Reading Time: 13 minutes
A Gal Eerie of Desire
Jenny K Brennan
Part 5 of 5
Read Part 4 – Saturday exhibit here.
Mild Explicit warning. This is for adult readers and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Enjoy.
5. Private exhibit
I felt, as from far away, my body being pulled back, the door slammed shut in my face, and the nightmare scene vanished from sight, if not from my mind. My world turned end over end as I fought confusion and an urgent need to throw up. I didn’t just see…. That? What?
I stood facing the closed door, absolutely still, staring at dark wood, but seeing beyond the door. I would never forget. My own heart was loud in my head, pounding frantically as if it would leap out of my chest along with the lunch I would surely lose any moment. Digging my fingernails into my palms, I tried to control my ragged breathing, calm down. I had to think.
I had to get away; I needed to leave this place, where one second I had everything I all of a sudden wanted more than anything, and the next all was madness. I was dreaming; must be seeing things.
There had to be an explanation. Some trick of the light, some elaborate joke, smoke and mirrors. Oh hell, holograms. , Just a sick joke. I didn’t believe it. Drugged, yeah, fuck this! If this was what it was like to suck acid, I didn’t want any part of it. What did I say back there? Oh, yeah now I remember; I said run! I said, go home. I said…
It was time to end this, get a grip. Anger finally caught up with me, at the helplessness. I couldn’t let her dig her claws in my brain anymore. I turned to her, raising my hands in defense, protection against a threat I didn’t understand. Her eyes…
I looked. And I lost myself in wells of pitch and shattered glass, treacherous and sharp, unforgiving and endless. I opened my mouth, but what I had thought I might say stuck in my throat.
They bore into me, those eyes. Stripped me naked, scraped me raw, those misty blue, beautiful eyes. They smoothed my nerves, soothed my mind, and calmed my fear.
“Ash?” I breathed. Thoughts dissolved in a sudden bliss, leaving a gentle curiosity. “Ash, who are you?” I whispered. Who am I?
“You are mine.” Ash said. “And I am she.” she continued, placed her hands don’t touch me on my face, held it so I couldn’t look away. As before, her stare burned into me, probed me, and the gruesome collection on the other side of the door mellowed into normality. A party of brass sculptures, nothing more. What was so strange about that?
Living shadows? Statues that change? No, not strange at all. I didn’t know and didn’t care.
If eyes were windows to the soul, her soul was eternal, infinite, demanding, but oh so sweet. Bits and pieces of rational thought, snippets of memory, and fragments of unease floated around my mind, but they were all so disjointed and vague, could hardly matter.
All was well. I brought my hands up and placed them on top of hers. I thought I heard a brittle sound of glass breaking. It didn’t seem important. A tiny flicker of annoyance flashed across her face; did it? If it did, it vanished just as fast. So beautiful, so lovely.
Slowly, she touched her lips to mine, quick and light like a breath, a breath I craved, sucked greedily from. She stood still for a moment and I breathed her air. She would be mine, I knew it.
What is it really that you know? I ignored the nagging voice of reason.
She drew back, liberated her hands from under mine, and smiled. I came to think of my drink. I held a glass of something sweet and alcoholic. I raised it to my lips and stared blankly at a hand, supposedly my own. It was empty. My mouth was parched, my tongue felt swollen and sticky. In my head, where thoughts usually took form, there was soggy sponge. I couldn’t speak with a mouth full of sawdust and sand.
But that was all right, and so I smiled, because I found the glass —in a pretty hand, supposedly hers. She held it for me and I placed my hand around it, tightened my fingers. Slowly, not too hard, carefully. Then I waited for her to release the treasure. It was ok. I liked having my hand so close to hers.
She frowned and oh such a perfect frown she had. So pretty. She released the glass and I drank, blinked.
I looked at my feet, wondering where those feet had been just a moment ago. I noticed another pair of feet. Naked feet attached to ankles, pretty pretty feet. I had to admire those feet for a little while. So very pretty feet.
Comfortably numb, I slowly raised my oh so heavy head and met her eyes. The perfect frown deepened into a scowl. She snapped her fingers.
I looked her up and down, thinking about leather mini skirts and her perfect tits and sweet sweet ass. I noticed the glass in my hand and drank. Good stuff. Didn’t recognize the taste but it was excellent horse-piss if that’s what it was.
She gestured for me to follow. I glanced back at the closed door, feeling something slither and slip from my mind; not important. I shook my head and drank, emptied my glass. I looked around to find a flat surface to set the glass on but found nothing.
I stood in a hall, not unlike the one where I had entered Ash’s place, but narrower, darker, and not yet completely filled with art. Individual light fixtures above each of the four large paintings along the left wall provided the only light, leaving the rest of the space in shadow. From where I stood I couldn’t see them and I glanced at Ash who raised her glass in a toast and smiled.
“My private little show.” She sipped her drink, watching me intently.
I raised mine and it brimmed with sparkling amber. Nice. Curious, but nice. She must have filled it. But when? She hadn’t move. Had she? Did it matter? Watching her smile, nothing mattered.
She moved to the first large canvas in a massive frame. I joined her, for the first time aware of her perfume, a fresh sweet blend of wild flowers and berries, of dark earth and musk. Decay. I inhaled the scent of her. She motioned to the wall and I pulled my eyes from her, reluctantly turning my head, and that’s when I saw her. A few drops of the drink were lost to the carpet.
My breathing caught; she stood right there. It was her; the sight of her naked shimmering flesh assaulted my nerves, blood, burned its way to my cock, bypassing my brain. I gulped air, felt that I should be embarrassed, but I wasn’t. It’s only a painting, just a fucking picture. You can get worse in any corner store.
No. This was something different. What was depicted in the scene, perfectly captured in oils, was utter desire. The essence of need. In the picture she stood on a small hill, naked feet rooted in a carpet of pine needles scattered with scavenged pine combs. She stood with one arm reaching for a tall, fair-haired man who stood just beyond her reach. He was naked as well and he had his feet firmly placed in dark soil below the hill with arms crossed in front of his face. He stood half turned away, seemed to look at something beyond her, in the distance. Ash’s head was tilted slightly back,with soft nearly translucent lips partly open. A desperate need in her face, her lips, grabbed me, as if I was the target for her grasping hand and not the man in the painting. I’ve seen him before. She pleaded with eyes and body; her nipples, red and hard, begged to be touched. A hand placed below her navel spread fingers in a trembling want to touch. They didn’t quite reach, and never would. Shadow fingers reached further and in defiance, they performed a shadowy caress at the center of her need.
As a loose border around the small hill, yellow tulips grew. Further into the landscape, beyond the humans, millions of daisies surrounded two small piles of soil. Tiny Details too small to be palpable, gradually became unmistakable; they were two very small, haphazardly assembled wooden crosses. A chill ran down my spine and I shuddered. Two small graves. In a sea of daisies. Something tugged at recent memories but dots refused to join. There was something undeniably disturbing about the scene within the scene.
A feathery touch on the top of my hand brought me out, shattered the unease in me and I smiled. “Amazing.” My voice sounded all wrong and I swallowed further comments.
She softly hushed me and ushered me to the next painting. A different man, darker in skin and hair, wiry and lean. Ash was there, still the image of want. The man stood close to her on a different hill. Grass, fragile and fresh, fought for room to grow among thistles and an assortment of rocks and pebbles. He touched her face, gently caressing. His thumb stroked the bottom of her lower lip, fingers spread across the side of her face and tangled in flaming hair. She leaned into his embrace with gaze fixed and intent on what she saw, and lips parted to reveal a tongue tip tasting the air.
A bed of green grey foliage with thousands of small white flowers surrounded the hill. A soft breeze seemed to move through the hall, bringing a whiff of something. I couldn’t quite place it; it faded and disappeared just as it came to me— lavender.
I glanced at Ash; her expression was something between smug and impatient as she observed the art. She frowned, reached out a manicured nail, and scratched lightly on the painting; the nail traced the man’s spine, the dark line splitting a clenched ass, scrotum, and tightly defined thigh. A shiver ran down my spine and I cringed as the nail scraped a thin line of paint off the tip of his semi-erect penis.
“What…”, I managed before I was pulled from the image, wondered what in the hell that was supposed to mean. It suddenly struck me that these were her creations; she was the artist. How did I not see that before? And if she needed to scrape paint off a dick, I shuddered at the thought, then why shouldn’t she be allowed to?
Still, I felt uneasy, and something nagged, something was wrong. My body didn’t ache with desire, in fact, I was cold and clammy. Ill. I wondered if I should take a rain check. I really wasn’t feeling so good.
Ash moved in front of me, searched my eyes, and I was lost once more.
“Just two more, Roger, and then you will know.“ She glanced around. “Yes, these are all mine.” Her voice took on an edge, a sliver of disapproval, “It is hard work, and every piece must be perfect, Roger, don’t you see? I choose with care. But I didn’t choose you. You chose me. I may have made a mistake.” Her face hardened as did her voice. “Did I make a mistake Roger?”
Dazed, I shook my head, turned to the painting.
A woman with skin like smooth chocolate joined her this time. The Ash of oil smiled, soft moist lips opened a fraction. She had her back to me but looked over her shoulder, hands held in front of her chest, out of sight. Hair like a waterfall of ember, fire, and coal, fell free down a slightly arched back. As in defiance, the posture was tense; breasts pushed forward, shoulder blades pulled back. She offered her body to the woman kneeling in front of her.
A dark slender hand gripped Ash’s hip, the other, the soft pale flesh of her inner thigh. A swell of black hair sparkled in cloud-shredded moonlight.
Behind the kneeling woman, a Belladonna towered over a cowering patch of forget me nots, poisonous purple blooms nodded at their subjects.
My eyes lingered at the perfect curve of her spine, where it ended in the dark crack, leading to the dark warm moisture, the place that my imagination couldn’t do justice. Where the woman had her face, her mouth, lips and tongue.
The dark beauty sucked, licked, tasted Ash’s endless desire. Black shiny hair, No, not shiny, not totally smooth, It was tangled, rough and frayed. Those slender fingers… Sliding along a vest lining.
A sticky strip of sandpaper aggravated my tongue and I gulped the rest of my drink.
I swallowed. I sucked air, felt dizzy. I Mellowed, forgot.
Ash moved to stand before me and touch my face. Heat surged, and I closed my eyes. Her lips touched mine, softly, gently, before pulling away. I opened my eyes, found her looking at me, inspecting her specimen. What do you want?
She took my hand and pulled me toward the last picture.
Alone on the hill, a matt of blooming rhododendron her bed; Flowers in every color From pure white to deep red surrounded her body, caressing it, turning their petals toward her. Contrasting oddly, a single Krokus at the bottom of the hill wilted, leaning into a sad looking snapdragon bush surrounded by dead petals.
She lay on her belly, staring at me. Alive, they were alive. Her head rested on her arms with hands concealed in the foliage. A smile played on pursed lips. I could kiss those lips. She wants me too. And I could almost taste it. She has teeth. She would bite my Tongue off.
And the lips parted just a little bit. Did they? No. Yes, she wants you to see her
teeth. I shook my head but the buzzing persisted. Marvelous soft lips glistened with moisture and the tip of her tongue pressed against the bottom of her front teeth. Had it looked like that the whole time? Of course it had. Fuck no!
My eyes moved to the previous paintings. Look at them, just fucking look. I didn’t want to look. But there they were, and suddenly I knew them; Tall blond and handsome, Viking, shorter, dark and fit, Squib, hot coco with her dreadlocks and pierced tongue. The jewelry was gone, she was stripped naked, and the hair…. What did she do to your hair?
Something flickered just beyond my peripheral vision and I turned to Ash. She pulled her hand behind her back, too quickly for me to see what, if anything, she had there. I glanced up, felt the strain more than saw it; a tightening of lines, a hardening of curves in her face, a narrowing of eyes. Just a flicker, only a stray shadow.
She is not what she seems. Then it all smoothed, softened, brightened and her smile was back. My hand trembled, moved without me asking it to. No, she can’t do this… The glass was at my lips. Stop it for fucks sake, stop…
I drank. Everything softened, nothing prickled, dark was light, pain was bliss. All was well.
“It must be, Roger, do you not see?”
I nodded. It had to be. No, a feeble remnant of sanity whined. No. It shattered when she spoke.
“You may touch me now Roger.”
At those words, every restraint lifted, and I pulled her toward me, lowered my head and kissed her. She took over. With poorly restrained hurry she took possession of my mouth, teasing, touching, murmuring, and pulling back when I came closer. Arms crept up and around my neck, sharp fingernails raking, scraping my scalp, gripping hair and collar indiscriminately. Probing my mouth with her tongue, drawing back, pressing, and biting, something slicing my lower lip. Biting into me. I knew there should be pain. Her breasts pressed flat against my chest and there was no air. But I had no need for oxygen. She tasted me, nibbling gently on my lower lip to suddenly suck on it, pull pain from deep in my flesh, making it rush through my body, turning to heat. It focused and shoved me hard to the point of orgasm, and I pushed hard, pulled hard, to feel her closer. Pull her into me.
It was so close, but impossible. I would happily let my load go, in my pants, I wanted to, but It wouldn’t. Sucking my blood. My lip numbed although I knew it was shredded, torn open. I gasped and pulled back to breathe and smelled copper mixed with sweat. Warmth dribbled down my chin.
I stared into her eyes, her shining, hungry dark eyes. I pushed forward. Pressed my lips hard against hers, probing her mouth, sucking her tongue, tasting blood. My blood. Drew her breath, her heat, into me. The dress was in the way, the stupid silk refused to be torn. When I pulled the skirt to lift it, it slipped out of my hands. Damn that dress.
Damn her to hell.
She pulled back from me and I gasped for air, struggling to regain some shred of control. The silk in her bodice was like a second skin on her heaving chest. I just looked at her, sucking up the scent of her. It was stronger now, metallic and heavy, intoxicating. Rotting. Closing her eyes, opening her mouth, she stopped breathing for a spell, licking her lips. She stepped back. I tried to follow but my limbs wouldn’t obey.
She opened her eyes, suddenly calm, with a rosy flush on her cheeks, and lips a deeper shade of red. She pursed them and nodded at the painting again.
It took me a long dizzying moment to gather scattered bodily functions, and order my neck and head to follow her lead.
She indicated a tiny brass plaque in the corner of the heavy frame. It said: “Unfinished.”
She brightened the room and the rest of my life with a brilliant smile— one of expectation. She glowed like a child on Christmas morning, too eager to wake up to be able to sleep. And she wanted to show me something. Something amazing, something of hers. There was no question in my mind what that special thing would be, so I took her hand and smiled. A flicker of shadow in the painting caught my eye, and faded from my mind. A sense of a shadow of a shade, twitching, didn’t seem important as I looked into endless depths of deep blue shadow that were her eyes. I heard her speak. For the last time I listened to her voice and knew finally who, what, that voice belonged to. It was too late though. It was so much easier to hear something different, something beautiful.
“We must finish it.” she said.
6. Final installment
As Ash led Roger Kyle to a door that he hadn’t noticed, approaching the place where he had known he would end up since the first time he saw her, her smile widened and distorted into wire hard tendency and bone; blackened flesh and skin torn and rotting around a hungry grin. He saw only the woman he wanted to see, the illusion he had embraced.
The dress finally fell away from her body in brittle pieces of cracked skin; rags drenched in perfumes, oils, a variety of beverages, and rubbed with pieces of food. Parts sown together with a braid of hair here, or a slip of stained sheet or clothing there, fell apart. A scrap of tarnished silver and a misshapen gold earring were the last items to fall on the floor. A trail of debris containing all mediums necessary to create the image, to provide the picture with all the elements of illusion, lead from the unfinished painting to a door marked “Studio”.
The figure grew taller, thinner, formed sores and oozing crevices, spots of course black hair and limbs and digits no human would ever get a chance to count.
As the door opened and Roger entered his final nightmare, the woman in the unfinished picture came to life. She turned on her side. Her chest filled once and she parted her lips. What came out of her grotesquely changing mouth was a multitude of voices mixing into a pained choir. It morphed into a shriek of glee that shattered the silence. Shadows shifted and twitched in distress. The sound coughed and gurgled before condensing into shrill staccato laughter, scratchy and hoarse. A sorrowful answer came; a soaring elegy for the one joining the gallery of desire.
Ashtoreth, the painting that was Ash, created by ash, shifted and raised her hands, revealing the tools she had kept hidden. She began her task. Ambient music and echoes from the underworld mixed with sounds of stone on metal, honing it, perfecting the edge, preparing the final scene.
In the gallery, shadows quivered and shrank back into themselves. Frightened whispers echoed through the room, spread to the next gallery of statues, and the next, and the next.
The unearthly chorus of agony swelled and tore at the fragile shell of humanity still lingering in the rest of the building. Restless stirrings, jittery irritation and paranoia touched all of those present.
The tortured howl from captured souls didn’t fade until much later. Not until the ripping and slashing had stopped. Not until the begging and pleading had proven futile and a man’s screams of horror and pain became weak wet keening, then faded.
Silence didn’t fall until the artist at long last completed the preparation of the motif; the still-life that would finish painting number four.
In the studio, among brushes and paints, canvas and unused frames, rags and solutions, in the middle of a pile of clothes recently belonging to a man owning a Toyota, the she fisted her hand at her lips as she let out a delicate little burp. Then she yawned and stretched out, her naked skin shimmering softly in light from a single flickering candle.
She let herself relax and soften, sleepy, satisfied. She yawned again, pinched out the candle with two fingers, and started drifting toward sleep. It had been a tiresome four days after all. And tomorrow she would paint.
Hope you like this little creation of mine. Please leave a comment. Good or bad. Tell me what you think.
Thank you for reading and do come back soon. 🙂
Jasper Ontario Canada 2014
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