my happily ever after. You’re some lucky squirrels and mantes…Pray you don’t fuck up.”

Cinder lay flat on the cold garage floor and shut his eyes. Start! He demanded and so they did. The mantes crawled on top of him, claws shaking as they sliced into his lips and carved horizontal lines beneath his nipples before raising the flesh. Squirrels had gathered the seagulls that swooped down and hobbled into the crowded garage, slipping jellyfish into the gaping holes in his chest. Sleek salamanders sacrificed themselves as they squirmed into the small openings on both corners of his lips before being stitched inside.

He snapped and a raccoon trotted up, hand mirror in mouth. Clutching the handle, Cinder pulled himself up before meeting his reflection. Lips pouting like those of a spoiled Laguna Beach brat, eyes snatched so far back he could now claim he was some kind of exotic Asian, European concoction.

Fingers gripped tightly around breasts that propped up beneath his chin and he turned his head to the side, analyzing the new slope of his Pinnochio pointed nose. Nice, he said before chucking the mirror down, sending reflective blades across the ground.

“But not good enough!”

He snuck into the beach house on an evening when his wicked fake relatives were gone and called his godfather.

At eighteen Cinder had become a holocaust.

“Hello?…I need you to pick me up.”

Cinder leaned forward on the icy desk in his godfather’s office, hovering over him, lips tight and brows burrowed.

“What do you mean you can’t make my feet smaller? They do it in China!”

“Cinder, I–”

“Cinderella!”

“Y,yes, Cinderella..It’s, it’s just not medically possible. I’ve done everything else you wanted.The hairline, the chin, the ribs, even though, I, I shouldn’t have. I even did the…”

Cinderella, once Cinder, arose. Decked out in a faux wrapped grey skirt and coal black sleeveless top with a scoop neck and triple layered, twirled draped panel to the front, Cinderella adjusted wrist length, scarlet satin gloves around thick, boney fingers.

“King keeps surprising me with shoes and none of them fit! I tell him I’m a size seven when I’m really a twelve. You try finding Jimmy Choo pumps that big!…You are absolutely useless! As useless as the shoes I keep having to return!” Cinderella screeched.

“…Does it always have to be a heel?”

“Excuse me?”

He hesitated, looking down at the stilettos made of glass, pressed against titanic toes  “Why do you need to dress for a runway? Why do you need to wear such high heels?”

Gliding crimson fingers through glossy hair before being overcome with a look of pity, the response was “I wear high heels because they get me closer to God.”

“God…” He echoed.

“Since you won’t help, fairy fucking godfather, don’t mind if I excuse myself. I haven’t seen my real Father in almost two years and we have dinner reservations at Ink…and a lot to catch up on.”

Cinderella watched as Father handed his keys to the valet and walked towards the restaurant, walked right passed, walked to the entrance.

“Father!”

He turned around at the sound of a name he hadn’t been called in ages and eventually spotted the figure who yelled out, squinting his eyes as he approached. Tides of butterscotch hair poured around her face and opaque blue eyes that were much too blue for the sun-chewed skin layering her body, sliced a tremor through his chest. She towered over him in six inch heels and was drowning in diamonds and rubies and Rick Owens and Lanvin.

“…Sinclair?”

Cinderella glared “No, Father! Sinclair is dead.”

“Susan?”

“They all died in a fire! Susan is dead! Sinclair is dead! Mother is dead, it’s me–”

“Cinder?” Was heavy as he pushed it from winded lungs.

“Ella!…Cinderella, Father!” She yelled.

Cinderella stood arm in arm with a man about her height when she was not wearing nude Christian Louboutin heels or black Giuseppe Zanotti booties the size of small sports cars. The couple was surrounded by a small group of people and as Father continued to stare he could catch encroaching flashing lights from the corners of his eyes.

“This is King. King Captivate. He’s an actor,” She gushed, attempting humble nonchalance as she twisted her seventeen inch waist and flaunted a porcelain veneer smile for paparazzi “He’s up for an Oscar for his role in–”

“What…what have you done?”

Cinderella sneered, adjusting those scarlet satin gloves. Did he not see how beautiful she was? How she wore enough jewelry and overpriced labels to choke a horse? Not one of the filthy petting zoo ponies those spoiled brats had ridden years ago, but a blue ribbon winner with a glossy coat and flowing mane.

She let go of King who was absorbed in himself, basking in the intrusive bulbs and fleeting attention. Once close enough to her Father, she said “I’m dead beautiful…Everybody can see it. Everybody can see what I’ve become!”

Father slowly shook his head, his mouth still agape.

“Dead…dead, beautiful.”

Jolea

Posted in Dark Fiction, Excerpt, Literary Fiction, Prose, Transgressive Fiction, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 7, 2012 by JC Cecala

I didn’t mean to kill him. My intent was not to claim a life but to protect and guard my own. Yet beneath me he lies, his body limp, chest still, eyes wide and cloudy like a tornado sky. I hover, unable to look away, that brick I grabbed, gritty and hard against my clammy palm.

Drawing in air with newly discovered ardor, electricity trailed along my shoulders, swept across my breasts, slipped through my navel and pierced my loins. Overcome, I knelt down and pressed my knees into the softness of earth. My free hand extended with force, fingertips stretching eagerly. Suddenly a hesitance struck.

Moments slipped away before I pressed my hand onto his thigh and began to stroke back and forth. The denim of his blue jeans was soft and the warmth that seeped into them from his flesh tickled parts of myself I had never known to exist. I was moved. Moved to push my hand further up. I grabbed his crotch and held it tightly.

Wet. Between my legs. I pulled my hand back and could feel my heart slamming around in the confines of my chest. My eyes darting to the right, to the left, behind me. Nobody was around. Nothing was ever around the dilapidated bridge or the rills but the running water, the brick and rubble, the trees, and myself. He wasn’t supposed to be here. This wasn’t supposed to happen…I’m not a murderer.

I’ve read about those people. The unnatural thoughts and urges. They were plastered on breaking news reports and crammed into little cement rooms to melt into lost time with every passing tick..tock..tick..tock. Always sick and derived from evil. They’re old, they’re perverted. I tried convincing myself I’m nothing like them, pressing my thighs into one another until the skin pinched. My eyelids colliding together as I focused on this high I was succumbing to. Fear. Adrenaline…Lust?

Standing up, I analyzed the area I had been spending my afternoons once school let out. There was no movement or peering eyes, no unusual sounds. Still nobody in sight. I smoothed out my blouse and before grabbing my backpack I took one last look at the body. His alabaster skin had already lost a bit of its glow. Pupils like tiny blemishes. Those thin lips that frequently wore a smug smirk were now agape and his intimidating stature seemed like nothing more than an interesting lump near the water’s edge. He was powerless. I had the final say whether or not he or anyone else agreed.

I made my way through the woods, shifting through the same eclipsing umbrage and mysterious sounds, making the same turns, drawing nearer to the unkept field that led to Lancaster Boulevard. I paused abruptly mid-way through the vast stretch of grass and wildflowers, observing the distant people walking. They resembled small, moving figurines from where I stood.

My palms were coated with fresh perspiration but there was no dirt, no blood smeared. I flipped my hands over, looking at the shape of my knuckles, veins that trailed, examining the extensive length of slim fingers leading to bitten down nails and dried out cuticles. Balling my right hand, the hand that struck forcefully with a brick earlier that afternoon, into a fist, I raised it eye level. Out popped the thumb and I turned it upright, pulling it closer to my face, watching it sway back and forth.

A young man, or so I thought, being he was a considerable distance, caught my eye. His canary polo stood out amidst the looming darkness that was dusk. As I thought about where he may have been going, where he may have been coming from, I placed my thumb in front of him just as he stopped near a crosswalk. He was now gone to me, gone in my world unless I decided otherwise.

He reappeared once I dropped my hand. Standing at the same corner, wearing the same yellow shirt, waiting for the same traffic light to change. My eyes stalked him crossing the street and the idea of following him flashed through my mind and evaporated just as quickly.

Traipsing down the boulevard I peered at the strange faces floating by like cream colored balloons begging to be popped. I had been down Lancaster countless times since I was forced to move here and each time the same vacant expressions crowded the sidewalks. Nothing filled the heads of these people outside of where to eat dinner and how to make others feel inadequate next to their own material possessions.

The sidewalk had become quite familiar to me. The cracks from which loose blades of grass sprouted, those ancient, little black gum dots, all slowly becoming committed to memory. The small shops and stores that lined the streets remained unexplored, not because I wasn’t curious, but due to the dreaded idea of human interaction. What was I to say? Something mundane that nobody cared about, such as how is the weather? How are you doing? A question that was always returned following an I’m well or Fine, thanks, even if the person only had 24 hours to live.

What about the questions I’d be asked. Where are you headed to? Where are you coming from? I haven’t seen you around here, what’s your name? All of this was overwhelming. People need to know too much yet fear the truth. Humans, living contradiction at its finest. But today, for some reason, I was craving conversation. If not conversation, perhaps just a cup of tea.

The coffee shop was quaint but not crowded and as the door swung open warmth and sweet aromas welcomed me. I was enveloped by the succulent scents of coffee beans, anise, and ambrosia before being drawn further inside. Small tables neatly spaced outside of the counter held a number of what seemed to be local college students propped up in curious poses. Clutching books, pen tips dancing across spiral bound notebooks, conversations about Simone de Beauvoir, Edmund Husserl, and last night’s party that was dispersed by campus police; they remained secluded in their own tiny universes.

My pace slowed down and I studied them, questioning what their minds were really hiding behind false pleasantries and self-righteous philosophical bullshit. A girl with a sleek, blonde bob haircut bit into her scone and listened to the ramblings of a man sitting across from her. She wore a mask of intent countenance but as her gaze glazed over, I chuckled to myself.

I had always been fascinated by how much a person would endure to feign interest. The extremes people would go through to avoid being honest, to avoid possibly offending someone at the expense of their own beliefs and opinions.

Fingers grazed my shoulder and ripped me from my train of thought. Overcome with surprise I could feel my heart climb into the back of my throat as I stepped aside and quickly spun around.

“Woah, woah, I’m sorry…did I startle you?”

It was the same canary polo I had spotted from the field. Snug around his torso and shoulders, it draped loosely over his trim waist, soft against wrinkled linen shorts.

“I’m sorry,” He continued.

Towering over me I tilted my head upward and stared into his face. He didn’t seem so massive when I was in the field, and wasn’t as old as I originally assumed. Shaggy amber locks swooped across his forehead and there was a light that shone from behind his face. With an impish grin he stared down at me and I tried to avoid eye contact but soon caught myself staring back into an inviting gaze.

“Are you using this table?”

Glancing to the small, round, wooden table he gestured towards I paused before returning my attention to him. Solemnly, I shook my head, keeping still amongst the light laughter and espresso machines hissing wildly.

“So you don’t mind if I use it?”

Again, I shook my head and continued looking into two portals that had a spark to them. They were nothing like Dennis’s as he remained lifeless beneath shadows cast from hanging tree branches, his body against cold dirt and twigs. I relived the moments I spent touching him once more but couldn’t rekindle the same fervid sensations within the binds of a dark memory. Instead my skin began to crawl like maggots twisting and turning amongst one another and I closed my eyes tightly.

Pictures of him deteriorating, decomposing, the stench of his remains all tore savagely into my consciousness. I could see his sallow face sunken in, cheekbones protruding as if trying to escape his rotting face, darkened holes where light eyes had been. Those maggots, once writhing on my flesh, now eating away at his, seething inside of a hollowing corpse. The wet, squirming sound of indulgent larvae wiggling against one another was loud and thick as it penetrated my ears and as my breathing grew violent with angst the noises closed in with a red brutality.

“Are you alright?”

My eyelids sprung open. Intense brightness invaded me. Loud shirt, loud skin, loud expression. I nodded and again, he smiled. I found something about his lips intriguing. Supple, full, and pink… they brought bubble gum to mind as I contemplated what they’d feel like against my teeth.

Still looking at me, I could feel my armpits dampening. Unable to push any florid, empty banter from the back of my tongue I was awkward when I stepped away from him and walked hurriedly to the counter where a small line had formed.

The display case was nearly barren aside from a few untouched slices of torte, miniature chocolate chip cookies, and a handful of fruit tarts. Chewing on my bottom lip I glanced up at the menus that hung above the coffee machines. They were nothing more than detachable chalk boards with colorful handwritten print but for whatever reason I found myself smiling as I browsed the selections. I think it was because they reminded me of my mother’s make-up palette.

Littered with a profusion of hues she always avoided anything too colorful or ostentatious. Flashy colors are for prostitutes and gypsies, she would say to me as a child while I watched her paint her eyelids with soft nude shades. She never taught me how to apply make-up but then again, I never asked. I knew that bothered her.

Cècile Marie Josepha was born the day before Christmas. According to grand-mère it was on account of the fact that my mother lacked patience as a child. Born in a posh suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, France in the late 1940s she was the only daughter of Arnaud Josepha, a cut-throat business man descending from a line of blue-bloods and Isabelle Josepha, a woman of modest background but great beauty and charm.

During her childhood my mother was given everything she asked, fancying herself something of a daddy’s girl, despite the fact that grand-père Josepha was terribly strict. He liked everything done in an orderly fashion and considered things such as slumber parties and play dates to be frivolous. I always assumed that to be why my mother is so neurotic and high-strung. At least, it had to have contributed.

I’m ignorant to most details regarding the story of my grandparents aside from how they met. Arnaud was attending a banquet in honor of one his dearest friends in the automotive industry, and the successful launch of a newly designed vehicle. It just so happened that Isabelle was at the same event, not toasting to new profit, but serving the guests. I had heard the story more times than I cared to, but she possessed a singular charm and an aesthetic so enthralling that grand-père was infatuated the first time she said bonsoir, monsieur.

As much as I’ve never really taken to grand-père Arnaud I’ve always had a soft spot in my spirit for grand-mère Isabelle. A soft-spoken, timid woman she never liked to ruffle feathers or be a bother…I suppose that’s why I feel protective of her. Like a china doll you’ve had since you were small, you’re accustomed to its frailty and don’t want anything to happen to it. Yet still, I’m curious to know what the ringing of shattered porcelain sounds like. A part of me despises her for the way she raised her daughter.

My mother has always had this notion of what the perfect woman consists of. As a child she was never allowed outdoors because an authentic lady was crafted to stay in the home. She was taught proper posture and poise, but had no idea how to change a flat tire. She learned what cutlery was used to eat which course of meal, but had never been inside of a kitchen a day in her life. She was shown how to curtsey but could not balance a check book, and why would she need to? Her husband would take care of such affairs.

And so this was what her life was, what it still is. Unaware of it being a modicum of reality which she was allowed. With an affluent father and a mother who was the ideal wife she didn’t think she could ask for much else, and if she did, she’d receive it as long is it held monetary value. Opulent ballrooms and dinner parties were permanent fixtures for her until she turned ten.

In 1958 she and her family moved to America. I think it’s because of effects the second World War had on France. I was always curious as to how they had managed to remain well off even though World War II had ravaged a great deal of their homeland, economically as well as culturally…but I never really cared enough to inquire. Grand-père Josepha sold his business and relocated himself along with his wife and two children to the United States.

Mother would tell me stories of how hard he worked to keep them living in a lifestyle of which they were accustomed. He ventured outside of the automotive realm and explored different areas of business such as the manufacturing of beverages and candy. He invested wisely in the stock market and turned a great deal of profit…I’m guessing, because grand-mère Josepha has never been employed and they’ve always had at least one maid on payroll.

As my mother and uncle got older they slowly began assimilating with American culture, much to the dismay of my grandparents. I had to have gotten my streak of rebellion from my mother because in her teen-years she traded in the diaphanous European dresses with intricate stitching for casual mini-skirts and sleeveless chemises. This is probably where the war at home began.

There was leniency with my uncle who was only one and a half years my mother’s junior, while my mom was held to the strictest regard. I try to imagine my mother young, with the steel exterior and dogmatic temperament. Grandpère was not hesitant to raise his voice, break valuables, or chastise back then (apparently, he has mellowed with age, but just slightly). He and my mother clashed a multitude of times and it caused friction within the home. Can you imagine? Daddy’s little girl breaking traditional rules.

That’s where I like to encapsulate her; that era of time. Standing up for herself, making raucous and errors, even if it wasn’t lady-like or proper. Her mistakes are the reasons I respect her…respected her? But now she’s a shell of that brazened insubordinate, renouncing compliance. Or perhaps she’s just morphed back into the little girl who was trapped inside of a mansion in France.

“You’re a lot less intimidating when you smile.”

That canary yellow was once again beside me.

“…Thank you,” I forced out.

“So…wh, what are you thinking of ordering?” He asked, an insincere laugh at the end of his question.

I shrugged.

“I’m thinking about a tall coffee with a shot of espresso. You know..it puts hair on your chest.”

My lips pursed and I quirked an eyebrow. The faintest shade of red lifted form beneath his cheeks.

“I mean,” He began “Not your chest, but…Uh.”

“It’s a cup of coffee…not a pint of whiskey.” I stated.

A tightness stiffened his shoulders followed by his eyes wandering every which way. I figured he was looking for something to say but as his jaw hung low, nothing escaped his mouth. I couldn’t stop myself from laughing and he looked at me with what I thought was terror but I could see his shoulders lowering and his chest expand before he joined in.

“I’m sorry,” he exclaimed.

“It’s…it’s alright.”

“I guess I was trying too hard to–” he caught himself, but so did I.

“Impress me?”

“…Maybe.”

I was next in line and a friendly young woman greeted me. I ordered a small blueberry tea and fruit tart. As I reached into my backpack for my money, canary yellow said hello to the barista before insisting he’d be paying for me.

“No…that’s alright,” I interrupted, handing her two crumpled bills.

The expression on his face would have led an onlooker to believe I ran over his childhood pet. I found it slightly dramatic and so unnecessary that I decided against resisting the smirk spreading across my face… Or perhaps I was reveling in the idea that a part of his fragile male-ego had been bruised over something so petty as paying for a small dessert and tea leaves in hot water.

“To go,” I said.

“You’re not staying?”

Turning my body towards his, my head weighed so heavy with thought it tilted to the left. Had I met canary yellow yesterday, he would’ve frightened me. The build of this giant would have evoked a feeling of uncertainty I was just getting the hang of concealing. Thousands of ideas of what he could do to me without my consent would be whipping wildly within my mind and I would have to calm myself with the self-assurance that there were people around, lights above us, and the societal need to save face still in place. Yet at that moment, all I felt was the desire to bite his lips…but I’d settle for digging my fangs into the fresh fruit tart I ordered.

I collected my food and beverage before stepping out of line, making my way towards the door.

“H,hey…what’s your name?” He called out apprehensively.

I turned towards him and pressed my back against the glass door, pushing it open with a smooth motion. Our eyes met once more and I bit my lip before spinning away from him, away from the coffee shop, and stepping back into the freshly fallen night blanketing Lancaster.

*This excerpt simply serves as the introduction to a larger piece of work…I hope you enjoyed it*