Tag Archives: flowers

&Emma By Marlena Chertock

Marcy was wearing a short floral dress, flower petals grazing her knees as she walked. They wandered to the DuPont Circle fountain and she plopped down by the water, propped her feet on the ledge. Clouds were gathering, but Marcy threw her head back and inhaled. Her cheeks turned pinker as she did.

Emma lightly placed her hand on Marcy’s. She didn’t open her eyes.

Eventually, she said, “Give me a penny.”

Emma fished in her deep red purse but didn’t find any pennies. She pressed a quarter from 2004 into Marcy’s palm. She smiled, brought the quarter to her lips, then tossed it into the water, along with Emma’s breath. She got up and headed to the bookstore.

Phantogram was playing loudly in one section, while The Kooks were struggling to be heard in another. Emma pulled a children’s book off the shelf and read to Marcy, cross-legged on the floor. “The end. You know, they purposefully don’t have chairs so we don’t sit and read.”

Marcy just shrugged and said, “It’s a bookstore. People gotta’ browse.” She started reading the back of a Bradbury paperback.

After an hour and a half, they left with four books between them, a Bradbury, a Chabon, a Lahiri, and an Eric Carle.

Outside, the wind grabbed Marcy’s orange curls and threw them into her face. She didn’t seem to mind, and crossed the street with Emma’s hand in hers. Two blocks north, they shared a pot of honey jasmine tea. They found a spot to sit crammed up the narrow staircase in a corner of the room. They cupped the ceramic mugs to warm their fingers.

It was lunch hour for the workers of D.C., but they weren’t working. They took a day off from job searching to come into the city together. They watched couples walk beneath them, holding hands.

“Do you think we’ll ever be that? Meeting up during our lunch break?” Marcy asked, her eyes shining.

“If we ever end up employed … close together, no less.”

“Come on, Emma, have faith,” she said.

The job search was devouring their souls. Last month, Emma had applied to 32 jobs. She scoured Craigslist, Indeed, Glassdoor, and more. When they were applying together one day on the blue carpet in Emma’s room, she asked, “Why is no one hiring me? Should I check off that I’m Asian? Or do they want me to be white?”

“They don’t do that anymore,” Marcy said, backspacing the majority of her cover letter.

“Shouldn’t they?”

Marcy typed another sentence, then deleted it. “It’s probably because we’re women,” she said.

“Don’t they want women? I mean, for their numbers, or whatever.”

“I want women,” Marcy said, glancing at Emma. They abandoned their laptops and fucked on Emma’s bed the rest of the afternoon.

# # #

Two years ago, before they started dating, Emma pulled her phone off her nightside table in her single on campus. The glare was so bright she squinted in the darkened room.

“Lunch tomorrow?” asked a text from Marcy.

Emma’s heart fell like a drop tower at a state fair. “Yeah, see you then,” she typed back.

She wasn’t proud of it, but she went onto Marcy’s Facebook page, browsed her photos. After several minutes, she found her fingers had crept inside her underwear. She pulled them off and gave into the desire that inevitably washes over people at 1 in the morning. She held up her phone in one hand with a photo of Marcy smiling widely with a flower crown nestled in her curls, and with her other, she slid in and out until she was her own babbling brook. She kept her moans muffled, because right outside her door were three other girls. She came, her moan turning into a cough to mask it. Once her breath became normal, she turned on her side and fell asleep.

Marcy had brought Tony along to lunch. As Emma walked over to the table with her tray of pasta, she saw him quickly place his hand on the small of her back then remove it.

“Hey, Em,” Marcy said as she sat down.

“Yo.”

Marcy introduced Tony, explaining how they had History together. Emma scoffed at the word choice. Tony grinned and asked if she was going to the High School Prom II dance.

Emma tried to avoid dancing. She had no sense of rhythm, no clue when to lift her hands in the air, twirl, or pull a guy close. She was so bad at grinding, once a guy at a club appeared behind her, gripped her waist for a few seconds as she concentrated on swishing her ass back and forth, and then left as soon as he’d shown up. She hadn’t given him a free boner on the dance floor, she thought, so he’d ghosted. Meanwhile, Marcy seemed to be a cross between a ballerina, hip-hop, Beyoncé backup dancer. Once, she’d danced on a column so well, Emma was sure the wall would come alive.

“Um …” Emma said.

“Oh, come with! I’m going with Tony,” Marcy said, smiling.

At the dance, they played strictly 90s and early 00s tunes. Everyone laughed and tried grinding to Backstreet Boys and sang loudly to Spice Girls.

Emma tried again, and failed again, to dance with a few guys. After an hour, a girl from her art history lecture danced with her to “Remix to Ignition.” Camie put her hand on Emma’s shoulder. She lowered it all night.

Emma kept glancing at Marcy and Tony, so Camie dragged her to the center of campus where a hundred-year oak tree stretched its enormous limbs over them. She inched closer while she talked tree types. Emma noticed a brown birthmark below her right eye. Camie kissed Emma straight on, her tongue tinted with jungle juice.

Then, she was wrapping her legs around the oak and climbing it effortlessly. She sat on a branch six feet up, dangling her feet. Emma’s stomach was a washing machine set to spin. She grabbed the lowest branch and tried to pull herself up. When she managed to get her feet close to her hands, she lost balance and leapt off the trunk.

“Let your arms do the climbing,” Camie said, giggling.

So Emma held onto the low branch again and flipped upside down, dangling with her knees on the branch like it was a monkey bar. She pulled herself up. When she reached Camie’s perch, she leaned back on the trunk. “I’m going to fall.”

“No, you won’t,” Camie assured her, dragging her fingertips across Emma’s dress, then up her thigh. Camie’s dress was lifted to her hips so she could straddle the branch better. Her black lace underwear was showing. She smiled and slid her fingers under Emma’s cotton underwear. She kissed Emma for thirty minutes, then they climbed down and Emma walked Camie to her dorm across campus. They said goodnight, and Emma wandered back to the oak tree. She leaned on its rough bark for a while. When she finally headed back to her dorm, it was 3 a.m.

# # #

Five years later, Marcy and Emma live in apartments thousands of miles apart. Emma in New York, Marcy in Portland. Marcy got back with Tony and he asked her to move with him once he was offered a job.

Emma works in strategic communications and edits a literary magazine called Wolf Howl at night. She got tea with Camie last week, but things weren’t as electric as the night of the dance, with jungle juice in their veins.

Emma tries to get to bed before 11 p.m., but never makes it. Once she’s under the covers, the lights turned off, she pictures Marcy and moans herself to sleep.

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Devil’s Delight By Matthew Wilson

Nicola could see the castle from her bedroom window, but her poverty bought her no closer to it. How she wished for the bright lights of the city, instead of rotting like summer fruit back here in the suburbs.

She could even see the white dome of the palace, if she squinted she had burnt it onto the back of her eye lids like an old missed memory. Was it too much to ask that a pauper be a princess in desperate times. If only for a day? Wishes were not so rare things in the west though she had yet to meet a genie.

Her mother was old and dying, and after working her fingers to the bone to get food on the table Nicola felt the old woman deserved a better final few days then to cough up oil and slowly succumb to the darkness.

Nicola told herself that she did it for her mom, and that helped with a little of the guilt. Though she had never stolen anything in her life. She had always been a goodie – goodie as mother wished. And yet it had gotten her nothing.

Just hunger pains.

A mother dying of cancer, too poor to afford the medicine to cease the never ending agony as her body was eaten away by tiny, angry cells. She had to do it. For her mother. For herself.

She broke into the mansion.

Not the palace for the guards would be out in force for the recent coronation. She wouldn’t get through the gates without an invite. Maybe she would loose her head, and then who would look after her mother?

She had to take it nice and steady. One foot at a time. Especially when she started climbing the wall. The poison ivy bled through her torn gloves and made her hands hardened by manual labour itch madly. But she thought of mother relying on her for medicine. For money.

She blew on her bust and bleeding fingernails and kept climbing, telling herself not to look down. But she did. She might have fallen, a distance that would have killed her if she hadn`t smelt the perfume and her body tensed because of it. Her numb fingers made fists in its spell and glued to the ivy.

What was that beautiful aroma? She had never been to the river before, though an open sewer ran at the back of her dilapidated home, she supposed that this was what the fresh water exotic flowers smelt like. Crushed and bottled to heighten a ladies attraction perhaps, but losing none of it`s wonder.

How much would the lower class pay for a scent a lady of power put on her body.

Nicola knew nothing of the woman she was robbing, and for her conscience that was how she wished to keep it. The rumours had been going across the houses since she had moved in. It had taken three furniture carriages pushing wheezing, plodding Horses close to death with exhaustion to get all her possessions here.

Which meant she was rich. And by proxy a selfish cow. Who needed so much nice stuff when she had nothing but a smile for the world and good wishes for her mother. None had bought her a penny while Nicola supposed this woman hadn`t worked a day in her life for a blood line inheritance.

Didn`t Nicola deserve some good things in her life too? Things that glittered. Intoxicated by the sweet smell she peeked her eyes over the lip of the window frame and checking the coast was clear quickly climbed inside.

The night was muggy and restless. Likewise, she would have left her windows at home open. If she could have afforded the glass. Breaking and entering was not her thing, but the smell was a candle and she was the moth, and obeyed.

I`m coming she thought and nearly broke her neck as she tripped upon a sleeping puppy curled up upon a rug dreaming of bones. The white shaggy terrier snapped awake, howling in pain with its tail bent in the wrong direction as Nicola tried to find her feet, and not smash her head on the polished floor.

Stupid thing.

Nicola had a natural empathy for little creatures, being some one who was used to be trodden on bigger people. She cooed at it until it seemed to gain courage and trundled out, broken tail wagging from under its hiding place of the foot cushion.

Nicola had never seen a foot cushion before. She had old curtains for bed sheets.

Rich indeed. The woman would not miss a few sheets and small objects Nicola could fit into her pockets and take down the pawn shop for mothers medicine. Seemingly mollified, Nicola tickled the pooches ear once, he licked her thumb and forgave her.

“Just our little secret, eh?” she smiled and wished that she had bought a bag.

She felt like a kid in a candy shop. There was too much to take in. Too many pretty things to steal. She felt overwhelmed. The bedroom had a feminine charm and satin sheets. The rose flowered wallpaper made her feel she was in a summer orchard.

A mirror stood like an alert guard on a table surrounded by make up material and experimentally, Nicola smudged some on her lips. It tasted of strawberries. The dog yipped and watched as Nicola pulled a drape down from the bed and started squirreling items into it like a road sweep cleaning the clutter.

Anything bright, anything shiny that promised a profit. A pretty penny. It would make a hell of a racket, but maybe it would be safer to drop all of this out of the window rather then risk clambering down the wall with it tied round her waist. Should the wind pick up or she overbalanced it would mean the end of her.

No, better safe then sorry.

She couldn`t carry the bag of goodies large as a portable TV now, but she was a stubborn young woman and would drag it all the way home even if the skid mark`s in the grass led all the way to her home, if that was what it took to get mom better.

“Bye, boy.” she said as she headed for the window, and apologised for her original mistake as the dog rolled over onto her back to be tickled and Nicola saw she was missing the makings of a man.

The dog wasn`t too offended. It didn`t bring blood when it bit her ankle. Not deeply. Hardly a nip, but she had to cover her mouth before she moaned.

“What the hell was that for?” she asked. Was she really having an argument with a dog? She hadn`t believed them capable of being petty. But there was no wound but a small bruise. No scar, no-

Nicola dropped the bag as the room started spinning.

What the hell had that dog being drinking, Cobra venom? She lay down to stop her cracking her skull when the darkness fell. And a moment later her eyes closed, then it did.

The first she knew of reality was the small dog, yipping as she danced on her chest, her paws had its claws filed to polished perfection showing its owners vanity., It did no damage to her skin.

But the handcuffs did.

“Gerrof.” Nicola moaned, tried to rub the sleep from her eyes and heard her wrists jingle. It was no bracelet. “What the hell is this?”

She was tied to the bed, a limb fitted to each four posts of the bed. Instinctly her knees tried to buckle together, she felt exposed with her legs open so wide. Her mother would think it most unladylike.

A chair squeaked in the next room.

“Behave.” the voice said and the puppy licked her face.

“Go away.” Nicola said, then turned her head toward the shadow. “Wait, I can explain. Its not what it looks like.”
“It looked like you were trying to rob me.” the voice was light like a teacher would not think too harsh a child might not know two plus two. An aunt with sweets to give.

Nicola felt her skin erupt in small stabs of prickly heat, the sweat lathering her lessened only the white iron tip of each sting but not removed it. Still the puppy was watching her with those dopey adoring eyes, annoying her.

“Look. I`ll pay you back. Can`t we work something out?”

Nicola heard footsteps, a clack clack of high heels. The woman was coming and her imagination worked against her. Of course she would have many small and wicked yellow teeth, a wart on her nose. A cauldron to eat her bones.

“In my business one must be careful. I have not lived so long being in plain sight where anyone might remove my head once I sleep. It is best to be cute and cuddly, to lie under peoples nose so that they might walk over me, their back to me. There is no shame is keeping your life at any cost. A knife between the shoulders works just as well as between the breasts.”

Nicola wondered what she was on about, realised the woman might actually be insane before she realised she couldn`t breath, their was a heavy weight on her chest, crushing her, pressing her into the bed. She blinked and the woman on top of her cocked her head so that her swan feather coloured hair – the same as the Terriers- swept from out her eyes.

She shifted her weight, and let Nicola breath.

“Where the hell did you come from?”

The witch smiled, thought her pretty, but not too bright. It had been so long since she had had a friend. A partner. Humans were so fragile. They died so easily. She would have to take her time with this one.

“Be still now.” she purred. “This will only hurt as much as you allow it.”

From her mouth, Nicola detected that same sweet flowery smell, and thought she had seen those same adoring blue eyes before. Though she had crone hair as white as the bottom layer of an ashtray, Nicola thought she was quite the most beautiful creature she had lain eyes on. She radiated youth and sweet promise. The witch giggled as if recalling a joke to which she alone knew the answer.

She licked the tears out of Nicola`s eyes and slid down her body like a ribbon scarf caught in the wind. She did not bother removing the thief’s skirt, the witch doubted it was worth a penny. Later she would have better. If she behaved.

Nicola gasped as the witch ripped her skirt open between her knees and groin. Nicola opened her mouth to scream and the witch spoke first. Then Nicola had no mouth at all. Below her nose was as smooth as her forehead. She raged against the membrane of flesh against her gums but nothing came out beside some heaves through her nostrils.

“I would like to kiss such lips.” the witch smiled again. “So be a dear and make me feel inclined to keep them on you.”

Nicola felt something rip on her face and suddenly she was moving her jaw, breathing through her mouth. The witch had returned her mouth, but only if she did not use it but for her own pleasure.

Nicola was wearing panties – despite her messy clothes, mom always insisted she kept these clean and change them every day on the off chance that she was run down by a horseless carriage.

The witch put two fingers together and touched the panties tag, then lower, started massaging her clitoral hood through the fabric. Round and round in a dime sized semi circle as if she were drawing a sun in the sand.

Nicola crushed her eyes, trying to look away, but she moaned, the witch felt her body tremble and smelt her fingers. “I think no man has touched you. In a world where women sell their bodies for the price of a meal your morals are something to be proud of, thief.”
I`m not at thief, Nicola thought, defiant. She wanted to curse, to call the witch all the names she knew and her mother didn`t think she did. But she bit her lips till they bled, she did not wish to lose her mouth again.

The witch wiped the saliva gleaming on her top lip in the candlelight off and pulled Nicolas legs up onto her shoulder. “Up we go.”

Before Nicola could blink, the witch had removed her panties and lain them on the floor. For once, she didn`t mind the mess. “That`s better.”

“Wait-” Nicola said, but the witch, squatting drove her tongue forward, in, penetrating the wet warmth of her insides. Her right hand pushed aside her labia and the left massaged her clitoris. She was not a selfish person by nature, she would let the thief enjoy it.

That heat rushed through Nicola`s body again. Her cheeks burnt and every goose bump became a volcano leaking lava, her skin burnt and she thought she might catch fire as her being betrayed her and she screamed.

Now she`ll take my mouth, damn it.

But the witch was busy, using her own mouth, working her tongue between Nicolas thicker lip`s. She might have been a fool stuck in a desert, happening upon an oasis, driving her face harder between Nicola`s groin. She was sure in her fury the witch might bite down.

Nicola twitched as the bottom fell out of her stomach, something welled then breached, the witch opened her mouth as Nicola screamed again and ejaculated. The witch swallowed as the hot brine coloured liquid splashed her like a hosing severed jugular.

Nicola sagged, spent. She heard the witch laugh again, not wipe her face as she stood and scratched her ear like puppies liked. The juice around her mouth like she had drunk bad milk direct from the jug fell about her black high heels. They clicked once as she moved forward, lay herself gently across Nicola and kissed her.

Nicola gagged as she tasted herself. She tried to turn her head but the witch lapped at her tongue like a thirsty pup. She twisted Nicolas nipples, then spread her own legs as bizarrely she put all her weight forward, her head pressing over Nicolas shoulder.

“What-”
“Ssh, this is my favourite part. My mom used to do this trick to my father once in a while. He couldn`t walk for a week.”

The witch said some words from a dead language Nicola knew not and gasped with horror as she felt something hot and fleshly dangle from the witch press against her thigh.

“No, don`t-”
The witch grabbed the bed either side of Nicola`s head, creasing the sheet`s and cheered. “Here, we go.”

Everything went white as the witch plunged forward, impaling violently Nicola with her prick. They stuck together and Nicola tried to bite the witches ear but she must have sensed the thief’s fury for she pushed herself up on her arms. She stayed there like an aborted press up, savouring the thief’s anger, pulsing electric like through her. Making her vibrate.

Making the witch purr.

Then softly, remembering her promise not to bruise the thief’s insides, nor wear her out too quickly, the witch started working her hips slowly back ad forth. Primarily frustrated for she was used to a quicker pace. Wham – bam. But this was the girls first time judging by the blood she felt slip over her temporary scrotum.

“How`s it for you?” she said for something to say, to keep up the connection of a partner rather then having any genuine matter for her opinion. Then in time with her grinds she moaned. “Take it, take it.”

Nicola took it, trying not to cry as the witch pounded into her, clamped her lips against her ear lobe and nibbled like a dogs chew toy. But she bought no blood, seemingly some leverage to hang on to as she upped the pace. Shuddered. Howled as she erupted.

“Oh fuck!”

Fell.

The witch lay on her, light as a blanket and suddenly, desire expended, she became tender. Hugging the thief like they were old friends.

“Kiss me.” she said and didn`t wait for an answer. Nicola didn`t open her mouth but a peck seemed sufficient for the witch. “Can`t lay here all day you know. We`re not on holiday.”

She gave Nicola another quick kiss on the cheek like a mother wishing her child well on school and suddenly Nicola was free. She heard a clink and the chains fell off her. She could breath again, the room stopped spinning and her venom had a target.

She could pick up the bedroom lamp and break the witches face open.

But first she would complete her own promise.

She would use her mouth to tear her mouth off.

She would call her all the names under the sun. But when she tried to. She did not talk.

She barked.

The witch smiled and tickled the terriers ear. “Naughty girl. You know your not allowed on the furniture but you`ll learn in time.” While the witches desire was gone the witch had no need for a partner, but a friend, some company was always welcome.

What harm could a small terrier do? Certainly not tie her to a stake and burn her to ash as her own father had. Honestly, that man could not take a joke. Or being dominated.

Nicola barked and barked but the witch took no action but to tie a blue collar gently round her furry neck. “Come on, dear. Lets go for a walk. Polly, do you like that name? I think its suits you as a dog.”

Later, when she felt frisky the witch would return her to her human form.

Maybe tomorrow.

If she behaved.