Nick Greer 日 04/05/2024 · admin No comments

LIZARD BRAIN (EXCERPT)

They leave without paying, their drinks entrusted to the man’s tab. The gray city greets them with biting chill, raising the woman’s skin against her sable coat. A minute later they are clawing at each other in the cab. Her silk scarf rips in his fist. His zipper catches once, twice and then comes free. She pulls his cock out, her other hand making a silent shush at her lips. What they’re doing is dangerous. Her fist, slick with spit, bobs beneath the flash of billboards and marquees as the cab lapses past. He grasps her hair, trying to force her head down, but she won’t let him get off that easy. Instead she offers him a spoon of the powder she keeps in her pendant. It coats his sinuses, sending splinters of ice down his throat.

Outside his place, they fight over the keys, laughing at how many there are in his pouch. How ridiculous, everything in this monstrous world is ridiculous. He has a fob for his fitness club. The keys to the convertible he is leasing. One to his parents’ house in an outer borough. A modest duplex, a source of shame turned into the evening’s comedy. Finally they jiggle their way inside, shedding clothing across the loft, their laughter echoing. They make it halfway to the bedroom, falling onto a backless sofa. Their skin sticks to the leather and then glides as they sweat. Abstract paintings hang on the concrete walls. This means nothing, they say.

She runs her fingers through his hair as he bites at her neck, her pendant, her nipples, her ribcage. He travels down, more ravenous with every inch, before suddenly veering away up the inside of her leg. A move, but one he performs well. He likes a little hair, that sprig of salad with its springy resistance, but doesn’t complain about her grooming, her skin smooth and taut like marble with its veins visible beneath. She is a statue, that’s why she is so perfect and cold. Everywhere except inside. Her taste is sweet and metallic, suggesting she is ready to bleed or has just finished. He can feel her reluctance, savoring it, pushing through it. He pushes her against the sofa until her head dangles off, her back arched. Her eyes like jade in the calculated light. She hadn’t expected him to be this good. To let herself go, truly. Whatever it is she hungers for, he would give it to her and then some. He would break apart the labyrinth inside her and let its monster free.

She shoves him away, scooting back on the sofa with the same motion. She sits there on the edge, collecting herself while he plays the role of concerned lover. Did he push the wrong button? They can take it slower if that’s what she needs. It’s not that, she shakes her head. This is wrong, all wrong. She stands, her thoughts sending her pacing across the length of the man’s flat. She has to leave, right away. She hunts for her things on the floor, but can’t find her underwear. Looking for this? he says, twirling the garment around his finger. She grasps for it and he yanks it away, but seeing her desperation, he balls it up and tosses it to her. The same desperation from the bar, no longer a challenge but a nuisance. She should see herself. She’s being preposterous. If she wants to leave, fine, but she’s making a big mistake. She doesn’t know what she’s missing. He would rock her world, et cetera, et cetera.

His protests grow more insistent as she steps into her panties, collects her coat in the crook of her elbow, and marches towards the door. The man mirrors her movement, sporting a grin he means to come across as playful. She pushes around him and his arm shoots out, barring the exit. He props his weight against the door frame, inspecting her. Though she wouldn’t admit it, she is still worked up from earlier, her nipples plainly visible through the sheer of her dress. Her tongue flicking out to wet her lips. Skin exuding a distinctive scent, like butter laced with mint. Butter about to turn. It’s not that she doesn’t want him, but something closer to the opposite. She wants him too much, or is that the mystery powder talking? Whatever it is, it has him scheming all sorts of scenarios. They could slide the trunk out from beneath the bed, but toys are so vanilla. No, she wants something there is no lesson for. It’s not enough to fuck her body. She wants him to fuck her mind too. Her soul.

He leans off the door, inviting her to pass, but she doesn’t trust his sudden accommodation. Whatever he thinks he’s doing, he’s making a mistake. Her eyes dart towards the door then back to the man. His banal good looks, once a source of pity, now add to the menace. He is a monster hidden behind tanned skin and bleached teeth or a fool oblivious to the stakes of the game he’s playing. Either way, the result will be the same.

She makes for the door, managing a foot in the hallway before he hooks her away, giving her a shove back into the apartment. This time she rushes him, clawing and biting, managing to sink her teeth into his arm before he shoves her off, harder this time, aggravated by the pain. The shove sends her stumbling back, slamming into the kitchen island, where she slides down to the floor, defeated. He inspects his wound, more curious than anything. Her teeth have broken the skin and droplets are beginning to well, accompanied by a tingling. He brandishes his arm near her face, inviting her to inspect her handiwork. Is this what she wants? To hurt him? Or does she want him to return the favor? She cowers against the island, hoping this will turn him off, but it has the opposite effect. He brings the wound to her mouth, demanding she taste his pain, meager as it is. She refuses so he smears the blood against her lips. Just a little touch-up, he sneers before kissing her, taking back what is rightfully his.

Her dress rips without much struggle. He guides himself in, pushing through the grain that greets him. She is limp, her body giving with the movement, her eyes vacant. At first this excites him, but he soon grows frustrated, putting more and more into his snarling thrusts. He strikes her, throttles her, but still he can’t jolt her from her trance. Panic seizes him, his mind racing. What if he has taken things too far? No, she is playing with him, testing him, his limits. That’s what Mister Silver would say, but the seminar had only been a long weekend, the man’s audio cassettes, overpriced and underwhelming. Her pupils are now pinpricks, her eyes two emeralds he cannot have. Could he really be this fragile? Lesson 21—Women are not the enemy. It is your ego you’ve got to watch out for. Slay that dragon and you can have anything you desire.

He wraps an arm beneath her back, using his other to hoist her onto the island. A plate shatters against the floor, sending fruit rolling across the formica. Music blares throughout the loft, a Compact Disc meant to be worldly with its native flutes and meditative groove. He digs beneath the woman’s body looking for the stereo remote, but abandons the idea when he realizes he’s about to go soft. He squeezes the base of his cock and imagines his last acquisition, a bottle blonde with rock-hard tits he tossed around the California King. Before that it was a pale redhead studying folklore at the City University. She liked it when he made her play with herself. So much she found his number in the whitepages and hasn’t stopped calling. There was the magazine editor who wanted to be tied up. A real estate agent he fucked right then and there on the staged furniture. He left stains on the floral upholstery, something to remember him by. And then there was the Caribbean girl with beads in her hair and cocoa butter skin. She had a thing for white guys, she admitted after they finished the joint. She had been impressed by his choice in music. His knowledge of its instruments, their countries of origin. The song playing now is a mystery to him, perhaps a secret track hidden after the finale and ten minutes of silence. The chant doesn’t match the rest of the instruments. It is anxious, building towards something unfortunate but necessary. The great river has dried out and there is only one way to return to its former vitality.

He opens his eyes and there she is. The woman in the black dress. Her lips part in the barest of smiles, its pity transformed to acceptance. The music has had some effect on her, her touch warmer now. She rocks into him, a slow, mounting pressure. The relief is so great, he almost cums then and there, but gets a grip of himself. Everything up until this point has been foreplay, he realizes, steps in a dance. He takes her hands, fingers interlacing, and presses them against the marble top of the island. Her legs wrap around him, dictating their careful, sinuous pace, another rhythm in this alien song. The chanting is echoing now, returning in voices high and low, whispers and howls, urging him onwards. She nods as he squeezes her hands, inviting him to go harder, so long as he doesn’t break their gaze. The connection is palpable, almost physical, this exchange of attention and chemicals. Her musk is stronger than ever, sickening. That spoiled sweetness hinting at death, but with a dry spice to it too. A desert smell. Ancient.

Her legs tighten around his hips, driving him deeper. At some point he cums, but she doesn’t care. Only her shoulders are in contact with the marble as she swallows him into her. The green of her eyes is hypnotic, making him feel weak, so he rips away and flips her on her stomach, wishing to be in charge again. Her cheek is against the marble, her arms splayed out, right hand too close to the rosewood knife block. He grabs a fistful of hair, pulling her up to his chest, arching her spine. She wraps an arm around the back of his head, her nails digging into his scalp, spurring him on. The chanting is ecstatic, overtaken by the urgency of their rhythm. Her fingers sink deeper, slipping with the skin when it breaks. He pulls her hair harder, her back arching beyond what any other woman could take. Farther. Her fingers keep clawing around his head, inching along until they make their way back around and over his eyes. Farther.

In the darkness, the musk is totalizing. The tingling in his arm where she bit him has turned to pain, but the entire limb is numb, the effect spreading to his chest. He tightens his grip on her hair only for it to come away in his hands. His weight gives and he falls backwards, bracing for an impact that never arrives. She has wrapped herself around him, cradling him, hoisting him off the floor. He reaches for the knife block, but comes away with air. She was right. This was a mistake. This isn’t even his apartment. He is a graduate student watching the place for a rich friend while he’s off in Bora Bora. He’s sorry if he hurt her. He wasn’t really going to do it. He thought it’s what she wanted. It’s her fault. It’s that fucking powder she made him take. Just let him go, he won’t tell a soul. Please, just fucking let him go. He’ll beg, if that’s what she wants. He’ll get on his knees and everything. Please.
 

[CONTINUED IN LIZARD BRAIN, AN ANTHOLOGY OF 20 HORROR STORIES BY 20 AUTHORS.]