Biblical Apples

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Chapter 19: Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

At 10:00 A.M., Kurt was looking out the window and then woke up Mike. “Word, you’ve got to see this!”

As he got out of bed, Mike could hear the garbled sounds of chaos six floors below. The first thing he took in was the cottony layer of snow that gave the Brew Pond vista the look of a ski resort. It was a gray day, but at least the snow had stopped falling. He looked to his left and saw dozens of students sliding down the hills and into the valleys that defined the area around Fitz House and Pryor Villa. He laughed, took a quick shower, and headed outside with Kurt, both putting on ski jackets and wool caps.

“Nose, Ros, we’re running a fucking ski resort here.” A giddy Frank greeted them as they arrived at the hills. “Here, these are on the house for you guys.” Frank reached into a duffel bag and handed them two cafeteria trays. “Put these under your asses and start out on our beginner’s hill. These things really pick up speed.”

Frank sat in a folding chair at a folding table that held his duffel bag, five thermoses, and Styrofoam cups. He had a makeshift sign advertising prices and a bigger ear-to-ear grin than a used car salesman.

“So that’s what you’ve been doing with these trays?” Mike noted.

“Ros, a business man has to have a vision. I envisioned a day like this and prepared for it.” Frank interrupted the conversation to conduct business as he saw two coeds heading his way. “Ladies, rent a tray to protect your lovely hindquarters; they’re five dollars per hour, and $20 will give you unlimited weekend use. You can also go head first, and they’ll protect your pine cones,” he laughed

“You’re selling these?” Kurt asked.

“No, Nose, I’m renting them. They’re part of my inventory.”

“You’re a crazy fuck,” Mike said.

“No, Ros, $200 in two hours says I’m an entrepreneur, and I’m laughing crazily all the way to the bank.” Frank’s words trailed on the smoke that was his breath, and his rosy cheeks gave him a cherubic quality. “Hey, you want a complimentary hot chocolate?” He reached for a thermos and a Styrofoam cup.

“Why the hell not?” Mike laughed.

Just ahead of them, fellow students were sliding down the two hill options, laughing, and having the best of times. Pink-cheeked coeds wore scarves around their necks to keep warm, and their furry boots and little girl mittens matched their giggles as they slid down the hills, returned for more, unable to get enough. They were children trapped in adult bodies, turning up the snow and uncovering lost innocence.

After working up an appetite traying down the hills, Mike and Kurt joined Frank for a breakfast break. “The theme tonight will be ski resort-based,” Frank shared as he pointed a stabbed sausage patty at them. “Toots will be mixing up some hot buttered rum, and Fred has agreed to go around and take some couples pictures. We’ll be re-opening the hills at around 5:30 when it gets dark, and they’ll close, at least on our end, at around 9:00 when the floor party starts.”

“Frankie,” Mike interrupted, “I get that this is all good fun, but have you thought about the ramifications for Carol if anyone in charge sees where the cafeteria trays have gone.”

“There you go again, Ros. Right now, Carol has a little more on her mind than the fucking cafeteria trays which I will return in the spring anyway.”

Mike looked at Frank’s I-know-something-you-don’t-know grin and gave in. “What are you talking about, Frankie?”

He reached for a newspaper that he had folded in his ski jacket pocket and handed it to Mike. “Look at the headline on the front page, Wordman. Isn’t that the fucking paper you’re interning with?”

Mike grabbed the paper from Frank who had held it up to his face, and he read the headline. ‘Teacher Arrested for Sexual Battery on a Minor’. “Holy fuck!” Mike said as he read the lead. “Carter Flynn was arrested for having sex with a 15-year-old girl at Sylvan Northern. “Holy fuck!”

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost, Ros.” Frank grabbed back the newspaper. “You know Little John knows this fucker, and Water J’s taken some money from him.”

“Yeah, I know, Frankie, and it’s probably good for Water that this guy’s out of the picture, but I feel bad for Carol.”

“Now who’s shitting whom; whom is right, right, Ros?” You don’t feel bad for Carol. Are you listening to this, Nose?” he asked Kurt. “You’re probably hoping for some rebound sex considering that the wife is out of town, right?”

“Please don’t go there, Frankie.”

“Can you imagine how Carol feels right now, Ros? What has it got to be like to be a 20-year-old woman from God’s top shelf and have your pedophile boyfriend prefer some bubble-gum chewing, stinky-ass, smelly-cunt 15-year-old?”

“That’s majorly fucked up for Carol,” Mike agreed. “Fucked up even more for the 15-year-old. Does she have any space for your sympathy card, Frankie?”

Frank ignored the question and continued his course. “Then, we have a responsibility to Carol, as sixth floor residents, to make sure that she gets fucked up tonight and forgets about that piece of shit.”

“I’m up for that,” Mike agreed.

“I see where you got your by-line, Phil.” Mike called Phil Snider and initiated the conversation shortly after breakfast.

“So, you like Dominos, Mike?”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“His bust was just the tip of the iceberg. When they start calling in their search warrants, it’ll blow the lid off of this fucker, and it’ll be just like Dominos falling over each other.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of, Phil. I don’t want to see this hurt James Waters.”

“From what you tell me, I don’t want that for him either, but they’ll be looking at Flynn’s books for sure. Hopefully, whatever arrangement he had with your buddy wasn’t important enough.”

John had the Christmas party-mix on his reel-to-reel, and by 10:00 o’clock a pretty good group had formed, both in the lobby and in the courtesy room. As promised, Fred had set up a corner station with a photography umbrella and a choice between red and green for a background. Some couples took advantage of this, and others like Frank and James, who were wearing matching Jingle Bells Christmas sweaters, took it to extremes, with Frank posing by sitting on James’s lap and both grinning devilishly. John was sporting a Santa hat and sipping on some keg beer, and he was content to bide his time this way until 11:00 o’clock when the music would have to be on full auto pilot. Toots, dressed as one of Santa’s elves, was doing her part, mixing some cocktails, drumming up some potential after-hour’s business, and reminding select individuals of the other party-within-the-party in 619. The song Winter Wonderland would be played at exactly 11:00 to remind the invitees.

Nine people crowded into 619, finding space on desk chairs, the bean bag, the sofa, or simply sitting cross-legged on the floor. Joining John, Andy, Kurt, Mike, Frank, and James, was a familiar looking couple that Mike had seen somewhere on campus, and one lone-wolf shapely blonde who already seemed wasted. Andy began the festivities by sprinkling a dime bag’s worth of his weed into the bowl, and he was followed by John who added a generous portion from his Jamaican reserve, and the male from the Ken-and-Barbie looking couple reached into his jacket and dumped a good amount of whatever weed he preferred. Mike went to his room and came back with a bottle of Cuervo Especial and some plastic shot glasses. Kurt was cooking up some pizza rolls in the toaster which this time was plugged in, but conspicuous in its absence was the contribution from Little John that Frank had deposited earlier in the day.

“I guess I’m like the little drummer boy,” the blonde said, and laughing, she added in song, “Shall I strip for you pa rum pum pum pum.”

This chick is going to get herself into some shit tonight, Mike thought, but as he scanned the room, everyone was laughing, even Barbie.

“Hey, no worries,” John said, “but what’s your name?”

“I’m Toni, with an i at the end,” she said with a Marilyn Monroe rasp. “I did bring some of this.” She removed a brown vial-like bottle from her jean’s pocket and handed it to John.

“Bolt”, John read the label. “What the fuck is this?”

“It’s amyl nitrate, kind of like smelling salts. It will give you an incredible head rush for about 30 seconds,” Toni explained. “Watch me!” The group watched as she took a sniff from the bottle, and they saw her face immediately flush, and she started giggling. “Wooh Wooh!” she said. “I’m tingling everywhere!”

“Ha, ha, ha, Toni,” Frank said, “stop fucking with these guys; they’re my friends. Guys, Toni wasn’t shitting you earlier. She is a stripper, and she’s good friends with Toots. We’ll see how the night progresses, but keep your ones handy just in case.”

“Hey, Toni,” Kurt said, “let me try that stuff.” Kurt copied Toni’s demonstration and immediately turned flush, saying, “Oh, my God. I hope this doesn’t kill me. Wow! Wooh!” He shook his head from side-to-side as if to clear it.

“Nose, maybe your honker just took in too much at once; let me try that.” Andy grabbed the vial from Kurt and had the same experience.

After everyone, except Ken and Barbie, sampled the Bolt, John said, “Hey, let me get the torch.” He presented a small butane torch from his desk drawer, ignited it with his lighter, and looked at Frank. “It’s amazing what you can get in a head shop. Frankie, this was your idea, so you go first.”

Frank exhaled all the air from his lungs, placed the gas mask to his face, and breathed in deeply as John put the torch to the bowl. He removed the mask, looked at the group, and said, “Ahhhh!”, displaying the face of a baby freshly off a teat.

“Give me that,” James said. Surveying the group he said, “Bye, y’all,” and he placed the mask to his face.

There was enough dope in the bowl for everyone to have three sessions with the mask, and when John ascertained that there was nothing left, he scanned the faces and started laughing which caused a chain reaction among the group. “Man, are we fucked up or what?” he asked, and everyone started laughing again.

“Hey, Nose, slow down with that shit!” Mike noticed that Kurt was sniffing the Bolt multiple times, and he grabbed it from him. “Get up and look at your face; you look like a fucking tomato.”

The festive sounds were just white noise in Carol Frazier’s head. The purposeful conversations being had on the television variety show were unintelligible musings from blurry figures. She could pick out the fizzing sound of her rum and coke, and when she shook the pill bottle by her nightstand, it warned like a rattlesnake, and she reflected on the events of the previous day.

The God-given sway of her naked body was interrupted by a brief stumble on her way to the bathroom where she turned on the shower water, awaited its warming, and stole a glance in the mirror. The girl, a thin prepubescent, showed behind her in a white dress, straight long hair disappearing at her shoulders then emerging at her hips. Her eyes, huge perfect ovals, seeking something. The appearances, initially shocking, had grown commonplace, always on the periphery, always suggestive of some ocular phenomenon. She was never there when she turned around, yet a presence remained tangible and somehow comforting.

Carol's straight brown hair worked hard to properly frame the face it surrounded, a face with flaking and running make-up, blood shot eyes, a reddened nose, and down-turned lips. Her vision panned downward where her breasts mocked gravity with the obstinacy of youth and provided a resting place for her hair. The rain-like hiss of the water and the steam rising from its heat rescued her for she had heard and seen enough. Now in this insulated environment, she glided a bar of soap over her wet body, washing off a two-day old face while filtering the water through her hair and indulging herself through the sense of touch, allowing her elegant fingers the liberty to explore and awaken her. After enough time, she shut off the water, patted herself dry with a towel, and wiped the mirror to steal a glance. Her face, neck, and breasts were flushed, and her breathing was slowing down as she felt a gradual deliverance of peace and reason. She walked back into the room and removed pajamas from her dresser, slipped them onto her body, and then drew her attention to the nightstand.

The group exited 619 at 11:45 after a couple rounds of tequila shots and rejoined the party in enough time for John to dispense with the Christmas mix and attach a new reel of slow dance and easy-listening music. A good number of the partiers convinced Frank to re-open the slopes, and the party moved outside for some and into the courtesy room for others. About five couples remained dancing in the lobby, and Fred was packing up his studio, calling it a night for picture taking.

“Everyone’s kind of going their own ways, Word,” John said. “Hey, maybe the four of us can smoke some of the shit that Little John gave us. He motioned to Kurt and Andy who were just outside the lobby near Carol’s room. “Hey, Y.A., Nose, let’s smoke some more in the room, just us.” John saw a look of concern on their faces and asked, “Is something the matter?”

“Have you guys noticed that Carol’s been in her room all night?” Kurt asked.

“Yeah, that’s fucked up,” John said. “Maybe she’s embarrassed with what happened or just depressed about it.”

“It would be nice of us to invite her to join us,” Andy suggested, and he knocked on Carol’s door.

“Hey, Andy,” Carol greeted him through the slight opening she afforded the door. “How’s the party been?”

“Hey, Carol, I’m really sorry about what happened, but that’s not your fault. We were hoping you might come by and join us. You shouldn’t let that asshole ruin your holiday!”

“Andy, that’s really nice of you, but I’m going to ask for a rain check. I’m having a few drinks by myself and curling up with some late night TV. I’m not up for anything now, but thanks for being so sweet! Thank the guys for me, too!”

“She just wasn’t up for anything,” Andy shared as they prepared to smoke a joint rolled from Little John’s gift to them. “I feel bad for her.”

“Yeah,” Mike said. “She’s got to be feeling foolish and humiliated. Nobody deserves that!”

“Hey, Eggs,” Kurt said, “how come we didn’t pour some of this stash into the stump?”

“Nose, it’s a gift from Little John to us, and I thought we should keep it that way.”

The group watched as John rolled a fat joint, lit it, and passed it to his wingman, Andy.

As he saw Andy take a drag and go through his smoke- management routine, Mike thought of Donna and the word ‘gift’, and it somehow didn’t fit into the moment. He knew she would be calling him, and the idea of hearing her voice sounded better than anything. He looked at John and asked, “Hey, Eggs, you okay if I roll a joint for myself and crash?”

As he looked out his dorm room window, Mike saw a couple walking hand-in-hand in the snow, leaving anonymous footprints like shared secrets. His fingertips caressed the joint that he rolled out of Little John’s stash, and he thought about a Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken; he reflected on choices, impulses, and the sovereign protection of guy code. Overly tired from the long day, idioms invaded his consciousness, fluttering like snowflakes; the cat’s away, a bird in-the-hand.

The mice, John, Andy, and Kurt, had taken the main road; the cats were in Orlando, and a bird in-the-hand was just down the hall. His eyes half-closed, Riders on the Storm playing on FM, he thought of Donna taking him inside her body, the way she moved over him, her breasts filling his hands, the fragrances lent to those moments, and then came the light knock on his door.

“There’s no going back,” John told Andy and Kurt as his hand prepared to knock on the door. The trio’s eyes fixed upon one another, smiles appeared on their faces, and three quick knocks, one for each of them, initiated fleeting movement in the light filtering from under the door. By any reasonable estimation, the door creaked too loudly, given the time of the night and its visitors’ inclinations.

“Well, well, well,” her big eyes looked up at John and then took in the others, “what took you guys so long?” Her leggings having been shed, her feet in furry slippers, the man’s dress shirt that covered her body had sleeves rolled up two rungs. Toots was dressed and ready for business.

Ten small white pills arranged themselves along the heart line of her palm when she opened up her left hand. Glancing at the fresh tears mapping a route along her face, she threw the pills in the toilet and flushed, watched their downward spiral, and braved another glance at her face in the mirror before she opened up the faucet and began splashing cold water on it, taking further stock of Friday morning, dwelling in amazement on the self-preservation of repressed memories, all of which were coming to her in painful snippets. The flashbacks had been replanted, foreign at first, then growing in familiarity like some long-ago seen movie. She wondered in dread how many more scenes she had forgotten and when they would end.

“You little bitch; you fucking little liar,” her drunken mother had seethed as she was taken away in handcuffs, the stepfather’s head being pushed down into another car, the twelve-year-old self, head burrowing into the shoulder of the neighbor, saturating the blouse.

The cold water was drying on her face now, soothing her eyes that had grown weary from looking back, the resentment building inside as she thought of Friday morning, thought of Carter Flynn, thought why and how.

She had closed her eyes and allowed him to take her back, his gentle voice and imagery relaxing her, finding her trust amidst the calloused refuse, holding her hand through the journey.

The men all stank of sweat, alcohol, and cigar smoke, their pot bellies cushiony rests for forearms, their stubbly faces peering over poker hands, emotionless expressions. She stood among the foursome, at their beck and call, delivering beer bottles, lighting cigars. At twelve years, her body was lanky but rail thin even as it was beginning to change. She was horribly self-conscious in their presence, red-faced, feeling ashamed.

“Look at this will ya,” the stepfather drew the attention of his cronies to her. “Already taller than her mother, but if it wasn’t for all that hair and no dick, she could easily be a boy.” He grasped her hand and twisted it, forcing her to spin around and saying, “Look at this, boys. No tits, no ass. Just make yourself useful, Caroline, and bring us four more beers.” The men all broke out in laughter while they picked up their freshly dealt cards and arranged them.

She began crying forcefully, recounting the experience. “Oh my God! Oh my God!” He watched her and listened to her sobbing, her back initially heaving until her body relaxed under a prolonged wail, only interrupted to secure more air to feed the misery. He held her hand and felt her squeezing his with great force.

“What do you remember?” he asked when her grief began to abate into manageable segments.

She sniffed back her tears, eyes still closed, her hand gripping his tightly. “I don’t want to be here. Please bring me back,” she begged. “Please bring me back. I don’t want them looking at me and laughing at me. I’m naked! I’m fucking naked!”

He deliberately reversed the process. “You’re going back up the stairs now..... You’re leaving..... Each step is another year ahead..... You’re 13..... you’re living with your grandmother now..... you’re 14..... you’re 15..... you’re 16…”

She lay with her head on his shoulder for some time, her arm draped around his other shoulder, her light cries growing further apart. He chanced a glance at his family picture as he took stock of her tears dotting his shirt, smelled her hair, felt the heaviness of her breasts pressing through the baggy sweatshirt, and felt the heat radiating from her body. He took another glance at the picture, then looked away as her hand massaged him and tugged at his zipper.

Venturing into the foyer, Carol looked through her peephole out of habit. She took a deep breath, opened up her door, and hoped to find acceptance somewhere between the steel doors of the elevator and wherever the continuum of worn, dated carpeting might end. Along the journey, she heard a rhythmic sifting sound, and she turned around quickly enough to catch a glimpse, a planting of a skipping foot, a spectacular toss of hair, a disappearance. Upon turning the hallway corner, the substantial aura of the other presence unnerved her, and she exhaled, having reached her destination.

The innocence of pink cotton pajamas was corrupted by the suggestions that lay beneath the material. Clothing, of any kind, traced her body longingly, fingers of fabric caressing her skin, delicately going where they may in defining God’s blueprint. Even the pretense of dampened hair and a make-up free face could not stop her from turning the doorway into a picture frame. The muse that was Carol Frazier came to pose a question.

“Hey, Mike, would you be up for some company? I could really use a friend right now.” She stood unsteadily in his doorway wearing pajamas, swollen eyes, and the smell of rum, trappings of desperation.

“Carol, no, I mean yes, sure, come on in.” He stumbled to get out the basic amenity, and as she perched herself on Kurt’s bed, the phone rang.

“So how’s the party? Have you been behaving yourself?” Donna asked.

“Well, it pretty much let up about an hour ago. Some people are still traying on the hills outside, but everything is packed up in the lobby. I’m just watching some TV.” His right heel rapidly tapped into the carpeting, and he stole a glance at Carol.

“You’ll have to fill me in on what traying is,” Donna confessed. “I can’t wait to see you tomorrow night.”

“Me too.” Mike looked at Carol watching him from Kurt’s bed, a slight upturn of her lips, studiousness in her eyes. He made some more small talk to fulfill his duty to Donna who made sure that he would get out an “I miss you” to close the conversation.

“The longest you’ve been apart, I bet?” Carol asked after Mike got off the phone.

“Yeah, it is,” he admitted even as he remembered Donna’s request to never again be alone with Carol in his room, his eyes briefly vacating the present.

“Is something wrong?” Carol asked. “Maybe I shouldn’t be here.”

“No,” he said, too loudly, too emphatically. The fingers of his left hand had been absently twirling the joint as though it were a pencil stub. He saw her looking at his hand and asked, “Hey, could I interest you in sharing this with me?”

“Sure, why not?” Carol held the joint to her mouth and inhaled deeply as Mike lit it. She let out the plumes, and he imagined them as clouds in heaven.

He took a long drag and took an inventory of Carol as they passed the joint back and forth. With no make-up and her combed through wet hair, she looked younger but still impossibly pretty. Through the vestiges of her misery, she remained Carol, and for the first time, she sought some comfort in him. She had become equal, less intimidating, and possible, but there was something else in play that toyed with his perspective.

He began feeling like his head was floating above his body, and the rest of him was living for the moment. He was there, and he was not there. He was his own audience, waiting to see what he might do. “So you said you want to talk?” And he couldn’t be certain that the words had come from him.

She looked at Mike, a vagary of focus in her eyes, and moved over to his side of the room, seeming to float, before she plopped herself down hard next to him on the bed and said, “No, I said I could use a friend.” She took another hit, saw herself in his eyes, and said, “Donna doesn’t have to know.”

Echoes of “Donna” careened around the moment as she took another hit and placed the joint in the ashtray. She moved her body closer to him and let her hand run over his chest and begin moving downward, stopping over him and lightly squeezing, reflexive pulsations answering her.

“I know she’s your girlfriend,” she whispered in his ear, “but she’s far away, your dick is hard, and I’m here.”

He recognized the span of Carol’s hand as she firmly squeezed him, encompassing him, a touch that made him feel insignificant as her palm and beautiful long fingers fully captured his excitement, pushing the denim and cotton against him. “Let’s get out of here before your roommate gets back.” Her hand traced upward to grasp his.

The hallway was longer than usual, almost as if he were viewing it through a peephole, and its tilt made him glad to have a hand to hold. “Where are we going?” he asked as he felt himself being pulled. Carol appeared to answer, but the fluorescent lights buzzing with indifference above them added to the uncertainty. He listened to the light brushing sounds of her pajamas as she walked, the pendulum swing of her bottom keeping time until she stopped in front of a door.

“As the resident adviser, I have a master key,” she started giggling. “I think this space will be perfect for us. They’re away for the weekend.” Carol turned the key, and opened the door to Donna’s room. She turned on the light, and for a moment they both scanned Donna’s area, her makeshift canopy lower bunk bed, her nightstand,the candle, all the little knickknacks amidst the picture of the two of them, her arm around his waist, her head on his shoulder, her smile bringing the photo to life, the trace scent of her body, an apparition haunting the sheets.

“We can’t do this,” Mike said, but then he started to laugh.

“Yeah, how fucked up will this be?” Carol asked and started laughing as well. “You okay if I get comfortable?” Then, with a quick pull of her top and a snap of her bottom, her pajamas were gone, and her nakedness confirmed long-held suspicions; she had been insulting perfection by hiding it behind clothes. The lights remained on.

He grasped her hair which was blowing wildly in some wind, to collect it, to breathe of it, and as it wound around his fingers, he clutched it to pull her lips toward his. The natural fragrances that defined her began to compete with just-showered pristine. Her hair was alive with a pleasing bouquet, uniquely Carol. Her cheekbones were cool to his lips which he then warmed by touching them to hers, tasting her wet mouth and tongue. Her shoulders fit his palms as if measured, and he pulled her toward him, breasts touching against his chest, alive, inviting his hands which rested upon each, feeling the movement of her skin as it swelled and felt back, daring him.

"KNEEL!" he heard a deep booming voice that came with the return of the inexplicable wind. He looked around the room. Checked the window only to see that it was closed. Carol's back was now turned away from him.

"Did you hear that, Carol? What the hell?" She did not answer, nor did she turn around when he tapped her on the shoulder. It was then that he felt tremendous weight pressing on his shoulders, forcing him to the ground. He turned his head to see its origin, prepare to fight, and nothing was there. He attempted to get up but could not, his knees pressed deeply into the carpet. And then he looked up.

Carol's bottom greeted his eyes. She had bent over, head between her legs, watching him. Her long hands were opening her buttocks, spreading it, fingers pulling at the ashen area, parting it like clouds.

A chuckle, neither his nor hers, deep and chilling, came on yet another blast of wind. He felt his face being pushed forward until his nose and mouth were framed by Carol's fingertips, his lips pressing against the puckered area. He could not push free and had to open his mouth in order to breath, his tongue inevitably tasting her, taking away the bitterness, and she parted her bottom further, grinding herself onto his face, staring up at him with upside-down empty eyes.

"Osculum infame," she began repeating quietly as she wriggled onto his mouth, drawing out the 's', hissing it like a snake. "Osculum infame."

The words held no meaning for him, but having accompanied his helplessness, they sent chills along his body. Something was there with them; something was inside her; something. When she finally stood and turned around, he prepared to join her, but she grasped his hair, holding him down, and draping a long a leg across his shoulder. The scent of her womanhood, traces of burnt caramel, greeted him, its fingerprint unraveling like a proclamation on a scroll, emphatically pronounced from a downy brown canvas, creases carrying droplets like rain on a window, a window upon which she pressed his face. The wind came again in the form of a breeze, and it carried her sighs around the room as she forcefully fed him intimate secrets, painting his face with her delicate hair. And as he struggled to breathe, there was light laughter, somewhere, everywhere.

Time again had become immaterial, but she grew tired, put her leg down, and coaxed him to his feet. She grasped his head with both hands, placed her lips upon his, tasted herself, the aura of her naked body palpable, the elegance of her fingers undoing the first two buttons of his shirt until something else, a layer of audacity that arose in sudden contrast. Her hands, now graceless, cast away anticipation like the buttons that landed on the floor as she violently pulled apart the material.

In his mind, as they landed on the carpet, they were coins thrown into a jar. “Carol, what the hell!” He looked to find reason but sensed something very different in her. Her hair again was blowing in the wind, and she was eerily silent and task-oriented, ignoring his reaction, and tending to his belt buckle until impatiently and powerfully tugging down his pants and briefs together so that he sprang free and twitched like the second hand of a wall clock. She pressed her body against it so that it pointed upward against his belly and furnished the only distance between them, her skin like warm bath water, the flavor of her mouth becoming his, then leaving cooling wet trails as she worked her way downward.

Her mouth was stimulating at first, nibbling little bites and a light suction of his neck, then an introduction to the world between pain and pleasure. Her attention to his nipple areas left sensations that wavered between burning and itching. He guessed that she liked things a little rough until the piercing pain of a bite left him feeling his blood flow and caused him to grab her by the hair. “Come on, Carol, are you crazy. That shit hurts!”

She smiled at him, sticking out her tongue as an answer, a little spot of blood at its tip. Coaxing his hands off her hair with a gentle touch, she grasped both of them to pull him toward the bed where she lay down and pulled him on top of her, a hand locating and positioning him. He moved forward and slipped into her, his arrival welcomed by the squeezing of her legs to keep him in-place, the sound of their union, light splashes of rain on pavement. Her neck and cheeks still felt cool to his lips, but her mouth was warm and accepting, accommodating his tongue with a rhythmic suction that accompanied the repeated clenching below. Propped by his elbows, his body lay lightly against hers, brushing her breasts as he felt the little gusts of her warm breath about his ears and neck.

Her feet crossed just below his buttocks, and they directed the pace of his thrusts and pulled her hips forward to greet him. Her fingernails alternately dug pronounced indentations in his bottom and parted it, a vulnerability and brief pain that lingered and excited him, before they left to lightly trace his sides upward, making him shiver. She clenched his bottom and parted it more widely, stretching its limits, the coolness of the room accenting his exposure.

He had to slow down, over stimulated, throbbing within her, but the balmy compression and tiny heartbeats of her pelvic muscles defined the moment. He felt like a child on a seesaw, her upward thrusts elevating him, and her powerful legs pulling him downward. The bed springs began to make a sound, something that they hadn’t done with Donna, and he convulsed over her as if her body was a live wire. Donna smiled up at him, her face appearing next to Carol’s on the pillow before fading away.

He looked into Carol’s eyes, seeing emptiness to accompany silence, and she quickened her pace, slamming onto him, lifting him off the bed like a baby being bounced, bed springs squealing, urgency in her breathing. He felt himself bend unnaturally, his graduating softness unable to withstand the strength of her need, and frustration dug its starting lines at the base of his spine. He tried to extricate himself, but her legs pulled his body toward her until his arms failed, and his defeated profile collapsed on her chest, the fullness of a breast, its nipple erect, the beauty of the female response, mocking him, her strength shocking him.

From the surreal haze of the night, and to define its scope, inhumanity emerged. Why would anyone do this? The trenches were dug with barbaric indifference, his skin being excavated, and the blood emerging like a summer sweat to soothe the burning. The anesthetic dullness had returned as a blessing, the branding irons of her nails having stripped his flesh, the sensation a novelty as her fingertips then moved over his back in slippery patterns that pleased him until clarity re-emerged so that he could weigh what occurred.

Feeling the lava-like path of his blood, Mike lifted his body up, but her legs wouldn’t allow him to escape. “Carol, you fucked up my back. Let me go!” He again looked into her eyes, their dilation having completely eclipsed the soft brown, a black blindness. Still her legs held him in place, and he resolved to hit her, balling his fist to free himself, but he was too late. He felt her reaching for him, and her hand, her beautiful and elegant hand continued the unconscionable reign of cruelty. His scream of anguish faded to nothing with the breath leaving his lungs. His head again collapsed between her breasts, as the paralysis of pain rendered him defenseless. Sad little cries of ‘please’, puffs of air, flowed softly from his lips to join the blood on his back and the tears that pearled on her chest. He chanced a glance again at her eyes, and they remained inhuman, like the trembling, white-knuckled fist that pulled and smashed his scrotum. He felt her heart punching at him as he lay whimpering on her chest. And somewhere, maybe from his mind, maybe from inside the walls, he heard the light laughter of a young girl.

Mercy came agonizing moments later in the form of her release and a push of her leg which hurled his frame against the wall upon which the bed rested, the force of the kick causing the picture frame, the candle, and all the inconsequential little things to fall from the nightstand as it too upended and spilled its contents. Unable to speak, pain radiating into his kidneys, breath returning in short gasps, nausea beckoning, he was helpless as she dragged him by his arm to stand before her, bent over, staring at the picture of him and Donna. “Carol, please say something,” he begged for an end to the unnerving silence and some sign that she hadn’t gone completely crazy.

With a sudden movement, he felt his feet lift from the floor and his body fall over her hip, her legs a blur of maneuverings until they wrapped around him. and the specifics of this new predicament came to him piecemeal. Her body was nearly parallel to his with her head facing his feet. Its full weight had effectively pinned his left arm at his side. Half of his head, his neck, and his right arm were trapped between her legs, turned to the left and slightly raised, with the upper calf of her right leg wedged under his right armpit, so that his right arm could only extend far enough to weakly tap her right buttock. The rest of his upper body uselessly laid flat on the rug. She began squeezing her legs together, the movement crushing his ears against his skull, choking his airway, painfully compressing his right rib-cage, and threatening to separate his right shoulder. Carol’s buttocks was all he could see, and as her legs flexed, he witnessed the striations appearing and disappearing within the beautiful white flesh, a sight that spoke to her unquestionable femininity until it flexed and morphed into a machine-like instrument, squeezing with its wave-like ripples of power, impairing his breathing so that his thoughts rested with exerting himself as any man would. He still had his legs.

He arched his back in protest, pushing upward with his feet, a move that brought his pelvis forward, presenting his groin area closer to her, and she gave him a flick that sent an electrical current of pain, a subtle reminder of what she had done to him earlier, a message. His head was accompanying her buttocks each time she re-positioned, and embarrassment of this mixed with his horror at her superior strength. Having experienced the depth of her inhumanity moments ago, having felt the brief agony of a simple flick, he thought of his testicles and prayed she wouldn’t squeeze him there again. He stared at her behind in amazement, softness, curvaceousness, alternating with a pronounced musculature, but she was a woman, and he was a man, and that would surely free him.

He arched his back again, kicking with his legs, sure that the suddenness would work. Carol allowed this effort to run its course until pointlessness stilled him, then tightened her thighs some more, soft feminine grunts suggesting that she had yet to apply full force; her smooth upper thighs and bottom, like satin sheets laid over concrete. Each of his efforts had expelled air from his lungs, air that could not be fully recaptured as she squeezed anew and reduced his lung capacity. The cobwebs of resignation began to spin wildly.

There were some moments of inactivity, but the grunting came again, this time with greater urgency and frequency, and only a sliver of light was available, light from which he also breathed as though it were a reed in water, his world further muffled, the pain of his constraint growing, his air supply dwindling. He had no leverage and could only lightly tap her right buttock to implore her to get off of him, to grant him mercy. This gesture went unanswered as she squeezed more tightly, her grunts ushering in more agony, and his hand lay impotently, fingers lightly tapping, governed by the flexing and the striation of her buttock muscle. He begged, “Please, Carol! Please, God!“, for the two now seemed equal. But it sounded like he was under water. His shouts were greeted with more squeezing, limiting him to a staccato-like intake of air. She briefly released the tension, shifted, and brought her intimate area closer to him, squeezing more, rotating her hips, his head now moving in pathetic little circles.

He thought of the big older boy down the street who once held his head under water at the public pool just because he could. And with her last huge grunt and tightening of her thighs, he thought of the absurdity of it all, how ridiculous he must look, how he would wake up from this nightmare. Then, he thought of the possibility that she was trying to kill him, and he felt the wet stream running down his leg, followed by the tears and forceful sobs, both products of things she couldn’t stop him from doing. And still the legs further tightened, inhumane instruments of torture. Also a prisoner, his overtaxed heart pounded on the wall of his chest. Why was he so weak? Why couldn’t he stop her? As he fought to breathe, each gasp reminded him that a girl was doing this to him. Each desperate gulp of thickened air was painted vividly by the scent between her legs.

A voice arrived, soft and beautiful, whispering in his mind, bringing him comfort. It took away his pain and fought for his dignity. On sweet smelling little gusts of air, floating like musical notes, it was Donna saying, “Now you get to remember me forever.”

She could still feel the little toots coming from his nostrils and noted the purple hue of his face. He had grown silent and limp from her ministrations, but the chafing of his stubble irritated her, and the stale puffs of smoke being squeezed from his lungs disgusted her, and the sweat from his struggle stank of alcohol, so she applied more pressure and watched a line of blood trickle from his nose and disappear into his mustache. She arched her back and began alternately squeezing and releasing, propping her weight with an elbow and watching with amusement the coloring of his face. The re-positioning brought her top thigh in contact with the candle holder, an annoyance that she grasped and flung on the bed, but in so doing, she saw the pattern of blood on the wall. She released her legs from his head, and from a kneeling position continued looking at the wall, fascinated by it. The black dilation of her eyes began lifting like an eclipse, her heartbeat softened its blows against her chest, her respiration began to calm, and she rose.

Sounds resounded hugely in the wee hours so that the whooshing of a summoned elevator, its landing, the opening of its doors, all became an event. The pregnant suitcase, with all the items that defined the room as hers, balanced precariously as it was dragged on board. At 5:00 a.m., she breathed out the smoky exhaust fumes of her life into the frigid air, taking in the halo of distant lights one last time as she walked and listened to the crunching of the snow.

He saw her silhouette as she turned the corner of Vanover Hall and left his car door open as he went to assist, the humming of the sedan’s big V-8 playing bass notes against the snow banks. He heaved the suitcase into the accommodating trunk as she watched, and without words, opened the passenger side door for her. Above all the things he was and all the things he professed to be, Dan Davis had remained a gentleman.

The sun came through a cold ice-blue sky permeating the thin curtains in Donna and Mary’s room. It was 10:15 when he awakened alone. Re-orienting to the surroundings, he realized that he was lying on the floor, and as the memories flashed in his mind, he took a deep breath, trace scents of Carol trapped in his mustache. He lifted himself from the carpet, feeling the tenderness in his groin, the stinging pain over his neck and chest, and the tightness of the skin over his back. He went to the foyer mirror to inspect his body and simply whispered to himself, “Holy shit! Holy shit!” There was dried blood on his nostrils. His neck was covered by large red marks, two on the right and three on the left. When his eyes moved downward, he saw several more around his right breast area and a most disturbing bite mark on his left nipple which clearly had pierced his skin as a blood stain had trickled down to his navel and disappeared there. His eyes panned downward, and when he touched himself, he invited a throbbing residue of Carol’s ruthlessness, and he remembered crying on her chest, and he remembered what her beautiful legs did to him, taking away his consciousness and leaving him curled up naked at her side like a dog. And he began crying when he remembered the baby-like helplessness of his resistance. How could a woman just physically overpower a man? What really happened in that room? What was in there with them? And then he remembered the harrowing.

A first glance caused him to turn away, but he had to know. The depth of her brutality could be measured in the eight elongated trenches, tire treads that pared back his skin, thick markings filled with a shiny crusting of blood. He saw dried pink stains leading all the way to his buttocks. Tears spilled from his eyes as he thought of Donna. I won’t be able to hide this or insult her intelligence by trying to explain it.

He went back to the bed area to retrieve his clothing and blurted out, “Oh, shit!” as he examined the carpet and the bedding. His blood was all over the carpet and prominent on the bedding and its covers. A wet stain was there, and he remembered. And then he saw the wall behind the bed, sank to his knees, and cried like a baby. When his sobbing abated after some minutes, he drew a deep and shaky breath, the scents of Carol's body following him to the mirror.

The striking of a match, the screeching of brakes, lightning before thunder, the cocking of a trigger, all await, with foreboding, inevitable unpleasantness, fires gone wild, the impact of metal- on-metal, the rumbling of the earth, the shot in the distance. And in this scope, the trilling sound of an inserted key awaited the tumbling of the lock and the agonizing creak of an opening door.

In slow motion, fingertips appeared on the inside, a heel clacked on tile, the rolling wheels of a suitcase came to a sudden stop, and the loud scream, open to a consonant or vowel, raced around the walls and back. The situation called for a long pronounced wail of “NOOOOOOH!”

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