I have been here before.
This is my place.
This is our place.
Was our place.
I come here to be alone; to think, to remember.
Although I am alone here, I don’t feel alone.
The memories dance in my mind and my heart so profoundly they have a presence; have heartbeats of their own.
They are real.
They are with me.
I feel their warmth.
Like the last hour of an August day shining upon my closed eyelids.
Hues of red, orange, and yellow playing patterns for my closed eyes to see. The patterns twist and tumble, explode and implode as I watch their kaleidoscope dance.
Sometimes, you must close your eyes to see clearly.
I don’t cry anymore. I am past that part, I guess. Over the years I have cried for you until there was nothing left. My love for you cried out until there was nothing left but emptiness; hollow, sullen, dry. My dour days flopped one atop the other, like an unused desktop Rolodex. Each blank card falling clumsily atop the one beneath it, before it; colorless and insignificant they go-’round and ’round with no end and no beginning, endlessly.
I look up from my journal at the setting sun. I know I shouldn’t look at it, even through the protection of my dark sunglasses, but I can’t help it. The bright orange sphere adrift a sea of candy color brings a sad smile to my lips and a slow heavy sigh to my lungs. Everything is as it was, then. The dry grasses under my bare feet, tickling as the warm breeze moves them. Like me, they sense the water’s edge as it teases and taunts them, the air smelling of the damp earth, the life they so desire, and yet they can only sway, day after day waiting for the distant rains to quench their thirst, knowing everything they need is so close; so close and yet eternally out of reach.
The lake water is orange and pink and red and purple, reflecting the last hour of heaven’s daylight. Birds pepper the sky above me, leaving their daily lakeside encampment for the sanctity of the valley’s tall trees. They call to the lonely girl below them as they fly over.
Life goes on for the world; even for the birds.
I met him in a corner market on a Sunday afternoon after church had given me nothing to ease my troubled soul. The Pastor’s kind words couldn’t heal me. Nothing new. The idea of you in heaven is supposed to bring me comfort but it doesn’t. I am selfish I know, but I can’t help it.
I need you.
We were supposed to grow old together, you and I.
I need you.
We used to lie for hours amongst the grasses that are tickling my toes and dream of our life together, forever.
I need you.
I need you.
God doesn’t need you, I do.
He was working behind the counter. His hazel eyes were warm and kind. Not dark and piercing like yours, but nice. His lips were full and smiling. Not your perfect, Cupid’s bow lips, but nice. His hair, the color of warm clover honey. Not dark and shining like yours, but nice. He was nice– is nice. But he’s not you.
Although I keep him at a distance, he is asking me to marry him. I know that I should, but you are still with me, so I cannot. He knows this but still, he asks. Still, he waits.
It has been five years since I waited for you that night. Five years since you never came to our secret place. Five years since the night that was to be our night, our first night together. Five years since the accident that took you from me.
They found your car in the water below Eagle’s Pass. Do you know that? Were you there to see them pull your car out of the water? Did you watch me as I watched the divers search for your body for hours and then days? Were you there at your mock funeral, as we all stood and cried over an empty casket, saying goodbye to an empty grave? I felt you there…as I feel you here, now.
I still love you with everything I am, and I fear that I always will.
A drop of water falls to the page with a splat, startling me. I watch as the ruffled water edge is drawn into the porous paper in dazed fascination. A glance skyward confirms there are no rain clouds above, my squinted eyes see only wisps of pink cotton candy as the setting sun sets them ablaze. The birds have all disappeared, no doubt snug and warm in their nests by now. No, unbeknownst to me, a tear had wriggled free from an eye long dry. I’m surprised by the realization. It may be because this day marks five long years since Dominic’s accident. Maybe because of the argument I had with Jon just before I came here. He doesn’t understand why I hang on, why I still come to this place. I don’t understand it either, so the arguments always end the same… unresolved.
In my usual way, I tear the page from my journal and fold it, taking care not to rip the fine paper as I run my finger along the wet teardrop. I stand to shimmy out of my clothing, the cooling autumn twilight caressing my bare skin, then dive off the small embankment into the warm candy-colored water.
This is my usual routine. To swim out into the middle of this portion of the lake and watch as its dark fingers seize the fine paper, the darkness overtaking the light parchment, pulling my words down…to him.
Tears sting my cheeks, hot and pouring at the realization of my actions. They are so morose. Why can’t I let him go?
Because I am lost without him; pathetic, it’s true. Because I am hopelessly in love with someone who’s been gone for five years. Five long years that feel like an eternity. I can’t believe it’s been that long. Grief punches me hard in the gut, making me exhale with a cough. Lake water fills my mouth with each pathetic attempt at breath. I’m flailing. Normally at ease in the water, suddenly I feel as though I am unable to tread it. My tears are blinding me and the water, which felt summer warm moments ago, is so frigid it grips my lungs with giant hands, squeezing away any chance of expansion. Wildly I thrash, taking in huge gulps of the earthy tasting liquid with each faltering gasp for air, with each trembling sob.
Air caresses my wet skin in a swirling mixture of summer warmth and autumn chill. I am lying on the bank, staring upward as the brightest stars begin to shine, the Cheshire Cat moon grinning down upon me, and I am calm; even as the tears continue to stream into my hair and ears in hot rivulets. I briefly wonder how I got out of the water, or even if I did. Maybe I’m dead. I wouldn’t care.
“Shhhhhh….” A voice whispers.
My breath hitches and I close my eyes. This is the music I came here for. To hear his voice as it whispers to me. My heart doubles its pace as butterflies make my core tremble with their frenzied flight. He sounds closer to me tonight than ever before.
“I love you” I whisper to the growing darkness, my eyes squeezed tightly to prevent the disappearance of the illusion I weave.
“I love you too, Sam” the whisper professes softly, “…my dear Sam.”
He always called me Sam. I usually hate it when people shorten my name, but never when he did…does. The way he drew out the S, his low throaty voice. Any name would sound sexy as hell on his perfect lips, no matter how short.
I can imagine his breath, hot and moist on my neck, the weight of his body pressing against mine as he lies next to me on the shore. My eyes shut tighter, squeezing so tightly that two black spheres have come forth in my vision, surrounded by flashing white sparks of protest, but still I squeeze them. Squeezing out the reality I no longer want to exist in. Starving for him, I want so badly for him to be real.
The illusion sets my body ablaze. A heart-pounding rhythm of aching need for his touch, his closeness. My nipples harden to the point of near-pain, accompanied by that familiar tightening in my lower belly that greedily demands attention. My hands slide over my drying skin, skipping and skidding across the varying patches of damp and newly dry flesh, raising goose-bumps as they go. My left hand rubs my aching breasts as my right slips between my legs. So desperate for him I imagine it is Dominic’s hands that touch me, caressing my body, that his fingers are the ones sliding and seeking, not mine. I groan at that first shuddering contact, but my imagined lover’s hand, cool as the lake-water, slides down my arm like a sigh and rests over the hand between my legs. His fingers weave into mine, grazing my sensitive flesh and a groan escapes my throat.
“As much as I love to watch you touch yourself,” Dominic’s voice drifts to me in a husky whisper, “I am not here to watch, tonight.”
Another moan. Was it me? Tighter still I squeeze my eyelids, as cool, soft lips touch mine. How had my mind kept the memory of his perfect lips so lucid? They roam over mine, gentle but not without urgency. My wanton ears hear his voice whisper my name, my wanton lips feel his words against them; his sweet breath fills me, feeding my desire. A cool tongue teases and presses my lower lip- such an illusion. I think I’ve finally lost it. I don’t care if I have.
My head shakes frantically. “Please don’t stop… I don’t care. Don’t make the dream die.”
Forlorn laughter puffs against my lips. “Sam, I am not a dream, but like a dream, I am unable to keep your body warm.”
The gritty sound of wet rocks and sand rubbing together stirs my bones before my illusion carries me swiftly, soundlessly, and effortlessly.
I’m flying. This must be heaven.
I cling to him as tall, dry grasses painted pale blue by moonlight claw at my feet. My mind is adrift and dream-like until suddenly, what I think is a door flies open and the cacophony of lakeside insects is dampened abruptly by the crackle of dry wood burning. Dim orange light dances, making shadows move on the walls and ceiling. I squeeze my eyes shut again, so afraid my spun blanket illusion will unravel.
With ease, he lays me on something soft and furry in front of what I assume is a large hearth, dry warmth drifting over my skin and soaking into my bones, the popping, crackling sounds of wood burning echoing near.
My eyelids are clamped shut, but I feel him looking down on my body as he stands over me, as I lie there unashamed of my nudity, certain none of this is real anyway.
“You are so beautiful, Sam. How I’ve missed you…” His voice sounds choked and strained.
I lie still, my arms at my sides, hands clenched into fists. “I would give anything this world has to offer to be able to open my eyes and look upon your face,” I whisper.
“Then open your eyes and see me.”
If I was half sane (or not dead), I would be concerned about my overly real illusion, that I can actually feel him near, feel the warmth of the fire, the soft fur under my naked body. Instead, I cling to this dream, this illusion, this crazed hallucination.
After these past five years, I feel like good mental health is overrated. What is life after all, but a sorrowful adventure?
But how far does my hallucination go?
Am I ready to test it by opening my eyes? I am sure that if I do it will all wash away and I will still be lying on the shore of the lake, probably unconscious from near drowning and hypothermia. Or, maybe I did drown tonight, and this is… Heaven.
“Am I dead? Is this Heaven?”
“Open your eyes, Sam.”
A few moments pass, then orange light slowly peeks through my eyelashes. Trapped tears spill down my temples and into my hair. I blink away the ones that remain to cloud my vision and see two bare feet next to me, skin pale, marked with blue veins. I stare at them. They are familiar to me. Reminiscent of teenage days of swimming and hours entangled with my own. Those hot and urgent teenage petting sessions that build and build as restraint and first-time-jitters are slowly worn away, until one day it goes too far, the young love and passion overriding thoughts of propriety or consequence, or heartbreak.
Only this day, our day of reckless abandon, never came.
My eyes travel upward slowly. Wet, black slacks clinging to long powerful legs, then a shining silver belt buckle. Next, a coordinating soaking wet black button-down shirt clings to the sculpted abs beneath. My eyes stop at the exposed collarbones and throat. I know this throat well, having traced my fingertips and tongue along every inch of it countless times before, having kissed that Adam’s apple many times, a lifetime ago. A well-sculpted chin and jaw, and, just before a sob lunges from my throat, and my hands fly to cover my face, a set of lips, those perfect, Cupid’s Bow lips.
Without sound or movement, cold, wet material and kisses are pressed against my flesh, starting at my navel and moving upward. Cool hands gently pull my own away from my eyes. Once again, a cool tongue presses into my trembling lower lip, coaxing me to allow entry. Seemingly of their own volition, they part and his mouth roams mine, his tongue dancing with my own, so urgent as to take my breath away. My eyes fly open, purely by instinct and completely of their own will to find two, black piercing eyes cutting into them. Inky black hair hangs down and covers his pale forehead and eyelids. My heart jumps in my chest, and he knows, instantly.
“Ssshhhh…” he whispers. “It’s okay.”
“Oh my God, Dominic” I whisper, my hand coming to rest against his cheek, smooth as the day I lost him. “I can see you… feel you, as if you are really here.”
“This truly is Heaven.”
Long slender fingers interlace with mine and bring them to his beautiful lips. He kisses them. “I am here.”
We stare at each other, his dark eyes reflecting my own, wide and wonder-filled. Orange light flickers on his pale skin and in his dark, expressive eyes.
“Are you a ghost? Or am I dead?”
A grin curls his lip at one corner making me look at his beautiful mouth, but also exposing a long, white tooth much longer than the rest. I stare in wide-eyed wonderment as my mind slowly processes what I’m seeing. My lips moving compulsively without making a sound.
His eyes watch mine intently as my mind attempts to process what my eyes see.
“You are not dead, and I am not a ghost. I am…” His words trail off as his eyes shift away from mine, to the fire.
I stare at him, so unimaginably thankful to be with him once more.
And yet, suddenly seething anger, unlike anything I have experienced before belches forth.
“You’re alive. You have been alive… all this time?”
“You’ve been here all this time?” My voice sounds shrill and odd, even to me. I slap him, hard across the face, and I am up and running before the action even registers to me. My brain has not even begun to catch up with my delirium, and I trip over my tangled legs and fly forward, only to be caught before I hit the floor. Easily and gracefully he encircles my body with his arms, pinning me to the far wall. My chest is crushed against its hard, cold surface, his wet clothing against my back, both a startling shock to my, fire-fevered skin. His strength far surpasses my own, still, I flail uselessly like a trapped bird.
“Sam, listen to me.” His voice is frantic, his face buried into my neck and hair. “Samantha… fuck, my dear, sweet Samantha. I have been watching you come here year after intolerable year. Each time you do, I know as soon as you are within miles of the lake, I am so attuned to you. I come and watch as you write to me from your journal, as you swim in the lake, as you cry on the shore… as you touch yourself, thinking of me.” He pulls away slightly, allowing me to infinitesimally twist in his direction, but still holding my body captive between his and the wall. From the corner of my eye, his gleaming white fangs, and I am sure that is what they are now, shine in the dancing firelight.
“But look at me! I had to stay away, to let you move on, so you could have a life… a normal life!” His voice turned suddenly dark, “So I couldn’t hurt you.” He lunges from me, so quickly a startled, strangled scream leaps from my throat. He tears down a calendar from the wall and is back against me before I can move, his actions merely a blur. He holds the calendar where my turned face can see it. Each day is marked with large black X’s.
“I have marked off the fucking days for 5 years, Sam! 5 years I have stood by, watching you cry over me, watching you…” He throws the calendar to the floor. “I wanted you to have a… normal, life, Sam. A life I can no longer give you! Marriage! Babies!” His forehead presses into my shoulder. “Fucking daylight,” he whispers.
My breaths are ragged and my head spins threateningly. “How’s that been working out for me, Dominic?” Tears begin to stream from my eyes once again. “I don’t care what you are,” my teeth are clenched hard with fury and passion. “I want you. I need you.”
“I’ve watched you,” he says into my neck. “I come into town at night sometimes. I’ve seen you date him,” he pauses. “At first, I could barely restrain myself. I wanted to rip his fucking throat out and drain him, but then,” he trails off again and I hear a deep, sad sigh. “But I know you should be with him.”
“So instead, you lurk in the shadows while I slowly die inside?” I sob.
His left hand comes around to slide up my belly, sliding against my left breast, to rest over my pounding heart. “You feel this heart beating? For a long time, I couldn’t trust myself around you. I might have… hurt you. I might not have been able to control my thirst. My lust. By the time I had some control, you were dating… that guy, and I knew it was for the best. I knew it was. I know it is. But damn it!”
He’s kissing the back of my neck now, his hand still over my beating heart. “But I’ll never be over you.” He sighs, “And it appears, you won’t be over me, either.”
“We are damned,” he whispers.
My mind is reeling. “We are not damned! Goddamnit! I still love you. I don’t care if you’re a… I don’t care what you are! You’re Dominic, that’s all I care about.” My words strained as I begin to sob again. “I love you!”
His physical longing presses into that junction between lower back and divide as his other hand snakes around my bare hips, sending electric shocks throughout my body. Long tapered fingers skim through coarse hairs before slipping between my legs. We moan in unison as his fingers saw into the delicate flesh between my legs. Two fingers hook into me, slipping easily into my primed core. Together, we tremble as the cool heal of his strong hand begins pressing circles over my burning clit. My knees falter, but he holds me easily with a single hand flat on my belly. Pressing, rubbing, encircling. Always the right pressure. Always the perfect near-miss touch. It isn’t long before my body is straining for release, but I start to pull away. I don’t want to come like this. I want him, all of him.
“No.” He growls into my ear as if he can read my mind. “Come for me, Sam.”
“No.” I pant, grinding my forehead into the wall. Even as I say it, I know it is futile to try to resist him. “I want you.”
“And you will have me. You are mine.” Fingers, warmed by my flesh pinch my nipple, hard, and he repeats, “I want you to come for me, Sam. I’ve been waiting so long to touch you. Give yourself over to me.” Another hard pinch on my nipple and I cry out at the wall, the shrillness reflecting back to me instantly. His breath shudders against my neck, spurring my desire, but I need more.
My mind is reeling, trying to sort through what the eyes have seen. My body is ablaze in a way I never thought possible. A carnal need overtakes me, possesses me, sleighs me.
“Bite me.” The words come from my lips as if on their own volition.
I hear him hiss, his body convulses and his fangs, sharp as scalpels jut into my neck. The metallic scent of blood fills my nose as a single line, black in the firelight runs down, dripping from my breast. “Dominic!” I scream, my head falling backward, every nerve in my body near combustion.
“Surrender, Sam.” He growls from his full mouth.
As if he has sole command of my body, waves of molten pleasure crush me as they build to the brink of pain, then radiate outward, my body completely at his mercy, my cries echoed by a distant howling animal in the darkness.
As I slowly come back to Earth, he retracts his bite, lovingly licks the wounds, then turns me to face him before the convulsions have ceased their rein. Bindings gone, my hands move to cup his face between them for a moment, then fly to his shirt, tearing at it as buttons fall to the floor. I need to touch him. I need to feel all of him.
I slide my hands across his chest, over his shoulders, and down his arms. His damp shirt falls to the floor at our feet. I stare at him in wonder of his beauty, tracing my fingertips across the tattoo of my name over his heart. “You’re forever nineteen…”
He kisses me hard on the mouth, leaving his forehead pressed to mine when he withdraws.
“I’m perfectly legal.” He says, his eyes blazing into mine before his mouth, which is twisted into a fang-exposing grin in an expression that is so sexy it’s scary, is on mine again, his tongue licking the inside of my mouth, lips roaming from my mouth to my neck to my breasts, licking the spilt blood and drawing each nipple in. He sucks on them with such greed that nearly my entire breast disappears into his mouth. I watch in fascination as he moves from one breast to the other and back again.
I am overwhelmed, but his mouth is on mine before a sob can break from my chest. I can taste my blood as he kisses me; intoxicating.
My hands dart in desperation to his belt and trousers, pulling and yanking on them hard until they fly open, a metal clasp falling to the hardwood floor. He laughs at me as I yank them down unceremoniously, the belt buckle hitting hard on the floor.
“This is not how I used to imagine what it would be like to have you undress me.” He hisses, but when I look at his face, his expression is not one of disappointment; much to the contrary. Our eyes remain locked as he steps out of the slacks pooled around his ankles. I’m lost in those dark expressive eyes that I have yearned to see again for so long.
“Sam…” he whispers to me, his eyes climbing into mine as he speaks my name, a cool hand touching mine, guiding it slowly to his body. Wiry hairs tease my fingertips, a stark contrast to the silk that follows.
My fingers instinctively wrap around his awaiting desire, powerfully erect and waiting for my embrace. His moan calms my apprehension. Cool to the touch but feeling every bit human, my eyes scan his face…chest…navel…and below. He is thick, long and so erect that the uncircumcised tip bends upward to his navel.
“Your hands feel like fire.” He growls through clenched teeth.
“I…” I don’t get to finish my apology, for I am laid once again on the bear rug in front of the hearth before I even know I’m being carried. Cool kisses rain across my body, his groans and growls of near-hysterical need have me clutching and clawing at his lean, muscular back.
A flash of movement and I am on his lap facing him. His actions are so swift and exact they steal my breath. Startling and exciting. I cry out as his cock nestles into me, warmed by my touch but still much cooler than my over-heated core. His hands are kneading the cheeks of my ass, strength in his fingers that I know will leave bruises, but I don’t care. I can’t get enough of him. I want more. “More” I cry, biting his pectoral hard.
His hiss is the only warning of the hard stinging spank to my ass that follows. “Yes… more. Please more.” I beg him. “Prove you’re really here. Prove it to me now.”
He snarls, kissing me deeply; his tongue, wet and roaming every inch of my mouth as another swift movement positions him atop me, my legs still wrapped tightly around his waist. With his forehead to mine, dark eyes locked with mine, he pushes himself further into me in slow, determined strokes, a press and retreat motion that is both powerful and restrained, his dark eyes closing, his long fangs peeking out from beneath his perfect lips, my cry muffled by his mouth as it comes to cover mine.
“Sssaaam……” he groans, withdrawing and thrusting into me again, my hips moving upward to meet him, we moan in unison with the muffled cupping sound that signifies our completed union. I am stretched to accommodate him, beads of perspiration breaking out across my forehead.
As our bodies begin to rise and fall together, our love story plays out within my mind. Flashbacks of our young love, our joy, the sunshine on his dark hair, and his easy smile. Scenes of our feet entwined together in the sun, singing along to our favorite music, him lifting me up and spinning me around as we dance.
His beautiful face contorts with building pleasure, building need for release, firelight dancing in his so very dark brown eyes; full of conflict that he tries to push away.
I want him forever. I’ll never let him go again.
I turn my head to the side, sweeping away my hair. “Make me what you are,” I whisper. He stares at me, his body thrusting into mine at a fevered pace, and still, I want more. I want everything.
“Please. Release me from this life of sorrowful longing.”
He growls a curse as his hands slide beneath my body, one between my shoulder blades to cup the base of my neck, the other with fingers buried into the crack of my ass. He plunges into me with long deliberate strokes in a maddening flawlessly rhythmic pattern as his fangs sink into my jugular. He squeezes my body against his and moves with me, squeezing and pressing and grinding and sucking. My moans turn to cries of ecstasy, echoed by those of my love and lover.
Time has no meaning. I am lost and found in the same space and time. Multiple orgasms wrack my body as I feel something new coursing through my blood. It feels hot and I imagine it is some sort of venom being injected into me. My mind flashes clips from silly vampire movies, that I of course never thought were based on any kind of reality. But then I am screaming, the pleasure gone, the burning in my veins feeling like it is destroying me as it flows through my entire body.
I welcome it.
Though I can’t help but cry out, I welcome the pain.
Seemingly an eternity later, I can feel my body cool and my eyelids become heavy. From somewhere in the distance I can hear Dominic telling me over and over again that he loves me, and that he’s sorry. He sounds miles away, though I can still feel him inside me.
Like an ocean current that slowly takes you out to sea, I drift from the life I knew as he holds me. As my eyes slowly close, I can see it all so clearly and I smile as my mortal bindings slip away into the darkness, to be born again.
Sometimes, you must close your eyes to see clearly.
© Ess Hughes 2013-present