As promised, here is Part 3 of my dark paranormal erotic story, In The Flesh for you to read and enjoy. A few months ago, I posted a promise to myself to have more fun with my writing. As a part of keeping that promise, I started a new online serial two weeks ago called In The Flesh. Today I’m very happy to post Part 3 of In The Flesh. One of the things I love to do most on this blog is share stories that you won’t find anywhere else. Writing stories for my blog rather than just sharing observations or navel-gazes always feels much more personal, and much more like I’m sharing more of myself with my readers. Plus, it’s just flat-out fun for me!
In the Flesh is a dark and sexy story that has had several incarnations in its shorter form, but never quite worked because it needed space to grow. I couldn’t think of a better place for it to grow. In the Flesh is a blend of paranormal erotica and almost, but not quite … okay, quite possibly … horror. What I’m sharing with you, this version, is an expanding work in progress. You get it just shortly after I write it, and as far as what happens next, well … we’ll see.
I hope you enjoy it!
In The Flesh: Part 3
Back at Chapel House, Annie went straight to bed, and I was faced with the prospect of another creepy night alone. “I think I might go home,” I said, sitting on the pallet next to her, watching her struggle to stay awake. “I mean you don’t feel well, and I’m only disturbing you. If I leave now, I can be home before midnight.” Besides I’d be glad to get away from the rubbish burning, which suddenly smelled particularly foul.
“No! You can’t leave.” She grabbed my arm in a grip that was surprisingly strong. Her voice was thin, breathless, punctuated by the racing of her pulse. “Please, Susan, I need you here with me. Please don’t go. I’ll be better tomorrow. I promise.”
Once I had agreed to stay, she relaxed back into her pillows, eyes fluttered shut, and sleep was so instant that for a second I thought she had fainted, or worse yet, she was dead. There was no denying that, in the pale light, she looked like a corpse. I brushed my fingertips over her cheek, smoothing her hair behind her ears where I could see the assurance of a shuddering pulse against the translucent skin of her throat. If I watched closely, I could almost swear I could see the blood coursing through the turquoise veins just beneath the surface. She moaned softly, her eyelids fluttered and the rise and fall of her chest indicated the deep even breath of sleep. Slowly, so not to wake her, I stood and made my reluctant back to my make-shift room.
I pulled up a mindless novel on my iPhone, something light and funny. I didn’t want anything with even the slightest bit of creep factor. I just wanted to be well distracted until I could fall asleep, which I was pretty sure I wouldn’t do any time soon. I was wrong. Sleep overtook me nearly as quickly and as completely as it had poor Annie.
Long toward morning I woke with a start. The room was awash in the scent of roses, and I was certain someone had called my name. “Annie?” I half whispered. There was no reply, no sound other than the anxious breathing that must surely have been my own. Surely. The pitch black of the room pressed in all around me like another presence, so close that I felt if I switched on the light, I would suddenly come face to face with it. The bile of panic rose in my throat. I threw off the duvet and fumbled for my phone, dropping it on the mattress before I could finally slice the blackness with a sliver of light. The drop cloth curtains trembled on either side of me, no doubt from my own panicked actions, and the smell of roses thickened.
Careful to keep the sliver of light, I slipped into my robe and hurried to check on Annie. Even in the stairwell I could hear her moans. As I neared the transept the air felt charged and heavy like that moment in a storm just before lightning strikes. The hair on my neck rose and goose flesh prickled up my spine. I held my breath as I tiptoed closer. The plastic drop cloths had been shoved onto the floor in a heap, and there in the moonlight she lay, thrashing atop the altar, her hair splayed like a halo around her head, her nightie pushed up over her hips. She arched her back and cried out, reaching her arms upward to something I couldn’t see.
I wanted to run, but instead, I stood frozen, bathed in cold sweat, waiting for logic to explain everything away, as the moonlight around her seemed to explode and coalesce with her ecstasy. The smell of jasmine, Annie’s favorite flower, cloyed at my throat making my head ache. After what seemed like an eternity, the urge to flee finally took control. Heart pounding, I stepped back, hoping to leave unnoticed, when suddenly I felt a rush of wind against my face and breathed the musky odor of sex. I stumbled backward, unable to hold back a small yelp. My phone slipped through my fingers and skittered under a pew as the scent of jasmine gave way to roses.
In the heavy press of darkness, I half ran, half fell down the hall back toward my room, tripping over the edge of a drop cloth thrown across the floor and coming down hard on both knees with a breathless curse. I pulled myself to my feet gasping for oxygen, groping at the wall for the electrical switch, desperate for light – any kind of light. Though I was disturbed by what I had seen, I was more disturbed by the fact that it had aroused me even through my fear. As my eyes
adjusted, light coming in from the small window in the door of the make-shift kitchen bathed the room in monochrome grey. Another gust of wind blew the door open with a loud crash. I yelped and jumped forward to force it shut. Then I could have sworn I heard my name again, called out with such longing that I couldn’t stop myself. With hands slippery from nervous sweat, I fumbled the door open again and stepped out onto the patio. The clutter of Terra cotta pots looked like strange squat specters in the dance of moonlight and shadow. Making my way past derelict strawberry jars, several bags of ancient compost and wheeless wheelbarrow, I immerged into a large garden over grown with weeds. It was the deconsecrated churchyard, I reminded myself with a shiver. In the bright moonlight, I stood holding my breath. Listening.
Annie had taken twisted pleasure in speculating about the graveyard that had once been the back garden. She had imagined exhumed medieval skeletons taken to the London Museum to be studies and cataloged. She had imagined underground catacombs where ghosts of priests and and murderers alike scurried on secret missions, some sinister, some holy. I shivered at the thought and pulled the robe tighter around me. I had not found her speculation amusing then, and I found it even less so now. I found nothing about this place amusing. Fighting my way through a tangle of ivy I came to a stone bench that looked like it well might have belonged in a graveyard. Not wanting to go back inside Chapel House, I sat down, hoping desperately that if I thought long enough I’d find a rational explanation for everything that had happened or I’d wake up and discover it had all been a bad dream. Staying in places with intriguing pasts often brought me unsettling dreams.
I could smell roses again — old roses, not any sort of modern hybrid. Only old roses would smell so strong and so sweet amid the rank growth of weeds. As I breathed in the scent that seemed to be coming from just over my shoulder, I felt a humid breeze on my neck, brushing my nape, like breath exhaled with the settling of a kiss. The leaves rustled around
me, and the bench was suddenly in shadow. With a start, I turned to hear the sound of footsteps retreating down the path. “Annie? Hello?” I clamored to my feet and followed the rustle of leaves, the scent of roses always just ahead of me. “Annie, this isn’t funny, alright? This isn’t funny!”
I hadn’t remembered the garden being so large. It felt as though I wandered the paths for hours. My spine constantly prickled, but a quick glance over my shoulder always revealed no one following me. The paving stones were mossy and slick beneath my bare feet. I stumbled along ignoring the scratch of bramble and the sting of nettle, shoving my way through leaves damp with dew until I broke through, as though I’d just pushed aside a curtain. With a gasp, I stopped short, nearly losing my footing on the moss.
The smell of roses was overwhelming. The sense of not being alone crawled along my spine on little insect feet. In a small copse set between aging lilac bushes taller than my head and a gnarled hawthorn hedge that might have once been apart of a formal garden, he loomed over me. I swallowed back a scream just before it could escape, just as I realized he was an angel, or at least a statue of one.
Slightly more than human size, his weathered marble toes barely touched a low plinth, as though he were just alighting. One large hand was extended in invitation toward me, the other rested on his naked chest over his heart. A billowing veil of stone just covered his groin so that his perfect form, all but the most intimate of it, shown silver in the moonlight, frozen in a motion of welcome, muscles tensed in anticipation, empty eyes locked on mine.
With my heart battering my ribs, I stood unmoving, stone cold, as though I were his marble counterpart. I know this sounds crazy. And even after so much time has past, it still sounds crazy every time I think of it, and yet I knew then, just as certainly as I know now that something ancient, something primal, moved over my skin, like the brush of spider webs and dust motes, fingering its way deeper, into secret places, places in myself where even I never dare go. Whatever it was, it knew me, it understood me, and its longing for me was terrible.
The scream that echoed through the garden must have been mine, though by the time it happened, it was no longer an adequate expression of what was happening to me. I was pushed to the ground, or perhaps I fell. Looking back, it hardly matters now. I barely felt the bruise of cold stone against my buttocks and spine, lost as I was, in the realisation
that what I had feared, what I had disbelieved, was now upon me. And I could hide nothing from it because there was nothing left in me that it didn’t already know.
It closed around me, blocking out the moon, smelling of roses, hammering into me until I was certain I would break apart. And once I was certain it no longer mattered, I stopped fighting. I stopped pleading. My words became sand in my throat. And when I stopped fighting, the rock solid crushing of my soul became a gentle caress, a brush of full lips against my own, a cupping of breasts and groin, a bringing to awareness that in the midst of my own darkness, there was need, there was desire, there was lust as dark as whatever it was, whoever it was that held me, and I gave into it. The night convulsed like leaves in a storm, and I was falling through the bottom of the world, falling forever with nothing to stop me, nothing to slow my descent and no knowledge of what lie beneath. And that too no longer mattered.