Twenty years since my first coming. Interesting how places never change. The anatomical reductionalism of the graffiti signs outside, biological body differences wrinkled in paint, still gathers audiences. People never change.
Strip it - Universals never change. The youth that painted those signs relinquished her life in the blink of an eye. A momentary attraction, the second it took for a whore to advertise her trade, and then she was annihilated. Deliciously eradicated - I watched it from my window. Our world was built upon the ideals her symbols portrayed, ruined beneath the paint of her big, red ‘X’. The erect, sturdy penis, penetrated the absent ‘O’ of the vagina, and that was the way it had always been. Woe betide any youth that sought to change that, especially when that youth was female. ‘Do or die!’ That was the rules of the graffiti. Hell…that was the rules of war!
The world was a different place back then. Our Lady of Dissolution presided over the catastrophe of the city with her castratory heels. Dressed from head to toe in bondage gear, she served as a constant reminder to men. To the weaker amongst us, her statue was a souvenir of unconscious guilt, manifesting as fantasy and fetish, punishing them for their control over her kind. To the rest of us she served as a warning, the threat of what was to come, should we loosen the reigns that restricted the rest of them.
All was in order, even if an entropic kind of order.
In our eternal city of darkness, we were slaves to insatiable pleasures; ripped from the world, from the sky, from the pools of fresh air that could cool our searing flesh. We charred from the inside out, and only the fittest amongst us had the ability to sate the fiendish flames, if only for the length of their climax. People had lost sight of the real problem. Forgot that we were little more than caged rats in our domed ‘skinner box’ - a debasory science experiment in a town that no-one would miss. Personally, I lost sight of my own salvation with a bite from the apple of that young girl’s breasts.
I waited in the shadows for the gang to disperse from her dying body then scurried to scoop her in my arms. The smell of her blood and her aroma of youth made aquiver the languid flesh between my thighs. I can’t tell you the precise moments my intentions blackened. But by the time I carried her to my apartment to fix her up, my face was buried in her raven hair, my hand lost beneath the folds of her skirt; exited at the prospect of having a slave of my very own.
It’s been so many years, and I still hear the echoes of my lust pacing the kitchen tiles - her floor-length robe sweeping the ground with her shackles. The floor was forever dusted with hair, glitter and make-up, ensuring the metallic collision of her stilettos echoed like whip-cracks through the cold, buzzing silence of midnight; enticing, inviting - demanding her punishment. Her power was unearthly, beyond logic and reason. A power so dangerous it had to be crushed daily with my hands around her windpipe.
She was my caged-bird, my doll, my Galatea. I fixed her up and sculpted her to my ultimate desire, clothed her in sexy lingerie and a robe so black it glistened with the spectrums of twilight. Her soft, receptive-flesh was smoother than the feathers that ruffled her neck, and emitted that tantalizing scent of oranges and spice. She was my dark and ominous bird of yore, my night-raven, choked to silence beneath the iron hand that ruled her.
I often thought of those women who enslaved; the ones who used their demonic powers to entice and entrap, to use and bend the powerful bodies of men. The harlots who sat in leisure while their men were sent to scavenge for food; to hunt or be hunted, by the unlawful, winged-hybrids, and the scavengers that ruled our troubled streets. I also thought of the men who did this willingly, eager to appease the witches who would allow them to drink from the potion promising to quench their unquenchable cravings…for all of five seconds. I laughed out loud at their foolishness.
We spent three years this way and never once did she try to escape me. This stupid girl was eternally grateful to me for rescuing her from the blessing that would have been death. I enthralled her, captivated her. I was her saviour, her captor, her God! How could I see that she subconsciously longed for salvation? That deep in the cave of her body, just beyond my reach, she harboured a hidden agenda. Harvested a single sperm which she sought to nourish and nurture, like a sand-grain in her oyster-shell, as though somehow hoping to give birth to Aphrodite herself, straight from the sea of the soulless.
“I’m pregnant!” She beamed one evening when I returned from my hunting rounds, having managed to scavenge some form of meat from the corpse of some discarded wench; which she never ate. I was less fussy. I only refused man-meat, and only when I could afford to do so.
“Isn’t it wonderful, Adam?” She continued, as if by some miracle the birth of a baby could cleanse the city of its problems.
That was the first time I realised her naivety was actually cunningness, and a rapid rage ripped through me, rose from my infernal embers like a creature of the deep. Before I could even remember moving, I heard the crack of the wall-mirror and felt her slender neck pulsate beneath my grip. I enjoyed the fear in her eyes as I glared down at her, and for a moment revelled in the sound of her rasping breath which robbed the room of silence. For I knew she meant to harness its power, to use it to entrap me, to tame me, to make me love her. As if love could exist in such a place.
“I…I thought you’d be happy!” she choked out amongst her sobs and tears, as though already hoping to induce some form of emotion from me. I threw her to the floor in disgust and locked her out of our bedroom.
The next night, as she applied her make up in the broken mirror, I thought I caught a glimpse of her real self, the caricature of her beauty between the broken fragments that distorted her face. And instinctively I knew that no good would come of this baby.
Soon it was not just the mirror that distorted her. The pregnancy began to drain her of her witchery-glamour, just as motherhood would drain her sexuality. She dreamed of the perfect child, of an innocence that could end the suffering. But she was too foolish to know that the succubus she carried would suckle her vitality, before sampling a parasitic taste of her next benefactor. Too foolish to realise that girl children are like that, succubae until sexualisation - when they chose to prey or be preyed upon. Little pearls of beauty and innocence, until the coating cracks, and the snake unfurls ready to strike.
So I let her get excited, let her while away the evenings knitting and sewing clothes for a baby she would never get to keep, because God knows she had no other use to me now.
I, on the otherhand, put my time to more practical use. Spent my waking hours in theatre, teaching myself the mechanics of abortion, of human alteration, of how to save the body so I could make her up again into an object I desired. I researched brainwashing, fear tactics, and tubal ligation. Never again would she have the audacity, or power to defy me! Finally I was ready.
I walked upstairs to the second floor of the apartment, where she sat crossed-legged on the cold, marble floor, staring aimlessly out of the window at the chaos outside. Her once beautiful eyes were wide like a madwoman’s, dead and reflective, sunken into the greying flesh of her face and hollowed cheeks. Her hair was wirey and unkept, as though she did not have the ability, or reason, left to maintain herself. She repulsed me, stirred my loins with anger.
I purred her name – Lillian - fingering the scalpel inside my sleeve, and her head spun around so fast I wondered how her fragile neck had not snapped or creaked from the force of it. A little colour flooded back to her face, and for a moment she looked almost pretty, like the shadow of her former self had returned. But that moment dispersed as quickly as it came when she rose to reveal her pale, skeletal limbs, parodied with the bloated bump of her belly.
As she hastened to fasten the silk black robe around her, my smile never wavered. But she must have missed the grimace of my face, because she positively beamed back at me as if her whole life had depended on this moment. As if her happy-ever-after had at last come true.
She limped towards me, a wisp of a thing in the cool faint light of the moon, seeping in from the open window behind her. A rare breeze billowed the nets behind her like a bridal veil. I reached out my arm to steady her, and she grabbed it rather more zealously than I would have expected, pressing it firmly to her gurgling stomach.
Something within her stirred and squirmed with unnatural vigour, as though it could somehow sense the threat that was coming. I flinched from it and it made her smile. “She’s been waiting to meet you” she cooed, stumbling on the spot where she stood. Her face greyed with such rapidity, I feared the blow to the floor would shatter her.
Instinct told me to lift her and she wrapped her arms around my neck obligingly, nuzzling her face into my shoulder as though I carried her over the threshold of Utopia. My Utopia - a fresh start for us both. She could have no way of knowing this, but as contentment softened her features, and her breathing began to shallow, I knew this was the right thing for her. No longer would she be afflicted by the pains of this world, because she would know no different, remember nothing but her love and devotion for me.
In the pit of myself, some long-forgotten sensation stirred; uncomfortable, intruding, at odds with my plan.
As I lay her down on her back, tucking her hair from her face, I wondered if she still had the strength to pull through this. But already, I knew, it was much too late to turn back - much too dangerous. For the sins of the parents had already been cast on the child.
I noticed her breathing suddenly become raspy behind me as I sterilised the instruments - a horrible gurgling sound - as though the world was suffocating her. As she struggled for breath, I soothed her, taking her limp wrists in mine and kissing each one before softly chaining them to the operating table, careful not to wake her. I did the same to her ankles then caressed the fragile frame of her face, smelling her hair that would soon be restored to its former glory. There was no anaesthetic. It was better she slept.
“I’m sorry” I whispered, and found that I actually was. That some small part of me genuinely regretted what I was about to do. In another life, things might have been different. It startled me to discover that I had some form of humanity left within me, but I also knew there had never been, or would ever be, a time when I wanted kids.
Grabbing the scalpel from the table beside me, I peeled back the silky folds that concealed her from me. What I saw made me sick. Her breasts, which should have ballooned with breast milk, lay deflated above the mountainous bump that had drained every drop of nutriance from the rest of her.
My eyes never left the parasitic bump of her body as I grappled for the bottle behind me, and I took several large swigs of vodka, if only to steady myself. Wasting no time, I poured a liberal amount over the pasty flesh before me. The stench of the alcohol burned and sobered me. This would be over soon.
Lightly, I pressed the scalpel to skin, and the thing inside twitched so violently it rippled her flesh with its movement. I broke the skin, and a screech so loud, so inhuman followed that the windows shook in their frames. The light bulb shattered at the frequency, so the room was aglow with the flames of inferno outside.
Suddenly her eyes shot open, stained with so much blood that not a patch of white could be seen. A deep unnerving crimson, with a whirlpool of black at its centre, distorted the world around me. Screams reverberated the room and I was no longer sure whether they came from my own throat or hers, for I could see claws start to tare through the wound my scalpel had made.
Tiny limbs began to struggle free, slipping in the gore of her body, ripping open the gash in her stomach like the zipper of an old suitcase. Although her body was quite ruined at this point - laying limply on the trembling table - it convulsed and spasmed involuntarily as veiny, black wings, shot free from her stomach and swiftly took flight, dragging her chained carcass beneath it. It struggled to release itself, shredding her body like a second skin, emerging in a suit of her blood.
It dropped her body unceremoniously to the table, so that it shattered with a sickening thud, and the limbs twisted and broke in the chains. Hair mopped the blood from floor beneath her, suspended from a head that dangled and swayed on a boneless neck, like some grotesque parody of dashboard decoration.
At last the thing turned on me, human in shape, black in the circling shadows of the room. Its wings beat to the tune of her heart, screeching her wrath to the sky, until every blood vessel pulsated dangerously against my temples. In the shadows I saw the limbs of the creature begin to stretch and elongate as the hairless head caught fire; the body beginning to curve into itself. As my vision began to subside, and the winged creature flew towards my cowering frame, I knew beyond logic and reason that those gleaming sapphire eyes would be the last thing I saw in this world.