Deb R. Lewis
Once she unwove the needle, like a metal stitch, from the plain of skin between my shoulder and slope of breast, twin points of blood welled, swelled heavily before they fell, each leaving a red string on descent. I strained against the metal pricks of the collar to watch the drops trace different routes like thick, branching red highways on a state map. One trailed down the outside of my breast, over the milky, almost lustrous, scarred trails of stretch marks–my breasts are larger than if I’d chosen them. The other skirted the nap of nearly invisible downy hair along my center. They rendezvoused in the tangle of my pubes.
Vivian’s hair had begun to silver. My mentor had been in the scene almost as long as I’d been on the planet.
The space behind my eyes hummed from temple to temple and a low-level electrical hum replied in the backs of my hands and tops of my feet, reverberating in the meat of my calves and forearms. She smeared the blood strands together with a gloved finger before they dried into a tightening crust. When she held it up, I calmly met her hazel eyes, then lost it, laughing, snorting–pleasantly stoned on my own endorphins.
The haze of fascination finally silenced me. She held the finger up, as I met her beaming eyes again, and pressed it to my lips. I tried to lick the blood with the tip of my tongue, but she pressed her finger into my mouth. I closed my eyes and sucked it down to the root knuckle, stripping the blood off with my tongue until only the bitter taste of latex remained. Because it was her finger, I sucked long after it was clean. When I worked the latex with my teeth and made it squeak she used her strong wrist to pull free.
I watched her long graying hair drift and fall against her shoulders as she sought a plastic cap for the hypodermic needle–minus syringe–that she still held clear of us with her other hand. It looked like a miniature upside-down Tiki torch. Once capped, she’d deposit the spent needle into an empty pop can with an acoustic clank. She leaned in to remove the symmetrical mate to the one now resting in an aluminum grave, one of some three dozen others, and this led to more endorphins, more blood trails, more spilt laughter and thrilled delight. By the time we were done, one of my towels was ruined and I drifted in the heady hog heaven of my apartment, endorphined-out, blood-varnished, crusting.
“There’s places in the walls,” I slurred. I’d become a whispering mystic.
She laughed and nursed blood from a tiny puncture wound. “Here.”
My eyes rolled and dipped under heavy lids as I obeyed. Again, that awful, latex taste after the divinity of blood. “Skin tastes so much better.”
Her eyes, still dilated and feral, pinned me to the spot. “Phuh! Go see yourself in the mirror.” I did this, feeling supremely naked–even in my collar–as I found my way to the medicine cabinet door. My glazed eyes surprised me. I laughed, covered with a war paint that fell like cinder flakes at the slightest brush. I tried not to touch, marveling at the lines of dots that marked each piercing and the beginning bruises of the deepest ones. Beautiful marks, marks of belonging, the kind of marks I always pine for.
“That’s right, take a good look at yourself,” she called, then, referring to her chewed fingers–I almost heard her bending them, inspecting for breaks and bruises: “You’d leave me with nothing but stumps, you greedy pig.”
I laughed from the back of my throat and returned to the main room of my studio. She sat on the edge of the bed, one leg up and one leg down, naked and plump and generous as she asked, “You like it?”
“Oh yes,” I told her, then started wheedling, “But skin tastes so good compared to latex.”
She patted a spot next to her. I sat half on the rumpled flannel sheets and half on the wounded towel. “You want skin?”
“Yes, Ma’am, I do.”
She rolled my nipple between her fingers, making it burn cold. “Say it.”
Trying not to squirm, I sucked breath between my teeth. “I want to taste skin,” I repeated, sounding childish to my own ears as the red beads formed. She’d put three needles through that nipple, intersecting like spokes on a wheel, and it remembered tenderly. Her eyes–grayer and more feral than before–searched my face, but I locked my gaze on her fingers. The ridges of her fingerprints showed through the wet latex. I imagined the grooves, furrows irrigated with blood.
“You want blood, too?”
“Yes, Ma’am, I want blood.”
She smiled, pinching harder. She’d give me what I asked, though not in any form I had in mind. When I winced, her fingers released. She pushed my tit toward my face to get the nipple within mouth’s range. “Take it.”
I craned over the top swell of my breast and took it between my lips. Her hold eased; I felt it sliding heavily from my grasp.
Pushing it up again, she said, “Bite it!”
I bit just hard enough to hold it, clamping my teeth when she let go. The weight of my breast stretched the nipple. It smarted and bled as a freezing-burning sensation shot through to my shoulder blades.
“Well, go ahead. Touch yourself.”
Working my right arm around the breast, I reached for my clit. Blood and spit made the nipple slippery. I bit harder, looked to her with pleading eyes.
She skeptically raised her brow. “Keep going.”
The motion of my middle finger telegraphed up my arm, jostling the now burning breast. The hurt–a love-hate sensation–diverted my awareness from my clit and interfered with any hope of coming. I was almost too wet for it anyway, unable to get the needed friction. I wanted to come, so that I would not have to disappoint us both by letting go.
This shaky situation seemed to last forever.
When I finally started coming–a herky-jerky and not-quite-satisfying come–my nipple overshadowed it. I felt her pinching fingers like icy fire on my left nipple, so that both burned.
Her voice was hot in my ear: “Don’t you dare let go!”
She was a swarm of bees, stinging everywhere from a single central point.
* * *
Afterward we lazed on the bed, and I felt the disarming calm that comes after extreme distress. I told her, licking the last of my blood from her gloves, “Skin really does taste better. But I wanted yours.”
Her smile showed teeth. I’d misread her: I might be relaxed, but she felt differently. Reaching, she pressed hard behind either side of my jaw.
I laughed in nervous response. The pressure of her fingertips made my teeth long to bite. I was just about to snap at her like the furred and fanged when she let go, laughing low, and pushed me back with a hand on my chest.
“I don’t think so.”
I felt like I’d lost all reason. I climbed on all fours and growled at her like a damn dog. Gone was my affable, relaxed self; something in me had tightened, ready to strike.
Before I could think, she slapped me ringing, stinging hard–tears stung my eyes and still my hackles were up. I felt myself wired into dark and predatory spaces previously undiscovered. She grasped the collar through the choke ring and pulled my head to the mattress as the dull spikes pressed into my neck. My lust spun up again.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
I couldn’t say what seized me, but I didn’t answer. She yanked the collar until I yelped, and gave my cheek such cracking-loud slap, I almost pissed myself.
Brought somewhat back to rationality, I whimpered, “I don’t know, Ma’am.”
When she let go, I stayed in a crumple of confusion, ashamed that I’d been so uncommonly brazen, frustrated with my lack of self-mastery. My eyes teared. I’d been brought down a peg, and still I felt wild.
I felt her waiting, but what could I tell her? Even chastened, I wanted to do something–what, exactly, was unclear. My cheeks felt hot, my stomach empty. The collar, though released, clung to my skin and I felt choked as I clenched the covers in my fists, releasing and clenching, trying to work out answers under the silent gaze of what I took as her disapproval.
When I realized I’d wanted to lunge at her, the certainty I had failed some test struck right behind it, like twin blows of a blacksmith’s hammer. Between the desire to please and the instinct to attack, something broke, and I cried softly, piling on yet another pathetic failure in self-control. Through all my silent mindfuck, she said nothing. Ma’am let the tears run course, then pulled me close until my ear rested on her breast, stroking until calm took reign.
“You did what was expected,” she said, smiling down at me. “Those were points.” She meant pressure points which, pressed, caused a specific reaction–she’d spoken vaguely of these weeks ago. She rubbed the hind of her jaw against mine, the way a cat rubs against legs until connection and belonging smoothed the hard desire to bite and possess.
She hooked her finger and held it up. When I hesitated, she pressed it between my lips, up against my teeth. I bit it tentatively. She tugged, and in order to keep hold, I had to bite harder than I’d bitten my own breast which still burned. I had an idea how much it hurt.
“Yes,” she whispered, tugging harder.
I closed my eyes and set my jaw, biting hard, licking the accessible link of finger between the first and second knuckles. Skin and musculature overlaid the irresistible and satisfying solidity of bone. Drool gathered at the corners of my mouth and I swallowed, pulling at her with a strong desire to shake my head and wrench it from her hand.
I didn’t hear the first time she spoke her safeword. When I did let go, the indentations showed deep and purple against the pinched white-yellow peaks marking the spaces between my teeth. She straightened and bent it slowly, my eyes following her movements closely.
With a wicked look, she thrust the fleshy base of her thumb into my mouth and I took it, full-toothed and greedy as she fought me, egging me on to bite harder, then harder still. I wrapped my hands around her arm and held fast.
Afterward, in the red-saturated haze, I lay back, collar off, my head in her lap as she confessed: “Even when I was young, and just starting in the scene, I always thought I would lose one of my nipples and I resigned myself to it.”
My ears pricked up. “You mean, in scene?”
My glutted feeling passed as I thought about it through clouds of bloodlust.
“Then I’ll take it with my teeth.” I was almost drunk at the notion. Imagining what it would be like to bite off her nipple, I dove into a crimson reverie, reminded of–or did I invent it on the spot?–a tale about animal heaven, where gazelles exist only to be caught by the lion, returning to be killed over and over, happily, willingly. Keeping this promise seemed otherworldly, fantastic.
“Oo,” she said, as if she hadn’t dusked that it might not be excised with a knife or seared with a brand–it could be bitten off.
She saw the light behind my eyes and reached for me, her thoughts running pace with mine. Delighted with this shared twistedness, we agreed: the right one–we kissed on it. “Definitely,” she said, “Someday.”
It certainly wasn’t a snap decision.
We meant it seriously. Still, it was after months of my neurotic thought (Was I too full of the milk of human kindness?) and my neurotic talk (such as, “Should I take the left nipple instead, since statistically breast cancer shows in the left breast, you know, just in case?” and her saying, “Don’t worry about it, darling, the right one is yours”)–months later, we took exile from unwanted exes and mundane life in a nearby motel at a weary hour; we slept. The next morning, still naked and gaping, I peeked through the drapes to find the parking lot all but empty. Mine was the only car. We’d actually checked into a no-tell motel.
Meanwhile, the act of biting took on great significance. I would bite into ribs, gnawing the bones clean, while she let her steak grow cold. She’d bite me at times, but I was not as good at taking the pain as she–I always fought pain, even when carrying a need for it. When I bit her, she would urge me on, her voice whispering, “Sweet pain. O, sweet pain,” into my ears. I bit her neck where it met the shoulder, bit her breast, her hand, her ear, her thigh, her clit, bruising her without breaking skin; I got drunk on biting. So it was, until one night we feared that I had broken her finger.
It can be hard to realize one is a sadist, and my tender heart was afraid of what I’d done. I inspected the tooth imprints closely, feeling as much curiosity as concern. She pushed me away with a husky laugh and a glint in her eye–undisguised amusement, knowing my fear came hand in hand with sadistic fascination and predatory joy. We lay together and after laying her head on my shoulder, she toyed with my pubes as she drifted off. I listened to her breath as I fell into a protective slumber and dreamt of running through a forest of trees on all fours.
We woke in some dark, early morning hour after a sound sleep. When her finger turned out to be sore, but whole and essentially undamaged, she pinched my tits and tugged my leg hairs, teasing the admission out of me: yes, with my relief came more than a touch of disappointment.
One morning after her stubborn live-in exe left for work, Vivi came over. By that time we knew (the AIDS specter still hung over us all)–as much as any of us can know–that our blood, and therefore, our spit and piss and come were reasonably clean. She had mentioned her and the exe quit having sex two, three years prior.
After fucking around long enough for both of us to be running late and covered in love bites, she drove me to work before going on to her own job.
Reluctant to leave the car, I asked, “How’s my nipple, little lady?”
She smiled from behind her glasses, delighted with the reference. Her fingers ran across her chest, above her curve and swell, as if fingering each hard-sucked hickey through her dress. “It’s still there.”
“Funny when I think of it,” I told her, adoring the beautiful strength of her wrists and fingers. “It’s like having far off real estate.”
“But I’m right next to you.”
My dog heart swelled. “You don’t understand. I could say to someone, ‘I have three nipples–oh, no, the third one isn’t here.'”
She laughed. “Well, baby, it’s yours.”
The exe, no longer content with simple guilt-trips and martyrdom, began to abuse Vivian, and after months of denying her sex, forced herself on my lover, which I would not discover until much later, after revenge was out of reach. I only knew my wolf-mistress locked the bedroom door when she wanted to sleep, forcing the repulsive, jealous thing to sleep on the wax-stained futon.
At the house of a mutual acquaintance, the jealous fiend began a quarrel over something stupid and trivial. Perhaps our eyes met and she did not like it, but this insignificant exe threatened my blood-betrothed.
I wedged between her and Viv “If you harm her, I’ll take you down.”
She huffed out the door, hating me as an interloper.
Having lost respect for her, I despised her back.
One dark, wee morn, I drove my love home, and the brute stood in the door, glaring.
“I can’t go in,” Vivian said, “She’s waiting for me.”
I looked for an excuse to fight. “I could walk you in if you like.” I’d have taken the smallest opening to thrash this human burr.
She shook her head, fearful, so I laid my hand on hers, squelching my selfish nature, and offered to take her back to my home. She squeezed my hand with a fitful smile. “I feel safe there, but she’ll come looking for me.”
I’d never been the fighting type—as a kid, I used to literally and naively turn the other cheek on the playground–but I could scarcely suffer the presence of this brute, whose offerings were fear and gaslight. I’d pointed out her abusive behavior for weeks (she rearranged my lover’s drawers, unfolding and refolding the clothes to her own specifications!), but I was loathe to assert what I thought was the appropriate decision. I reminded Vivian she had options, she wasn’t really trapped, and offered help when she requested it, but I knew my lover, my Ma’am, needed to find her own strength and volition.
“I’ll take you anywhere you want to go,” I said.
We drove north, away from our beaten paths, and after about an hour, we landed at this surprisingly clean motel, and slept.
When I woke and looked out on the day, the only car in the parking lot was mine.
“Sun’s too bright,” she said in high spirits, patting down the crisp white peaks of the crinkled sheets beside her. “Come back to bed.”
I scrambled over the top of her, feeling bright. “We’re running behind the others.”
I nodded to the window. “The other guests–they’ve finished and gone.”
She grabbed my ass and pulled me in. “No staying power.”
I planted a hand to either side of her head, kissing as I slid down her length. “Hope I can keep my strength up.”
She pushed my face into her tits. “Hush!”
I sucked on one, smacking loudly upon release. “I feel toothy today.” I felt bright and new.
Grinning, she pressed behind my jaw. “Good.”
The strategic pressure of her fingers was pleasant. My brow thickened, surface thoughts cleared the way for carnality, my teeth felt longer, my bones stronger, and my senses sharpened–as if some dulling veneer had been stripped away and I could now scent bleeding prey miles off.
“I want your fist inside me.” She wrapped an arm around me, her other hand cradling the nape of my neck as if my head were an oversized champagne glass. Her tongue pushed against the biting surfaces of my teeth, a feral suspicion of my surroundings subsided as she urged my hand to her crotch. No orchids here. Just earth and plow, just meat and bread, and the animal smells of sweat and sex.
I knelt, one knee between her legs, as I bent my arm slightly tighter than a right angle. Starting from this position, I could keep my hand stowed and my mouth still range over her. Her cunt was soft and slick as I gave her four fingers, vertically, in the first push–a tad of a stretch, formed my hand into a cone, using my whole arm as she wriggled and bucked.
If you ever doubt a woman’s strength, give her your hand and this will give you faith.
I nuzzled her breasts. No longer awestruck, I was overcome with greed. My elbow was jealous of my knuckles, my shoulder was jealous of my wrist, and though I’d never get that deep inside her, I could fuck her hard and fast.
One of her arms wrapped around my head while the other hand gripped the headboard. I sucked blood to the pale surface of one breast, whispers warming my ear, “Mark me, sweet woman, hurt me…”
I sank teeth into her without breaking skin and sucked with all my might, listening hard to her body and the things it told me through the slight tilt of her hips as she met the thrust of my fist. I pulled my hand back slightly and spread my fingers in reply. She crushed my face into the fleshy swell of her breast. She couldn’t, wouldn’t come without a song in her nipples. She clutched my hair, my scalp seared by the roots’ electricity. I pinched her nipple between my lip-covered teeth and she relented.
When she pulled my hair again, my ear, threatening to rip it off, I nipped, teeth squeezing until she took her hand off the headboard to wrap her fingers around the wrist of my free hand and sighed a good sigh. Intense pain was her key now. We hadn’t brought anything with us: no alcohol or antiseptic, not even a Band-Aid, but her fingers scrabbled through my hair like the pacing legs of a frustrated spider, so I bit harder. Her brow furrowed.
I did not tear the nipple so much as I pierced it, scorching her with an ice-storm of pain. The skin separating my upper teeth from my lower melted until there was only the thinnest bridge. I tugged and it stretched with me, but would not come.
I ground my jaw from side to side and once blood started coming, the matter was decided.
Electricity surged through my hands and pelvis. Blood avarice beat within my solar plexus and, hearing her throes, I wondered abstractly, if she realized what was happening. She squeezed, as if she thought I’d stopped, and I shoved my fist into her over and over, gnashing, grinding my teeth to a close.
A year or so before she’d told me the day would come, when I would cross the line of consent. At the time, I couldn’t see myself losing my grasp, but now I understood what she meant. I’m not sure I would have stopped if she’d plead for mercy. The bit was off, save for the thinnest strand of connecting tissue. I tightened my teeth, yanked that tiniest bit of nipple free with a twist of my head. The light changed. My eyes widened. Sweat beaded on my forehead and temples. I blinked and leaned up–I held it up between my teeth to show her. Her lips curled.
I swallowed it.
Still coming, the storm of orgasm rolling slowly off, her pain was for keeps now. Crying. Laughing. Minor hysterics, whispering in between, “It’s OK. I’m OK,” to answer the concern on my face. I had only taken a tiny bit of what I had intended, and this discrepancy troubled me. Gentling, I licked her aureole to soothe the wound, and licked up the collecting blood. I crept up to kiss her before swallowing, to offer her a share of the kill on my tongue, as a good mate does.
Deb R. Lewis has published work in Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck: A 2nd Story Anthology (Elephant Rock Books), Windy City Queer: LGBTQ Dispatches from the Third Coast (U of Wisconsin Press), the IsGreaterThan Digital Omnibus 2010 (IsGreaterThan.net), and The Woman-Centered Economy (Third Side Press). Her honors include a Pushcart nomination. Her work appears in many journals, including: Make Literary Magazine, Cellstories.net, Gertrude, Criminal Class Review, F Magazine, Susurrus, Zahir, Café Irreal, Outsider Ink, Velvet Mafia, The2ndHand, Blithe House Quarterly, Mobius, International Drummer, Bad Attitude, and SandMutopian Guardian. She’s a teaching artist in the Goodman Theatre’s GeNarrations storytelling program. As a 2nd Story company member, she tells stories and, as a curator and director, helps others tell theirs. She’s an adjunct instructor in Columbia College Chicago’s Department of Creative Writing. She scrapes in the Rogers Park by with her wife, daughter, and cats. DebRLewis.com