It wasn't the pain that bothered Hart, nor was it the strange numbness he felt in his fingers and toes, it was the odd sense of loss that pulsed through his body that saddened him. So ironic that just as he seemed reborn into life, it could change so quickly. It was like this when his wife died several years ago, a contentment, a satisfaction with day to day life was interrupted with details, a funeral and then the loneliness.

Eventually he learned to exist in solitude, walking the damp cobblestone streets between the factory and his house without gazing beyond the dim street lights, stepping into the street to avoid the gatherings of people in front of the pubs. In the winter he endured the freezing rain while in summer he suffered the stench of the alleys, complacently accepting his gray existence, preparing himself for the eventual decline. But, just as he convinced himself he'd never know light again he met Jocelyn, a strange and very young rainbow in his dank, sepia world.

They'd met one day when Hart tried to slip around the perimeter of a crowd outside a noisy pub only to be slammed with a taxi door as the slender woman stepped up onto the curb. Not initially noticing him, she was about to head inside when she saw him slump against the car, his knee aching badly.

"I'm so sorry, I didn't see you there. Are you alright?"

Speaking slowly as he regained his composure, Hart said, "No, no, it's my fault, I was rushing around the crowd."

"But you're limping, are you sure you're okay?"

"Yes, I'll be okay," he replied, trying to walk normally.

"Look, let me buy you a drink. You can sit down and rest your knee a bit," she said, acting sincere.

"No, it's quite alright, besides a pretty young lady like yourself doesn't need to waste her time with someone like me."

"Nonsense, I should have been more careful, at least come inside until we're sure your leg will be okay. Besides, you are a gentleman, none of the guys in here are half the man you are," she said, nodding at a couple of the guys ogling her.

"It's just seems so noisy in there," Hart replied.

Hooking her arm though his, she nodded toward another door a short ways away saying, "Look, there's another place, it's a lot quieter. Would you go in there?"

Slowly limping alongside of her, Hart nodded, "Okay, but just one, it's been a while since I've had anything to drink."

"We'll take it slow then," she replied, tossing her head back and letting her short blond hair with bright red streaks flop back off her forehead. "I'm Jocelyn, by the way."

"And I'm Hart," he said, surprised when she acted as if she knew his name. He was about to say something to her about it when they stepped into the bar and she sat down at the table. It seemed so strange being with her, her light colored clothes, with her spectacular blonde and fiery red hair was so different from him in his gray pants and jacket. As she sat down he caught a glimpse down the front of her blouse, seeing nearly all of her small breasts. He ordered a beer, reminding himself Jocelyn, such a pretty name: Jocelyn, said they'd take it slow.

They didn't take it slow and after only a few drinks, she had taken him back to her apartment and for the first time since his wife died he touched a woman. With the pain in his knee she had him relax on her couch as she climbed over him. He cupped her tiny breasts in his hands as she lowered herself on him, slowly taking all of him into her wet cunt. She enveloped his cock in a wet softness he hadn't felt in years and as she just began to move up and down on him he squeezed her breasts hard and came, spurting his warm cum deep inside her.

"I'm sorry, it's been..."

"Shhh," she said, leaning forward, kissing his lips. She then began to move over him, grinding herself on him as his cock slowly shrank. When he slipped out of her, she continued moving, sliding her clit down over the base of his cock. Moaning, she began to move faster and faster as she dropped her hands down to his chest and tangle her fingers in his hair, pulling it as she moved.

As she came, she cried out, "Yes, yes, oh yes," and then collapsed upon him, her breasts flattening out between them.

Hart moved his arms around her and they remained together for some time as he could feel her heart beating against his chest. It felt so strange feeling her body on him, feeling the touch of human skin, the softness of a woman's breast, and the firm feel of her against his cock. Later, after he dressed and left her apartment, he could still smell her on him, an earthy fragrance that made him feel alive once again.

He felt so alive he didn't notice the movement in the shadows as he walked, a movement that remained just out of site until he was safely home. When he walked to work the next morning there was no movement in the shadows, in fact the sun seemed to shine through the perennial smog. Later, when he received a phone call he was surprised, "Jocelyn, how did you get my number?"

"I knew you worked at the factory and since I knew your name..."

:"But you only know my first name," he interrupted.

"You don't know do you?"

"Know what?"

"Never mind," she said.


"No, no, a girl's got to have some mystery, anyway, I'd like to see you again."

"Really, I mean I enjoyed last night but I didn't think..."

"You didn't think what?"

"It's just that... well I thought..."

"Are you dumping me then?" she asked, giggling a bit.

"No, no, I just didn't think you'd be interested."

"You just didn't think. Now, shall we meet at the bar?"

"Okay, say seven?"

"See you then," she replied.

Hart breezed through the rest of the day, glancing up at the slow moving clock. When seven finally rolled around, he threw on his jacket and headed out into the street with the crowd of workers. As they quickly dispersed into the parking lot, Hart crossed the street and began walking down the dark cobblestone streets leading from the factory. It was a bleak few blocks before he would get into the nicer part of town, but he was accustomed to the walk and had never had any problems.

After completing just a couple of blocks, he noticed a figure waiting near a boarded up building. He was about to cross the street when he heard a voice call out, "Hart, Hart Anders?"

"Yes, that's me," he called out, heading toward the man.

"It's me, Jason Crewe. You remember me don't you?"

"Yes Jason, Betty and I used to visit you and Gloria all the time. How are you?" he asked, reaching his hand out to shake. Suddenly he noticed a strange flash of light and he felt the burning pain searing into his gut. The light flashed again and again as the knife sliced into him and then he fell. "But..."

"You remember Jocelyn too?"


"For Christ's sake, she used to sit on your lap man!"

"Jocelyn? Yes little Jocelyn, I'd read to her. But why?" Hart asked, fighting for breath.

"Did she sit on your lap last night?"

"Last night?" It suddenly struck him why she knew his name. She had seemed familiar, but, she could only have been, only... "Jocelyn?"

"She's barely out of high school, just turned eighteen last year you pig."

"But I didn't know, I didn't..." he stopped as he felt the boot crash into his ribs. He then listened silently at the footsteps as the man walked briskly away. Remembering how he read stories to the little girl and then remembering the feel of the young woman's breasts in her hands he felt the pain slip away as numbness overcame him. He tried to breathe but couldn't as he remembered the soft sensation of her body on his, the last time he kissed her, and then the last time he read to her.

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