I’ve been absent from the flash fiction challenges for several months now, working on other things and re-sorting my writing life.
I haven’t seen her for hours.
Shit, I don’t know what to do. When I see her I’m filled with guilt, anger, disgust. She’s not the same girl she used to be, but I can’t give up on her. Not yet.
There was a time when I would have married her. When our feelings were healthy, when I wasn’t obsessed with her and she didn’t feel the need to consume me. Nothing in our relationship is healthy. Hell, we don’t even talk anymore. Just obsession and need, neither one of us being truly able to satisfy the other.
I’m going to make it better tonight. As I peruse the shelves in the deserted liquor store I make my decision. The expensive bottle of champagne will be perfect. There’s no time to chill it but that won’t make a difference, I don’t really know what expensive champagne should taste like and neither does she.
Even with all that has happened in my life, all the goddamn tragedy that has overtaken my world, I still feel guilty walking out of the store without paying. I feel like a thief, like I’m less of a person even though I’m really not hurting anyone. It’s like my relationship with her, I can’t let myself be happy.
The streets are quiet as the sun sets behind the row of buildings across the street. The windows are all dark, the signs turned off. The streetlights won’t be coming on tonight.
As I enter our apartment, I’m immediately met with her scent, the sound of her breathing. There’s always an urgency in her breathing, like she’s one breath away from doing something rash. If it weren’t for the chains, she would.
She lunges, like she always does. The line on the floor tells me how far she can reach, and I never cross the line. No matter how much I love her. No matter how much I want to touch her.
The chains hold her, as they always do. Wild eyes bulge as she sniffs the air at my approach. The scent of life, the smell of blood flowing in my veins. Warm flesh to feed her only remaining desire.
I kill others like her every day. Sometimes they are just shuffling by in the streets, sometimes they are launching themselves at me and I barely get the shot off in time. But they prove sufficient to keep her alive. I cut them up and bring the parts here, where I dole them out to her on every visit. If I don’t feed her daily, they decomposition restarts and I just can’t have that. Occasionally I have to go hunting for something to feed her. The thought of that amazing body rotting away is more than I can bear.
And what a body. Her clothes are gone now, and I feel even more blessed as a result. I don’t have to try to see through them anymore. She strains against the chains as I watch, her arms held back while her chest, her beautiful chest, arches toward me. Small angry breasts stretched tight over her slim frame. Only a few strands of her blonde hair between them and me.
I saw them for the first time in the back of my pickup truck after the prom. Pale, beautiful breasts that fit perfectly in the palm of my hand, her nipples poking through my fingers. I had called them “Little green apple titties” to my friends when they asked what she was like naked. You could look at her in anything, no matter how much she tried to hide it, and tell that she had an amazing body; death hadn’t changed that.
But she had to be fed. I picked up an arm from the zombie I killed that morning and threw it to her. Her reaction was so sudden that had I seen it in a movie I would have said it was bad special effects. It looked impossible but she caught the arm in midair, grasping it not just with her arms but also with her feet as she landed on the torn rug. Strings of rotting flesh hung from the arm all the way to her mouth like spaghetti as she ripped another bite of flesh from the bone.
I watch my naked love eat the rest of the arm. It’s disgusting and titillating. I stay not because I enjoy the show but because she improves, briefly, after a feeding.
She can remember me. She can talk.
She licks the bones for a moment while I admire the curve of her leg where it becomes her ass. Even in death she is an exquisite beauty.
She throws the bones away from her as she stands. Animal eyes scan the room, then lock onto me. A smile breezes gently across her lips in the dying evening light.
She takes a slow, measured step toward me. Her chains are windchimes in my ears as she approaches. She stops, bringing one of her hands up to cup her breast. “I saw you look. It’s been so long. I want you to touch them like you did after the prom.”
She’s diseased. Fuck that-she’s dead! Her hand caresses one breast, then the other, a look of barely-checked pleasure crossing her face as she gently pinches a nipple. Her other hand slides between her legs, over a tuft of pubic hair that I had helped her sculpt. The longing is more than I can bear.
She’ll only be this way for a few minutes, I know. I have to take this opportunity. I’ve been dying to touch her for so long. I’ve fed and cared for what I at first thought was nothing more than another zombie. But here she is, offering herself to me, wanting it-wanting me!
There’s nothing to think about. This is what I’ve been wanting. I stand and for the first time, walk across the line on the floor. My right hand comes up and gropes her left breast: cold, hard, unyielding. Her nipple is like a cold piece of stone.
She raises up to kiss me, the earthy and rotten whiff of death on her breath. Lips graze my neck. Her hand brushes across the bulge in my pants. “You always were easy.”
The heady vortex of ecstasy makes me dizzy. Warmth spreads through my chest, over my arms, I can feel it dripping onto the floor…
I realize it’s not ecstasy dripping on the floor, it’s my blood. Crimson covers her face and mouth as she looks into my eyes, watching the life she craves as it leaves me. I feel the next bite, the pain so soothing and agonizing that all I can do is beg for the next. My last thoughts are to realize that this, right now, THIS is what I’ve been wanting all along.