Hunger

SoCS

 

Warning: Sexual Content

 

The light in his eyes the first time they touched her. A gaze could scrape, could scald, could caress. He thought he was hungry, but he had no frame of reference for what real hunger was. The eyes devoured one curve at a time, from full breasts and round hips to the gentle valleys of collar-bones and throat and contours of cheek and chin. Arch of brow, Cupid’s bow lips. And his gaze ignited.

This one was of average height, handsome in the way confident men are handsome, silver at his temples and clean-shaven. He had nice teeth. Blue eyes. The tail of a tie stuck out of the briefcase on the floor by his feet. Shined shoes and open collar.

The flush consumed her and the dance was over as quickly as it began. One kiss and he was hers, to take, to have, to finish. Body pressing her back to the cool wall in the alley behind the bar, his inhibitions gone, he pulled back from her and looked into her eyes. “Who are you?” he whispered.

He thought he knew hunger.

But no one knows hunger like a succubus.

 

 

Thank you to Linda for a great prompt. Head over to SoCS to be inspired and for the participation rules!

Immune

Just one word, one heartbeat, one misstep or right step away from disaster… never immune. Immunity is for immortals.

You trace my scars with your fingers. Paths of destruction leading down blind alleys into waiting jaws. I hear the drip drip drip, and a soft pant of breath. Is it yours? Mine?

You told me not to hope with too much abandon while you looked into my soul and saw the fallacy of your own words. Abandon is all I know. Abandonment. They entwine with one another as we do, skin wrapped in skin, wet and velvet and the slow steady thud of your heart, so reassuring. I tell you I don’t care about immortality, as long as my time is well-spent.

No one sees them but you. What you trace on my skin is an invisible mark, left by an invisible heart. If I could wrap you in parchment and put you under glass for safekeeping, I would. Holding you is like holding a whisper. Yet your teeth in my neck say different. Your fingers bruise. You claim with your sex, with your mind, with the forcible strength of your character.

I wonder who follows whom down these dark halls.

Hope

11

Nebraska held few landmarks before the blast. We navigated then by corn and wheat fields, by the occasional mail box, the direction of the power lines, the heavy smog to the east that indicated metropolitan life. The road I took to work each morning took me straight in, no twists, no hills. It was a hike, but I wanted my kids to grow up in the open, to understand that life wasn’t about always being entertained.

Ellen used to take the water glass Linny would fill for her, and sip it. There was a dirt wallow in the side yard, beneath a spreading old hickory that had been struck by lightning twice during our tenure, and she’d sit in the dirt and dig down through the poor top soil. She’d dig until she found something like clay. Then she’d add some water and work it tirelessly. Sometime an hour or more, until it felt just right in her little hands. Swiftly it would take the shape of something she saw in her mind. A rabbit or dog. A horse’s head. A figure. A tree.

When she was done she would look at it a moment and smile, and then she’d squish it up and start over.

She never needed to show, only to do.

I told Anna about her as we lay in Anna’s bed one afternoon, sweat drying on our skin.

“You should get her some clay,” she said in her sweet, soft voice. It had a thick undertone that I knew I’d put there.

“Clay? Like play-dough?”

She laughed. “No, silly. Real modeling clay. Like this,” she climbed out of bed, the late sun sliding down her back and over her bare ass like honey. She crossed to the drafting table against the far wall, moved aside a blank canvas, an armature, a coffee mug full of paint brushes and printed with “I woke up like this” and found a package. She came back, and I watched the sun spill over her heavy breasts and rounded belly. I couldn’t hide my lust for her, or my admiration. I couldn’t be with her, and I couldn’t be without her.

“Give her this.”

I opened the folded waxed paper to find six little flesh colored blocks. Small, but surprisingly heavy.

“It’s called polymer clay. Won’t make a mess, and she can sculpt it over and over, or she can make something and bake it in the oven to cure it.” Her green eyes sparked. “You know, make it hard.”
The clay was forgotten when I reached up and clasped the back of her neck beneath a curtain of red hair, and pulled her mouth hard against mine. Because that was what Anna did to me.

Those kinds of memories never faded. They lived like bee stings under the skin, and as unpleasant the knowledge it was gone was the sweetness of what had been.

I tapped the compass and searched for East. There was no sun, no bright spot through the ash cloud, or whatever it was that blanketed us. The hickory tree was gone. And that side of the house was gone, as well.

Finally satisfied I was headed in the right direction, I set off, Hope following behind.


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View

SoCS

 

The view from up here is clean, unfettered. I can watch you as you chip slowly at those walls life has erected around you. Life. Not you. I tell you this, sweetheart. It is not your fault. People hate and rage, buildings fall, society crumbles and we each deal with our own grief, in our own way. You think you are immune, wrapped tightly in that cocoon, that you put it there. But you didn’t. Life. A series of beautiful moments, interrupted by quiet, insidious ones… she won’t touch me, he doesn’t listen, I can’t, I must, I won’t, I will… cocooned. Encased.

My view is as clouded as the next person’s. By my own regrets and griefs. By my victories, too. But I watch you emerge, just for me. Just for me you break out where I can see the weeping sores and the pus and the vomit and the shit. And I am humbled. I am humbled you will let me view the atrocities with the beauties. My view of you is clean.

You are a man. And you shine through it.

I am the lucky one.

 

 

Thank you to Linda for a great prompt. Head over to SoCS to be inspired and for the participation rules!

Accumulated

SoCS

 

He accumulated that wealth of memories like the lady down the street accumulated cats. There came a point where he wondered how many of them were actually his, or if they blew in from the neighbors like tumbleweeds, to sit on the lawn and bump against the door with every breeze. The time he hiked old Buffalo and got caught on the top in an autumn squall, was that his? Or was that the young man down the street who often walked by with a pack taller than himself strapped to his back? Or the car accident that left him with a limp and revoked license… had it happened on his corner before they put in the light? Or had he read it in the Gazette? He spent his days sitting at the window, in a scatter of newspaper pages and inserts, watching life spin by, wondering if the life he recalled was one he had actually lived or merely a collection of his imagination.

 

 

Thank you to Linda for a great prompt. Head over to SoCS to be inspired and for the participation rules!

Save the Date

SoCS

 

It crept up, hid in the ordinary mundane of one day after another until the alarm on the phone chimed. You have an event tomorrow, it told her. An event? What event… surely she would remember… And it crept in, a memory around the fringes of her consciousness. The excitement of the unknown, seeing something new, feeling something new. Her mind tried to close the door on it. It felt like one of those silly cartoons, where whatever is hiding there squeezes out like play dough all around the edges, in spite of the effort to shut it.

She swiped it away with her thumb. Are you sure? it inquired. Yes. Very sure. Sometimes she thought the pain would never go away. Not the one they called a phantom in the limb that was no longer there – she didn’t mind that one. It reminded her there had once been something there. No, the pain of loss, of all those plans and hopes and dreams… the pain of living a life without him.

 

 

Thank you to Linda for a great prompt. Head over to SoCS to be inspired and for the participation rules!

Hope

10

I took Hope to bed with me for that night. Linny stayed with James. I knew we should be comforting one another in this, I knew from the beginning of the nightmare we should have been.

When the sirens went off that cool summer evening we thought it was a tornado. The skies were overcast and all was still except for some distant rumbling; but that is how tornados work. They drop like bombs, spin three minutes of wanton destruction, and suck back up into the belly of the sky.

I recalled grabbing Ellen and the twins, and shouting for Linny. But she was ahead of me, dragging Sarah and Evan across the backyard toward the bunker. She had the photo album tucked beneath one arm. She always grabbed the photo album.

I grabbed my phone. I sent a text, Tornado, love you, as I ran to pick up the boys. It never sent. The towers were already blocked, or down. We were supposed to meet within the hour, and it was my explanation for the inevitability of standing her up.

Hope sighed and twisted in my embrace. Her hair, finally dry again, tickled my lips and nose. She smelled warm, like I remembered healthy soil smelling. Clean and organic. “Papa?” She whispered.

“I’m here, baby girl. Right here. It was just a bad dream.”

“Papa.”

“Yes. Papa’s here. You’re safe.”

“Is he gone?” she said, clear as day.

My heart froze in my chest at the sound of her voice, at the clear enunciation, hardly the speech of a child muted by fear. I pushed her back to look in her face, her head resting on Linny’s pillow. “You can speak,” I whispered.

She stared at me. There were spots of color on her cheeks that showed even in the dimness.

“Who did you see?”

“The man.”

My blood ran cold. Was someone here? In the house?

“There’s no man here, honey.” I willed it to be true.

“The dead man, Papa.”

“I don’t understand.”

She moved back into my embrace and sighed.

After her breath told me she was sleeping, I slid carefully from the bed. I picked up the revolver from the table by the bed and walked carefully into the hall. I let my eyes adjust; dawn wasn’t far now. I moved down the hall and checked the bedroom where the rest of my family now slept.

The house was clear. Peaceful, even. My pulse gradually returned to normal, calmed by the weight of the pistol in my hand and the sounds of children sleeping… I sank to the floor in the hall, my back against the wall of the room where my Hope slept. I could feel her. I could see the stairs.

I waited for dawn with the revolver on my knee.


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Technical Difficulties

I am curious as to whether any other wordpressers are getting a warning that says ” ‘www.yourdomainhere.com’ may be suspended.” It then gives the options to “Fix.”

The fix just sends you a verification email that you then have to… well… verify. I have gone through this rigamarole, to no avail. I am trying to determine if this is a wordpress glitch or if I should contact someone about it.

My domain renewal is coming up, but not until October.

I’m also curious as to whether y’all can see my posts, or if I am, indeed, suspended…

Possibility

SoCS

 

He was lanky, long-legged, a conglomeration of geometric planes and angles held together by knobby joints and a hide the color of an October sunset. A white blaze snaked from his curly shock of red forelock and leaned to the right as it went from white to mottled pink and gray between flared nostrils. He squealed.

The chestnut mare snorted and nickered. She worried and fussed, licked him with her pink tongue and pushed her big shoulder against him when he wobbled. She offered her flank, but there was too much in the world to see to pause for a meal.

He was destined for great things. He didn’t look like much, weaving there in summer grass, tail stuck out, knees bent. But even then I knew. I saw him dancing in front of the judges, all harnessed grace and power, I felt the wind when he extended his trot, felt the bunch when he pranced in place, felt the connection and pride and liberation of a job well done.

I saw every possibility the day I met Cash. And I fell in love.

 

 

Thank you to Linda for a great prompt. Head over to SoCS to be inspired and for the participation rules!

Hope

9

Hope was screaming. The panic in her voice gripped and pulled me out of bed, out of darkness and toward her. In spite of our solitude the instinct was to keep quiet and not draw attention. I stumbled over something soft in the doorway of their bedroom, and went to my knees, using my hands to feel. I realized it was a small body. Hope kept screaming from somewhere in the dark. I heard Sarah’s voice, hushed, whispering Dad over and over.

I gathered up the body; it felt like James. Thin and hollow like a bird. I heard Linny coming, saw with relief she’d gotten the lantern lit. She set it on the floor and took the boy from me, and I went to Hope. She was inconsolable as Sarah tried to touch her. I reached for her, and she shrank back against the wall, still shrieking. Linny was yelling now too, desperate. “Make her stop, Jim!”

The unseen dangers weighed on us. Who was to hear? What? But for all we knew silence was the only reason we were left.

I grabbed Hope and pulled her close, muffling her against my t-shirt. She bowed her back and fought but I forced her. She smelled of sweat and fear. But she gradually quieted.

When I could be heard without raising my voice, I looked over my shoulder at Linny. “Is he okay?”

Sarah sat on one side of me, eyes like tar pits in her pale face. The other two boys huddled on the cot against the opposite wall.

“He’s hot.”

I looked at Sarah. “Do you know what happened?”

She shook her head. Hope was finally quiet, heavy sobs shaking her body. Her hands clutched at my shirt. I tried to push her back, look at her, but she clung tighter. I wrapped my arms around her, that now-familiar comfort washing over me.

Linny carried James back to the boys’ cot. She pulled up his shirt and shone the lantern on his pale, concave chest. “Rash,” was all she said.

“On his back?”

She gingerly turned him over. “Yes.”

Just like Ellen. Linny began to cry.


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