Written by xoronewithnature :: [Thursday, 02 March 2006 14:34] Last updated by :: [Friday, 05 April 2013 15:36]
WRITTEN FOR SGI WORKSHOP 1.7
“Good Morning, sir. Um … what's going on in here?”
“You know they offered me early retirement. I turned them down. Now, it feels worth it.” The old man looked so proud he could be having a child. "Effective immediately, internal affairs works out of this office."
Ricky looked where cover-all clad workers were setting up desks. "In here?"
The chief smiled. The sight alone was enough to freeze Ricky's blood.
"Isn't it a … um … conflict of interests to have IA and cops in the same office."
"It's going to be amazing. I wouldn't be surprised if there were fist fights." The chief looked almost wistful. "It's going to bust the ass of each of you lazy, corrupt, so-called officers." He absentmindedly examined his hand, the one with the missing middle finger. "Ask me anything, Ricky, I'm in a great mood today."
"Can we get some new computers?"
"Hell no!" Another ghastly smile. "That felt great too. Can I help you sweetheart?"
Ricky turned to face the woman that Chief Stone had addressed. She was tall, almost taller than the chief, which would have put her eye to eye with Ricky, had she not been wearing heels. And stunningly beautiful. It was the stunningly beautiful part that really made the impression.
She had perfect olive skin, which made Ricky idly wonder if under her conservative skirt and blouse she had any tanlines at all. Her hair was dark and shortly cropped. Her figure was surprisingly athletic – wide shoulders, shapely legs, and a thin flat waist. Her firm breasts pulled at the buttons of her blouse.
She removed her glasses as she approached them and smiled. As she did Ricky waved at her; he didn't know why, but his body wasn't following orders. She seemed to be looking right at him with her big, brown eyes.
"Nice to meet you ma'am, I'm officer Esperanzo." His mouth seemed to be living a life of its own.
She looked at him, puzzled, before turning to the chief. Ricky awkwardly retracted the hand he had offered her.
"I'm going to need some more desks and file cabinets." Her voice was confident, and her accent exotic. She handed a clipboard to Chief Stone.
"Excuse me, missy, but who are you?" The old man's congenial tone made Ricky nervous. He decided to concentrate on the woman.
"I'm Officer Morgan Al-Sariel from IA.”
He seemed to be studying the list intently. "You want lamps too. Hmm..." He stroked the white bristles on his chin. "I'm sorry," he said handing back the clipboard, "you seem to have mistaken me for a goddamn office manager."
Impossibly, her smile didn't waver. She gently pushed the list back into his hands. "You're Amos Stone, right?" He nodded slightly. "Well, it came down from on high you would take care of all IA's needs for the move."
"Well, if it came down from on high … Let me tell you what, officer, let me see what I can do for you." He turned and his office door slammed shut behind him.
Morgan's perpetual smile turned to Ricky. "That seemed to go well."
"I do believe that man intends to do you harm."
If she heard him, she ignored him. "Officer Esperanzo, right?"
His heart skipped a beat. She knew his name. Then he remembered introducing himself seconds before.
He must have said something, because she was replying, " … under my authority as IA's liaison with the department."
"Excuse me, what?"
She stared at him, and then started again slower. "Amos has transferred you to work under my authority as IA's liaison with the department. They transferred a lot of people to open this office, so a lot of my officers are new to Boston."
That was a booby prize. No cops willingly interacted with Internal Affairs. Ricky already could feel pariah status weighing on his neck. Of all the dirty, no good, rotten things to do to a guy. He glared at Stone as he emerged from his office.
"Ricky!" Ricky tried not to look too resentful. "Your test scores are in." Stone waved a manila folder in his hand.
Ricky had tested for transfer to S.W.A.T. three months ago.
Amos leered. "Its disgusting what they say about you. They must not know you as well as I do. Listen to this..." He licked his thumb on his good hand and flipped the folder open. He began to read out loud. "Good eye sight. Excellent shooting skills. Good leadership potential. Good reflexes. Excellent decision making under stress situations. Adequate physical fitness." He snorted. "Hear that, you're getting fat from lazing around my office. You transfer in January. You stay at this pay grade until then." He turned to Morgan. "I just got off the phone with the higher ups. I've recommended and they've agreed to give you a promotion too, little lady."
Morgan's smile finally failed her. "I'm getting a pay raise?"
Stone waved his hand dismissively. "Nah, this is more on the responsibility side of the promotion ladder." He tossed her clipboard onto her desk. "You've been granted the responsibilities of office manager. Congratulations."
His tuneless whistling drifted back as he walked away.
Morgan just watched. "That is the meanest man I have ever met."
Ricky smiled weakly. "Welcome to the department."
"Is it as glamorous as they said it would be at the academy?"
He was called Bear. His shaggy red hair, six foot six, three hundred pound frame made it hard to argue with his nickname.
"It's a thrill a minute around here." Ricky held up the folder of paper work he still needed to finish.
Bear laughed heartily and slapped a gigantic hand on Ricky's back.
"What's with you? I haven't seen you this happy since." Ricky thought a moment. "Ever."
"Raph, the simple joys of a blonde with immense hooters."
"Are we talking about a golden retriever?"
Bear guffawed. "No, this one is a real tribute to the human species."
"I guess that explains the fedora."
Bear turned, examined himself in the reflective glass of an office window.
"I think it makes me look dashing. Anyways, I got to run. Save the city, Raph."
Ricky didn't reply, just watched the big man nearly skip out of the office.
"Well, that was a damn disturbing sight." Stone was standing outside his office, holding a steaming mug. He saw Ricky. "What the hell are you still doing here? Never mind, I don't care, just get your reports done and don't expect overtime."
His office door slammed shut. Ricky looked around the mostly dark office. Aside from the Chief's office only one other light was on. His feet took the initiative. He was at Morgan's desk before his conscious mind caught up.
"He called you Raph." She didn't look up just stared down at the stack of papers she was working on, her pen tapping arhythmically on the desk. "Why?"
The question took him by surprise. "It's my given name, Chief just calls
me Ricky because Raphael doesn't sound very cop-like."
"Hmm …" She jotted something down and then looked up at him, her beautiful eyes staring right into his. "A saint's name."
"Well, no … I mean yes, it is, but, no, um … my parents named me after the angel." His tongue had a tendency to swell up whenever she looked right at him.
Ricky's couldn't help but notice her tied back hair, how pretty it looked in a ponytail.
She blushed slightly. "Well thank you." Her wide smile flickered on.
Ricky hadn't meant to notice it out loud. To cover his embarrassment he kept talking.
"Your accent is pretty weird, too." Ricky's face flushed redder. Dig up stupid. "I mean, it got the guys and I was wondering where you were from."
To her credit, Morgan's smile still seemed genuine. "I grew up in Iraq."
"Oh, so … you must feel strongly about this whole war thing."
Morgan's lips pouted. "If you're trying to ask me out, you may want to rethink where this conversation is headed."
"Well, I just thought it was my duty, as your liaison, to at least show you a classy place to eat on a Friday night. To help you get to know the city better."
"I mean, yes I would like to ask you out."
"Ok." She stood up and started to put on her coat. "Shall we?"
Ricky felt panic. "Well, actually Stone said I needed to finish this report …" He trailed off. Morgan began to sit back down.
"So what you're saying is you don't want to go out?"
"Just a second."
Ricky marched into Stone's office. "I need to leave. I'm not finished with my paperwork."
Stone looked up from his desk. "This better be some kind of goddamn emergency."
Ricky swallowed hard.
"I have a date with Morgan."
Stone just stared at him. He leaned back in his chair and took a sip from his coffee cup. "I expect it on my desk at noon."
"Thank you, sir, I will..."
The chief stopped him with a look. "She's waiting. Get the hell out of here."
Bear was waiting outside his car behind an apartment building. The backdoor opened and a shaft of light cut across the dark, empty lot. She stood silhouetted in that light, Bear's dream woman.
The door swung close behind her and she stepped out. In the dark her pale eyes sparkled, and in the small circle cast by the lone street light, her skin shone. She was wearing a dark slinky dress, whose slit shamelessly revealed long milky legs. Bear could see not only the end of her stockings, but caught glimpses of her incredibly skimpy thong. At her small waist the dress split into a 'v' that cupped her enormous breasts. They pressed hungrily against the dress, weightless and huge, threatening to spill out from behind narrow ribbons of fabric that held them in.
He took off his hat as she approached. She kept coming until Bear felt her breasts pressed against him. She looked up at him, her head rested against his broad chest. All he could see was skin. Her face, beautifully framed by her blonde locks, and her large red lips. Her bare shoulders and arms that wrapped around his neck, her deep cleavage pressed against him.
God he wanted her, to have her lie against him like this.
“Kiss me.” Her voice was breathy, unearthly. She closed her eyes.
“Please, kiss me.” She pleaded, delicate and beautiful.
Bear couldn't stop himself. She hung on to his lip as he pulled. She stepped back eyes still closed.
“You want me, don't you?”
“You lust after me, don't you?”
“Yes.” Bear was hoarse, his throat dry. He wiped away something wet and warm from his nose. His hand was black in the dim light. Blood.
He slumped against the open car door. He felt lightheaded. He pulled himself into the driver's seat. He needed to start the car, he had made a reservation at Avenue One. Groggily he looked around for his date.
She was standing in front of the car. Her hands seemed to sink into the metal of the hood. The steel whined and then buckled violently. She pulled. The whole car tilted wildly, and when she raised her thin arms, the engine block was over her head. She shifted the weight, and she stood, holding it with one arm, the other resting on her hip. She tossed the huge load aside.
Somehow Bear managed to close the door. He tried putting the keys in the ignition, but it didn't start. His eyes floated over to where the blonde, he couldn't remember her name, was walking up. He could see her beautiful tits, and through the dress material her hardened nipples, through the car window. They kept coming. The glass splintered, cobweb cracks spreading, before, with a sharp pop, it shattered. The shards rained down, rattled as they spilled into the driver's seat. Two thin hands gripped the door, the metal deforming and running through her fingers like putty. The door ripped away. Bear fell backward across the front seat. He was floating above his body, looking down. Idly he wondered where the sticky, oozing hole in his side had come from.
“We're going to be late. I got reservations.” It was barely intelligible.
She straddled him. “I'm sorry, but I've got to pick your brain about some of your co-workers.”
He tried to grab at her arms. He got one in his grip, his huge hand swallowing her forearm. It didn't slow her down. It didn't impede her in the slightest as she put one hand on each side of his head.
“Think hard for me, Honey. I'm looking for a woman.”
She insisted on going to a cop bar. They sat in the corner booth.
“Don't you know how to lounge?”
Morgan made a visible effort to look relaxed.
“I guess that answers my question – you don't.”
She caught him with a smile. “I lose myself in my work, Raphael.”
She insisted on calling him by his real name. It sounded strange. “Well, what do you do for fun?” The waiter brought two beers and two glasses to the table. He poured his, she just let hers sit.
“I don't really.”
He laughed, but an uncomfortable silence fell over the table.
“Raphael Esperanzo, Esperanzo means hope, right?” She asked.
“And my middle name is Caridad.”
“Charity. A regular collection of virtues.”
“My mother, she was Catholic, she thought, she believed names have influence. You don't want to hear about this.”
She looked directly at him with her piercing brown eyes. “I do.” He couldn't say no to that.
“She named me after the angel Raphael, and gave me this.” he pulled out the chain that hung around his neck, held the medallion at the end up for Morgan to see. “It's Mercury's caduceus, she claims it was the symbol of Raphael, but I've never heard anyone else say that.”
Her eyes followed the little silver winged staff as he tucked it back into his shirt.
Ricky took another sip. “That's not nothing.” He pulled the chain off his neck, looped it over his head. “Do you like it? It's obvious that you do. Take it, it's a gift.”
He passed it across the table but she made no effort to take it. “I can't.” But her eyes lingered on it.
“Really, I just wore it because Mom wanted me to.”
“No.” She said with a firmness that Ricky didn't want to argue with.
He tucked into his shirt pocket. There was another uncomfortable stretch of silence.
“What about you. What was Iraq like?”
“That was an awfully long time ago.” There, was the same firm tone. Ricky didn't say anything, just took refuge in another drink. She surprised him when she continued. “My sister,” She hesitated, a hesitation that he had seen a dozen times before suspects lied. “We had a falling out. I came to America to try to find some sort of closure on the whole situation.”
“That was an awfully long time ago.” It was a reply that brooked no further investigation.
She looked down at her full beer bottle, and empty glass.
“This was a mistake. I don't date cops.” She began to stand up, but instead turned in her seat to face him. “I'm sorry.” There was no more smile, and for the first time Ricky noticed one of the qualities that made her so exotic – she never blinked.
“Let me drive you back to the office.” He smiled at her, put on a brave face. “I'm sure I don't even want to think about the paperwork that you'd have to fill out for dating an officer.”
Her smile returned. “Thanks.”
He paid quickly, and jogged to the car ahead of her, opened the door for her. He did the best he could to stay civil, despite the fact that her rejection, the entire “date” in fact, had left him feeling hollow inside. The ride back was completely silent, until Morgan's cell phone rang. Ricky couldn't hear words, just the urgent tone. She looked right at him with her unblinking stare.
When they arrived forensics was already canvasing the scene. Chief Stone was there, too, and saw Ricky coming.
“Son, you really shouldn't.” But he didn't move to stop him.
The car looked like it had been hit by a train. Ricky could see blood on the cracked windshield. It looked like splatter, up and away, toward the passengers side. Bear's legs were twisted at an unnatural angle out the hole where the driver's side door should be. His body lay at an awkward angle, sprawled across the front seat. Ricky came closer and Bear's head came into view.
Ricky felt something acrid in the back of his throat, his gut roiled. He turned, put his arm on the brick facade of the adjacent apartment building for support. He stared down at the pavement, tried to control his breathing and his stomach. His hands began to shake uncontrollably.
He could hear Morgan and Amos talking.
“Do you think its corruption?”
Stones' reply was icy. “It didn't take long for the vultures to start tearing at the dead.”
“Amos, if you're stonewalling me, I'll bury you.”
Amos grumbled something. What Ricky could make out wasn't very flattering. He felt a hand on his back. It was Morgan.
“Are you alright?”
Ricky really didn't feel like talking to her. At her touch the shaking stopped, his stomach calmed.
“I know what you thinking.”
“I really don't think you do.”
She sighed. “I have to ask about corruption. I know what cops believe. They believe that IA want to pounce on them if they don't toe the line. That we want to catch them in the act, that we want to bust a dirty cop. It's not true. I became a cop to protect people, to shield them. I became IA to protect cops. I try to look after you, keep you honest. I've known all my life it was my calling, to keep people safe. Nothing kills cops faster than corruption.”
She sounded defiant. But beneath that, so deep he couldn't be sure, Ricky heard tiredness, and for a second it seemed like the impossible might be happening – Morgan was confiding in him. Ricky shook off that thought. This was just an exercise in apologetic. It could have been taking straight from an IA training manual for all he knew.
“That wasn't what I was thinking.” Ricky felt himself about to gag again as he envisioned Bear's body, how it just sort of ended at the neck. “I was thinking that there wasn't any brain matter.” He spit out some vile tasting clear liquid. “What kind of sick fuck takes a man's brain.”
He looked up into Morgan's unblinking stare. She turned sharply and walked away from Ricky. She ducked under the yellow tape. Ricky caught one last glimpse of her scarf and the back of her jacket. Then the crowd swallowed her and she was gone.
Ricky's felt his whole body begin to shake.
Ricky filed into the briefing room. A man from the FBI had pictures of Bear's body taped to the whiteboard behind him.
“The treatment of the body, namely the taking the brain, suggests that this was the work of a serial killer with a developed or evolving M.O. We believe the brain was taken as a trophy. The crime scene was public, uncleaned. This suggests an opportunistic killer, rash and violent.” His tone was dry and academic. He flipped to another page in the folder he was holding. “Forensics on the car suggests a group using heavy equipment to tear out the engine and remove the door. At first glance this seems inconsistent with our killer's profile. Two possibilities exist – the destruction of the car and the killing were coincidental, or that this was the work of a group, the leader of which is our unsub. However unlikely it seems our profile suggest a murderous cult, led by our charismatic – and psychotic – unsub, male, probably older, white...”
Ricky couldn't listen anymore. He quietly slid out of the room. Chief Stone was leaning arms just outside the door.
“Where are you going?”
“I'm going to try and find Bear's killer.” Unspoken, Ricky's words had sounded a lot less painfully idealistic.
Chief Stone sighed. “Son, you're testing my patience. You're best bet of finding him is to sit your ass back down in a chair and listen.”
“No, listen, sir, Morgan knows something. I could tell. She was scared.”
“Ricky, you're still wet behind the ears, so I'll clue you in on this one, headless corpses have that affect on dames.”
“On Morgan? Weren't you the one who described her as a 'cold-hearted-bitch-godess'? What scares a woman like that so badly that she runs away?”
Amos didn't like hearing his words thrown back at him. “Son, I'm not asking you again.”
“Where is Morgan now?”
“She requested a transfer.”
“To none of your goddamn business.”
Pretvira walked up to the officer stationed at the front desk. She stopped briefly to gather Bear's thoughts. Out of the jumbled images she pulled a name and a face.
“I'm looking for Morgan Al-Sariel.” The face she saw in her mind's eye was unfamiliar, but the name gave it away. She could taste it; it was her. The pudgy middle age woman looked immensely bored. She sighed, typed the name into her computer.
Pretvira frowned. The trial felt cold, like it was slipping away. It was if …
“I'm afraid she doesn't work here any more.”
… she was no longer here. Pretvira cursed silently. “Do you know where she works now?” She tried fluttering her eyelashes.
The woman stared flatly at her. “I'm sorry ma'am, I can't help you. Next!”
Pretvira fumed silently, but just walked away. I could tear down this whole damn building. I could lay waste to this little miserable ant hill. Her eyes quickly scanned the lobby, hoping to see something that could help her. A man. She felted a stirring in Bear's ingested memories. Someone who knew Sariel, worked closely with her. A name came to her lips.
Ricky sat at the bar. After Morgan left, Stone had relieved him of his liaison duties. He had too much time on his hands, too much time to think and feel sorry for himself. In the mirror beyond the bar he saw throngs of strangers. He'd chosen the place at random, to be alone.
The crowd parted, and he caught sight of a blonde. Her reflection seemed to be staring right at him. He turned quickly, but she had disappeared in the crowd. He stood up and pushed his way toward the back wall. She was sitting at a booth, staring right at him.
“Mind if I sit down.”
She smiled. “Be my guest.” She patted the empty area beside her.
“Pretvira.” She pushed her hair back. Her hand floated down, idly traced the outline of her breasts. He couldn't help but look down into her milky white deep cleavage. Her dress's thin little spaghetti straps seemed hardly adequate.
“What do you do Ricky?” She slid up next to him, her arms wrapping themselves around him. She was breathing right into his ear.
“I'm a cop.”
Her pale eyes sparkled with interest. “I think I like that.” She rested her head on his shoulder. “I'm glad you came over.”
With a finger she traced up his arm. She lingered on his bicep. “Do, you work out?”
Ricky suddenly remembered Stone's words: adequate physical fitness. They burned in his ears.
“A little, yeah.”
She squeezed playfully. “You seem strong. I guess a cop has to be.”
His throat felt dry. “Not necessarily, physicals requirements for a street cop, they really aren't that stringent.” He lost his train as he looked down at her. “You really don't have to be that strong–“
“But you are.” She smiled up at him. “What are you doing all alone tonight?”
Morgan. Pretvira had found another sore spot.
“I'm just not involved with anyone, right now.”
“That woman must have been an idiot.”
“You said, 'right now.' Oh well, her loss, my gain.”
Ricky suddenly felt more than a little uncomfortable. Clumsily he tried to scoot away. She noticed his awkwardness.
“I'm sorry, Ricky, if I'm coming on a little too strong.” She dug her face into his neck gave him a kiss. “It's just that I came in here tonight to try to get lucky.” Ricky felt another little kiss on his neck. Her hand slid down into his lap. It found him hard. She stroked him gently under the table.
“Did you?” It was barely a whisper in his ear.
“Umm … not really,” Ricky winced at his own painfully honest.
She pouted, and just kept rubbing him. “That's too bad, I guess I'll just have to suck your dick, instead.” She breathed right into his ear. Her tongue lightly touched the side of his face.
“Please.” She whispered. Her grip tightened on him, holding his engorged member tightly through the fabric of his pants. “Please.”
She grabbed his hand, he tried to resist, but she was surprisingly strong. It guided him under the table through the slit of her dress. He felt her knee, but she kept guiding him, up the inside of her thigh. He felt the thin strip of fabric covering her crotch.
“Please.” She bit his ear softly.
He couldn't help himself. He pushed his fingers into her moist wetness. She gasped, her head rolled back, and her body spasmed slightly. She looked at him, her voice wavered.
“Kiss me.” She sounded barely in control of herself.
“Kiss me.” She whispered brokenly, as another little tremor shook her
Her lips hung right in front of Ricky. He closed his eyes. Unbidden he saw's Morgan's face. Then he saw's Bear's body. He opened his eyes, saw her waiting and felt a deep irrational panic. He pushed Pretvira away.
He felt her grip on his crotch grow painfully tight. It was only momentary, as a second later he felt both of her hands on his chest.
“Let's at least go back to your place.” Her eyes were wide, pleading.
Ricky walked into his apartment. Pretvira coyly waited outside the door.
“Can I come in?” She smiled seductively.
“Yeah, of course.”
She didn't seem to walk, the way her dress swung and her hips moved, she seemed to float. He couldn't take his eyes off of her. She settled gracefully on his couch. She smiled up at him.
“Do you have anything to drink?”
He went to the kitchen and fumbled at the refrigerator. It was slim pickings.
“What did you have in mind?”
“Got anything red?” She almost seemed to purr.
He held up two containers. “Tropical fruit punch or Yellow-Tail?”
She laughed, and it sounded angelic. “How about we go with the wine.”
A quick look in his cupboards revealed a solitary wineglass. He poured some wine for the two of them and went back into the living room. He set the wineglass for her, and a plastic coffee mug for himself. He sat down beside her on the couch. She watched him drink.
“I'm sorry, about the bar, I guess, I've just had a bad string of luck when it comes to dates.” He smiled sheepishly. “My own fault I guess.”
“You're lucky I don't give up that easy.” She took a small sip.
She put down her wine glass and deftly plucked his cup away from him. Why don't I make you more comfortable. She slipped her hand down to his waist quickly undid his belt. She stood in front of him, and plucked at her spaghetti string top. The dress fell away. Her breast seemed to float up off her chest inches from his face.
Her small little thong underwear was tied on. She pulled at the knot and soon they too floated to the floor. She stood before him, spectacular naked. She mounted him and skillfully slid him into her. His hands cupped her as she did. He felt the weight and surprising firmness of her chest. She slid up and down his shaft, and soon he offered no more resistance. He felt himself about to orgasm, and then she pulled off.
She stood, pulled him to his feet. Awkwardly Ricky grabbed his pants, pulled them back up to his waist. She pulled him close, those slender arms pulling him up against her flawless body.
“Kiss me.” Ricky felt something warm against his chest.
Ricky did. His head began to swim, and what he remembered being right angles in his apartment started to look a little wobbly.
“You want me, don't you.”
“Yes.” The words weren't his own. He felt like he was reciting lines from a play he'd never read.
“You lust after me, don't you.”
“Yes.” It was an incantation.
She started laughing, and suddenly it didn't sound quite as angelic as Ricky remembered it being. She sidled up next to Ricky, until she was talking right into his ear.
“Lust is a sin you know.” Her pale eyes looked right into his. “Do you know what the wages of sin are?”
She smiled wickedly. “Me.”
Ricky flew. When he stopped, he was in the kitchen, sitting in a pile of broken sheet rock that had formerly been part of his wall. His ribs were rapidly bruising. Pretvira looked down at her fist, a confused expression on her face.
“That is not what is supposed to happen.”
She strode over to Ricky. Weakly he tried to crawl away but her hand caught his leg. The world flipped as she lifted and carried him back into the living room, and dumped him beside the couch.
He just stared up at her.
“How about this: stand up or I rip your arms off.”
Ricky extended his arm to her. She rolled her eyes, and pulled him up roughly. And then he was flying again, this time in the other direction. The TV didn't fair so well, but it did break his fall.
Again she was staring down at her fist. Her eyes narrowed as she looked at Ricky. “There is more here than meets the eye.”
She tore open his shirt. The buttons didn't have a chance. They flew off in different directions. She saw the little medallion around Ricky's neck.
“Ah-ha.” She seemed proud of herself as she grabbed it. With one quick jerk Ricky's head snapped forward and the chain broke. “This is an irritating little trinket you have.” Her eyes sparkled and her fist began to contract around it.
Ricky took her momentary distraction as his opportunity to run.
She crushed the pendant with her hand.
And then light filled the apartment. Ricky flew once more. There was a momentary resistance and then he felt his head bounce on the bathroom floor. There was no sound, just a constant ringing. Groggily he looked up to see Pretvira staring at her arm. Where her hand should have been there was only a stump covered with what looked like mud.
Her words were barely audible over the ringing even though Ricky clearly saw she was shouting. “You little insect! You little pathetic worm! I'm going to rip your spine out! I'm going to break every bone in your body!.” Her head blurred as she looked around the apartment. She picked up a flowerpot that had fallen to the ground. Quickly she scooped up the spilled dirt and scooped it over her right stump.
“I'm going to snap you in half! To think of the humiliation I had to endure. I allowed you a taste of my perfect body just for one little kiss.” Rage contorted her face. She didn't look up, just concentrating on the flower pot she was using to cover her recently amputated hand. She was muttering to herself. “I swear, it was easier to seduce men during Christendom than it is now. Even after all this bullshit about feminism, sexual emancipation, a woman has to make a fool of herself for one little lustful kiss.”
Ricky was on the floor and struggling to regain his feet. He felt for a handhold, and discovered one. It was a hole in his bathroom wall through which he could see dust, wires and studs. He used it to stumble over to the toilet. He tried to reach around to the back of the tank.
Through the hole that now led from his living room to his bathroom he saw Pretvira throw off the pot. At the end of her stump he saw a perfectly formed dirt hand. She shook her arm and the dirt flaked off, and beneath it, pink skin. “Now I'm mad.” She turned toward him, saw him through the whole in the wall.
Ricky was straining to reach the gun duct taped to the back of the toilet. Pretvira walked up to the hole in the wall, looked at it curiously. “Cheap ass drywall.” She seemed annoyed. She walked the few steps to where the door used to be. She stopped just on the other side of the doorframe.
Ricky pulled out the little revolver and fired. He fired until the gun clicked empty, and then pulled the trigger some more.
Pretvira stared down at the bullet holes in her stomach. They didn't bleed, just began to fill in with mud, till that too hardened and flaked off, leaving unblemished skin. She smiled big.
“A gun. That's really cute, Raphael. Do you mind if I call you Raphael?” Ricky nodded dumbly, and the gun fell from his hand. “Alright, listen to me Raphael, I want to be real clear on this: You are going to die.”
She smiled, nodded a little.
“Let that sink in a little bit. I'm going to kill you. Now, don't give me that puppy dog look, I hate that. I like you Raphael, so this is what I'm going to do for you. You can either die because I rip little pieces off until you bleed to death.” She paused for dramatic affect. “Or I can make it pleasant.”
Ricky laughed bitterly, but the pain in his chest quickly turned it into a violent cough.
“I can you know. This is a hopeless situation for you, but I can make it pleasant. Please, Raphael, don't play the noble martyr. There is a much better way.”
She leaned, on the doorframe, thrust out her chest for his viewing pleasure. Naked, she looked spectacular. He couldn't deny it. Despite himself, he felt his loins stir. “I could pleasure you. I could make you orgasm again and again. It would keep going until you thought you had nothing left, but it would continue even after that until that came out was blood. You would die of dehydration – and I'd eat your brain, steal your memories –” she shrugged. “But trust me at that point, you wouldn't mind.”
She batted her long eyelashes. Something about it looked odd. He realized that he'd never seen her blink before.
“All you have to do is invite me in.”
Somewhere in Ricky's addled brain he remembered somebody else that didn't blink. Who? He looked back up to Pretvira, puzzled.
“Just invite me in there, that's all.”
Her toes pressed right up against the foot board of the door, but not onto it.
“You killed Bear.”
She rolled her eyes, gave Ricky an exasperated thumb up. “Give the man a little golden star. What gave me away? The brain eating?”
“Go to hell, you psychotic bitch.”
Her eyes narrowed but her smile quickly returned. “Raphael, it doesn't have to be this way. My offer still stands.”
Ricky heard a scratching and buzzing. He looked around. It seemed to be coming from the wall. The floor. The ceiling. Pretvira was giving him a doe-eyed stare from the doorway.
He turned to the hole he had used as a handhold. Now he couldn't see into it, there was only blackness. Then the blackness overflowed and spilled onto the floor and swarmed toward him. Bugs – spiders and cockroaches, and things Ricky couldn't recognize. He scrambled onto the sink, but from the drain more welled up. A large cockroach spread its wings, started to fly toward him. The whole swarm seemed to take flight at him.
He jumped to the shower, and heard things making their way up the drain here too. He flicked on the water and it came down steaming. The flying things hit the downpour of water and fell to the bottom of the tub. As he pulled the curtain closed he saw Pretvira blowing him a kiss. The curtain was transparent, but soon black specs began to blot out the light.
The water was beginning to rise in the tub. Ricky looked down, saw the thin metal covering on his drain shake, and then dislodge. Something grey and blob like welled up from the ground, stretched, strained to free itself. Ricky wanted to back up, but the swarm had began to cover the tile walls away from the showerhead's steaming heat. The blob freed itself and turned under the water's surface to face him.
From somewhere outside, he heard Pretvira ask, “What did you say?”
It jumped, intercepted what looked like a large grasshopper in mid-flight. It jumped again, and another bug disappeared. Two more emerged out of the drain. He heard wet flops on the tile outside, more frogs.
“Eww … gross.” It was Pretvira. Ricky heard a crash, wood splintering. He heard Pretvira's sharp intake of breath. “Sariel!”
“Morgan!” The cry welled up from Ricky. Every surface in the bathroom was, pulsing, as bodies crawled over more bodies.
“Hold on just a second.” Her reply was calm. The bathroom filled with white smoke and the buzzing stopped. Ricky threw open the curtain and the haze choked him. He quickly ran over frozen, still twitching insects back into the living room. A frog scooped up a mouthful of insects and watched him with flat uninterested eyes.
“How did you do that?” His eyes still burned, but through the haze Ricky made out an exhausted fire extinguisher. “Um … nevermind.”
He wiped the noxious chemical away from his face, and saw Pretvira struggling futility to escape from Morgan's grasp. One of Morgan's hand was wrapped around her neck. She was being held aloft. Morgan looked at Ricky, disappointment obvious in her stare.
“You let her kiss you?”
“Well …” Ricky's face flushed red.
“Uh-huh.” Morgan shook her head, looked back up a Pretvira.
Her attention refocused on Pretvira. “I thought I left you in a box some years ago?”
“I do recall spending sometime trapped inside a statue of St. Agnes.”
The corner of Morgan's lips turned up into a smile. “That's right; the patron saint of chastity.”
“Ha ha.” Pretvira said without mirth.
“Is that your sister?”
Morgan looked back at Ricky, confused. “What? No, just one of my sisters miserable little creations. Runs her errands”
Pretvira smiled despite her situation. Her words struggled past Morgan's constricting grip. “And I succeeded. I found you didn't I? You changed your face, your name, but I still found you. So I'm going to go now, alright?” She waved to Ricky, smiled shyly. She looked back at Morgan. “He's cute. Resourceful, too. I can see why you like him.”
Morgan sighed. “Dust to dust, Pretvira.”
“Right.” She closed her eyes, and her body turned grey. It slid out of Morgan's hand and disintegrated into a pile of dirt on the floor. Morgan fished something out of the pile, and slipped it quickly into one of her pockets. Ricky couldn't see what it was, just the light that seemed to slip out between Morgan's clenched fingers.
Morgan turned to Ricky. “We need to get you out of here.” She started to walk away.
“Was it true, what she said. About you, I mean, was it true?” His question felt more urgent than whatever danger might be racing toward them.
She turned back toward him. “You let her kiss you.”
“She's very convincing.”
“Humans!” Then as almost an afterthought. “Men!”
She glared at him. Ricky saw her anger. She walked over to him. Ricky wanted to shy away, but she pinned him to the spot with her eyes. She was inches from his face.
She kissed him. Her arms wrapped around him, and he was caught in her unbreakable grip. After what seemed like an eternity, she let him go, stepped away.
“If there aren't any more objections we need to go.”