The Shadow Factory

She never needed to reload.
It had only been a week, and you said the word “bed” with the wide innocent eyes of a child as in “Are we going to?” and she really didn’t know what to say to you. She could see your expectant smile shining in the darkness, could feel your heartbeat thrumming the dead air of silence around her, but there were no words. Not for you.
She knew what you wanted, could feel it under your skin when you fucked her on the lino in the kitchen and against the dumpster in the parking lot and on the roof of your wife’s car. Yes, she could feel it, and she wanted to cut it out, wanted to find you in the morning, a distant dream, a sigh that barely brushed up against the linen. Too soon, it was just too soon. She’d made the same mistakes before…
Mathew 7:16. He wouldn’t kiss her on the mouth after she’d sucked the fuck out of him. “Selfish,” she thought, every single time he came. His blood was slow and thick and tasted of tequila and mothballs.
Sometimes the dead speak to her. She would strip the sheets from the mattress and lie amongst them naked, listening to their complaints in the dark, the streetlights through the blinds marking the room off like the scene of a homicide. Sweat, and piss, and shit, and vomit. She could smell them all, taste them all, on the soft folds beneath her body.
Jake 5:22 would never look at her when he came. Called her by his mother’s first name when he fucked her, and then he’d call her a whore. “Too needy,” she thought every single time he refused to look at her cunt. His blood was slick and gritty and tasted of grease.
Simon 3:18 would only ever fuck her in the ass. Said it looked like a nice tight schoolboy’s ass. There was no blood in his veins.
You were different though, 1 week 3 days and you couldn’t help but say the words, even if you didn’t mean it. But you’d have to mean it before you could join her here, in this private space between hope and pain.
You’d have to make her believe it,

Before she could ever accept your stain.

By Cheryl Anne Gardner

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