He flicked the switch,cursed, and flicked it twice more. Resigned then, he walked into the still dark room.
Slow, soft breaths reached his ears from the back wall. He pausedin his careful treading to listen to them. She had a key to the house, but he hadn’t thought she was there.
The breaths stopped for a moment, then resumed more rapidly.
“It’s okay that you’re here. It’s good, actually. I just wasn’t expecting you.”
Again, the breaths stopped. A chair creaked, followed by the floorboards. He noticed the absence of sharp tapping that normally accompanied her footsteps. There had been no shoes by the front door. Maybe she had left them somewhere else.
“Are you still mad at me? I mean, I understand if you are. I was a dope.”
The creaking floor transitioned into faint thumps over the rug. He walked forward, too, stopping when he butted up against the back of the couch.
“Where are you? I can’t see you at all. What’s up with the lights?”
A momentary silence eased with the resumption of fast, soft breaths. He could feel her presence now, on the other side of the couch. The perfume she wore teased his nose. He reached out and felt through empty air for her.
“Look, I’m sorry. I really am. It’s late in the game to say that, I know. But I’m really, really sorry.”
He knew she was right there, but he couldn’t find her to touch.His senses strained to know of her past breath and scent.
“I love you. You know that, right? You know how much I love you? I’m just a dope. I’m just stupid, and I do stupid things. But I love you so much, and I’m so sorry.”
His hand stretched and waved at nothing, until suddenly she was there at his fingertips. Startled, he half pulled back before placing his hand firmly upon her. He felt the bare flesh of her shoulder, cool like the darkness around them.
“Tell me you mean it,” she said, her voice small and dry.
”I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”
”No,” she said, drawing back.
”But I am sorry! And I love you.”
”Yes,” she said, with more vigor. “I need your love.”
He felt her hand touch his arm and then press down against it. He heard the brush and crumple of couch pillows as she climbed over them. Taking her elbow in support, he stepped back and helped her move down to the floor in front of him.
“I need your love,” she said again. “I don’t know why–”
”I’m just glad that you do.”
”–but without it,” she said, “I can’t–”
The lamps in the room suddenly warmed from nothing to an amber glow. He looked around in surprise at everything cast in muted gold and deep shadows.
“–have you,” she said.
He saw her then. She wore nothing. Her skin, hair, and eyes showed wan in the half light. She looked ill like he had never seen before. He tried to ask her what was wrong, but no words would leave his tongue.
And then she took him. She took him, as she had been taken before by one who loved her. She clutched him and dragged him down to sate her. His skin, hair, and eyes paled to a sickly hue, even as hers and the lamp light brightened together with renewed vibrancy.
When she had finished, she dropped him and walked out of the room.In her absence, the lights dimmed again. He lay there in the still dark, spentonto death and craving what he could take only from one who loved him.
©2012 David F. Daumit
In his creative endeavors, David F. Daumit has been fortunate to have his writing published in several professional, amateur, and collegiate journals, including Brochu’s, Lower Than The Angels, Lost Souls, and Night Music. He has also self-published his own and other writers’ works.
Additionally, as a founding member of Discount Rocket Productions, he has had the opportunity to produce three independent films: Wicked Bad, Squatters Wedding, and The Angel You know. The latter he also wrote and co-directed.