“I hadn't finished that page.”
Dot, short for Dorothy, has the faintest hint of a French accent, undetectable when we first met. We didn't say much, the music was so loud we just read each-other’s subtitles; telling what we each wanted to hear, not necessarily the truth.
In more industrial clubs nobody bats an eyelid if they spot a fang or a claw in the darkness. It’s expected. With a full moon shining down, everyone is at their most flamboyantly gothic. The bright-white glow intensifies the contrast in a monochrome sea of eyeliner and leather.
“Sorry,” I say eventually, “I wasn't even reading, just turning pages.”
I was searching for someone to fuck or be fucked by. Something to scratch an itch. Something to stop the beast running rampant through the streets and, instead, staying indoors and screwing.
Now, back in a fairly lavish unknown bedroom, I’m sore-dicked and my jaw aches from several rounds of skin-pounding unprotected sex.
The room smells of candles long-since burned and wood. Oak I think. And walnut. The kind of woods you get in a stately home, the kind where someone has to use oils and waxes to keep them from cracking. But it mostly it smells of bodies. The cumin-smell of sweat and the sweet-alcohol of panting breaths. Old smoke caught in hair.
It’s hot enough for condensation to form behind the half-closed curtains. Water pools on the sill.
I want to get off the bed and open the window but Dot sits in the small of my back reading over my shoulder.
We’re reading one of those magazines that have UFO sightings and real, eye-witness accounts of paranormal activities.
We are not reading the featured article about werewolves.
Dot sits with her elbows digging into my shoulder blades. Against my ear, her lips make butterfly-wing breaths as she soundlessly mouths words. The fingers of one hand rub against my ear, the other hand runs across the little blunt spikes of silver that stud the dog collar around my neck.
Just enough silver to pacify, so that the nights don’t always end in death.
Only little deaths.
I snort into the pillow.
As I've got older, now no longer a teenager, I need more and more metallic-prophylactics to keep my dark-doggy heart pacified. So, rather than just a silver pendant or an ear-stud, I've got a ring through my nose and several around my fingers; silver-studded leather bands around my wrists and ankles. Soon, a big silver hoop through the tip of my dick.
At this rate, with all metal, I could be weighed in for scrap. And I’m willing to bet I’d fetch a pretty penny.
The magazine flops onto the pillows and I rub at Dot’s arm, pulling it close to my face to smell her skin: cigarettes, vodka and lime. I imagine the ice on her skin and lick to see if I can taste it. My tongue catches molecules of rum from many drinks ago. Sniff-sniff-sniffing at her arm, spices and vanilla are more like a fragrance than a spilled spirit.
Her perfume has the same flecks of lemonade, that sweet citric-acid, effervescent in the darkness, at odds with the dullness of her sweat. The folds of her skin scented with cumin-wax, coconut-milk, ammonia-bleach.
Dot says, “Your hands are so rough. Dogs have softer paws.”
Looking at her out of the corner of my eye, I say, “They’re working hands.”
My hands, they’re my father’s. Only my dad's nails, they aren't painted black with polish. But, like his, they are sun-browned and scarred and covered in little white keloid lumps. Strong and calloused and dexterous; they are an accident waiting to happen.
After a pause, she asks, “Working as what?”
My fingers clench into fists. I say to myself, “Sins of the father.”
She leans in closer, and I say, “We have a family business, a garage. My dad’s a mechanic, so I help out there.”
Her thumbs rub at the patches on my palms and fingers. She says, “I work alongside my father too.” With her fingers tracing mine, she says, “He’s a researcher. An occult anthropologist he calls it. A finder of rare items for the wealthy.” Her hands make little sarcastic swirls.
“Sounds fancy.” I say.
“It’s not.” Her fingers under my collar, knuckles digging into my neck as she tugs slightly, she says, “It’s mostly being a librarian. I want to do something more practical. Be out in the real world rather than reading old books.”
“Like Indiana Jones?” I say.
I am already far too sober. I say, “Do you want another drink?”
I roll over but she doesn't get off, just raises herself slightly, letting me spin beneath her.
Reaching over me, into the drawers of the bedside table, she pulls out several sets of handcuffs. They look heavy and smell of machine oil and metal. Paint has transferred to them in places.
My chest pulls crucifix-tight as she attaches each wrist to the bed frame.
I don’t protest.
Sitting on my chest, hands either side of my face, she says, “Your eyes are very pretty.”
I look away.
With her fingers running over my ears, she holds my head so I have to look at her. Her face, so close it blurs. She says, “They're so big and wet. So willing to please.”
With her thumbs on my chin she slides her fingers in and out my mouth, touching my teeth and tongue. I lick her palm. There is the bitter green of lime peel, its acid mixed with salt-sweat. Like eating fruit by the ocean.
She arches her back and, with her knees either side of my head, places her entire naked weight on my face. More salt, more bitterness. Hot against my tongue, she smells of seawater and sweat and spunk.
I hold the breath in my lungs and I can hear her ask if I'm okay.
My breath on her is plaque-spit, bitter-hopped. Her skin against my cheek has the texture of teeth. My teeth, hovering over femoral arteries, feeling them pluse through the enamel. I move my mouth again, its outline indented in her flesh. “I'm good,” I say.
There is a clatter of metal against the bed frame as my tongue reaches into her. I can taste my own spent fluids. Feel them slick on my face.
An oyster shelled.
Flint and slate and stone and rainfall.
Fine hairs between the edges of my teeth like a sheep shearing grass.
She crawls over me, leaving my muzzle wet and cooling, stroking my dick in the process.
Her soft hands slide down my shins and, pulling my legs apart, she cuffs each ankle to the bed. I am spread too wide to be comfortable. The tendons in my groin already aching.
I don’t protest.
Now immobilised, she runs a fingernail down the lumpy sole of each foot and I squirm against the sheets.
Resumuming her position at the head of the bed she rests herself against my tongue. With her hands, she pumps hard at my dick, twisting it like she’s grinding sea-salt onto steak. It doesn’t take long before we’re both spent.
We wait a beat, panting in the half-light.
I ask, “Who keeps four sets of handcuffs?”
As she slides off me, standing at the foot of the bed, she says, “Someone interested in furthering her career.”
I keep my mouth shut, sniff-sniff-sniffing the air. I can smell something on her, something beyond the sex. Something beyond satisfaction. Something more like triumph.
I can’t see her face through her hair. Hanging loosely, it sticks to her cheeks with sweat.
“Do you know how much you’re worth?” She says, grinning to herself, tapping on her phone. Taking photos. Texting. “Do you know what the people I know would pay to have you in their collection? And alive?”
She looks me up and down with her eyes glassy before pulling on a tight, black t-shirt.
She takes a vial from a drawer and, with a thumbnail, scrapes up some of the spilled fluids around my now very flaccid cock.
I am not panicking yet, but I can feel its grip tightening.
The beast is ancient. It is a spirit that lives in your bones. It is a madness, and it doesn’t care about what it does to others. But it does care about self-preservation.
Right now, it’s telling me: you should’ve killed her.
It’s saying: You didn’t, and now you’re fucked.
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As in “Rain,” I really enjoy your minimalistic, poetic style, and it works especially well here. Mysteriousness and ambiguity are definitely essential to suspense, and you use “just enough” words to motivate the audience to read on. It’s the little touches that help to slowly reveal the mystery of just what is going on here, such as Dot’s glassy eyes (is she high? keep reading and find out!), It’s interesting how this piece is quite literally character-driven; it seems that characterization moves the plot forward here - and it works. The ending of the chapter - Dot and the vial - begs me to continue reading. It sort of seems like there might be a science-fiction element heading our way in the next chapter; for some reason, I thought of cloning or some type of lab experiment, but I could easily be way off. I suppose that’s the fun, though. Nice work!
A sequence of random impressions, more or less in story order…
This line is brilliant: “We didn't say much, the music was so loud we just read each-other’s subtitles; telling what we each wanted to hear, not necessarily the truth.”
“In more industrial clubs…” Should this be “most” instead of “more?” Also, I would capitalize “Industrial” to make it clear that we’re talking about a music genre, not manufacturing.
I had a bit of trouble picturing what the protagonist actually looks like. He’s got fangs, human-looking hands, a “muzzle” (metaphorical usage?), but can apparently pass for human in public. It’s not clear to me how much “fur” (or just human-looking body hair?) he has. Maybe this is established earlier in the work?
I like the protagonist’s strategic use of body contact with silver to keep himself in check. And the strong emphasis on scent imagery is highly appropriate for a canine character.
As with “Rain,” I struggled with understanding the choreography — e.g. how Dot transitions from being eye-to-eye with him to (apparently) mounting his face.
“Her skin against my cheek has the texture of teeth.” So he’s feeling the sensation of his own teeth against his own cheek?
I think that a lot of the imagery is effective, but that it gets a bit overpowering in places. E.g. I think you could get rid of the line “Flint and slate and stone and rainfall” and not lose anything. In fact it would tighten things up a bit, in my opinion. I had trouble trying to connect those words with anything concrete or specific.
All in all, it strikes me as a very effective, updated, and original take on the werewolf trope (coming from someone who is a casual consumer of horror movies who basically never reads horror fiction).