strange love
October 2002

It only took a week before she tried to seduce him.

He enjoyed the way her hand shook when she unsnapped his jeans. She was clumsy. Limp cords of her hair framed a pale, pale face, and he wondered if she knew how unappealing she was, how unsexy.

He replaced her handcuffs. Whore.

Days passed, and she tried again. Her eyes were wide and desperate as she lowered her voice to a parody of allure, her proffered hip a twelve-year-old's flirtation. He let her unzip his jeans and work her mouth over him. He could twist the collar she wore just a little, or gag her again and pinch her nose shut.

She threw up in the bucket that night, and he locked the door and left it inside.

His mind was dark. When he dreamed, the figures of his dream were shadows; when he was awake, the light on his desk burned bright and blinding. He pulled the shadows around him like a blanket, and hunched into them like a visionary on a quest. But the path was dark and the visions false.

He thought of her when Lilah fucked him, or he fucked her--he was never sure which and didn't care. When Lilah left, he opened the closet door and stood in front of her, naked and smelling of sex.

"Tomorrow," he said.

She stared up at him, terrified. Her lips around the gag were dry and chapped. If he kissed her, they would bleed.

"Tomorrow," he said again, and closed the door.

She started to cry when he opened the door the next morning. He could feel pity. He found a handkerchief left from another life and gave it to her.

"Get up," he said. She moved shakily, her legs unsteady as he pulled her up roughly. He rested his hand on her throat, and she stared at him wide-eyed. If he squeezed just a little, she would fall into dust like the beings she feared and hated.

His eyes were dusty dry as he released the collar. "Time to go," he said.