tagErotic HorrorOleander Dreams

Oleander Dreams


Author's note:

Oleander Dreams was written for the "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" event honoring HP Lovecraft. It's partly dystopian, partly a descent into madness. Is it real? I'll leave it to you to decide. I hope I've done the estimable Mr. Lovecraft justice.

For those of you who are looking for my "sick puppy" material, I'm sorry to disappoint. For everyone I scared off with my last erotic horror submission, I imagine this will better suit your refined tastes.

Chapter 1

New Orleans is filled with ghosts. Some of them are even real, but most of them are just people: displaced, homeless, refugees from the new world order. Pretending to live, going through the motions of productive existence.

I think the ghosts are happier, yet I wonder what Marie Laveau would think about the changes in her city. I'd studied her back in the day, years before an unknown congresswoman from the Yankee states would set us all on the road to perdition in the name of utopia.

Her face is all over the city. Beautiful, graceful, with a wide toothy smile and plans that seemed like a good idea at the time. She's very charismatic, the ideal mouthpiece for a government dedicated to making everyone the perfectly inoffensive best person they can be.

Tulane still exists. Well, sort of. The land it sits on is there, and it's still called Tulane, but it's more an indoctrination center than an institute for higher education, sterile and perfect metal and glass.

Ghostly fingers stroke my spine as I walk past the skyscraper of five hundred square foot apartments built atop what used to be Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. The mausoleums exist only in the memories of older folks like me. You can't even find pictures anymore. I have no idea what the government did with the human remains that had been interred there. The tombs were ground into aggregate for concrete. Maybe the bones were, too.

I suppose New Orleans isn't any different than any other city in the United States. Maybe the changes hurt more because it's my home, and so much of its history was destroyed by one single bill, signed into law with a negligent sweep of a pen.

All of humanity lives in cities just like this one. It's a more efficient use of resources. Every scrap of old construction was demolished, starting in 2020, my first year of college. It's all high-efficiency cinder block, solar panels and wind farms atop buildings now. Graceless, without beauty, but inexpensive and easy to build.

The land outside the city is carefully managed to produce crops and new growth forests to replace what we've cut down since the Industrial Revolution. I haven't seen it, of course. No one has. Exit from the city is prohibited, and it's surrounded by a wall to make sure everybody stays where they're supposed to.

I keep walking. It's my day to stand in line for groceries. It's done by alphabet. My last name starts with R, so my grocery day is Thursday. Laundry is Monday, cleaning my shoebox of an apartment takes all of ten minutes on Tuesday, Wednesday is mandatory group therapy to ensure everyone in New Orleans is as happy as they can possibly be. And so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, including mandatory daily exercise. I don't even get to pick my own food. It's all prepackaged meals, supposedly custom designed to my optimum weight and age.

Thirty-seven isn't that old. Maybe I just feel my age more these days. I don't think my meds are very helpful, but my therapist doesn't seem concerned. I hope I get a new dosage with my food rations this week.

Thursday is the day I most miss those shrimp po'boy sandwiches, beignets, and coffee with chicory, all illegal now for being unhealthy. I sigh and squeeze myself into line between M. Reynolds and O. Reynolds just outside the windowless cinderblock structure housing the commissary. There used to be a restaurant here that served the most decadent Sunday brunch with live jazz every weekend.

We don't speak. What is there to say?

But I want to. I want to ask O. Reynolds if she feels the cold leech into her old bones when she walks past Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, but she's deaf as a post and I don't dare ask my questions above a whisper.

Somehow, I think she does. Despite the heat of the late afternoon sun, she huddles in a threadbare shawl, probably crocheted with her own gnarled hands a lifetime ago. It's faded blues and pinks, with virulent orange stripes. Her lips work over a mouth empty of teeth and she clutches a strand of rosary beads in a dark fist.

Every Thursday, I wonder how she's managed to keep them. Blatant religious symbols are frowned upon, lest they upset other people who can't mind their own damned business. Maybe her extreme age renders her invisible. I haven't reached that blessed state yet.

I don't ask the man in front of me. M. Reynolds is young, with the dead-eyed stare of hopelessness and boredom. Even if I had the wherewithal to pose a question, he has no frame of reference to understand my words.

He's still handsome, though. He gives me a sweet, appreciative smile when I step between him and O. Reynolds. I preen a little, even though I'm close to old enough to be his mother.

I'll say one thing for this new way of getting food. It's remarkably efficient. You stand in the right spot, keep moving forward, and sooner or later, your government issued canvas sack will be filled with twenty-one meals and fourteen snacks.

Lord above, I miss cooking.

"N. Reynolds, step forward."

I obey and give the man behind the counter my sack. To my surprise, he hands it to someone else, then says. "Follow C. Carmichael. She'll be handling your rations."

Nodding, I glance at the woman holding my sack. She's about my age and pretty with huge brown eyes and freckled cheeks. Giving me a small smile, she says, "Come with me, please."

"Of course."

When we're away from my line mates, I ask, "Is there a problem with my rations? I don't think it's time for my yearly evaluation."

Without stopping or turning to look at me, C. Carmichael says, "No, not at all, N. Reynolds. We've received notice that your application for offspring has been approved, so your rations are being adjusted accordingly."

She pauses at a metal door and sets her thumb to the lock. "May I be the first to offer my congratulations on your good fortune."

"I never applied for a license for offspring," I protest, knowing my words will fall on deaf ears. The government doesn't make mistakes. If it said I'd been selected to have a child, I was going to be pregnant in the not too distant future, regardless of my wishes.

I'd like to say I'd considered applying for a baby. Most people do at some point in their lives. I'm smart, healthy, and fit. On paper, I'd be a good parent. In reality, probably not so much.

I don't even have a partner, not that it matters. Dumbly, I follow her into the storeroom, flinching when the door shuts with a bang behind me. The sound reminds me of finality. The solid metallic noise echoes, vibrating with dark purpose.

"May I see the application?" I ask. I want to know who submitted it without my knowledge or permission.

Unsurprisingly, she shakes her head and gives me a suspicious look. "I don't have it. Sorry."

"That's okay." I don't say anything else. It doesn't do anyone a bit of good to argue with the government's minions. There's no end of trouble from that.

Grunting noncommittally, she retrieves a second bag and starts to fill it with fresh food. Oranges, dark bundles of leafy greens sparkling with moisture. Mesh bags of strawberries, red and fecund, smelling of summer. Bags of rice and beans.

All things I remember loving back in the day. And food I haven't seen in years. My fingers itch with the muscle memory of setting a steak in a hot iron skillet to sear, and I can suddenly smell the rich scent of fat and spice. Butter and olive oil, onion, bell peppers, and celery, the holy trinity of Louisiana food. The bitter perfume of collard greens cooked with bacon grease from an orange coffee can set on the back of a stove and served with malt vinegar and pepper sauce.

All things that don't exist. Not here, not now. I feel gut punched by memory and betrayal. My hands shake with a mixture of rage and sadness as I accept the heavily laden bags and my weekly supply of meds from C. Carmichael and trudge home.

The ghosts of the past ride me hard. I hear the whisper of live oaks draped with Spanish moss. Wind chimes decorating mausoleums tinkle, their song adding melody to the percussion of my steps like a jazz band leading a funeral procession. The pervasive scent of oleander and magnolia fill my brain until I think I might go insane with the want of those spectral fragrances. I smell a gust of rich bourbon on the breeze.

The subtropical air is thick, pressing down like a humid weight on my back. There will be a storm later, vicious and fanged as it rages against the fetters of dike and buttressed levee. The acrid scent of ozone and seawater will envelop the city, and for a few brief moments, people will remember the before times.

Tears well in my eyes when I imagine hearing the steady clip clop of old Sophie's hoofbeats on the cobbled streets of my youth as she pulls her flower-strewn carriage through the Garden District, resplendent with gilt trimmed harness and a shimmery dappled gray hide.

My apartment door closes behind me before I realize I have no way to cook or store my unwelcome, infuriating bounty. I don't even have a fucking paring knife.

I shake my head and curse. I'll have to figure out something to do with it later. I need to get ready for my weekly socialization.

Chapter 2

I change into my best outfit. The black skirt shows off my legs, and I wear a gauzy blouse over a camisole. It's a costume, I suppose. Or maybe it's more like the plumage of birds when they're looking for a mate.

The mating dance between humans is more stylized now. We socialize without the benefit of a few cocktails to ease conversation. There's always talk about jobs, sometimes families. None of us have hobbies that we're willing to share or favored sports teams to argue over.

Sports don't exist anymore. The concept of a winner and a loser is anathema.

Even music is antiseptic, toneless melody designed to soothe rather than evoke stronger emotion. I trudge the few blocks to the socialization center, then stand in line to wait my turn to get inside.

There are a few young women at the front of the line. They giggle and whisper behind their hands as they peer inside. When their turn comes, they race in all different directions, their excitement palpable as they search out a partner for the night.

They're young enough to enjoy the charade. Those women will all find someone who they will later pretend not to know. Maybe it isn't such a pretense. Who really knows anyone?

When I'm allowed inside, I sit at the bar and accept my tonic water. It's bitter enough to allow me to pretend it has vodka in it.

I secretly enjoy the mandatory socialization. Purely from an academic standpoint, of course. I make up stories in my head sometimes.

The woman in the pink blouse is looking for true love. She has an unrequited crush on the man in the blue shirt and tan shorts across from me. He doesn't know she exists, and she's too shy to approach him.

The bold woman with the short, tight curls is after the same thing, but her target is the man next to me. He's talking to his friends, but gives her a look out of the corner of his eye.

To my surprise, it happens just as I imagine it, and the couple disappears into a dark corner to complete their assignation. I want to laugh about it, but I settle for taking another sip of my drink.

"You can always tell which ones are going to hook up and which ones are going to go home to take care of matters themselves," a man whispers in my ear.

I flinch and set my drink down with a clatter. He's surprised me. Turning to face him, I say, "Sometimes."

I have to look up to meet his gaze. He's handsome, dark and slightly unkempt in a way that makes something thrum in my core. He has dark hair and whiskey brown eyes, and is very tall. I've never seen him before, and wonder if he's come to socialize on an unscheduled evening.

Unscheduled socialization isn't prohibited, but it's unusual enough to be noteworthy.

He traces the back of my hand with a soft fingertip. The touch sends electricity down my spine. "Are you looking?" he asks.

"Maybe." I take another sip of my drink, meeting his eyes over the rim of my glass. I'm more than interested. He looks like he works outside, muscular and browned by the sun, even though his hands are well groomed with neatly trimmed nails and cuticles. He's dressed like everyone else; casually in a dark t-shirt and shorts, yet he looks somehow more put-together than the other men in the socialization center. He looks... masculine.

It's a look that went out of fashion years ago, and I wonder what the scruff on his jaw will feel like between my legs.

He wraps a large hand around my drink, caging my fingers against the damp glass, then takes a deep drink. It's an intimate gesture, like sharing a kiss. My throat goes dry and I swallow.

Setting the glass aside, he brings my hand to his lips, then kisses away the droplets of condensation. I want to touch his face to see if his beard scruff will feel as scratchy as I think, but he doesn't let me go.

I jerk my head toward the darkened alcoves set aside for trysts and he nods.

We don't touch as we make our way to the seclusion at the back of the socialization center. It's dimly lit, revealing several bowls of condoms scattered amongst the couches and rugs strewn around the room. There is no conversation in this place. The only sound I hear is the harsh breaths of couples enjoying themselves.

Hopeful, I grab a few condoms from a large bowl as we pass by.

The room smells like sex. I wonder if the management has augmented the fragrance to make it more compelling. I shake my head and tell myself to stop thinking so hard. I've found a partner for the evening, one who, for once, has caught my interest.

I follow him to an unused couch in a corner, surprised that there's a private spot left. He sits, then tugs me into his lap. I try to fall with some modicum of grace, but fail. Laughing, I straddle his hips and indulge my curiosity about the stubble on his face.

It feels sandpapery, deliciously abrasive. I lower my lips to his jaw, wanting to know what it feels like on more sensitive skin. Each of those bristly hairs is an electrode, shooting little sparks of sensation zinging down to my clit.

Letting out a low growl that makes me shiver, he puts his hands on my hips and drags me toward him, lodging the thick bulge of his cock between my thighs. Despite my position of superiority and the knowledge that I can get up and leave at any time, I feel like he's caged me. I've never felt anything like it.

He moves a hand up my back and sinks it into my pony tail, then tugs gently, forcing me to lift my head. I whine, wanting to feel more of that wonderful stubble.

Chuckling softly, he nips the skin over my collarbone. It stings, and that shot of delicious pain makes me shudder and press my core against the fly of his shorts. I can feel wet heat trickle over my pussy, dampening my panties. I sink into his embrace as he trails hot kisses over my throat.

His breath tickles my ear as he nuzzles me, rasping that scruff across the sensitive skin of my jaw. Tightening his grip on my hair, he holds me still to kiss me.

He tastes good, fresh and clean, like mint toothpaste, but spicy, too. His tongue prods at my lips, demanding entry, though he doesn't force it. A part of me wishes he would.

I whimper into his mouth. He kisses me like he's starving and I'm the only thing giving him sustenance. I want to glut myself on him, surround myself with a surfeit of his taste and the throbbing inferno of his body.

Still holding my hair in one clenched fist, he reaches between our straining body and tugs my panties aside. I hear the sharp snap of elastic as he rips them. It's violent, intense, a little scary. I want more.

For the first time in longer than I can remember, I want something. No, nothing so mundane as want. I need it. I need that thick cock inside me. It's more important than air.

"Please," I whisper. "I need you."

"Patience is a virtue," he murmurs softly, nipping my ear to chide me.

I stiffen at the innocuous comment. It's something my grandmother used to say when I begged for a sweet from her bounteous kitchen. She made the best pralines.

As if noting my inattention, he bites harder, the tender flesh of my earlobe his target. I yelp and he soothes the sting with a gentle kiss. I want to be upset, but he's brought me back to the moment, and I'm beyond grateful.

He strokes my pussy, his long fingers pushing inside. I'm so drenched for him. He chuckles softly and lifts his hand, his fingers glistening with my arousal. He paints my lips with the musky fluid, giving me a feral smile.

"Suck," he orders, forcing my lips apart.

I pull his finger into my mouth, sucking on it as if it was his cock. I wish it was, but oral is frowned upon for some reason.

He pushes a second finger into my mouth. I like the taste of me and swirl my tongue across his skin to get every drop. Growling low, he pulls his hand away. "Greedy little girl," he hisses.

There is a hard edge to this man that I don't understand. I've never met anyone like him in all the times I've visited this socialization center. I want to know more about him, but I'll have to settle for this one night.

Flexing against him, I say, "Fuck me, please."

"Not yet," he growls. Shoving his hand back between my legs, he pushes his fingers deep inside me, adding a third that stretches my soaking channel almost painfully. "You're going to come for me first."

I throw my head back and cry out, a loud call that stops the noise of other couples. I don't care. I ride his hand desperately, reaching for the orgasm just out of my reach.

He turns his hand and presses on my clit with his thumb. I spasm at the unexpected sensation. One thing that hasn't changed is that men can't find a woman's clit with both hands and a guide map. But he does.

And then he pulls his hand away. I nearly scream with disappointment, bereft at the loss of his knowing touch.

Wrapping a hand around the back of my neck, he pulls me close and kisses me hard, his lips almost bruising. "Beg for it, little girl. Beg me to let you come."

I have no shame. I'm too needy for what he has to offer me, the first good fuck I've had in years. "Please," I whine. "I'll do anything you want if you just let me..."

"Anything?" he hisses. "Say it again."

"Anything!" I cry. I should know better than to promise something like that, but I'm too far gone. I don't care. "Please, just fuck me! Let me come!"

"You only needed to ask... Natalie."

Holding my head still, he kisses me, distracting me from what he's doing between my legs, and the fact that he knows my name.

He lifts me up, and shifts, and suddenly he's thrusting deep inside my dripping pussy. He swallows my cries of passion, sealing his lips to mine in a torrid kiss that steals my wits and my breath. His thick cock fills me, swelling as he pounds into me. He clutches my hips, his fingers biting in hard enough that I know he'll leave bruises.

I want him to. I want to be marked by this man, at least for a little while. Yet he's strangely tender. He holds tight, but doesn't hurt me. He's wild and animalistic, but he doesn't frighten me. His kisses are intense, like nothing I've ever experienced, yet sweet, almost passionate. It's a dichotomy I don't understand.

"There's my good girl," he says, his voice a soft rasp in my ear. He reaches between our straining bodies, pushing my skirt out of the way to pinch my clit. "Come for me, baby."

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byRaisa_Greywood© 7 comments/ 1946 views/ 7 favorites

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