By Michelle Enelen
Wake up. WAKE UP! she screams, but nobody’s listening. Her intensity is common, an inside voice of shrieking. No one is alarmed.
His pace is slow, deliberate as a mad man making an entrance, stretching out the entrails, pulling her sanity. Mom! Her mind slips through time, hollering for her mother’s comfort. The monster laughs, your mother, she’ll be joined with us soon enough.
“Dad?” He sits in the matriarch’s chair, the one no one else is allowed to occupy. Ever. A man of small, soft-spoken words extends an open palm, inviting her to sit. She refuses him as she always has, to her mother she wouldn’t dare. The shock of his visage thins, knowing her mom will fix him good for dirtying her seat. Mentally she notes this dream for the therapist.
SIT! the monstrous voice booms. Eat! Small pink, white, and yellow confections tumble into her mouth. Candy hearts, she hates them. Mom preached abstinence of trivial things. Love was in the price tag. Her father never loved her mom enough. He refused to work for grandpa’s biopharmaceutical company and look what that got them- a teacher’s salary. She reminded him often that she could have done better if she hadn’t gone through a rebellious stage and gotten knocked-up. All Stacia’s life he did whatever mom told him to do, but he wouldn’t budge where teaching was concerned. The grandparents eventually got over their anger and gave her an allowance so she could live the way she was meant to. As a reminder of their disapproval she had to live in the only house Frank could provide, but was allowed to spend her allowance any other way she wanted, so long as he didn’t get any of it. She vacationed with her parents four times a year and spent the holidays with them, spoiling her daughter along the way. Stacia grew up a mirror of her mother, condescending to her dad at every turn. When he died the only thing that changed was their residence.
EAT! he grins at her with yellowed teeth bared. Her perfect nose wrinkles at the fake sugary crunch. She’d tasted them during a Valentine’s party at that awful public school, but it had been so long ago. Were they always so repulsive? They reminded her of a bone. She would never understand why someone would deliberately eat anything with the bone left in it. Lazy said her mother as she picked out the lobster’s tail. Lazy people have bones in their dinner.
She stares. This apparition spoke slovenly, correct grammar was the only thing her mom said he was capable of teaching her.
Good. Be Daddy’s good girl.
“You’re not my dad, my dad is dead. You better get out of her chair” she added.
Why’s that? Afraid ol’ mom’s gonna kick me out?
“No. I mean yes, not that I care, you’re already dead”.
You didn’t care back then either girl. Neither of ya did. Now don’t you worry. I aint scared of your momma no more. She and me come to an agreement so you and I are havin’ a conversation right now. Huh… these conversation hearts are good for you. They’re made with calcium and they won’t stick to your teeth because they are teeth!
Stunned momentarily, she squares her shoulders and slaps herself. Eyes brimming over she declares “Time to wake up now”.
No, you won’t be waking up anytime soon. You’re on my time now. Daddy’s time. Father time. Aint that funny? We’s gonna eat a meal together. Break bread so to speak. Finding herself seated at their old kitchen table with big bowls of steam wafting up around their faces she peeks around the table hoping his body had changed too. He leers at her, the side of his face slack, the drooling skin dripping dangerously close to the tabletop. Pick up your spoon and commence eatin’. He slurps at his food as much as his jowls.
“You can’t make me!”
A hand flashes out and smacks her. GIRL! Little girl I will make you! Ya got away with too much, you were spoiled, the both of ya. Your sour disposition made a Hell for your husband and just like me, he took it. I’d venture to say he died fucked. Semi-happy. Boss was good about that. Don’t know when he’ll be coming back though, he’s pretty tied up. Whooping and swinging his guts overhead like a lariat ready for roping, he tosses a few candies back before setting the noose. She’s so sweet now he winks, thanks to the ol’ diabetes. My Valentines were never good ‘nuff for her nor you. My momma loved those little conversation hearts, or at least had the good grace to pretend. You still wrinkle your nose at them, Ha! Like that fake sniffer knows anything! Even when I did go broke buying her flowers and them imported chocolates her parents swooped in and I’ll be damned if they didn’t just take you both to Switzerland. I could never compete. It was always the fancy wrappings for her. I shoulda listened to my own parents instead of thinking I got lucky with the rich girl. You came along and I tried so hard to make you happy, both of you. She made my life Hell, then you moved her in with your husband and even dead I felt sorry for the poor bastard. Open your mouth girl. She clamps down as long as she’s able. Ya can’t even breathe outta that thing! Laughing, he shovels in a viscous bite, she gags up bloody froth. What’s the matter girl? You used to love her vicious tongue. She practically bathed you in it, the least you can do is lick it up. You want a bite of mine? Chortling, spraying bits of blood and muscle he says I always thought she was heartless, here I find out her hearts rather good.
Alice Cooper’s No More Mr. Nice Guy gets louder. Hey baby girl, you’ve got company. If the gut-noose wasn’t holding her up she’d have cracked her head open when she mercifully fainted. The woman-thing with its straps and chains still resembled her mother-generally. Its teeth were jagged from the bit, the mouth a scarred cavern of sores, and it had been partially blinded but the ears were in perfect working order allowing it to hear the commands of the abomination driving the sled.
Hello Whelk! It’s good you’ve arrived, keeping her entertained is tedious business. Manners girl! Say hello to your husband and your mother.
She screams as the sled driver lurches for her, beaked tentacles slicing her neck. His eversible haustellum spears her lips apart and wriggles down her throat pulling the length of her tongue through the tear before sealing it. He leaves the tip spasming. With wide eyes she watches him heat the iron, her feet will be shod in modified horse’s shoes that match her mother’s. Her hands are bound in thick leather to ensure a longer running time. Whelk has places to go, deliveries to make for his Mistress. With both women hitched to his sled he’ll enjoy taking the long way back.
BEFORE HER FALL/ Love Asunder
Self-righteous heads held high, begging God for a cozy spot in the Great Hall of Heaven. Before they wise up and realize they can’t all be kings, I want one.
The Demon laughed. They couldn’t dissuade her. Said it was the kingdom of Heaven right on their pearly, longwinded brochure. Kingdoms have hierarchies, that’s what makes it a kingdom. Idiots! We are all equal in His eyes. We are more precious than his angels. And the doozy of them all, we are all made in His image. Really? All of you? What of the deformed, the two-headed and extra appendages; those born with no discernable sexual traits they supposed were the closest to the amorphous angels, but the rest? Welcome to the kingdom of Heaven where none of you are servants, no trees or grass, just streets of gold. The lack of oxygen was evident.
Kingdom of heaven. King Dumb.
God is King, so Jesus is prince? The Devils had never heard anyone use that term except referencing them, The Prince of Darkness. Hadn’t Osbourne taken up that mantle? In the time space called Hell, Ozzy was much celebrated. The Abbott brothers were recent residence. Jim and Jimmy had been here for a while. Man, you should hear the band! Robert Johnson was in high demand every time a new musician came through. That guy never got any rest. It wasn’t because he was wicked, unless you really wanted to harp on pride being a sin. Those drawn lines of righteous and wrong were so shifty, it was no wonder the religious and political were the idiot bullhorns.
Off track again. So much going on and an eternity in their hands left the minds to wander. They had promised to consider her request.
Elvis was supposedly King. While the Demon had nothing against the guy, even liked his music, they thought Jerry Lee had a deeper claim on that title. He was still touring and playing that piano like a mad man when he was eighty-three. Elvis ghosted at forty-two. Made it a might farther than the damned of the twenty-seven club, but he weren’t no eighty-three. Now there was something to be proud of. They had a reserved space of pride for the ones that made it despite their families. Jerry Lee had that pompous old pervert Jimmy Swaggart to rise against. Hank three was another the Devil had a fondness for. Kids grandpappy was a true legend, but Bocephus could be a real Bozo, yet the boy had climbed out from under that hairy shadow and made his own music. Real music. Not that machine-made mess. How did soul morph into what made money now? They’d never understand The Blues being forsaken for auto-tune. That was real sacrilege. They shook their head until it spun; not like that adorable little shit, Reagan; more like that god of wails, Arraya. He and Mr. Phillip H Anselmo were made for vocals as was the comforting sound of darkness from Mr. Cash and Mr. Steel. Oh, the pipes! They went giddy thinking about Jagger’s visits. Santana was a treasure. Janis, Alanis, Dusty, Lana, Mazzy; loved them all. They had the time.
Pride goes before destruction. Up came down. Obviously. Nobody kept going up, not that Methuselah character, not anyone. Even God was on his ass. The throne was his plateau. What line devalued confidence into stupid pride? I’m so proud of you, became vanity. People often changed their minds, tailoring it to whomever was around. They clamored for wisdom, but they’d go mad with that curse. The Devil loved books, people creating worlds on their own! One in particular had endeared itself to them, the story of Ignatius Parish. Poor kid could read people, and like King Midas or Cher, wished he could turn back time. It was easier to go along feigning belief in the basic goodness of the creatures around you, ignoring crocodiles tears. I have sinned. Yeah? No shit! That grifters family was still suckering in tons of cash, selling an invisible man. They never liked such an underhanded guy, too much like God, and that relationship was notorious as Hell.
Pride, the root of all sins, according to somebody. It really was a grey matter.
Weren’t they all?
Except maybe lust. That one was pure. White hot fire, scorching through your veins, electrifying your nerves with every accidental touch. You could escape it if you ran away at the onslaught, but once there was a connection you were screwed. An occasional glance was unavoidable. A shared laugh could be blocked from your mind. Scent was dangerous, like an animal of prey, blood in the water. A signature scent could bind you to years of memories, often abruptly casual in their reoccurrence. Nothing though, compares to touch. Even the ones that are simple as a Leyden jar, beget a connection impossible to ignore. Every touch reverberates. Expands in your mind and begins to consume. You find you’re going out of your way to be near them, to breath the same air. Perhaps you tell yourself it’s an accident, it’s just flirting, but that touch, you can feel it sizzle. A brush of the hand is an electric storm through your core. Your hair feels alive. You have gooseflesh on your arms and between your legs there’s a riot screaming to be heard. You play it off cheerful enough, but your eyes betray the hope coiled in your brain. With every touch the need increases. You feel the hunger pangs of a starving beast having scented its natural sustenance. You catch yourself ignoring everything else for a sampling of your addiction. In a moment of clarity, you’re shocked, you warn yourself away. You would never break your promise. You might even take a day or two off, try unsuccessfully to rid yourself of this dragon on your heels. You start the morning with purpose renewed. You won’t take a second look. You’re happy with what you’ve got. You busy yourself with nonsense, yet all the while your flesh is seeking just one more fix of that cocaine sweet addiction.
Yes, lust is its own animal. It has nothing in common with the others. If it’s left to fester the rottenness you feel towards everyone else will swamp you. Bog you down until you drown in the slime of your jealousy. If you feed it, feel it grow, you may not be able to outrun the monster. You’ll have to try taming it or be crushed in its grip. It has a helluva grip.
When you give in, time will cease to exist. Only touch will matter. The hair you’ve longed to tangle yourself in; the hands burning into your flesh. That sounds pretty hot, if you’re into chick-smut. But this is real life baby. Everything you ever wanted, just waiting to fuck you up.
The Devil whispered in her ear.
She was perfect for him.
How long’s it been since you could talk to someone about the things you love? You say Motorhead. She says Orgasmatron. You say movies. She smiles, we have such sights to show you. You’re about to venture into religion, but realize she’s playing ‘Cult’ when an undetected earbud is popped into your ear. The boss would have something to say about that. Probably wouldn’t be happy to see how she’s leaning into you, pressed thisclose. You want something you can never have. It’s in the songs filling your head. She’s always on your mind, right Willy? Yes Joan, I do want to touch her. The clock at work flies, the one at home seems to have stopped. Am I getting better every day Freddie, or just nearer to my grave?
Your wife asks if anything is wrong, but before you can answer she tells you her mother is moving in; your mess will have to come down. By mess she means your vinyl collection, your alphabetized games and autographed jersey. You’ve discussed it for years. After your daughter got married your wife wanted a guest room for her family. So, you waited until your son moved out. Then finally you got your game room. You efficiently pointed this out and received the loving glance she reserved for imbeciles. Dear, she said with outstretched patience, that’s our guest room. When mom comes to live with us, she won’t be a guest anymore. Right? Right. You want to…oh you want to something, take a stand, leave, cry, break a lamp. Something! So, you go for a drive. Remembering coldly how they’d thrown your Virtual Boy into the donation box. It was gone before you got home. You tried to get it back, but it was gone. Just gone.
You’re a good guy. You don’t frequent the local dive. You don’t even put strippers through college. All of your friends are married, being interrogated about what you’re doing alone on a Saturday night is not what you feel compelled to do. You drive aimlessly until you find yourself at work. Well, if nothing else you can sit in the lobby and watch the game.
Voices leaking down the hall. Someone must’ve left the T.V. on. Except you hear hers. It’s angry. It’s also scared. A man’s voice, demanding and drunk. Then she screams. It stops you dead cold. Another scream, but it’s muffled. Followed by laughter. Menacing. How could you know that? Who cares. Your senses are heightened. You can smell her sweat; her perfume gets stronger the hotter she gets. You remember this from the company picnic. Flag football and lovely legs. You wanted to tackle her. Now you’re running. The laugh continues between barks, ordering her to the floor. The hallway has gotten longer. It’s your boss, you know it is. What the Hell is going on? Should you leave, maybe they’re playing a sort of sex game and you’re interrupting. She’s been known to flirt, and it wouldn’t be the first time your boss was dipping into the resources department. You slow down to a creep, just in case. As you peek around the wall you see her face. If this is a game nobody’s told her. She’s crying and writhing from him. He’s so much bigger than her. In fact, he looks bigger than usual. You watch, frozen. He uses his tie to bind her hands. Now you won’t be scratching’ me anymore, will ya? This comes out angry, tinged with possession. He holds her hands above her head, using the other hand to pull her skirt up.
“No!” you scream, lunging for him. He’s fast and sidesteps you, laughing. You trip over his foot. Adrenaline speeds you to your feet. You bounce after him, noticing the scratches down his face. He sneers at you, giving you a moment to wonder what you’re going to do about your job. Her blouse is torn, barely on her anymore. Her hair is bed wild. Beautiful face streaked with mascara. Her eyeliner smudged thick. She looks like an actress in a dirty movie. Her tears make the scenario even more believable. He laughs, deep and devious, She’s all yours buddy. That Hellcat done wore me out. He leaves. Just like that. He turns and walks away as if all this is normal. Just another day at the office. You feel like you’re on that movie set. They’ve given you the keys to the audition room.
You start to turn, but she’s already there. Leaning into you. Helplessly bound. You’re not that guy.
You untie her pink wrists, she collapses onto your chest, wetting you with her tears. Your arms move to comfort her, she melts into you. Liquid sugar. Napalm sticky.
You hold her sobbing frame, the friction of her body shaking yours into attention, even while your brain is calculating the scenarios of this moment. Categorizing this day into an unknown column. You’re trying to make sense of nonsense, meanwhile there’s a Tesla coil wrapping herself around you. You’ve seen this show, The Thankful Woman. You know, from your self-loving nights, just what comes next.
But she turns her head before your lips can meet. You feel foolish. You just saved her from a maniac and now you think she’s in the mood?
She looks up at you, eyes so naked and vulnerable. She nuzzles deeper into you, her breath warm and wet. Tickling, causing a shiver down your spine and an urgent ache below. A maddening itch that must be scratched. Her tongue flicks your lobe. Her arms pull you even closer. She’s stronger than you would’ve thought. Want to thank you she whispers. I really want to thank you, she purrs. Her hand soft hands caress your face, guide your lips towards hers. You get lost in lips of honey, breath of sugar mints. You’re aware of the heat, her skin, temperature rising. Hands gripping, twisting into your hair. Leg wrapping around yours. I’m wet, she says, then grins impishly, sliding out of her bra. Unbuttoning your steadfastly starched shirt, peeling it off your chest. Sweating, slippery your skin together. Somebody turned up the heat. You’re feeling delirious and though you hate to break the spell you’re afraid you might pass out. Something cold down below. Her mouth is full of crushed ice and you. That doesn’t make any sense, part of you screams. The rest of you finds a muzzle and uses it. Your fingers twisting into her hair, guiding her head. A fever dream so real you’ll wake up with wood. What’ll your mother in law say?
Where did that thought come from? At a moment like this? He heard it again, mocking him. What will your mother in law say? Will they kick you out of your own house? The one you worked years to pay off, to furnish and refurnish when it wasn’t what her mom would’ve chosen. Oh no, the fabric was too busy. You needed something more neutral, something with class. Lord knows he has no class. Can’t believe you married him, let him put babies into you. He’s a dirty boy. Just look where he is now. He went limp, she looked up surprised.
“Did I do something wrong?” she sounded disappointed, a little sad. Instantly he felt bad. She was trying so hard to please him. Maybe he should’ve said no. The kiss was a mistake. He felt her chest hitch. Feeling like a monster, he tipped her chin, saw her damp cheeks. For a moment they looked into each other.
“Whatever you want I can do”.
Then he was inside her. Warm and squeezing, strong like a dominatrix gloved hand. He knew it wouldn’t last. It had been too long. She flipped him onto his back, riding Hell-bound. His legs tightened and he screamed in an ecstasy of pain. His eyes met hers, one of them melted, sliding like an idle snail down his cheek. He touched his fingers to the trail. Thick strings of blackened blood clung to them, holding them fast no matter how hard he pulled. At his core he was stuck; he was rooted. Like a dog afraid he had snarled and squirmed. Like a bitch, she bayed and scratched at his arms, raking him back to her. Magenta lips swelled purple and cracked. A liquid squirm below her cheeks, pushing against the flesh then breaking free. Worms of glowing radium fevered their way forward, reaching for his face. He couldn’t get away! Stretched like jelly fish tendrils, they stung him, fissuring his skin, and roiling their way inside. Accessing his eye socket, they entered en mass. Listening to their oily bodies fighting for space, like wet plastic pulled through teeth. He vomited. Her tongue lapped at his spew then curled itself into a cone and sucked inducing his gorge until she was satiated with bile. Despite the pain he wished insanely that both eyes had jellied. He couldn’t understand how he was still able to think. He should have been past consciousness. Unless this was a fucking nightmare. Look she spoke into his brain. Her hands guided his head down to their joined bodies. In desperation he closed the eye, but the suckers on her fingertips pulled the lid open, forcing his focus to the next obscenity. His treacherous cock squelched agonizingly from her warmth, but not alone. A large leech was filling itself first with blood, then severing erectile tissue. An ugly sound, like a bass string pulled past it’s limit. Snap. Sproing. The wavering of useless metal, disappointing and unnerving.
Suckered fingertips massaged his head, keeping him cognizant. His eye locked south, he watched her clitoris elongate to become a single tentacle of mucous. Searching his groin for the larger veins that hung from his ruin. Slurping overcooked noodles of tissue. Making him wretch, but there was nothing left inside him except the things still attached.
Despite the manipulation of her sucking fingertips, he started to slip. He would be grateful to die. She felt him wither. The strange node of her sex expanded and contracted in his face, like a breathing being. Smelling him, touching his face, leaving the spots scorched. Deflating itself, it claimed entry through his nostril, pushing rudely past the worn-out uvula forcing downward, the plastic cylinder of a stomach pump. The clitoris sucked inside him, drinking his stomach acid to capacity. Then crept back through his throat, burning with its reflux. It slipped out his nose, singing the nostril, deviating his perfect septum. The viper made its way through the backdoor of his frame, detaching from its owner. Her laughter joined his screams, the octaves climbing to puncture his eardrums, while the acid in back kept him aware.
Her ruined lips knitted themselves. She let go of him, her body morphing into its previous beauty. He shrank back as her hands moved to caress him Don’t you want me to touch you? Wasn’t I always on your mind? You’re going to eat yourself alive. Her voice echoed through his brain as she pulled her lips away, leaving a contingency of flies to revel in his slow decay.
Raised by Pentecostal preachers, horror was not a readily available commodity. As her love grew, her parents were occasionally summoned to school to talk about book reports and various projects that weren’t quite appropriate for her age. They were lost as to where she’d gotten such “trash”. Luckily for her, there was a librarian that understood her insatiable hunger for darker worlds. Even now, if she could, she’d live among the stacks.
Her penchant grew to include ghastly movies and music, which she’ll happily share with anyone listening. The love of horror continues with her favorite videogame, “House of the Dead, Overkill”. She’s not the best gamer, except when defending herself against the wrong monsters. Head shots are her speciality.