She took one last drag of her cigarette, savoring the spicy sweetness on her tongue. She smoked Cloves when she could get them. They tasted good, and made her feel cool and left her a tad more lightheaded than her Camels do. One of her favorite things to do upon waking up was pop a Camel into her mouth and inhale, sometimes so deep that she felt a dull ache in her chest but GODDAMN, the way her head swam, and the way her vision would blur as she stunted the passage of oxygen to her brain. Such blissful removal she felt from whoever’s bed, or couch she happened to be sleeping on. This disconnection from the whole, wide fucking world in cross-eyed, delirium was worth any cancer those high-nosed assholes in white coats always threatened her with when she’d come in on her, rather frequent, E.R. visits.
E.R. visits were common, as guys had a thing for roughing her up during sex, or afterwards, as she lay drooling, semi-conscious on Klonopin, Xanax, Percocet, and Valium-anything she could nick from the patients, comatose in their own right. Anything she could swallow, or crush up and snort until kingdom come, until whoever it was that tickled her sweet spot, that night, came. And maybe because she didn’t care if they smacked her a good one in the face, maybe they could see that indifference reflecting back at them from her gravestone grey eyes, as grey as the rain falling into her face, mouth wide open like a fish. Sometimes she instigated the fights-especially with the ones that came too quick, that left her wanting. Lord, how some of them hated her after they fucked her! Hated her or loved her too hard. She loved to fuck about as much as she loved getting high. It was another drug she craved, Men. Men to fill her up and waste her, men to hold her close and whisper secrets in her ear as they slid their hands between her thighs, men who took care of her for the night, who left her free of sleeping alone, being alone. Perhaps a handful of ’em did love her, for a while. Until they realized they were all the same man, the same fuck.
Her entire being was a receptor; eager to claim bodies, orgasms, emotions, even poison. Shadows took note of her gait. So inviting was she, and so uniquely clear in her signal to others, that complete notice was achieved. Out of all the billions of people trying to dodge bullets their whole life, this woman sought to catch one, every night. She was the perfect harbor, in that she wouldn’t even notice the thing slipping inside of her, and with every widening it would climax her over and over as it grew and stretched, captivating her heart while dissecting it.
Her escapades were often public: thin legs draping out of the cabs of trucks, signature silky underwear dangling off of one foot, being ushered out of Super 8’s by nervous businessmen, looking left and right for P.I.’s wives sometimes hired to confirm things everyone else in town already knew, bathrooms of bars; somewhere in-between the vomit/shit-smell and graffiti-stained walls she’d bend over until her head swam, Camel still in her mouth, cock deep inside her and “Oh! Hallelujah Praise Jesus!” Did she scream for more! And how!
On any given night after work, she’d saunter into the bar and scan it for new blood. She’d been with a third of the town’s population of men, and some of its women, if there was coke involved. She knew she could always count on several fall-back men if there were no new faces. When she’d set her sights on one she’d feel that old familiar tingling between her legs, cheeks flushing pink, and she’d smile and laugh at his jokes, take all his compliments, all the while picturing in her mind’s eye the smooth way his cock was going to slide in, the rough way she’d ride him, and after she fucked him, he’d flip her over, spit on his dick and fuck her the hard way. Sometimes the next day brought a hitch to her step, a slight limp that only she’d notice. Man did it hurt to go to the bathroom. A lot of her E.R. visits were as much for anal tears as they were for busted collarbones, and lips. Usually when she was coked up she didn’t feel the pain that the next day was going to bring her. She loved fucking on coke. Let’s face it, she loved fucking while high on anything, anyone. Just fill the need, fill her up, please and thank you! She had several dealers on fuck rotation, so when she was short on coke, or grass, they’d hook her up for a blowjob or a quickie while their kids were at school. She always maintained a carefully stocked reserve of her own, consisting of her very favorite pills that she occasionally lifted from various patients’ rooms at the nursing home she worked at.
Now, let’s get one thing straight about her job at the home: she took damn good care of those old-timers. She’d read to the ones who never got visits and, let’s be honest, that was most of ’em. She washed their crusty cunts and leaky assholes, cleaned their shit, dressed them and put Silvadene on their bed sores, and tried like hell to rotate as many of them as her skinny ass could move. The bedsores were a bitch. She had seen, with her own eyes, several patients with gaping, festering holes that went on forever, where their ass-cheeks should have been. The smell was enough to send anyone screaming for the doors. The really old ones only weighed 80 or 90 pounds so she could usually get them situated, but once they got those god-awful sores, they were there to stay.
She complained, and complained loudly, to the nurses and the doctors but nothing ever changed around there. So, she rotated them and tried her best to lie to herself that she wasn’t going to end up in a home some day. She’d sooner throw herself off a bridge than die slow, senile, and full of holes. Most evenings that she worked she would sneak some patients cigs and beer, and let more than a few of the men catch a peep of her snatch, or her boobs. Hey! They are old, not dead.
It gave her a thrill too. There was this one old guy, Bernie; she let Bernie finger her a few times. He couldn’t get wood or anything, but he’d grin and drool, kinda like a big ole baby playin’ with his food. Bernie loved Johnny Cash, so she’d bring in some of her old vinyl she scored at the thrift stores, and various lovers’ homes, from time to time. Someone had put a turntable in Bernie’s room and they’d crank it up and shake the whole place loose! She’d come once, or twice, as he fingered her. She’d hold him to her chest and listen as he, like all the other inhabitants of that shithole, cried for dead spouses, grandchildren they never met-and never would, chances they blew, and the things they lost.
Sometimes Bernie would have random moments of eye-watering lucidity. In those moments he would very calmly tell her, as the tears rolled down his cheeks making little rivers out of his wrinkles, that she was being hunted. That she was the prettiest and the stupidest whore he ever knew. He said things choked him in the night, things he couldn’t see, things that were after her scent that lingered, ever so lightly, on his fingers. He said she was in the black, now. He sobbed and said she was too good for this world and too honest. Liars and wall-builders were safe because they were false, and tricky. She never had her guard up, and it’s led her down into the black. He had glaucoma in both eyes, but when he would talk to her in these trances, she sometimes believed she saw the cloudiness vanish, revealing bright, evergreen irises, if but for a second. She was usually pretty high when she’d let Bernie fondle her. She let him talk his weird talk; let him weep, often to the tune of Folsom Prison Blues. She’d pat all their backs, and spoon feed ’em slop, help ’em to the john, often holding their dicks as they pissed blood. So, if they had a full bottle or two of Xanax or Valium on the table, they’d never miss one or three. They didn’t need it anyhow. It wouldn’t help them. They were too far gone. They loved her and what she did for them and some of them gave her their meds in turn. She hated working there. She’s hated it for going on 4 years now and, while pilled up to the brim, she tried her best to give those people some last, piddly dose of humanity and prayed they died quickly in the night. As soon as her shifts were over she’d bid goodbye to that sad, utterly damned, fucking home, and put on her party dress. Nighttime is when her eyes shined and her pussy ruled.
Of all the billions of dead stars that wiggle their impressions over our heads, only some dare unrest the illusion that they have truly died. Burnt out and falling, seemingly forever to our eyes, this unrest comes ready, and instep with those times when human beings will believe in anything-will look for salvation in anyone, any deity, any substance, and any idea-so long as it fills a certain void they might distinguish in their hearts, or hovering around their eyes. We want, always, what is out of reach and look towards the sky, and the stars that fill it, trying to imagine what our minds, in their infinitely infantile stage, are unable to comprehend, the cataclysms we would mount just to be able to harness those stars. So strong is our desire to crack them open and eat their insides we dream about what we might be capable of even in our diminishing, fragile skin. Sometimes, undead stars carry curious things within them. Things the human body, though a vessel often, has yet to nurture into being here on earth. On any given night, they attempt, though without warning or knowledge, to bring a new presence down to us. Jealousy so fills the sky.
Inconsequential are our lives as people, and we are but movement on yet another plane, impartial, and in league with the Sun. We have refused our minds and have chosen to remain the children we are born as. Our bodies may change and decrease, and shrink away to the dust, but our desires are as they were when we first opened our eyes. Void and waiting. A human’s most desired gift, to an outsider, is our potential to be a vessel, to usher in the incomprehensible reality of something else, whether or not we are even aware. In keeping true to a human’s low nature, and how foolish we are to never stop and check our own shadows for hidden guests, the undead star and all the negative space and hunger that it harbors, had finally found its vessel. She was in the black, after all.
She never knew who she’d end up with on any given night, and it was the adrenaline of that not knowing, as much as it was the fucking, that drove her. Her mind, along with her legs and all aspects of her body were open for the taking. Men could see it in her eyes; women could smell it in her hair that wound down around her breasts in darkened spirals. Her body language was inviting to any, and all. She would fill her nose and her mouth with toxins, opening her gills even wider. Who knows what she might hook inside her? She was cool with that. Like Bernie said, she was in the black.
“Oh God, harder baby, push HARDER!” Panting and slapping stomach to stomach amidst ridiculous squirting sounds, she was pretty sure she hit the jackpot with this one. He was tall and had a long dick to match and he manhandled her just enough. She really didn’t like it when guys would hit her. She was usually too stoned to stop them and took most beatings as penance for such great fucks. This guy though, he wasn’t a hitter-she could tell. “I love you, I love you…” She repeated these words over and over as she came for the second time.
Each time she orgasms, the thing looks for safe passage inside. Her tunnels are at their widest and her mind is utterly emptied, for a time. It burrows inside of her, after easing off of the man’s penis. It had been encircled around it, in a slimy sheath that blended in with the couple’s various fluids. He wasn’t wearing a condom, though it felt like it, and she never bothered to check. She digs her heels in, gifts long, and bloody, fingernail trails across the back of the man’s neck, and down either side of his spine. He protested this, but didn’t really try to stop her from doing it. When she comes this time, it’s all she can do to not split through her own skin; she babbles inanely, screams as if their bodies were on fire, eyes rolling over white like a shark, and her back arches so bad that she almost threw it out again.
One particular morning upon waking, and then trying to sneak out of some dude’s house she found herself stuck on the floor, naked as a jaybird with a back so locked up she couldn’t even turn her head. Eventually, the guy’s 5 year old daughter walked in, saw the woman but made no sound, just stared down at her in a kind of shocked curiosity. After a while she just laughed, tears streaming down her cheeks as the kid asked her question after question. Daddy woke up about 3 hours later to the distinct picture of his daughter, sitting down cross-legged, having a one-sided chat with the naked whore he’d picked up last night who, for some reason, was laid out on his bedroom floor, pussylips flapping in the air. She was softly pleading to his child about calling someone for help. After that he decided he would just settle for fucking her in his car, or the Super 8.
Her back didn’t give tonight. The thing held it strong. Her “I love yous” still hung awkwardly in the air and the man pushed her aside as soon as her body stilled itself. He mumbled something about having to get back on the road soon, as he headed to the john. He was a long-haul trucker, this fuck. By the time he walked out of the bathroom, expectant of typical female disapproval-they always wanted to stay the night-she was dressed and gone. Any mention of love was finally dissolved within the smoky air of his bedroom. Shocked at how fast, and soundlessly, this woman dressed and departed, he looked out of his living room window. He just barely caught sight of the red scarf, woven in with her dark hair and it floated behind her in a bewitching visage as she marched down his driveway. She never looked back towards the house. Even though he could not hear them from inside his living room, the tapping of her spike-heeled boots was loud and alive, cozying up to his eardrums. He realized he now had a painful erection, and closed the curtain.
The night was not over. It was only 3am and she had plenty left to take from it.
She knew right where to go. The guy might be asleep but she could wake him up, get him up. Tapping along the pavement as the fall breeze continued to elevate her hair she began to feel a sharp prickling between her legs. The sky was full of stars and they darted this way and that, playing tricks on her eyes. Maybe it was all the cocaine, she thought. Stars twinkle, but usually stay in one place. Sure, she’s seen falling stars and meteor showers, but for all the stars to travel back and forth, as if dancing with her as she walked along the road just had to be all the drugs she did that night.
She focused on the sensation moving inside her, in rhythm with her steps. The anticipation of another fuck so soon after the last one filled her with elation. It was all she could do to keep her feet on the ground. She felt like she could float the rest of the way to the trailer park. On her way to a go-to fuck, a sure thing when all the bars were closed, all the better men were on the road, or in bed with their wives, girlfriends, boyfriends-anyone but her. She knew he would be alone. He lives alone and pines for no one but her. She loves his dedication, its something to rely on. When she gets to his trailer all the lights are off, so she tries the door. It wouldn’t be the first time she’s let herself in. He’s usually so stoned, and oblivious, she’s amazed someone hasn’t robbed, or just plain killed him yet. The door is unlocked and she opens it and steps in, taking what’s left of the night along with her.
She steps out of her boots with ease, and lays her scarf and jacket over his ugly brown armchair. His trailer is eerily quiet, not even a snore can be heard. Panties ease down past her calves. One streetlight that isn’t burnt out is her only illumination through the cramped trailer. She winds her way past stacks of books and DVDs, only once tripping over his guitar. It didn’t fall, just made a sad clanging hiss in defeat. She opens the door to his room and, sure enough, he’s alone in his bed sleeping soundlessly. The phantom fingering overcomes her and she doubles over in delirium. She feels movement inside her, a gentle tugging. She crawls into his bed, under the covers and hurriedly reaches for his cock. Startled awake by this he gasps and immediately becomes erect in her grip. He tries to talk but she shoves her tongue in his mouth and quickly mounts him. She straddles him and spreads her legs so wide around him that it hurts her. His cock slides in, deeply and she orgasms immediately. Screaming and rocking back and forth, pine needles moving up and down her thighs. She feels him come inside of her, though it’s a very far away feeling. After her ecstasy subsides a little she continues to ride him as they both come again, fluids pooling between them in the center of the bed. Fucking, to the point of blacking out she is done, and tries to slide up off of his cock.
She had not started her period that morning but knew it was due any day. When she began to withdraw herself from his penis, she felt something else slide out, cold and wetly. Single, in its misplacement amongst cum and sex juice plopped this large fleshy mass, slightly bloody and the color of infection. It was not unlike a lump of phlegm, and roughly the size of a child’s fist. It vaguely resembled a starfish. She was not on her period now. Aside from the slight pinch of bloodletting as the thing oozed out of her and the thin veins of blood around it she was clean. The mass flopped onto the man’s leg. He retched as he clamored for a tissue, a shirt, anything to grab it with. As soon as it touched his skin he felt his bowels start to empty.
He’s reluctantly fucked several women, who were on the rag, and it was always messy and gross. This was something entirely different. He looked over at this woman whom he had loved from the moment he saw her, almost 5 years ago. Her pale skin was illuminated in the darkness of the room, head lolling back. She was smiling a heroin smile. In the span of about three minutes, several irrational thoughts and visions danced through his mind at breakneck speed. He thought he saw a disgusting, diseased woman and, in that moment, he needed to kill her or he feared he would die; the whole world would die as it fell to that smile, and the shifting of her hips. He felt his teeth bare and his hands shook with fear. He had no control over it. The room was filled with repulsion and there was no sound. The mass had a weight to it, as well as an unfamiliar pungent odor. He swore that he could feel its stubby ends grope and lap at his semen. His spine felt like an icicle that had snapped and fallen. His skin crawled with heated sweat. He reached his hand out, gently. Her eyes were hidden. What neither one of them realized, or would even comprehend in their current state in those brief moments, as he wadded up the mass, that ever so slightly pulsed, in tissue, and then tossed onto his bedroom floor, was that his shadow was throttling the life out of hers. His silhouette viciously went at her, on his wall, like some morbid shadow-puppet theater show. He choked her to death on his bed.
The stars became stationary once again, their jealousy in vain as they so often overestimate the human beings who take them for granted. They do not grant wishes, they harbor life, even in their undoing. Somewhere still, on the floor of the man’s trailer, encased in Kleenex, the thing continues to pulse. Shadows lie.