By Lisabet SaraiOur topic for the next two weeks is "Monsters and Disasters". The focus, at least in our official topic calendar, is on writing horror and similar genres, although I won't be surprised if the denizens of the Grip take this in unexpected directions, as they usually do.
I'm not much of a horror fan as a reader - well, except for H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe. It's telling that both those authors imply a good deal more than they show, when it comes to monsters. One of H.P. Lovecraft's favorite words is "inchoate", meaning "not fully formed; incipient". His creatures are amorphous, bloated with potential evil waiting to take shape.
For both these authors, monsters tend to be personal. In "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", for instance, the fish-like creatures who haunt the bay evoke disgust and fear, but the most awful aspect of the tale is the narrator's discovery that he is in fact descended from this spawn, and is inexorably changing to a monster himself.
Poe's terrors are interior, borne of a guilty conscience or a history of insanity. No indiscriminate slashers leaving trails of blood behind - no armies of mindless reanimates hungry for human flesh - one black cat interred in a wall is more than enough to drive one to madness.
I've made only one attempt at writing serious horror (though I have a less serious effort in my Lovecraft parody, "The Shadow Over DesMoines"). In response to Nobilis Reed's call for "tentacle porn", I penned "Fleshpot", which appeared in Coming Together: Arm in Arm in Arm. This is, by any definition, a horror story. The protagonist is killed by a creature that's half-woman, half-octopus. The story is Lovecraftian, though, in the sense that the monster is extremely personal. One can imagine that she exists solely for him - a sex addict jaded by everything available in what might be the most depraved city in the world.
I'm a bit off balance, but not really drunk. You have to shell out for a beer each place you visit, but then you can sit as long as you like, enjoying the “entertainment” - girls in bikinis, girls in lingerie, girls wearing nothing at all – writhing to the music, spreading their legs, cupping their tits, kissing one another is a pantomime of lesbian lust that's arousing despite its silliness.
The other men drift around me like specters. I see only the women. A busty pair of Swedish girls saunter by, easily six feet tall, blonde hair gleaming on their tanned shoulders. A diminutive black woman in a multi-hued African print laughs and points at a tame monkey in the middle of the road. Even the Arab women, shrouded in black, make my balls ache. What the hell are they doing in this fleshpot? They walk behind their spouses, staring with a mixture of shock and fascination at the many varieties of sin surrounding them. Their luminous, accusing eyes meet mine, then skitter away. I imagine stripping away their protective garments to probe the mysteries beneath, and know that I'm damned.
“Hey, mister. What you looking for?” The voice is like rusted chains being dragged along the ground. I try to focus on its source. A hand clutches my tee shirt.
“You want something special?” The wizened man at my side offers a toothless grin . “Got something special, very special. Sex like nothing else in the world.”
A dull blanket of despair settles over me. It's suddenly hard to breathe. Am I that transparent?
“Leave me alone!” I try to shake him off, but he's like a tick on a dog.
“Look, look. Very special. Most beautiful girl in world.” He pulls a tattered photo from the pocket of his shorts. I can't help myself. “Look.”
The image is dark, the background indistinct, but in the center a woman's face shines like the moon. Her skin's so pale it's iridescent. Her tangled hair is snow white, touched with silvery highlights. It tumbles in tangled ringlets over her shoulders and onto her chest, half-hiding luscious, ripe breasts. Erect, plum-hued nipples peek through the platinum tresses.
Her body is a wet dream, but it's her perfect face that holds me breathless. Silver brows arch over bottomless black eyes. She has high cheekbones streaked with violet shadows, a delicate nose and purplish lips so full they look bruised. She does not smile. Although her features are those of young girl of twenty, maybe less, there's a terrible, ageless wisdom in her expression that makes my chest hurt and my cock swell to impossible hardness.
“You like?” I hear triumph in the aged procurer's voice. He knows I'm hooked. “Only five thousand baht.”
“Who is she?” I tear my eyes from her solemn gaze. “Your daughter? Your grand daughter? You selling your own flesh and blood for a few baht, old man?”
“No, no, she not family.” He clutched the amulet hanging around his scrawny neck in a strange, superstitious gesture, then grinned up at me. “Just a lost woman – work for me – she work for you, mister, believe me. Make you so hot, so hard...”
“If she's just a woman, I don't need her. I can get lots of women.” Something contrary makes me argue, though in truth I'm dying to meet this exquisite creature.
“Not like Nangloy. Nangloy special. Only one like her...”
He shoves the photo in my face. I want to look away – her loveliness only sharpens my anguish – but I can't resist another glance. I imagine those pale, rounded arms twining around me. I wonder about the taste of that lush, dark mouth. She snags me with her cold eyes, not pleading like the other girls, but challenging me. Do I dare take her?
How can I refuse? Perhaps this is it, at last– what I've been looking for.
“Three thousand,” I say finally. I don't want him to know how eager I truly am.
“Cannot, cannot! Must feed her, take care of her...”
“Never mind then.” I shrug and stride away.
“Wait, wait!” He scampers like a crab, trying to keep up with me. “Three thousand five hundred.”
“Three thousand.” He's as desperate as I am, for some reason.
“No... Cannot. Nangloy special, cost a lot...”
“Then find some other sucker who'll pay for something so 'special'.” I stop walking and fold my arms across my chest. I'll let the universe decide. If the geezer will drop his price to my level, that'll be a sign. Otherwise, I'll find some other flesh to console me. “Two thousand or nothing.”
“Okay, okay. Three thousand. But you come now, okay mister? Nangloy, she waiting for you.”
What better time than now? I'm hard and ready. Meanwhile, a ray of unlikely hope dispels a bit of my gloom. I can tell by her face Nangloy is like no one I've met before. Maybe – just maybe – she's what I need.
“Come on,” the skinny old man urges. He leads me down a narrow corridor floored with scarred planks, between two seafood restaurants. I hear sports announcers and rock music, then clattering plates and hissing oil. There are still a few diners loitering on the wooden balconies overlooking the bay. Kerosene torches smoke in the limp air. The half moon above us is blurred. Lights from the luxury hotels on the cape to the south twinkle like distant stars in the mist.
The path becomes a rickety wharf, stretching out into the sea. “Careful, careful,” the old man warns. “Some missing boards. Watch out.”
“Nangloy is out here?” The tide has turned. Murky water laps at the piles ten feet below.
“Yes, yes. Just a little way.”
The pier ends in a wooden shack. The old man unfastens a rusty padlock then pulls open the door. The place stinks of stale beer and rotten fish. Dread crawls up my spine.
“Never mind. I'm going back.”
My guide grabs my wrist with surprising strength. “No, no! She waiting you. Don't be chicken shit farang.”
“This place looks dangerous.”
“Sure, Nangloy dangerous. Most beautiful girl in the world – of course she dangerous. Everyone want her.” He lowers his voice, as though telling me a secret. “Tonight, she yours.”
He flips a switch – I'm surprised to discover the hut was electrified – and a bare bulb in the ceiling throws the rough space into sharp relief. A table and two chairs – a wooden platform with a thin, stained mattress – some shelves holding a bottle of Thai whiskey and a couple of smeared glasses. A rectangular hole in the far wall offers a view of the bay.
Such a lonely, desolate place...if I scream no one will hear.
The twinge of fear banishes any residual drunkenness. All my senses are on high gain. The rising tide splashes below us. The briny smell is almost overwhelming, but now, I'm starting to find it pleasant. It reminds me of the woman I was about to meet.
“Where is she, grandpa?”
“She down there.” He pointed to a trap door in the floor. “Leave your clothes on bed. Then you go down.”
I followed his instructions. I felt him staring at my cock as I removed my jeans. I was iron-hard. I wondered how I could be so clear-headed, with all that blood swelling my penis. Nangloy's pimp had opened the flap in the floor while I was undressing. I headed for the aperture, eager to meet my fate.
“Wait, wait. You pay first.”
“Okay, whatever.” I extract the wallet from my pants pocket and flip three bills in his direction. I only have a few hundred more, so I don't worry about him robbing me while I'm with his special whore. He tucks the money into his shirt.
“You go now.” In the glare from above, his wrinkled, grinning face looks skeletal. “Enjoy.”
I start to clamber down the metal ladder, but something stops me. A last shred of rationality, perhaps. A whiff of fear, as insubstantial as the mist veiling the moon. “Wait a minute, gramps. You come too. Introduce me to your protegee.”
“No, no – you go alone. She wait for you. I come later, when you finish.”
I decide not to argue. In truth, I'm too eager to see what awaits me below. I descend the rusty steps into another chamber, filled with a dim, greenish light. The sound of waves is all around me. I must be barely above water level.
The room appears empty. The wooden floor is damp and slimy under my bare feet. As my eyes adjust to the dimness, I realize there's a big iron tub in the far corner. In that tub, her eyes fixed on my naked body, sits Nangloy.
In person, she's even more astonishing than in the photo. Her pearlescent skin gleams from within. Her hair cascades like liquid light over her perfect breasts. The tub's full of water, up to her waist, so I can't see her hips, her buttocks or her pussy, but if they're anything like her upper half...
She regards me gravely. She doesn't smile, doesn't speak, but she holds out her arms in a graceful gesture of welcome. I take a step forward, my fingers itching to stroke that iridescent skin, run my fingers through that silken silver hair.
My pulse pounds in my temples. I want to rush to her side. At the same time, I want to stretch out this unique moment, contemplating her incredible, bizarre beauty. Who – what – is she?
Finally I'm standing by the side of the tub. She twines her delicate fingers around my raging erection. A chill seizes me. At the same time, my cock stings, as though her skin were secreting acid. The slight pain only makes me want her more. She ripples her hand down my length, milking me. My balls tighten. Not yet, not yet! The sensations she kindles are like nothing I've experienced, simultaneously languorous and urgent.
I reach for her, capturing both nipples between fingers and thumbs. They're tough and rubbery. When I twist them, her eyes grow wider, but she still makes no sound, just strokes, strokes, strokes my cock, trailing fire along the shaft.
I bend over, kneading her breasts, burying my face in her hair. She smells of seaweed and stone, pearls and foam. I brush her purple lips with mine. They're icy cold, yet the same strange fire burns my mouth in the aftermath of contact. She won't open to my tongue. I finally give up and try to pull her to a standing position.
“Let me see you, Nangloy – all of you. I want to taste your pussy.”
She doesn't exactly resist but I can't budge her from her sitting position. Her expert touch has me on the edge of coming. I want to do the same for her, yet she barely reacts to my caresses.
I crouch beside the tub and plunge my hand into the water, seeking her cunt. I find a slick, slippery, muscular slit that grips my probing fingers. Her fist tightens around my cock when I drive into that hot, wet space. I hover on the edge of climax, struggling for control.
I'm not going to share the brutal ending. After all, Arm in Arm and Arm is a charity anthology, and I'd really like to have you buy a copy. However, I can assure you that it's horrible. And totally personal, customized for this particular lost and desperate character.
Whoo, this is awesome, Lisabet! One of the best pieces of writing advice I've ever gotten was that an adversary should be as tailored to the hero as a romantic interest would be. It looks as if you've done both at once here.ReplyDelete
Garce has taught me that villains should be in some sense mirrors of the hero. I think he's right.
Wow! Great stuff. I have a tendency to want to stand up for the monsters, but not, I think, in this case.ReplyDelete
This monster is truly inhuman - not necessarily malicious or evil. She is what she is. And of course she's a victim, too, exploited by the old man who keeps her.Delete
Brought tears to my eyes - and not from sorrow! Great stuff.ReplyDelete
Thanks, JP! Although I would have thought shudders might have been more appropriate than tears.Delete
Eerie, picturesque sense of place, Lisabet. Suspense too. Guessing she's some kind of mermaid? Maybe you've shamed me into buying the book to find out. :>)ReplyDelete
Getting back finally.
Its interesting to imagine what goes on in the mind of the man going down those stairs in a strange land, his immense curiosity or spiritual ennui knowing that he may be - almost certainly is - walking into a trap, although you would expect the danger to be coming from the old pimp and not the woman, who usually has no power in these situations. Here she is the power. So when i read this story - and i've read it three times since i first saw it - I always wonder, what is in the heart of a "familiar", whether of a monstrous woman, or a vampire or whatever person or creature holds him in its thrall. Is it love?