“It’s the edge of our perception, where what we are familiar with almost, but never quite, crosses over into the unknown. Like in a dream. Can anyone give me any examples of limnality?”
If hands went up, Melissa didn’t see them. She was herself staring out the clichéd example of limnality: a window. Bored bored bored. Mr. Williams was a decent professor, when he wasn’t lecturing on feminist undertones in 16th-century literature or counseling the other students on their “negative language,” but once you removed those two subjects, the sad truth is that there wasn’t a whole lot of class left. “Damn, does he have issues,” Melissa thought.
“So your assignment for next class is to think about a person you know. Think of what you know of their personality, even what embodies their personality, and think of a personality they would never display to the world. Find a way to combine the two. The final product, which you will bring to class Wednesday or receive a 0 for, will be in a new style: free-writing. I understand,” he said loudly over the groans of protest, “that this is going to be challenging for a great many of you. Free-writing involves abandoning your concept of ‘good’ writing and simply feeling the words flow out. I look forward to reading the results.” Then he continued with the lecture.
Melissa hadn’t been one of the groaners but only because she was mentally compiling a list of Ways To Get Mr. Williams Back For This. By the time he’d finished talking, she’d gone from “castration” to “tell Miss Fitch (the resident literary feminazi, with whom her English teacher regularly conferred) that he’d joked about the development of the female mouth as a speech instrument as being the first example of evolution gone backwards.” Which would lead to the same goal as the first idea, anyway.
It wasn’t that Melissa didn’t like to write. On the contrary, her apartment bedroom was piled high with journals, mostly bound in black cloth and covered with pentagrams and other Wiccan symbols, each page an ode to the day’s misery. No, what angered Melissa was that she had to play along with these lame-ass assignments as if she were just another student. She knew she was a better writer, a better student, and probably a better person than the rest of the losers in that class. “Like they’d ever write anything meaningful. More like, ‘My daddy is such a big tough guy, but what nobody ever sees is that he’s really sweet and loving.’ Whatever. And I bet that ass-kisser Amanda is even going to write hers over Mr. Williams…” Melissa stopped mid-thought. Over Mr. Williams?
“…Think of what you know of their personality, even what embodies their personality, and think of a personality they would never display to the world…”
Oh, this was perfect. This was better than perfect. Much like herself.
As Mr. Williams continued babbling about who-cares-what, Melissa quickly pulled out her pad of paper. Chewing on the pen cap, she began writing down everything she thought. “Embodiment of Mr. Williams=nice guy. Disgustingly nice. He’s like the epitome of a nice guy. What kind of job does the epitome of a nice guy have? A teacher—ha, yeah right—maybe a firefighter, a preacher, a psychologist—yes, but for a school. A counselor. Sure. What is he not? He is not a man—no, he’s a man, but he’s such a fucking pussy he might as well come in a box that says ‘balls not included.’ He’s not a tough guy. He’s not a bully. He’s not—” She paused, then finished what she had been thinking. “He’s not a rapist. Wow, that’s evil. But hey, he’s asking for it. Who am I but to deliver?”
Yet as she sat at home that night, gleefully planning what she was going to say to totally rip his assignment to shreds, she didn’t think twice about the “free-writing” clause. “He’ll accept whatever shit anyone puts in front of him and call it filet mignon, and I’m his best student. He knows it. He’ll have to give me a terrific grade on this.” She turned to the paper with a vengeance, artfully creating what she knew was, even by her standards, a Damned Fine Piece o Work. She just had to read it over once more.
"I need help." The words came out deceptively calm, belying the slow but rapidly growing swell of panic inside her. She pushed on the door again, then, unable to hold back any longer, threw her entire body against it. It opened with a crash. Beyond her, behind her, directly in front of her face—darkness. Her breath seemed suddenly harsher, louder, ragged. "Mr....Mr. Williams?" Silence between each rough breath.
*flash* "It's silly..."
"No, go on. It isn't silly. Tell me."
"Well, I've never really stopped being afraid of the dark."
"Why do you laugh when you say that?"
"I guess...I just try to downplay it, so that nobody ever...you know, uses it against me or something."
"Hey, it's just you and me...and would I ever use your fears against you?" *flash*
She couldn't even make herself take a single step. Paralyzed by the oppressive blackness surrounding her, all she was able to do was whimper. Just a step. Maybe she could find her way out. Maybe it was just a power surge and Mr. Williams was fixing it downstairs. All she had to do was find him. He'd know what to do. He'd make it all better.
*flash* "How long have you thought this?"
"Well that's the thing. I've never really thought about it. It's just been...kind of assumed."
"That you can't act on your own?"
"...Yeah. Is that bad?"
"I usually don't say things are 'good' or 'bad.' Just that they may be harmful to you in the future." *flash*
Every breath scraped against her throat, hoarsely forcing its way out, so that the very act of breathing was torturous. She couldn't bear that unnatural silence, that terrible darkness. The terror mounted, bred, multiplied. "...Mr. Williams?" Her words, barely a whisper, were instantly swallowed into night, just as the arm that suddenly wrapped itself around her chest and neck engulfed her, dragging her backwards, down, down into darkness.
*flash* "No! And I hate it!"
"Then why don't you ever say so?"
"Say what? 'Hey, I may not be an adult, but I'm not a fucking child so could you stop treating me like one? Yeah, that'll go over real well. I just...I feel helpless. Like I'm being held down, unable to rise, unable even to move. Ya know?"
"Mmm hmmmm. Gotta admit, it's kind of a sexy thought."
"Nothing. So, back to your parents..." *flash*
The body on top of hers was large, heavy, constricting, and very, very demanding. She inhaled sharply as his mouth closed on her neck hard. Struggling to fight back, she found her arms trapped under both her weight and his, useless. He laughed at her futile attempts and she cringed further into the floor, then gasped as a knee shoved her legs apart without hesitation. "Is this really it?" a dim part of her mind wondered.
*flash* "Can we move on, please?"
"Hey, if this is too close to home..."
"It's not! I'm not like that!"
"Do me a favor, please. Okay? I just want you to honestly think back to last night. All those guys at that bar, staring at you. You didn't know their personalities, their dating histories, their interests--you didn't even know their names. Right?"
"And you thought about getting one of them to take you back to his place."
"...Yeah, I did."
"And what did you really expect from that? Some random guy from a bar? You think he's going to take you home, confide his most intimate life history to you, and then make sweet tender love to you?"
"No. What did you want from those guys, Melissa?"
"...I wanted to get fucked."
"And how did you want to get fucked?"
"I ASKED you, HOW did you want to get fucked?!"
"I....I wanted it just like that. Just fucking. No love, no tenderness...not really any thought of me. I wanted to...to be used. To be used as a toy. However they wanted. Ho--"
"I hate to cut you off, Melissa, but we’re out of time for today and I do have other students that need to talk to me. Tell you what, why don't you come over to my place tonight and we can finish this thought--you're really making some big steps and I'd like to help you through them. See you at 7?" *flash*
The silence was now broken into shards of pleading, soft mewling noises of desperation that went unheeded. Another sound--a zipper. She squirmed, unable to find leverage, unable to think, to act, to do anything but respond to the need that was now driving its way between her thighs, forcing deeper inside. A low cry escaped her lips and met an answering laugh from his; both turned to moans in a moment. There were no words except her pleas for mercy and no responses except for more, harder, deeper thrusts. At the end, he turned his lips to hers in a savage bite, shuddered, and lay still only long enough to catch his breath. She remained in the same position, arms still twisted behind her back, long after he'd walked away and the lights came back on.
God, it was dark, darker than she’d thought while writing it. For a minute she actually considered deleting it and starting over. “Is it really even good? This isn’t Anne Rice; she can get away with writing stuff like this. But me? Am I out of my league? Where the hell did these thoughts come from, anyway?” For a moment she was a little afraid of herself. “But it’s just a story. Not real. That’s okay, isn’t it? And of course it’s good. I’m a good writer. Therefore what I write is good.”
Yeah, it was better than good. It would blow his mainstream, nice guy mentality. She didn’t really question why exactly she had this sudden feverish need to break through his persona—even why she was so sure it was a persona. But oh, she needed it. Her energy high and thrumming through her body, she attached the file to an email, sent it to Mr. Williams, and then relaxed. Or tried to.
“Shit…I’m far too wired now,” she realized. Restless, she looked around her room. The walls, universally painted black, offered no suggestions. Same with the piles of horror novels scattered here and there. Or the candles lightly illuminating each corner. “Although…”
Melissa considered her little black camisole and shorts for a moment and opted for removing just the top. Carefully cradling a large patchouli-scented candle in her hands, she lay on her bed, kicking the sheets down with her bare feet. One hand wrapped firmly around the thick candle, she let her other hand drift over her body. Her nipples were already swollen and hard, protruding from the small hills of her breasts. She bit her lip in anticipation as the candle tipped to one side—then gasped and arched her back in pain as the first drops of wax hit her skin. A wave of heat spread down her spine, curling her toes and making her pussy ache. More drops; she cried out, thrust her hips up against the air, wished desperately for something to fill her. Her free hand pinched the other nipple, twisting it until it burned almost as much as its twin. It wasn’t enough. She needed more.
Panting for air, she lifted her hips just enough to shove her shorts to her ankles. “Like a slut,” she thought, “not even removing them. Just down out of the way.” Her thoughts fanned the flame inside her; her eyes focused on the flame in front of her. She could barely breathe as she slowly moved her hand so that the candle was positioned right over her newly-shaven cunt. “Oh Goddess, oh Goddess,” she whispered over and over, her entire being focused on the pool of wax not quite pouring over the edge of the candle. One more tilt. Her other hand sought her thigh and clenched in preparation. Tilt.
A molten stream of agony flowed from her navel to her clit, and Melissa howled. Her other hand squeezed her thigh as hard as it could and still she couldn’t feel it by comparison. Every nerve was on fire. Again the wax splashed against bare skin. Again. Small puddles of wax hardened, melted again with each new flood. Slowly the pain turned into heat, the heat into throbbing, the throbbing into a dull ache that was quite familiar to her. Her breathing slowed down to just slightly above normal and she groaned in a sensation that wasn’t exactly pain anymore. This was wonderful.
Soon Melissa realized that the greatest amount of pain was coming not from her wax-drenched pussy, but from her thigh, still pinioned in her claw-like grip. Surprised, she let go and gasped as new waves of pain radiated from the abused flesh. She liked it. Now she just needed to finish the job. Gently setting the candle to the side of the bed, she began using her fingers again. Her clit was completely buried and so instead, she shoved two fingers deep into her soaking cunt, driving them in hard and fast, trying to match the tingling burn on her clit with her own inner fire. “Soo…good…” she moaned between clenched teeth, and fucked herself faster. It was building so quickly, fueled by the lingering dull pain, by her excitement, until she thought she would burn up into a cinder. She held her breath, unwilling to let anything take her attention away from this unbearable pleasure. “Gonna come…oh Goddess yes, want to, wanna come, wanna come!” Her last words exploded as she did, an orgasm that engulfed her in pleasure as powerful as the previous pain. She threw her head back and screamed until it slowly died down, leaving her with residual pulses that made her shiver. And a lot of clean-up to do.
As she showered thoroughly, Melissa couldn’t help but wonder why she’d just done that. Why she didn’t just use a nice pretty pink discreet vibrator to get herself off like anyone else. Why she needed it to be painful, twisted, dirty. “Is there something wrong with me? Jesus, I left bruises on my thigh from grabbing it so hard, and that’s what I got off on! I mean, that’s a scene right out of Stephen King or something. Maybe I’m reading the wrong books; they give me weird ideas…but it was still me doing it.” She felt guilty. A quick survey of her room, wardrobe, and “fuck-‘em” attitude created one distinct impression of her character, but she felt neither badass nor uncaring of what people thought of her now. “So what’s real? What the hell am I?” It was a never-ending argument. The best way to end it, as always, was a nice orgasm and a good night’s sleep. The rest of the day was completely forgotten as sleep overtook her.
The next morning, she opened her email before class, anticipating nothing more than the routine deletion of junk and maybe a virus for variety. To her surprise, Mr. Williams had already replied to her homework paper the night before. “Guess he has even less of a life than I thought,” Melissa mused, and opened it. And stared.
Assignment for Monday: free-writing
However great the paper was, you missed the point. I wanted you to create the story with what came off the top of your head. Free-writing doesn't always mean that the final product makes sense. There will be time later in the semester for structured papers such as what I have in front of me. In order for you to fully grasp this assignment, I would like you to turn in another free-writing exercise, before midnight tomorrow, on the following prompt:
"There are a group of three guys that hang out at a club downtown. The place's name is "The Saint". One of them recently was crowned Archangel of the club, the highest honor of a club-goer. This man's name is…"
I want to leave this prompt open to see where your mind truly leads the story. Also, we need to set up a time to talk, in person, about the material in this last paper. I'm not sure that it is appropriate for a young lady like yourself. There are certain expectations to the subject matter of a Freshman Composition paper. Please give me a call at my office before Wednesday.
A B-. That was all her mind could register for several stunned minutes. Numbness turned into denial, turned into anger. “Fuck him,” she said out loud, too furious to keep her thoughts silent. “Who the HELL is he to tell me that was a B- paper?! He’s a fucking Freshman Comp teacher, he doesn’t have a fucking clue what good writing is!” Her face was so red and hot that she expected to hear her tears sizzling on her face. Which led to the realization that she was crying. “And why the fuck do I care what he thinks? It’s a stupid assignment. He’s a stupid teacher and it’s a stupid class and I don’t care and what the hell does he mean, ‘inappropriate subject matter’? This is college, not elementary school!”
She paused to wipe furiously at her nose. “I don’t care, anyway.”
Another unsuccessful swipe. “Why’d I get a B-?”
Fuck class, now. She couldn’t possibly concentrate with this hanging over her head. She paced. She wrote in her current journal—five separate entries over the course of two skipped classes, each entry dedicated to various crippling spells she would never cast on her teacher but spent many delirious minutes fantasizing about. Finally, Melissa realized nothing was going to make her feel better but directing this anger at the source. So she searched in her notebook for the syllabus.
“Trevor Williams…heh, his first name is Trevor. Oh there, home and office phone numbers.” Rapidly she called and only when his mild voice said “Hello?” on the other hand did she realize that she had no idea what to say.
“Um, hi, Mr. Williams. This is Melissa, from your Freshman Comp class?” “Great, that’s freaking original,” she thought to herself. “But on the other hand, it didn’t reveal your desire to remove him from the face of the earth, which is stealthy, which is cool. Like a ninja. God, even my internal voice babbles.”
“Oh, yes, Melissa. Hello, how are you?” He was so insufferably calm. Wasn’t he aware that he was just one step—and quite a bit more Wiccan ability than Melissa had—to being magically rendered impotent—and possibly a slug; the wording in the book was a little ambiguous—for the rest of his life?
“Oh, fine.” Lie lie lie. “Look, um, you said to call you about the assignment—”
“Right. Well, did you have any questions about the email?”
“Hell yes I have questions, you dumb fuck!” she thought angrily. Aloud, she said, “Well, actually, yes I do. The…the main thing that caught my attention, obviously, was the grade.”
He laughed! The fucker actually laughed at her! Come to think of it, he sounded much more confident on the phone than he ever did in class. “I thought that was explained pretty clearly in the first paragraph. The assignment was for free-writing and what you turned in was obviously not. Really, the only reason I gave you a passing grade at all, as well as the chance for the rewrite, is because I know what you’re capable of producing.”
She could have breathed fire, except that his explanation really did make sense. As she deep down had known it did when she read the email the first time. “Dammit, why does it have to make sense? I want my A!” she thought petulantly. To him, she asked, “Well, what about the ‘inappropriate’ thing? Because really, I don’t see how—”
“Yes, I understand that you’re in college and there are no limits to what you can and can’t write, but quite frankly I was and still am a little concerned for you.”
“Concerned for me?” She so was not expecting that.
“Yes, but that is something I think I should discuss with you in person. I don’t have class today, do you?”
Yes. “No, none.”
“Great…I think it would be best if we met outside of school grounds; I wouldn’t want any officials interfering. I have your address in my files; could I come by your apartment at 2:00 today?”
She was astounded by how efficiently he had totally taken all control of her rant-intended-call. This from the professor who sounded like someone chiding a naughty poodle when his students were caught plagiarizing papers. “Oh, sure, no problem.”