tagErotic HorrorTerminal Point

Terminal Point

byNachthexe©

"All sins tend to be addictive; the terminal point of addiction is damnation." -- W. H. Auden

* * *

"Is this what you want to do?"

Once his cum erupted deep within her she fingered and gripped at her cunt and with that all his tautness fled from his body. There was a dull sigh, carried away by the desert wind, as the orgasm peaked and faded. She paused. There were still sweat stains and tear marks that she had been carrying with her all that day, mixed in with what was happening right at that moment, but she didn't care. She wanted to keep feeling that sensation -- of where he had licked her, of where he had even tried to bite her. More cum clung to her hair, her lashes, her chin. Her swollen nipples looked as hard as his cock had just felt a few moments ago. Her left hand was still between her parted legs, as she squatted above him, looking down at him, peering into his upturned face, trying to see if anything visible had changed now that she had just climaxed and all the while her fingers moved across her clit in slow, lazy circles.

"Yes, this is what you wanted to do, isn't it?"

Sex, they say, changes everything. The desert had never flooded the way she was feeling right then. She was fucking Niagara Falls, which she had seen once, right after a heavy ice flow. Already she could feel him softening inside her, little by little, as his blood-shot eyes rolled up in his skull, as she listened to his rhythmic, labored breathing, a creaking noise deep in his throat as if he were trying to talk. Was this the best that he could manage right at that moment? Pillow talk was definitely a dying art. What was it with the 19th century? If science could invent penicillin, she reasoned, couldn't it do something about post-coital conversations?

Then, again, she hadn't fucked him for his witty bon mot.

She shifted her ass, trying to get more comfortable, and in doing so felt his limp cock plop out of her, lay cooling against his own thigh. So that was that, it would not rise again. Sort of like the South, in that regard. Let Appomattox be a syphilitic metaphor for Johnny Reb putting his cock somewhere it didn't belong and all the maladies that weak-willed men reap upon themselves when avarice, greed and rapacity whisper in their souls. She had read that the first well-documented outbreak of syphilis had occurred less than four-hundred odd years ago, in 1494, afflicting one Bertholmeu le Jandre, a French soldier stationed at Chastenay, and that "the disease transformed his body, its pustules covering him from the head to knee, causing the flesh to fall from his face, leading to death within months." Wasn't that what the whole so-called Confederate States of America had been suffering from? A form of syphilis no Northern government could cure? The terminal point of all those dark, selfish desires that had run rabid through the Antebellum South? Perhaps. She could tell by his accent that this bit of mortal clay hailed from somewhere southeasterly of the Mason-Dixon line and so it naturally got her thinking.

She had been thinking a lot of late. When one has left home and has no idea where to go then thinking comes easy.

She had been thinking as her wagon swayed over the hill and the mask on her face slipped a little -- what a friggin' pain in the ass! -- getting grit and Arizona alkali dust underneath into the deep fleshy purple parts. She groaned. She could either stop the wagon, go into the back and look for a salve, or keep going. She rubbed her knees together under her calico dress in irritation. She knew where the salve was, under the frying pan. She knew that because it was where she had flung it during the last time this happened. Biblical lepers didn't get as much grit under their skin as she did. She hated grit. It got ... everywhere, except inside her wagon. She made sure of that. She needed the illusion of cleanliness for her trade. Anyone entering would see that the floor of the wagon was beautifully carpeted with an ancient tapestry taken from the looms of pre-Christian Armenia. It was a house divided so that the far end comprised a little hidden berth, the suggestion of a nun's cloistered pleasure-garden, or, if the customer had never seen a nun, then perhaps it reminded him of the bunks aboard an Orkney dory or a Chinese junk. A customer could almost make out the silhouette of a bed, draped, like the four cheery windows, with splendid green and gold and red veils. The fore part of the wagon functioned as a kitchen, a girl had to eat somewhere. It was fitted up with a stove, the sort whose tin-pipe chimney passed through the roof in a crooked, jaunty manner. In theory, the stove was built to burn coal, but out here dried buffalo dung also worked and had the advantage of being free. The small space also contained a larder, several bound chests, a great pitcher of water with a lead stopper to prevent spilling and a few cooking-knives, kettles and pots. These latter indispensables were hung upon the wall on a curious cork-board all of her own design that allowed them to sway in unison as the wagon crested every rise in the hills and hit each pothole in the prairie, bouncing around like pendulums on an armless clock or great bullgod testicles set between the thighs of the most flaccid of all eunuchs.

Fucking grit. She decided to keep going. Irritating, though the itch was, she did not think stopping would solve anything. Scratching at it just made things worse. No, better to gaze steadily ahead and ignore the itch.

Twenty minutes later she had officially stopped for the night, ransacked the kitchen until she had found the tube of pink, foul-smelling ointment. Bless the Chinese and all their medicine, she thought as she lathered it across her face, feeling the cool blunt chill sink deep down into her infected jaw, numbing everything it touched. Why couldn't life be more like this? Numb. That's all she really wanted. Well, yes, numb but with the ability to still feel pleasure. She wasn't going to give that up when it came her way.

Pleasure. It was a glorious, glorious word to say on a glorious, glorious night. It was a black, moonless sky; a sky made to create fear in the heart of mortals. Fear and pleasure. She sat on the little back porch of her wagon and stared up into the cosmos. Her wagon brought her pleasure. It was less a wagon, really, and more a cottage on four massive wheels. Brass brackets supported the fabric and the walls were highly decorated with ornate scroll work and carvings taken from The Song of Songs, rude figures running around the length of the wagon. Didn't they always?

She listened for signs of life. Not even the soft sigh of the wind greeted her ear. The vaulting heavens, a great, incomprehensible dome, seemed within the touch of her hand. Didn't it always? All she needed to do was stretch a little bit more.

Instead, she dropped to the ground, letting the day-hot sand burn its way into her toes, her curved nails, the flat pads of her feet. It tickled, but not in a bad way. She took a step forward, the sand grinding beneath her. Another step and then another. Wasn't this what life was all about? These sensations; primal as salt motes pressing against the soles of her feet. There was great joy in just being able to move her toes about.

She moved forward across the sand, maskless, naked, her breasts swaying, the wild fire hedge of her crotch ablaze, the great yew-boles of her ass cheeks rising and falling as she moved, all her flesh shivering and glittering as the day's sweat evaporated, leaving behind dozens of secret, salt-dried tracks, as if snails had crawled hither and yon across her body. They say the only light in a desert at night are shooting stars and scorpions feeding upon their young. But scorpions are not the only bodies that know how to glow when the moon does show its face. She stood still in her tracks, listening once more to the oppressive silence. She was alone on the high plains, alone in the great world, the last living heart beating in a million years of stone.

"God damn it!" a voice croaked, breaking the spell. Then, "I say, howdy, woman! Got any wet?" The voice appeared to have erupted down at her feet, like a gnawer suddenly thrusting its snout out from the hot sand. "Heh. Got thrown this morning. The mare but kicked me a good one right before she left. Been crawling all day. Strike me a match, will you? God damn, but it's dark!"

The wind stirred, billowed around her calico dress, betraying her long, brown naked legs for a moment, before the hems fluttered down, pale moths settling in for the night. Slowly she turned, the balls of her heels making grit-grinding noises as she did so. An eerie sound. She put out a careful toe toward the direction of the voice. As she approached there came a strained groan.

"Careful, woman ... ow-ah, my leg! Akh, why in bloody blazes don't you strike a match?"

She produced a match for his benefit and struck it. His femur was undoubtedly broken. It jutted out under the dark of his trousers in ways the human anatomy was never meant to go. He lay on his back. His track marks, made while crawling through the Arizona dust, stood out and stretched into the dark. She let the match burn down to its nib as he stared at her. When it died in her fingers she struck another.

"I'm ... I'm grateful to be seeing you, gal. Haven't seen any soul all day long."

At first she hoped he would say something about her outlandish appearance, her calico dress, her mask. If, for no other reason, that it would allow her to know where the two of them stood. Even sailors could recognize a plague ship from far away. But these desert ones never did, by the time she found them they almost always were too far gone to worry about little things like masks and dresses and alien skin. She stared at him. He wasn't old, though after a day in the sun he looked old: desiccated, atrophied, bleached. She didn't like the drawn, skull-like face, nor the clots of salt-dried saliva at the corners of his open, cracked mouth.

"We have to do something about your leg," she said.

"Go ahead, gal. I tried it this morning ... but the broke is too bad. Any drink?"

Immediately she bent down, her thighs akimbo, the fabric of her dress billowing outward to distract him long enough and, with fingers of a surgeon, she reset the bone with a soft crunching noise. He did not scream, despite the white-hot pain, despite the sudden image of the wild hedgerow of her cunt. Then what was left of his humanity reached up through the chaos of his skull and squeezed, causing him to pass out. Even while she gazed at him lapsing into unconsciousness she wondered whether she first should have asked the one question that was burning away inside her. She decided it could wait until he woke up. The night was long. She wandered back to her wagon and waited.

"What's your name, Metzora?"

It was later. He had been awake for half an hour, silent, as if he had found that his tongue had been cut out or broken, or that his speech was now garbled and was sulking because of it. Perhaps it was desert fever, or perhaps, with the resetting of the bone, something else had edged its way inside of him? Perhaps. That stare, as she had caught his eye in the starlight, clung to her. She didn't feel right about being looked in such a way. Not tonight.

While he had slept she got up and retraced his path in the tense quiet of the night, walking along its inkiness, its burdensomeness. She found the scuffed ground where he had been thrown, found a ripped jacket and then a missing boot. A person could learn a lot from a missing boot. Now she rolled his jacket into a ball and placed it beneath his head. Then she stepped away.

"So ... are you from Richmond, Montgomery or Chattanooga?" she finally inquired. She heard his head grind against the leather and sand, turning toward her in the dark, his eyes trying to pierce the night to find hers. The reply came in a voice granite-like and dried out.

"Chattanooga, gal. Chattanooga."

That was a lie. Call it an instinct, perhaps it was, but she knew it was a lie. No one would admit to being from Chattanooga. The dirt of Arizona made a person say crazy things.

"How long have you been out here?" he asked.

Tomorrow there would be buzzards. Probably at dawn, when they rose into the air currents and went out to spy for carrion. That's what he would be: evil meat under a rotting sun.

She smiled in the dark.

Maybe there were better ways of doing this -- this work of hers -- but no one had suggested them to her, yet. Even the owner of an abattoir knew it was better to ply a trade honestly than be one of the miserable souls who sit in saloons and drink and dream of greater things to come. Greater things never come unless a person went out looking for them, and usually then it was only a handful of pyrite, a mouthful of gut-rot rye and a watery orgasm at the end of a weak-wristed fuck.

"I'll tell you why I'm out here, gal."

Confession. As if she had traveled all this distance to listen to what a broken, scruffy man who had not bathed in two-and-a-half months wanted to get off his chest. Probably body lice. He was, predictable, thinking he was about to spill his terrible wisdom or secret that he had read in some Louisa May Alcott page turner.

"Have you ever loved a boy so much that you had to up and leave him? Ever felt a crazy love that made you quit your home because it hurt you so much? Naw, of course not, women-folk never leave, they just cause others to leave for their sake."

She rolled her eyes. The only thing more irritating than a romantically inclined Confederate officer with ideas about women was a romantically inclined Confederate officer who talked of his ideas about women. Her foot itched to kick him, instead she spoke.

"Why do you say that?"

"I say it because I know! Have you ever loved someone so much you had to run away from him? Run away to some evil inferno like this so you'd never ever have to see another soul who looked like him? Ever need to erase from your life everything about him? His smile, his eyes, his hair, his voice, his ... his goddamn soul? Yes, his soul! Think what that means!"

She liked him better when he had been a half-dead, silent vagabond buried in the dirt. She tried to discern his features in the dark; a mass of combed and oiled red hair, now caked in salt dust, an unshaven jaw, a waxy beard that at one time had been a fashionable Vandyke. How old was he? 30? 45? Impossible to tell.

"Where are you heading?" he finally asked when it was clear she was not going to comment.

She shrugged her shoulders and took a few steps away. Where, indeed?

"Well, neither of us are going anywhere fast," he replied. "Especially a whore who just saved a sinner from the desert."

"Whore?"

"That's what you are, ain't it? That wagon of yours? That shameless way you dress?"

She wheeled in the dark and crouched down beside him. Ghouls were constantly making her angry, she found. Even their ideas of tenderness were rough and unrefined. She wondered what the dawn would bring and forced herself to relax. She sighed. It was apparent that they would remain together all night, at least until daybreak. Then something would be done ... the same sort of thing that she always did in situations like these.

"I say, gal?" he was trying to make small talk again, unnerved by her silence and the way she loomed over him in the dark, "you want to know what brought me to this godless land? I can't tell you that, because I don't know. But ... but there seems to be something in me ... something pushing me forward. It's like a sickness."

He reached out a hand in the dark to know that she was still close beside him but she moved silently away and his fingers grasped only air and dirt.

"Come on, gal, don't just sit there. Talk to me. I want to hear stories about back home."

"Home?"

She sat in the sand, drew her knees up and wrapped her arms around them, listening to his labored breathing.

"Home."

She didn't answer him right away. Slowly, reluctantly, her thoughts slipped back to a dark, little village down in the border shadowland where the streets were all dirt and and lined with witch hazel and twisted oaks, the huts all crude and ugly. Before she could shut the memory out it came, tumbling back, falling down upon her, as it always did, when she was exhausted and tired from a long day in the wagon. It stood before her now, as it did back on that last night when pleasure was still pleasurable. This time, though, she could sense that something was wrong and her voice fell away into silence ... she had loved it. She would always love it. To make it happy was what she wanted more than anything. She believed that she had kissed it one last time and then stood and left the village. But that memory was a blur with no edges. She couldn't be sure. He was right. She had run away just so that she would never have to see another soul who looked like it did on that night. If that was even possible.

For two years she slipped from mining camp to logging camp, from border town to railroad depot. Anywhere saloons and brothels flourished in Arizona.

Now here, tonight, under a black, disconsolated sky, she was pondering it all. For a moment she thought she would tell him. Why not? Did it matter? He would keep her secrets. Peering closer, though, she could not hear his breathing nor see his chest move up and down in the iron-blue dark. Had death already overtaken him? She nudged him with the tip of one toenail. Dawn was upon them. She saw the first rays break over the far range; creep farther and farther down into the lost, little valley, throwing its thin gold-pinkness over the landscape, sending shadows slinking off here and there ahead of the light.

She arose, walked about the humpy-lump at her feet. She gazed at him long and earnestly. His hair had fallen away from his broad, clear forehead. His eyes were open, roving, unable to focus on anything, his cheeks already shrunken, making his incisors seem larger than they actually were. Around his mouth was dried foam, pinkish from some deep internal bleeding. As she gazed, the faintest smile began to play about her lips under her mask. She wondered if he knew? if he knew that his troubles were at an end?

Far above them two great turkey buzzards circled round and round, faded into the early morning haze. From a neighboring hill a hare appeared, quivering with movement, then bounded away.

The transformation had begun.

Or maybe the transformation had started in the dark the moment he had called out to her and he just didn't know his own cells and DNA well enough to suspect anything was amiss? Everyone knew viruses could sleep in a host for years, waiting for that right combination of fear, or maybe pleasure, that would allow everything to erupt, corrupt, spread outwards. It took more than a guilty conscious to make a ghoul. "The disease transformed the body, its pustules covered the flesh from the head to knee, causing the flesh to fall from people's faces." What did that first French soldier think when the transformation took hold of him? That this was a curse from some angry god who hated sex? Why was it that history recorded Bertholmeu le Jandre's name but not the name of he or she who he passed his curse on to? That was the whole problem with the infected, wasn't it? Perhaps the alkali in their blood simply made them crazy, that it didn't matter to them what the outcome was going to be, even when the evidence of what they were doing was right there in front of them? Even if it killed everyone around them. Even if it killed themselves in the end.

Was he infected? Of course, nothing else would explain his actions. Crazy actions. Crawling around in the dirt all day with a broken leg. That even now, at the edge, he wanted her. Maybe in the dark he just convinced himself that her naked body was ... something else? That when she first slipped her calico dress down around her shoulders, exposing her breasts for the first time, then slipped her mask off, that this was just heat exhaustion and dehydration playing tricks with his mind? Perhaps. She had stood just like this, naked, in front of each and every one of them, after helping them to undo their trousers, climbing atop of them at their request, guiding them, that childish little sigh as they entered her for the first, and the last, time. What a suicidal species.

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