A demonic john is paying for carnal satisfaction, but that’s not all he wants, in this disturbingly creepy story by B.B. Clemente, Jr.
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I watched with nervous curiosity as he turned and entered the dimly lit bathroom. He hadn’t said a word, just left me sitting there on the damp bed, in the dirty room, in the dark. He didn’t even bother to turn on the light.
For a long while, I sat in silence.
He left me nothing but stained walls, a tiny night stand, a very small old bureau with the drawers half out, and – the bed.
I put my head between my legs, trying to quiet the pounding in my brain. My empty stomach made queasy, rumbling noises. I tensed, held my hand to my mouth, fought to keep from being sick, but the smells of the room were too much for me to take. I ran to the open window to let my disgust out into the street. No matter how much I tried, it wouldn’t leave.
The snake in my body took full advantage.
I sat back on the edge of the bed. From behind me, I heard the man mumbling something to himself. I could feel his eyes looking at me. I couldn’t turn around. I didn’t want to turn around. He went back into the bathroom without saying a word.
“I’m not worthless,” I said. But I knew he didn’t hear me. I guess even if he did, he wouldn’t care.
I was well dressed, well mannered, and obviously intelligent… yet he brought me here.
There was a glimmer of light. I turned. He was coming in, his fat belly hanging over the top of his striped drawers. He was holding a long thin candle, and the flickering light made his small hairy chest seem huge and powerful.
I stared at the flame. It shimmered. It was warm. But the more I stared, the more the man holding it seemed to change. Now he didn’t look like an executive. Now he didn’t seem so harmless.
He walked slowly towards me.
“Aren’t you undressed yet?” His voice was hoarse but commanding. His breaths were quick and filled with anticipation.
“Ah, just a minute, please.” The cramps in my stomach returned. The pain I thought gone was again creeping up my back. “Can you at least turn on the light?”
He held the candle closer to me and shook his head.
Breathing deeply, I began slowly taking off my gray, three-piece suit. I folded the jacket meticulously and draped it on the small headboard. Then I got the chills, those damned chills, followed by the inevitable sweating. It was hot. I felt suffocated. It was thirty degrees out, the window open, but I was suffocating.
I had to control it.
Fortunately there were no buildings opposite us. No lighted windows. I was grateful, so I continued to undress. I struggled to force my pants down over my hips and wondered suddenly if I had gained some unexpected weight or had bought my pants too small.
The sweat trickled down my forehead. I could feel its icy trails rolling down my arms. I was shocked to see a large dirt stain on the seat of my pants. I folded them quickly, hoping he hadn’t noticed. I made a vow to have them cleaned then continued removing my clothes, never taking my eyes off him.
He sat at the foot of the bed with an impatient smile on his face.
I removed my shirt-vest and without meaning to, wiped my brow with it. I almost ripped off my bra. It was crushing me! All the while I kept my arms crossed over my chest.
A cold wind blew in from the open window. I rubbed my arms furiously, trying to get the blood circulating. I found it cold now. Freezing.
Without thinking, I jumped up and slammed the window down so hard he almost dropped the candle on himself.
“Stupid bitch,” he screamed. “You almost ruined it.” But he quickly checked himself, “No problem.”
I felt my arms cemented against my chest. Now I had nothing on except my red bikini panties. Were they stained as well!
He stared. He smiled. For a long time, he stared and he smiled. He held the candle closer to me. With his other hand he pried my arms loose. The long thick scar that ran across the middle of my chest was clearly visible to him now.
He looked at it deeply with intense fascination then ran his finger up and down its length. “Souvenirs,” he said with a grin, while tracing its jagged edges.
I froze. Felt inadequate. Yet, I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of bringing back the long suppressed pain.
While trying to gain some semblance of control, I yawned. Then I couldn’t stop yawning.
He noticed the beads of sweat breaking out on my forehead again. “Don’t worry,” he said. “Just do what Harry wants and I guarantee to stop the sweats. You’ll make more than enough money to get yourself fixed.”
He knew! Dammit, he must have known from the beginning.
He gave me a closer look. “What’s got you? Pain pills? Fentanyl? Heroin?”
When he got no response, he put his hand on his chin, became mockingly pensive, then held up a pinky while making an exaggerated toasting gesture and said, “Too many martinis perhaps?”
I didn’t answer.
“Hmmm,” he mused. And, after what seemed like intense contemplation, his expression turned naughty. “Crack!” he declared. “Yes, crack,” he giggled, convinced he had found the answer.
I felt too humiliated to respond.
“No matter,” he said. “I’ll make you feel real good. The way people your age should feel.”
“I’m not like the others,” I said.
“Of course you’re not,” he said.
Once again he held the candle in front of me.
Without looking up, I felt those disarming blue eyes studying me. I thought about my hips and how they were now so disproportionately large for my body. I thought about the long rows of stretch marks that ran down my belly and settled above my crotch. Stretch marks looking more like scars, which past lovers without exception found unsightly, despite my multiple attempts to hide them with pubic hair.
“Yes,” he said, approvingly, “you’re not eighteen anymore, but you’re still firm. You’re good looking too. Pale white skin. Big strong bones. And that soft sweet curve of your mouth… defiant! So proud.” He breathed deeply, and, shaking his head said, “Ah, makes a man think about the easier ones.”
He stood silent for a moment while the candle sent its shimmering light on him and me. He seemed absorbed by its glow and did not appear to mind the wax dripping on his hand. He began to reminisce then said, “You come in all flavors. All ages.” And, almost as an afterthought he added, “My wife was sixteen. Poor thing.”
I looked up and saw the decay in his teeth. I didn’t notice it before. Nor did I notice his hair. Strange, but his hair didn’t look so light and white before. I thought he was bald.
Another sharp pain attacked my stomach. I felt my bowels weakening. I was terrified that disgust, like so many times in the past, and in so many places, would be the cause of my leaving with nothing.
“The sickness is strong, isn’t it?” he said. “It has you. But we can fix that.”
Just then he looked at me in such an honestly appreciative way, that for an instant, just one instant, I felt weak and warm and numb inside. The pain was gone. I looked at his green eyes. I got lost in them. Felt the warmth of the flame. The sweating stopped.
The way he looked at me! Stripped of pretense, real, unashamed, vulnerable. Animal.
For the first time I saw true Lust.
It stunned me because it was so simple. I saw into him. None of my “‘souvenirs'” seemed to bother him. They didn’t matter. He needed me. The little man left himself open. Not even at the height of my attractiveness was I ever looked at with such honest desire.
I felt powerful.
Then, the pain came. It came cruel and unforgiving. I felt my sphincter muscle weakening. Because of the pain, I saw the evil. I had deluded myself. His was the Power.
“I told you I’d ease the pains,” he said. “But we made a bargain. You’re going to have to let yourself go.”
He stared at the flame. It lived. It called.
“I’ve had all kinds of ladies. All kinds of men,” he said. “But there’s just something about the middle-aged that I love. You’re so ripe. So set in your ways. So unchangeably changeable.”
I wished I was anywhere else but here, or with anyone else but with him. To keep from bolting out of the room, I thought about Archie and his girls on Eighth Avenue. Each of them carried serenity in their pockets and the promise of bliss. But by now they’d be close to running out of their supply.
“Please,” I begged, “can I just… can I just go down on you?”
“You want to go down on me,” he mused. “No baby. You agreed. Four hundred dollars and you do what I asked.” He looked deep into my eyes. “It really isn’t much, now is it?” He looked at the candle then smiled. “Time’s running out.”
I couldn’t go through with it. Maybe I was hoping he’d change his mind when he saw me nude, but his eyes told me different. Fear kept me from moving. I became painfully aware of every part of my body I no longer controlled.
Please, God –
“Don’t fight me. You’re not strong enough.” He held out his hand. “Come, I’m sure you’ve done worse.” He guided me to him. “Now, if you want to start the show by going down on me… I could live with that.”
I saw the small bulge sticking out of his crotch. Quickly I dropped my head to his lap. If I hurried up and gave him pleasure, maybe he’d be satisfied with that and show mercy.
And, if I worked fast, I might be in time to catch Archie himself, or at the very least one of his girls, before the less needy found them and purchased the peace that I deserved. Then I’d be fine. Then the ugly little man wouldn’t matter. An old man like him couldn’t last that long anyway.
Inexplicably, I hesitated for a moment. Wild disjointed thoughts racing through my mind.
The snake in my body said I was gutless.
“You’re not the first,” the man said, letting drops of candle wax drip on the night stand and carefully settling the candle on them.
Grabbing my hair, he firmly held my head to his crotch.
I took a deep breath to control the twitching of my body. Before I lost the nerve, I closed my eyes and let him push that tiny thing into me. It was tiny and it stayed tiny. It was nothing… nothing… nothing.
Yes, I could handle it.
I couldn’t help but get lost in his naturalness. I looked up for approval. He moaned. I worked. His strong tanned arms played with the curls of my hair. I worked. He moaned. He called me his best. I moaned.
The time approached. I felt it getting closer. No cares. No worries. The warmth … the dreams… the butterflies!
Finally, he let out a louder moan.
“Okay… enough,” I said, straightening up.
“It’s not enough until I say it’s enough,” he said. He picked up the candle and stared at it until the wax began dripping on his hand again. He eyes drilled into mine. “We made a bargain.”
“Look, just give me some of the money and I’ll leave.”
The sickness returned.
I was forced to hear his taunting laughter.
Defiantly I grabbed him again, determined to prove he couldn’t last. I felt him grow in my hand… and grow. He grew bigger than before. He wasn’t little anymore.
The snake in my body laughed loudest.
“No,” I said. “No, you can’t be bigger!”
It had to be the sickness, or the room. I went back to work.
He writhed his firm strong belly against my face.
I worked feverishly. I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life. The sweat burned my eyes. The wax singed my hair. My neck muscles rebelled against the furious bobbing.
He called me his mistress.
I smelled the carbon. That enticing scent of burning flame filled me with anticipation. Through the haze I saw the pearly whiteness of his teeth, the curling patch of white around his crotch.
“My sweet young boy,” he said.
He grew even bigger and stronger. He tasted sweeter. In spite of it all, I found myself getting aroused. In gratitude, I tried to take him in further.
Savoring my attempts, he finally moaned his release.
I made a move to get up. “Can I have my money now?”
“It’s still not enough,” he said. But now he had an odd expression on his face.
For the first time, he seemed to lose some confidence. He got up and hurriedly went into the bathroom.
I was left contemplating the candle he left on the night stand. It was getting shorter.
My neck and back were aching. I searched the drawers of the tiny bureau for a towel but, like everything else in the room, they were empty.
I found a clean part of the sheet hanging from the side of the bed and rubbed the sweat from my chest. Then, through the shimmering light I saw what I had initially thought were stains on the wall. I was wrong. They weren’t stains at all, but graffiti, half-hidden in the dark.
Holding the candle up, I strained to see clearer.
Four of the eight I couldn’t make out, but the fifth said: Keep em closed.
The sixth, adorned with smiling faces and written in what seemed to be eyebrow pencil, stated: You’ll never be far from my heart.
The seventh said: There are more things Horatio…
And the eighth, in a very manly hand proclaimed: God loves ME – ONLY ME. The last E trailed off into a shaky line that seemed to run indefinitely under the bed.
I cursed myself for allowing the graffiti to open my long-buried vault of denial. I suddenly felt haunted by the memory of confused, tiny faces abandoned through no fault of their own. I vowed to –
“Eight,” the man said, coming back from the bathroom. Somehow, he was renewed, thicker, larger, and clearly stronger. He had removed his drawers and that long pole in front of him taunted me… beckoned.
At one time, I actually believed I could handle even that.
He walked to the bed and delicately shooed me away. Meticulously, he placed eight fifty dollar bills on the mattress in the shape of a body, and lay on top of them, careful not to hide their edges. He grabbed the candle from me and positioned it on the night stand so it shone on his face and chest and the bills.
Folding his hands, he said, “Now!”
“Please, I thought -”
“Eight! Yours for the taking.”
“But other people do it only once and walk away.”
“You’re not other people,” he said.
From under his body I could see the crisp edges of the bills. They mocked me.
God, please. I can’t do this anymore.
“Come,” he said, grabbing my hand.
I put my foot on the bed and weakly climbed onto it. The cramps returned, sharper, crueler. My legs shook uncontrollably.
I have a Master’s degree. I have a Master’s degree!
Quickly I positioned myself over the massive organ.
“No!” he protested. “You can’t renege on this bargain.”
My gamble didn’t work. He guided me further up. Then, while I half stood trying to squat over his chest, legs wobbling, and trying to pull my panties down, my sphincter finally betrayed me.
“Dirty girl,” he whispered, very softly.
I jumped off the bed and ran into the bathroom in abject humiliation.
I cursed the snake in my body for letting him win.
The tiny bathroom provided only a temporary reprieve. Shaking, I cleaned up as best I could despite the pounding of my heart. I tried to compose myself. It took some time before I was able to catch my breath.
After what seemed a long while, I found the courage to walk out.
“Yes,” he said, very pleased to see me. His eyes were wide and he was grinning. That thing was even harder and bigger than before.
“Now,” he implored, while shutting his eyes. “Please, my angel. Come over and finish it now.”
“No. Nothing,” I whispered, as I grabbed my clothes and backed far away from him. Keeping my distance, I began to dress.
He didn’t stop me.
“Okay,” he said, “with your clothes on, my angel. Now it doesn’t matter.”
Averting my eyes, I continued dressing. My arms, my back, my legs felt the increasing pains of withdrawal, but I couldn’t go back to him.
Just then, in the softest, sweetest voice I’d ever heard, he said, “Look at me darling. Look at me child.”
I had to look.
I jumped back against the wall, shaking. My God… I couldn’t take my eyes off that thing. It just kept growing, growing… and growing!
I tried to turn away. Shut my eyes. Tell myself it wasn’t happening. I couldn’t. It was monstrous.
“Who the fuck are you!” I screamed.
He was laughing maniacally now as his gray eyes cut through me.
“Touch it,” he commanded. “Touch it and you’re mine again.”
I couldn’t help but go to him.
He grabbed my arm. I made no attempt to fight him.
“You see, my dear,” he said. “The sickness is too strong. Harry will make it so nothing matters.”
The pains were now excruciating.
Unable to resist, I let him guide me. My hands settled on it. Even both hands could not close around its thickness. It was powerful… hard and rippling with life. Every inch of my palms felt each rushing vein bringing new strength into that thing.
God, help me before I lose myself completely.
I looked at him. He was smiling triumphantly. His long perfect teeth offered to engulf me in their whiteness. His gray eyes were magnetic, warm, soft… mesmerizing.
“That’s it,” he said. “Forget about anything else. Just get Harry off!”
The money! Archie, I could still catch you in time. In your pocket is the ultimate calm… the serenity. No more desperation. No more guilt.
“Now,” he said, forcing my head down. “Take me in.”
Somehow he seemed increasingly desperate.
Instinctively, I fought the pressure with my head and neck.
Although he still had the power, he struggled to keep me where he wanted me.
“Just get me off,” he yelled.
“Just get you off?” Now I sensed a trace of genuine fear in him.
“Yes, my angel,” he said, frantically thrusting his giant thing at me, as his fat belly jiggled comically with each attempt. “Get me off, my sweet.”
God, I can’t do this alone.
The smell of the room. The shit. The garbage. The countless losses and the ugliness. The awful little man with the massive temptation.
“You bastard,” I screamed. My hand lashed out. I could feel the sting as it caught him in the face. That pain felt good, so I hit him again.
His eyes, now blue once more, seemed shocked and confused.
I felt his thing get a little smaller in my hands. With all the waning strength I could muster, I squeezed.
He groaned when he could not easily pry my hands loose.
God loves me too!
I made a grab for the money. He tried to stop me. I yanked a handful of the fifties from under his body. He grabbed my wrist and squeezed. With my free hand, I pounded on his chest, but he wouldn’t let go. In desperation, I bit his hand.
He began screaming like a banshee, his face contorted, his look deranged, but he still wouldn’t let me go.
“You son of a bitch,” I screamed. You can’t keep winning!
We continued to struggle, until finally, exhausted, I was able to pull away. I turned and made my move to leave the dirty room.
The man reached out again but was barely able to touch my hand.
I glanced over my shoulder to see if he would attack me. He made no other moves. Instead, he was trying to compose himself again.
I stopped momentarily in order to take a last look at the thing that had oppressed me. It was a bit shorter, but still thick and formidable.
The man picked up what was left of the candle and held it up to me.
“Yes, leave,” he said. His eyes again bore into mine, until emphatically, he added, “Go! But you’ll come back – you always come back.”
Without further resistance, I rushed out the door and into the world. The sickness was still with me, yet, despite what was to come, I could lie to myself no longer.