This was sent to me by wonderful and talented writer Sarah Coleman and it's absolutely hot and sexy, and definitely gore horror which I love! Definitely check her out and hit her up at her link: http://twitter.com/scolefiction and enjoy this hot short story of hers:
“Mandy, it’s just the cigarettes.”
He said it like he always did, over dinner in a restaurant this time. Always somewhere public so the conversation wouldn’t escalate past a point he could control.
I hated when he made me feel that way. He didn’t understand what cigarettes meant to me. They were the constant faithful friend. The friend I turned to when our dates went sour or when I felt a little crazy. Times like this one; where he would criticize me and then stare a little too long at the thoracically gifted waitress who came to clear our food seconds later. My stomach turned. I loved him but I longed for my friend.
Once outside I zipped my coat up, not because it was cold so much as to keep the smell of smoke off my skin or I knew I would see it in his face later when we got his apartment and he breathed me in.
I had become well acquainted with his apartment. I loved the smell of him and walking into his bedroom was an overwhelming sensation of his scent. It was carelessly decorated, which I always found masculine and sexy, unlike the carefully considered décor of other men in the city I had known. I decided I was in love quickly and had said it silently when there was no possible way he could hear it. He started saying it to me several months later; and usually only after I managed to make him cum.
I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for him. On the contrary I had become obsessively in love. I am obsessive by nature and anything in my life worthwhile has always been loved to an extreme. Being that I am not a teenager anymore I have been able to hide it in ways. This is why I become a smoker. Any time I was ever upset or had my heart slightly broken, or completely torn out of me, a cigarette had been there to wrap me in a comforting layer of poison that I would breathe in until whatever ailed my heart would disappear in a slow exhale.
By the time I admitted I was addicted, the comfort was enough that I didn’t even care. So was my life; smoking and this man. How sad you might think. Don’t. Being obsessed with anything is mentally and physically draining. Be impressed I could handle more than one.
The unfortunate part was that my two loves didn’t get along. He hated the cigarettes and after a while, I could tell when he watched me light one that I was losing him.
One occasion in particular brought me to my decision to cut ties with my old friend and break down the wall of smoke I had built between him and I.
A party. I was feeling particularly lightheaded from my drink and as I always do in social situation was feeling territorial and jealous. A new girl, a friend of a friend or something like that (does it really matter anyway) was there who my love seemed particularly taken with. Through the course of the night, he did find a way to talk with her casually, in that nonchalant way that men think their girlfriends don’t notice. Their talking brought me out to the balcony where I of course turned to my purse for a companion.
The strangest thing happened minutes later as I threw the last of it down all those stories to the cold ground below.
I didn’t feel better.
The reality that the party was still going on inside without me was, as funny as it may seem to you, too much to bear. My friend, it would seem, was no longer enough. The people and their drinking and their intentions did not disappear into my comforting cloud of smoke as I breathed out that last solitary puff. I decided it was time to end this friendship, and focus on my relationship with the beautiful man inside the party, presently inside breaking my heart.
“I am so proud of you, Mandy!” he said as we lay in bed after I told him the decision I had come to the night before.
His happiness was clouded with a hangover but I knew it was genuine. So was mine. The look on his face made me determined to keep my relationship with cigarettes behind me. We had sex. It seemed like a reward for my revelation but I felt loved. I felt invigorated and complete, a contentment. I realized after it was over, and I lay there on his pillow wrapped in his sheets that I needed to smoke. I craved it. I always thought it was only my companion, to get me through situations that would have made me cry. Now I understood why my friend let me go so quietly. It knew I would be back. After all, I was an addict.
The contentment of his bed lost its comfort as I wondered what to do with this newfound notion. The more I thought about it, the worse the craving became. He was talking about something but I could not get out of my own head. I had to get out of there and fix this. He let me go easily and reached for his phone to find something else to do with his day. I left the apartment and as the cold air hit my face, I turned in the opposite direction of my own apartment and made my way to the drug store.
Gum. Gum. Gum. Thirty dollar gum. Was that really my only option? How was gum going to cure me from broken hearts, or ease my anger when life was breaking me?
“It’s all the same, really.”
Her voice was cool but there was an angst I could feel as she took me by surprise. I knew before I turned around she was barely out of her teens. The drug store vest she wore looked like some kind of funny commentary about life juxtaposed with her dark eye makeup and black and blue hair. She reminded me of me somehow.
“And none of it is a cigarette.” She said.
I told her I didn’t know what I was doing. I sounded vulnerable, I’m sure. But then again, I was. The cravings had gotten worse since I left his apartment and when I tried to ignore it, the only other thoughts I had were of him. Was he thinking about me?
As if she knew, the girl went on, motioning to the stacks of nicotine gum in the isle.
“I tried it myself. And not just in a half assed way but a real solid attempt.”
She leaned in close to me and her voice lowered as our conversation became more secretive.
“There is only one way to get rid of an addiction.”
She reached down and gripped the bottom of her vest and shirt, pulling it slowly up as I stood in front of her, revealing underneath her naked upper body. As I’m sure is human nature, I looked immediately at her breasts. Her nipples were pierced and held large silver hoops that dangled with silver balls connecting them into a seamless circle. In fact, as I studied the rest of her bare torso, several silver barbells and hoops pierced through her skin. On her sides and stomach; around her belly button; between her breasts; on her ribs and hips. Most of them clean and healed but some bloody where they entered and exited her flesh. The silver glimmered and looked like some piece of obscure armor.
“You find another one.”
It had been two days since I abandoned the nicotine gum at the drug store, the young woman’s advice and body still fresh in my mind. My cravings had been terrible and I was insatiable. I bite my pillow in the night when I lay awake in bed. I kept my sanity only as a mask for him, to make it seem like everything was fine. I had not eaten anything since the party.
He smiled at me as the wine reached our table. I caught its scent as it splashed into the glass as he poured it. That’s never happened before. This was a celebration for him, I was sure. I hadn’t smoked a cigarette in two days and while I was dying inside, I was hiding it beautifully. I was graceful and elegant. I sipped my wine carefully because it seemed more potent than my usual glass. I thought about having sex with him as he talked.
“We should order steaks.” He said, like an epiphany.
I was starving and the thought of eating a steak was almost enough to overpower my thoughts of cigarettes and sex.
To get through the cravings I daydreamed. I thought more of him and me as I waited for our food to arrive. Like the wine, I could smell the steak before it was set on the table. My mouth watered and my body ached. For a single moment I forgot about my old friend and so did my body as I lifted the first cut piece of steak to my mouth. Every drop of juice hit my tongue as I chewed. I could taste each individual spice and sauce the tender piece had cooked in. It was as if everything I ever put in my mouth was bland before this moment and it was euphoric. As I savored each bite my mind went again to the young girl with her silvered torso and her message.
“You must have been starving!” he said.
I told him it was the best dinner of my life.
The very next night I went back to the restaurant alone. I ordered the steak. I also ordered slice of cheesecake, thinking that would be even more exciting to the senses than the meat. The steak was just as divine as the previous night and while I wanted to savor it, it seemed to only last a couple of seconds before I was milking the juice from the plate with my fork. Water from a stone.
The cake came next. Its aroma was subtle and cold, unwelcoming compared to the steak. I took a bite with my dessert fork. A ladylike bite. All I could taste was the temperature of the cake and bland whipped cream topping, the powdered kind you get at a dollar store. Disappointed, I decided I couldn’t leave empty handed and looked again at the menu for dessert salvation. I found myself seduced by sweet & sour ribs however and leaving the restaurant I felt more content than the times I used to inhale the first puff of a just-lit cigarette.
When he and I were together I was relaxed, not jealous or anxious or anything besides content. And when I was alone, my sustentation would come from expensive meat dishes at an array of restaurants around the city. It wasn’t long before cigarettes seemed like strangers that went unnoticed to me as I passed them on the street. The young girl at the drug store had been right. My enigmatic therapist.
Over the course of the next several weeks I became dependent on my newfound friend. I noticed changes in how my new addiction took over my body. I would salivate when I thought of some magnificent meat dish. My mind would wander the streets for restaurants while my body was somewhere else entirely. Waiters and waitresses began to call me by my first name, and depending on the place, may not have even brought me a menu. My greatest fear became what if my craving enveloped me when I couldn’t satisfy it? What if I needed to taste meat when I could not get to a restaurant?
I started ordering three or four meals doggie bagged in one sitting so I could keep them at home so to never be without. The problem with that is once they were in the fridge, my mind would not leave them alone. I would lay awake in bed just thinking about those Styrofoam temples.
The time between meals was less and less. Knowing that they were there in my fridge was enough to arouse my increasingly vicious appetite.
Just one more bite.
I was gaining weight, I knew it. He knew it too. I could tell when he’d begun suggesting going to clubs or to the park. No dinners, no restaurants.
“This is just your body getting used to not having smoke forced into it. You will go back to normal. Don’t worry.” He said.
I never said I was worried.
The thing about addiction is it doesn’t leave room for many other thoughts. I didn’t care about the weight, but for him, I took it upon myself to eliminate everything else from my diet so I might not gain as much. For his sake.
The weeks became moments for me, each moment passing, filling me with some type of emotion. He and I at a movie. Me with a piece of juicy dark pink hamburger meat burning my mouth form the frying pan. Me waking up. Him talking. Me dreaming. A party. Happiness, rage, desire, depression. Every moment has an emotional imprint. My life became just waiting for the next one I enjoyed to come along.
As good things come to those who wait, sure enough, my next enjoyable moment came—in the form of an epilogue to a particularly fevered craving.
It started with another party.
A party at the same house with the same balcony where I parted ways with my first addition. The same booze and the same guests. The only difference aside from my outfit was my empty purse. No fall back plan if something went wrong, no ammunition to escape with to the solace of the balcony. I thought about the Styrofoam takeout boxes of meat at home in my refrigerator and held my breath as I scanned the room of faces.
Of course all the seats were already taken and I took a sip of the wine I had brought for strength. She was sitting in a chair several feet away from me talking to some guy between sips of beer. I didn’t know why I recognized her, but my body reached like I’d been punched and microwaved at the same time when I saw her. It came together when I turned to him and saw him glance in her direction. I was back at the first party all over again, in every way. Except without something to take comfort in.
A vampiric radar, my addiction sensed my preparation for heartache, seizing my attention with an enormous growl in my stomach. Then another one. I swallowed another mouthful of wine to appease it. Another one. I knew what my body wanted and I could either try my best to find something here and satisfy myself, or stay and wait until he found his way into a conversation with her again. For a few seconds, I tried to stay, preparing myself. Another growl. He moved from one side of me to the other, noticeably closer to where she was in the room, and began talking to guy he knew from work. It would be only a matter of time, another few drinks, I was sure. Growl. I needed to leave. I knew I needed to salvage either my stomach or my heart and this craving was becoming painful.
I made my way through the people into the darker portion of the house, to the kitchen. I felt tears on my hot cheeks only when the cold air from the fridge hit my face. I toppled a wall of beer to see what was beyond it, a can falling to the floor. Condiments. No. Brick of cheese. No. Tomatoes. No.
Then I saw it, on the second shelf in the back. A thawed pound of packaged ground beef. I tore it from the fridge, my fingers clawing into the package, piercing the plastic and sinking into the chilling raw center.
I could see with the light of the open refrigerator, an unwashed frying pan on the stove nearby. I turned the knob to high and dropped a handful of the hamburger meat on the pan. Another growl came from within me and with it a jolt of pain in my gut. I could hear the people in the main room talking and it irritated me. I watched the cold meat in the pan and willed it to fry. I heard the comforting sizzle from the pan and it calmed me. Then suddenly, overtop the rest of the loathsome ambiguous voices of the other room, a woman’s laugh. It was clear amongst the others and it broke my calm. The sizzle of the pan. The laughing. The sizzle. The laugh. Rage or hunger or some child of both took over and I gripped the cooking pink meat out of the pan and bit into it.
The beef surrendered easily under the force of my teeth. So easily, I began to use only my tongue to mold and shape it into a swallowable ration. With each press to the roof of my mouth, the coldest, purest taste ravaged my senses. I’m a masochist.
I stayed like that for the whole of the feast. The frying pan was empty before I came down from my heaven. Even after it was over, and my stomach had eased, the sounds of the party stayed far away from me. I was happy, content. My mouth sticky and thick from the remanence of the meat.
I left the party by myself. Unnoticed. If anyone thought of it at all, they would have assumed I was on the balcony. I walked home quiet and calm. Satisfied. It would be a while now before I needed to have another meal. I got home, and slept.
It was morning when I woke up and sunlight filled the room, stirring me an uneasy way. The night before came back to me in fragments. First the goodness. Then, the anxiety of the party that I now recalled abandoning. Had he realized that I’d left? I checked my phone for calls. Nothing. I could be dead for all he knew and he still wouldn’t have sought out the horrible news. I took it as a sign that his night had been good, good in the way that would make me want to scream and cry. All of a sudden I was craving again.
My fridge was empty. There were doggie bags filled with meals but the ones that weren’t so old they were growing mold seemed bland. The seasonings and the sauces that had cooled and fused with the meats seemed now only to mask the real, succulent taste of the meat itself. I was longing for the experience I’d had the night before. It would have to wait. My phone was ringing.
“Where did you go last night?” he asked, in what sounded like genuine concern. I told him that I got a bad feeling and left. And that I hoped it hadn’t ruined his time.
It didn’t ruin his time.
“I just wish you would have told me you were leaving. I was worried.”
Not worried enough to try me last night.
“Do you want to get together tonight?”
Yes. I did.
It seemed like so long since I’d been to his apartment. I could smell frying vegetables as I walked in. It fused with the smell of his bedroom like a steaming, bland version of him. I was angry about his disregard for me the night before, but my thoughts were on suppressing my craving and slightly for sex.
He told me that he was sorry I didn’t stay last night; that he didn’t really have that good of a time; that everyone seemed dull. And that he cooked stir fry for dinner. Each statement made me progressively crazier with rage. What I wanted to tell him was I knew he was lying. That he had a great time and that me not being there was better for his social conquests of the evening. I also wanted to tell him that I hated stir fry.
What I did tell him was, thank you for thinking of me, I love you. And then I sat on his bed, arranged like a dinner table, and began to eat my stir fry.
He was midway through a sentence, and I midway through my wine when it happened. That achy growl in the pit of my gut. It crawled its way around my insides. Feelings from the night before rushed back as I tried to down another limp vegetable from my fork. I focused on holding the rubbery thing in with a hard swallow. The growl came again. This time it was louder and deeper, it shook the thoughts in my head and my anger took over a little more of me.
“Mandy, are you okay?” I barely heard him ask.
Amidst all of my internal chaos I desperately searched for a way to save myself in his eyes. There was no room left for logic in my mind. What do I tell him? There were only two choices I had. My body could only pull me in two directions and I would have to surrender to one before I lost either him or my sanity. So the question became; primal or vice? Do I run out the door and indulge in my weakness, somewhere at some restaurant or meat shop? Or do I revert to the primal me, the raw me? Could I work the craving out of my body through sex?
I did not give him the chance. I kissed him hard in an attempt to overthrow the growling rush in my stomach. His mouth was warm and it reminded my craving body of some delicacy added to that stir fried mass on my plate. As is their nature, he immediately began to progress my wordless plan on his own. I heard the plates slip smoothly from the bed and then crash on the floor. I kept on. In fact, my craving was intensifying as my mind seemed to short circuit into half thoughts of her laughing, of him, of carefully poured sauces dripping down scantily cooked meats, smiling waiters, the feel of my fingers piercing the plastic layer of wrapping, gripping the raw beef underneath in the darkness of the party.
I heard him gasp in pain as I realized the gripping fingers in my mind were in fact seizing his side so much so I could no longer see my fingertips. I loosed my grip and continued to kiss him as we became more undressed.
Another growl. Maybe this plan was not working? Or maybe I should just be trying harder. My kisses began to work their way down his neck and shoulders. More flashes. Of the pierced torso and the face of the girl who possessed it. One way…rid…addiction…there is only…get rid…find another…you find another…find another one.
The ache in my belly shook me and the girl and her words drifted away instantly. I again thought of the meat dishes and all the flavorful salvation it brought me. I forced my kisses further downward to draw him into a sexual world, away from the monkey on my back.
My plan unfolded, and he moaned but the craving lingered deep inside me. I thought of how soft the cold ground beef had been when I’d press it flat with my tongue. A moan from him, a growl from me, and I kept on.
The aroma of a just prepared, warm meat dish being placed right in front of me hit my senses. Like a near death experience, every recollection I’d had of such a moment hit me with each heartbeat. It was working. A louder moan from him, a growl from me, and I kept on.
I recalled the tastes of the rarest dishes I’d eaten lately and how that first bite, that juicy, ecstatic bite would shed away my anger and anxieties. That first bite that purified my senses and my mind. I could taste all of those first bites just now, and the contentment that lingered even after I’d cleaned the last oily and buttered blood droplets from my expensive china plate.
A horrible scream from him. A growl from me. And I kept on.