dream I was being sent to hell. when I asked how to get to purgatory, someone said “pray.”

After work, I head out. Almost immediately. I pack thebowl. Smoke. Repack the bowl. Make a cup of tea. Head out. I get my papers done, generally. I get my paperwork in. I have a mounting to do list that keeps me functioning. Today it says:

–read syllabi
–look for lightbulbs in storage closet.
–sign up  outreach.
–read texts for class
–begin sw series

I love being packed to the brim with ideas to keep me occupied.  I devolve into an automatic writing session as I am distracted before my walk. I do this sometimes. Close my eyes pick up a pen, ask God to talk through me and I write it. Sometimes with my left hand. TOday it says:

God moves through me like water. I am everything. I feel everything. I am an angel. There is no time. 

I am wrapped in a blue cool light and my purple peacoat. I am on the street by 6:45 pm and moving away from the bridge. I am not prepared to cross the bridge today. I take the University side again. I am at Market and 32nd with a blink of an eye when someone asks me how to get to the train station. I have no earthly idea what’s going on and can say this firmly, as I keep walking. I sometimes pretend I don’t speak English in these situations. Shake my head and throw my hands up. I have no earthly idea what’s going on, I say and keep walking towards the train station. 

It’s not that I don’t want to help, it’s that I have no idea where I am.  Better to pray they find a more unshakeable scout than me. Someone who may just lead them there, arm in arm, on their nightly walk around the town. I am at the train station and laughing uproariously in five minutes. I am pushing along, suddenly looking up at a sign that reads 22 and Walnut. I am wrapped in a blue cool light, breath condensing on a window near Chestnut St. saying out loud, there is no time.

 

1/9/2017

We met up a few weeks later when I was back in town. Able to borrow his ex’s old kayak and oar we headed to the dismal swamp.
“ I released my alligator snapping turtle here,” I remind him.
“You never had an alligator snapping turtle.”
“We do this every time. Yes I did!”
“Ok, pay attention,” he said.
The name made it sounde desolate but it was lush, full of sycamores and bald cypress, my favorite, I loved watching the spanish moss hang. I had a hard time focusing once I got around a lot of plants. I couldn’t retain all I learned but was mezmerized by their foliage, the green, the light glinting through branches, the sun hitting water, a large stone, a magpie darting, the scurry of a chipmunk.
“Pay attention.”
“Ok. I did have an alligator snapping turtle though. His name was Michaelangelo.”
“Cute.”
We started slow. He led my boat to the shore and steadied it so I could hop in.
“Put your paddle behind you. When you are alone, you will do it this same way but get more in the water. Because I am here, I can push you off a little.
“What about cottonmouths?”
He just shook his head. Then he placed his paddle above his head.
“Take your paddle and find the center like this.” He made his thumb and index finger wrap around it. “You can change it as you go but see what feels comfortable and balanced. Even. Find a place that feels like the weight is balanced on one side.”
I bit my tongue a little so my tongue poked out and mimicked him, looking up at him through my sunglasses for approval. He nodded and twirled his paddle like a baton but dropped it on the ground.
“Yeah, “ I said. “You’ll get the cottonmouths.”
He pushed me a bit more in the water but I waited for him to get in his boat before doing anything. We only went out for about an  hour and Jacob showed me the basics of paddling, or forward stroke and told me to focus on my core not my arms. That was easy. Dip one blade forward and then the other falls back.  Then draw stroke and rudder stroke to move sideways and back to shore. He told to me swivel my body to face the blade when I wanted to turn. We had some speed  so he showed me that I could set the blade in the water, lean my body slightly one way when I want to turn but and rely on the momentum to keep it up.
“See.”
“No,” but I managed.
“You can also do this when you get a nice wind.”
He was a bit ahead of me and I was placing one paddle in the water and letting the other stand up like he was. I could feel it. I could feel it turn I mean.  It was quite easy. While I didn’t understand everything he explained, you can attune to the water fast. A rudder stroke was just a way to will water. If you asked me to explain the mechanism, I couldn’t but I did it several times. It reminded me of the perpetual motion game I played as a kid except without as much movement. My dad used would roll his fists one on top of the other and just repeat: it’s perpetual motion, lion, you can’t stop it. I would jump on top of him and put all of my weight on him and laugh. He was very strong. Perpetual motion, he would say over and over turning his fists and I couldn’t stop it. Grab them, claw them, sometimes bite them. I couldn’t stop him.  Until he needed a sip of wine. We let our kayaks float for a bit.
“You can look up and try to find snakes.”
I had been looking up but hadn’t seen anything.
“Or down to see cottonmouths. Or Michaelangelo.”
“I’ve been doing push ups,” I beamed and formed my left arm into a right angle to show him my bicep.
“No, you haven’t. But they look great.”
I laughed.
“My arms hurt,” I said. “Let’s go back.”
I looked up at the pines lining the shore; still green, some browning. Warm fall. I didn’t see any snakes but I saw a few ripples in the water as a school of fish swam by.
“You can see bats here sometimes,”  he said.
“Cool,” I was looking down again.
I saw more ripples around my boat.
“Pickerel you said, Jake?”
“Yeah, or catfish. Lots of catfish.”
Back on the bank, he extended his hand and helped me out. Jacob was right. It was easy, relaxing. My arms were toned and fit  and ready for this. I could see my right tricep bulging in the sun as I rowed back to shore.  Growing, pulsing, moving towards something bigger with each stroke of the oar, I smiled. Smiling while tired, that is the women’s armor. We surprise you being continually broken and rowing.
“I want to be prepared,” I told Jacob.
“You don’t have to go out that often. I’m telling you,” he rested his hand on my back as we I got out of the boat.  “The trip I want to take you on is easy.”
“I’m not strong enough, Jake. I want to get stronger.”
“It’s only going to be about three hours.”
“Jake.”
“Yeah.”
“I also heard that the alligators are moving north.”
He laughed.
“Stop googling things.”

 

Jake took me out the next day as well and we went a little further down Lake Drummond, staying out an extra hour so I can practice turns.
“There is a legend of the swamp, Jake. A bride died just before her wedding. She stays out here in her white canoe and holds a lamp looking for her husband.”
“Was she killed by an alligator?”
“Didn’t say. Will have to check when we get back.”
Jake was paddling backwards and facing me.
“Isn’t that hard?”
He shrugged.
“Next time, I am going to bring my camera,” I said. I squinted. The sun was bright and today I forgot my sunglasses. We were in the middle of the lake, far from the bank. I felt safe with him there. “I can’t believe I haven’t seen a single moccasin.”
“Or lamented bride.”
“Or bat.”
“Well maybe tonight.”
“Or Michaelangelo.”
I dipped my index finger in the water, smiling. It was the end of September, 71 degrees and sunny.

Without any warning, she turned to walk away. Her friends followed suit. I heard the cracking of bones in the distance. If I could smell blood like them, I would have. It was everywhere. Congestion, fatigue, general shutting down–I couldn’t smell anything and I was freezing, slowly freezing, slowly twirling in a net, slowly turning to face her body, to face them walking away.

The two ripped her limbs off delicately and two more had joined them. One looked over at me curiously, but with no commitment to leaving what they had found. All alphas. I know how this was going to go. I had spent my entire life watching kills for fun, watching my cats trap mice under the oven, bring half dead rabbits to the door, and the way a packs forms like a swarm.

“We have to kill them.”
“Why don’t you do it?”
She raised a palm to the bark.
“Oh, god, ok, with your hand?”
Admittedly, I looked down but then back up to see her smash the lantern fly against the bark, one after the other. All five.
“Ok, savage, yeah,” Rayne stepped away.
“Someone has to do it,” Salome was bent over near one that had fallen, inspecting it and then squishing it with the ball of her hand.

I was watching, unable to contribute, unable to picture myself face to face with an actual plague of insects so pretty as these mysterious asian flies that had besieged our trees.  Earlier in the hike, I had been taken by a discarded web only to notice the sap dripping from a cut near the bottom. I ran my finger across to feel the moisture. The tree had already uprooted itself due to storm. If only they would seek the fallen trees to suck but why suck something dead and fallen when a growing sumptuous oak is nearby? I twirled there with those women unable to commit to violence watching it become committed towards me.

When the fifth one came, she trotted right past the body, right towards me. This is where the divide begins between alpha and beta so the betas were coming next. She was playful, the comic relief of the pack; black and gray and smiling. Running and smiling and even though everything was blurred from tears that never broke and the sting of chill that hit me with or without wind, I could see her drooling. I had stopped moving awaiting the dog’s arrival.

“I stepped on a lantern fly today. I am not feeling great about it,” I texted the group.
I looked down at the body somewhere between Dickinson and Reed and it was smashed flat into the concrete and I was desolate and growing more abyss than sun every day. Yet, it still took something deep from me to step on it.
“Spotted lantern flies jump more than they fly,”  she informed the group.
I saw the light change in my periphery before I heard the ding.
“The trees thank you,” was her reply.

The black wolf was right under me, looking up. My cheek was probably going to freeze to the rope, I don’t know, but my face was smushed against it and I was curled in an upside down fetal position so I could see everything as long as I faced it, but not if the wind, a sadist, a wolf, or a breaking branch moved me. Or God. What I did I wish for? What did I seek? She had asked me. A chance or long sleep.  Very gently, the black dog stood on its hind legs so it’s front paws touched the bottom of the net and pushed. I twirled effortlessly in the air like that as the wolf watched. Listening only to my heartbeat, which was slowing, and the creaking of the branch, which was louder than the bones breaking or the distant snarl of the two wolves that had fought over my friends calf muscle. The wolf watched like that and myself, a watcher, understood the game.  

I wasn’t sure what the plan was. I was waiting to pass out and I regretted immediately letting the green eyed witch leave my sight but I also understood I was not in control. What I hoped was that, I would freeze to death first and then they would rip me to shreds. What I realized now is that they were trying to get the branch to break to get to me more easily. It wasn’t as easy to pick me apart through the rope, six feet above. Tall, strong, but still spent from the hunt and people say wolves only kill people in folklore and myth, but here we are, the scrape of his claws leaving traces of terror all over my lower back.

 

You couldn’t hear them move over the forest floor.  The snow was fresh and soft like powder. Each step left an imprint but no resounding echo. You could only hear their breathing. You could not hear each step. Algid, windless, the day smacked without breeze, used its atmosphere like a cave of teeth; biting you on the cheek, on the wrist if your glove slipped down, your neck if it had become exposed. They had no choice but to walk through. The tension combined with the dropping temperature and lack of water, snack or any sense of direction; how does one not go mad with fury? It was the middle of January, seventeen degrees and she felt it.
Hardly any birds circled so they were mostly trapped in the infinite stillness of the woods and the remnants of a harsh blizzard that slowed them.

“It’s the eye of the storm.”
“Okkkk….but that doesn’t mean it’s not coming back.”
“It’s not,” she texted.
She bet her friend didn’t check her weather app. She bet her friend didn’t question her. She bet her friend trusted her to lead.
“Watch, I bet we get the yellow car,” she said to her friend the day they stood in line at the amusement park.

It was hot then, shining, blissful. They had eaten nothing but sugar. They were waiting to go to the final water ride of the day, spent, thirsty, aging yet jubilant. The trams were in no particular order, randomized, and every time they waited, she guessed.
“ I guess with about a 98.4% accuracy.”
Leana laughed loudly next to a woman’s ear, so loudly she shot them a look only Cat saw.
“Yeah, ok.”
“What? I have been right every time.”
“That’s 100% though.”
Catarina tapped her thigh to keep the time as they stood.
“Well, you can’t be right every time.”
“True,” Leana said sort of smirking, half engaged, half stuck in her own secret fixation.
Catarina kept her hands free of the straw most of that day, preferring to play with the strap of her bag or the cap of her aluminum water bottle. She tapped her thigh only in line sometimes. They were engaged off and on but paused when it happened.

“Did I tell you about the time I drove my car into the car dealership?” Leana suddenly said.
“What?! Tell me now.”
But the train was rolling in.  Both women’s eyes widened as the big yellow tram rolled up. Cat smiled the biggest and threw a look behind her exposing all of her teeth.
“Now, you trust my psychic ability?”
Everything was hiding.  The snow had ceased but every once in a while a tree shook when a bird perched and a big clump fell to startle them. They would both look up, unspeaking and resentful and a growing worry between them. The cold was a barrier. The distance was a barrier. The unsettling feeling that this was not going to end was a barrier They heard a crow call a few hours ago; at least three or four hours ago. They hadn’t spoken since she looked up and said,
“It must be noon.”

Her friend didn’t question it or speak to her.  Cat turned slightly to check on her. Her breathing was labored. Her cheeks were bright pink and dotted with tiny drops of ice. Leana’s face was pallid, stinging, her endurance waning and their breath came out in synchronized huffs.Together, they marched but separate, each in their own quiet obsession.  Catarina was counting hours. Catarina was reviewing lists. Catarina had practiced this walk, had a deep resolve, a spine made of knife and her knees were going to buckle but she knew what adrenaline can do. She drew hearts on her hand with each passing hour. The only time she pulled down the glove. Pockets devoid of cell phones, only a sharpie and some protein bars, there was no cell service here. She had advised Leana to keep her cell phone in the car so she didn’t lose it. Pliant for show only, Cat reassured her.

“I have a metronomic heart, you know. I can always tell the time”
Leana trudged behind her, adjusting her parka and getting ready for the first small incline.
“Cat..”
This was hours ago, when they were friends. She turned, bright, dawning, her auspicious eight am self: well fed, hydrated, head covered but face still exposed. She smiled to show her teeth.
“You’re full of shit.”

All they saw were endless groves of bare trees dotted with sparse patches of evergreens; a brightening to the dense forest of trunks. An interminable white crystal blanket to cross kept them moving, reserved and privately poignant. All conversation had ceased between the two friends. You could only hear breathing. You could not hear their steps. 

Catarina guessed it was about three or four pm. They had gotten lost, separated from the trail and if they were not out when the sun finally went down, there was no way they were going to survive. She could see it in the distance: the veiled sun, the yellow halo obscured by boundless gray barely shining through the clouds. The sky heavy and pregnant with fresh blizzard. It was an unforgiving winter. It had been and remained unforgiving now. The sunset they faced would turn to black without portrait. We will survive, she had lied.  She knew her friend would die anyway. She knew that soon she would hear the twig snap and that she would run. She didn’t know what her friend do but she did know she would hear her scream. She would dart across the forest as fast as she could while her friend was ripped to pieces. She would sprint. She would sprint the whole way without looking back or without time to reflect on her reflex. She would have no time to wonder what blood attracts or how many of them would come to see.

Forget the whole thing. It was agony to know and it didn’t seem fair.Wear the blindfold. None of this was fair. But she did see the wolf. She was reaching to pull the pen out, to mark the four pm chime in scrawl on the veins of her left hand. A ritual of safety. That’s how they met. He was gray and white with yellow eyes. Low to the ground and keen, he held a silent snarl between his teeth. Spotted peeking her head lowered, she did not reach past her hips any more.. Heedful, without making a sound, she turned her head slightly to the left. From her periphery, she saw his friend skulking carefully and quietly on the other side of them, low and snaking through the branches. Walking this clearing for the past five or six miles exposed them. It will be faster, she said. She already knew.

At least one branch had fallen and the wolf wouldn’t see it. He would step on it just as he was getting ready to pounce and she would be afforded an extra second that would propel her. She kept her eyes and head down. She inhaled and felt her pulse begin to thrum and warm her body in anticipation. She began to lift the balls of her feet. She began to clench her palms into fists and from her right, she heard the snap. From the left, she felt the hesitation. She knew there were only those two. She began to run. You could not hear them breathing. You could not hear their steps. You could only hear screech turn to scream and then only her own breath quickening in time with sprint. You could hear a flutter of wings above, one call and if you had time to look up, you’d see a flock of blackbirds pushed to movement from the violence.

But there is  no time to look up.

 

“The Woman Who Saw Her Own Death”

 

Ive watched my nervousness

eat me daily,
clutch me with its
indecision   I am robed in
rosary, nodding, chanting throughout
the day but really I am
   fickle
is the first thing I write about myself
and I am always
holding something somewhere in
my body.
like a claw lives inside
my jaw line and now
I have TMJ

       what’s that? sometimes
they wait.

a psychosomatic disorder where your
jaw locks when you’re chewing
and you slowly start to choke.

well not everyone chokes.
I just started to choke
when it closed the first time.

“the drowning”

She took her time. Each stroke became longer and more sparkly. It wasn’t necessary but dramatic as was the theme and when he come up behind her to hug her, she smiled in the mirror. She patted her lips one more time letting the blue shimmer by candlelight, washed her hands and returned to the party. The back stairs were set with alternating black and white candles, twelve each and the entire backyard was covered with string lights so everything twinkled.

“Don’t you think this is dangerous?” she asked, waving her hands over her Mary Janes pointing to each votive on her way to the bonfire.

A lavender laced joint was being passed around.
“We are doing it again.”
“What?”
“Thirteen stories.”
“No.”
“Yes.”

“So,” Petesia clapped his hands together and went over the rules for the newcomers as she took her seat. “One person starts–they set the theme. Last year it was ‘Video Game or Nightmares’ and we were supposed to guess which is which after each story. This year…”

Osiria cut him off, “This year we have no theme because we haven’t started.”

Timidly, Ava cut in, “Isn’t the theme Shakespeare in Space?”

Orb laughed loudly next to her and Jelinda shot a glare his way.

“Well, it’s a Midsummer’s Night Space Dream but the theme of the stories and game can be anything,” Petesia said.


“So this is how it works,”Osiria immediately turned her attention back to the circle. “Someone starts the story. The person who starts set the tone; the theme of the story and the rule of the game. We go around until we get to thirteen. Since there’s now only ten of us, three people will go twice. The last person has to end the story that the first person started.”

“What’s the catch?” “Mr.” asked taking the joint from Ophelia.

“It’s got lavender in it,” Cat said.
“No, with the game.”
“Well, legend has it that whoever it ends on is cursed.”
“Mr.” passed the joint to Pan.
“Oh yeah?”
“Yeah.”
“Annnd…” Petesia interjected.
“Annnd, we make you tell us the weirdest thing about you .”
“Ohhh, cool!”
“Well we did that before.”
“Or you have to confess all your secrets.”

Pan passed the joint back to Cat who winked at Petesia quickly.
“Or maybe act out the story for us.”
“That’s not all, “ Petesia pointed at Artemis letting his fangs shine.
The crowd waited.
“The story comes for you,” he winked, not at Artemis or Ava but at Cat. “And it comes to life.”
Osiria grabbed the joint from Pan before he could take a drag.
“Who wants to start?” she said. “I start almost every year so I’m trying to pass this time.”
“Oh you play every year?” a woman in a fairy costume asked.
She had named herself “Eliza.” Petesia and Osiria nodded at her.
“We try to keep them kind of short though,”Osiria looked at Artemis.
“There’s only ten of us, “ Marco said, circling to the group.
“Three people will go twice, “ Cat turned to gently remind him.
“I’ll go first!” Artemis cheerfully volunteered.
“Really?” Osiria shot her a look.
“Yeah, I love games!”
“So…” she rubbed her hands together and looked at Petesia across the fire. “The first story is called…The Woman Who Walked for Miles.”

“The 13th Story”

People have me all wrong. They have their projections about me but they don’t know me.
I let a finger trail over his jeans as I moved past him at the crosswalk. They think, this person is abrasive or too aggressive or too confrontational but really I just tell it like it is. I was around 12th and Chestnut and walking back home after stopping at Capogiro, as was my normal routine at the time.

“I’ll take banana,” I said.

The person working the counter was an unkempt young boy. No time for games.I had finished the sorbet long ago and needed to get home. I have writing to do, I thought but truthfully, the weed had worn off and I was tiring off my playlist.

“I better get home,” I said out loud, standing abruptly and ignoring the group of men in the corner who had been staring at me.

I love walking–for miles. I turn the headphones up. Someone bought me these noise cancelling headphones and now I can block out the most mundane of sounds and play my favorite songs on repeat.  This playlist was called The Gauntlet and it reminded me of a movie. A lot of post metal and instrumental and I loved this song, Mladic.

“I love this song,” I mumbled out loud turning my noise cancelling headphones up and I didn’t even feel the guy try to grab my bookbag as I stepped off the curb towards the giant red hand.

I did see the bus though. The last thing I heard was the horn; not the violent crescendo I wanted but the violent crescendo I deserved.

“The Woman Who Saw Her Own Death–The Woman Who Walked for Miles”

rainstorm.

unscheduled and I had been
comfortable in shifting drought.
avoiding the wasps
hidden in the grass
with my clumsy, calloused toes
seasoned from walking too far
and too hard in unpadded sandals
when the first sign of spring hits,
and my sky blue sundress seems a
sudden hindrance:

flimsy, strap always falling down and
blows up in breezes
so I have to keep watching the way I
carry myself around men.
I crouch and the hem crawls to
expose my left thigh and the
garter you gave me:
not the daisies I wanted,
a ring of bruises
in the shape of your open mouth
still fresh with conquest;
lasting impact of
your parting breath that
said nothing and now
just hangs there and hurts
when I shower.
wait

I’m counting cicada shells
under the picnic table;
a gesture of presence.
someone told me to stop everything
and I needed a year to pass.
I scrubbed away the last of your fingernail
but I have to ride those
bite marks out.
blinked once and a ripple in the sky
burst; liberated and aimless,
she shows just one day’s worth
of self-containment uncondensed,
without tension, falling naked
she’s black and soft and
seamless        surfeit with mild
violence, crackling and
completely cageless.

my feet are covered in mud
before I even notice the shadow
wash over my bangs.
wait.
drenched in flood my head
is dark red because you liked
“subtlety”
and I liked demonstrative movement;
a hint of auburn wasn’t enough to show
blood with just a little bush
so I adorn myself with ritual:
hair dye and cleanses,
little thorns,
little kills to draw your
attention.   my knees hurt and
all those cicadas are dead
so I stand to lift my face to the thunder;
a small gesture of inflorescence.
Wait.

open my arms purposefully
like petals of a rose exhaling
in relief for the drink
her master brings.
parched from the work my dry words had done
undoing
as they roamed free all over
your front yard.
God makes pacts with penitents
and you barely have a face that isn’t
my reflection so I’m itching to be clean and
fresh and start
again.
stretch my neck with pride to
to catch her drops on my tongue,
 bold with repentance
and ready to wash away
the phantom jaws that bait me.
but suddenly charged,
the gray sky remembered
she held lightning.
and suddenly illuminated,
I remembered
       
I am
the dark thing
inside of me.

“prayer”

 

She took him down a long corridor and up a flight of stairs to a single room at the top. They passed a couple doors on the way but the apartment was relatively abandoned.  He heard no movement in any of the place but their own and even his lady walked with a bit of a tiptoe.

“I’m renting for the night before I drive home tomorrow,” she stated placing the shorter silver key in the slimmer silver door.

“Where are you from again?” he asked her removing his hand from her back to check his phone for the time.

Flinging the door open, she tossed her pocketbook on the end table, ignoring his questions. She turned around suddenly and placed her palm over his phone.

“Get undressed.”

 

She had him tied to the headboard and blindfolded him before he could registerd the time or check his texts. He was naked and she was tying his feet to one of the posts as she began.

“I don’t like chit chat and I’ll review the rules once more,” she said.

“Can I see you?”

“No.”

She watched him lick his lips.
“Can I have some water?”

“No.”

He licked his lips again.

“Rule #1: You will only be allowed to touch me after you follow all of the rules. If you do get to touch me, you have to ask before you do anything. Do you know what that means?”

He hesitated, bound to the wooden frame and unable to see her; her apathy and mocking eyebrow lift as she cooly sipped a tall glass of water out of his reach.

“I have to ask before I touch you.”

He licked his lips.

“But what does that mean?”

She moved closer to his face.

“That before I touch you I have to ask.”
She licked her wet lips next to his ear.
“But why didn’t you?”

“What?”

“Why didn’t you ask all night?”

He said nothing. She took a sip of water and let it dribble down her chin but caught it in her palm before it hit his lips.

“I don’t know.”

“Let’s keep going.”

She placed the glass on the nightstand next to him.

“Rule #2: You must repeat after me when I say ‘repeat after me.’

She waited.

“I said you must repeat after when I say repeat after me.”

“Yes, I will.”

“No, you don’t get it. REPEAT AFTER ME.”

He licked his lips again and moved his head to the right slightly.

“You must repeat after me when I say ‘repeat after me.’

She opened a drawer and took out a metal pinwheel and pressed one of the edges to his nipple.

“Ooh. What is that?”

She bent down and licked his cheek as she moved the pinwheel across his nipple and over his chest.

“You’re very hairy,” she let her tongue run up and down his cheek close to his ear.

“Yesss,” he smiled.

“Repeat after me,” she whispered. “Rule number three.”
She kissed him on three, she repeated.

“Rule number three,” he repeated,catching on.

She put her mouth to his  mouth so she could breathe directly on it.

“My name is Hecate and I enter your dreams every night.”

“My name is Hecate and I enter your dreams every night.  Oh, wait. Should I say your name is Hecate?”

She picked up a red lighter from the drawer and lit one white candle on the nightstand.

“Say it both ways.”

“My name is Hecate and I enter your dreams every night. Your name is Hecate and you enter my dreams every night.”

She picked up the candle and sat on the edge of the bed.

“The first story I am going to tell you is about the woman who saw her own death and tried to out run it. Your job is to listen and to figure which story is true and which story is false. “

He laughed.

“You’re fucking something else.”

 

She let one drop of wax hit the same nipple she had been running the pinwheel over.

“Esssh,” he let out a noise and a wince with his jaw. “Ok, how many?”

“I will gag you if you talk during the story. You are only allowed to talk when the story is  done. You may ask only one question to figure out which story is true,” she let another drop of wax hit, “but you have to wait until I finish the whole story and have to ask it immediately afterwards so don’t fuck it up. Yes?”

“Yes!” He winced a bit and raised his voice.

She reached for the glass of water and raised it over his lips.

“Open your mouth.”

He licked his lips and parted his mouth only partly, a tiny shudder passed over him that only himself, the trained psychologist, or herself, the trained sadist would notice. She let the cool liquid dribble onto his lips at the same time she let the hot wax trickle over one breast to the next. Reaching his neck toward her, he lapped at each lip.

“Good boy,” she said. “No talking. I’ll give you drops of water as you need them.”

She stood up and walked around the bed to sit on a stool that was placed at the end of the bed near his feet. She set both of her bare feet on the post spreading her legs wide, wide enough to reveal the sheer black panties underneath her blue and cream and floral sleeveless dress that iexplicably matched the groomsmen the way the body shimmer and the tinsel neck piece had.

“It’s called The Woman Who Saw Her Own Death: The dream about the alligator”

She saw his Adam’s apple move as he swallowed his own spit for moisture.

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