I resolved this by holding her hair back and butting the crown of my head full force into her throat. She gurgled as the blood rose to her lips. I drank from her deeply, her warmth filling my mouth and sliding down my throat...
I stood before a ticket booth. “Anywhere, I suppose.”
“Port Hensley’s the final stop for platform nine—train departs in five minutes,” the clerk bumbled.
I had never heard of such a place. “Then to Port Hensley, please.” My money was taken—a ticket and receipt slipped in its place. The beggar that lay in shambles at my feet gurgled and turned atop his reeking mass of bundles. I stuttered my thanks to them both and walked toward the train.
The car held a light scatter of passengers. I drifted down the aisle and collapsed into an empty pair of seats. Where was I headed? In my mind thought and reason would not marry. Port…Port somewhere. I gazed out of the window mindless, a fish staring out of its bowl.
The doors of the train sealed shut. My head swayed as sleep danced before me. Not wishing to succumb to my subconscious just yet, I stretched my legs and harshly rubbed my face with my hands—then stopped. I sniffed the air around me. My gaze fell to my hands now floating beneath my chin. That smell—it was unmistakable.
My fingertips lifted to my face—my fingernails stained an ugly brown. Dirt? Food? What might a stranger suspect as the source? Oh, but the sweet scent that rose from my fingertips could only come from one. The haze lifted. My Love! Oh, that enticing aroma, all that was left. I had experienced perfection—and now had only this. Overcome, I began to suck feverishly on my fingertips as the train lurched forward. With the sweet taste upon my tongue, I was no longer on a train feasting on the morsels on the end of my fingertips, but in a candlelit room where my love stood nude before me—my fingertips her breasts, her thighs, her mouth, her neck. “My love.” I moaned. “So sweet is your smell. So exquisite is your taste. Oh, I can’t bear to stop. I must have more. Give me more!”
“Sir, your ticket please.”
Then suddenly, the candlelit room faded, and my love was no longer nude in my arms with my mouth upon her, but on a train moaning and slobbering into my hands. I wiped the corner of my mouth with my wrist and dried my hands quickly on my coat. I fumbled for the ticket in my coat pocket and handed it to the ticket handler. He stamped the ticket and returned it to me. I nodded my thanks and politely smiled in his direction. I avoided his eyes. What they would say I didn’t want to know. I folded my hands courteously in my lap, stared out of the window and waited for him to leave. He lingered a moment longer. “Lunch will be served at three,” he said before continuing down the aisle.
I attempted to redirect my thoughts to the changing scenery outside of my window, but it never changed. Green pastures, fences, cattle, horse, sheep—more pastures, more fences, more cattle, more horses, more sheep. The monotony put me in a hypnotic state. The silky arms of sleep wrapped around my body lifting me in an amorous embrace like the silky arms of my love that once clenched me with such affection.
Oh, how I crave to feel your passionate hold once again my love! I mimic the sensation and wrap my own arms around my chest and shoulders. I squeeze tightly, my eyes shut firm. So terribly I want the sensation of my love to be real. These are not my arms that embrace me, but hers! So firmly she squeezes me. I throw my head back in lust—her body pressed so close against mine. She grips with such fervent desperation! I, her protector. I, her Lord! She rubs my arms and shoulders and scratches her nails across my back and through my hair. I softly moan her name, “Karen. So adoring is your embrace. So soft your skin, your breasts. So sweet smelling your neck, your hair.”
And then a sound not born from my love penetrates the space. Anguish takes hold as my love dissolves and slips from my fingertips and mouth. Again, I hear the disgusting cough that echoes through my fading reverie, and suddenly, I am once again on a train, rocking back and forth in my seat, moaning. Beside me, I spy the brown trousers of a man. My eyes climb past a belt and green vest to find the eyes of the ticket handler. My heart chills. I quickly drop my hands to my lap and stare out of the window and wait for him to leave. But he does not. Instead, he nudges my shoulder and hands me something worn and brown and terribly scratchy. I take the blanket from him nodding my thanks and wrap it around my shoulders. I blow into my hands and rub them briskly to relieve myself from the supposed cold. I smile my thanks to him as he looks away and continues down the aisle.
What was he thinking? Did he suspect my actions were caused by anything other than the cold? Did he hear me utter her name? Was my sweet Karen known?
It was unmistakable. His ill opinion of me lodged itself like a thorn in my heart. He handed me the blanket to distract my suspicions, but his eyes only put them to rest. He no doubt heard my love’s name spring from my lips. A passionate idiot he must think me to be. A crazed lunatic. A stalker of some sort!
Had he smelled the blood?
I shoved the brown nuisance in the seat next to me. Bored by the scenery outside of my window, I fidgeted in my seat and glared out of the window at a landscape of wretched uniformity. Nowhere else could the harmonious beauty of my love’s shoulders, hips and buttocks be matched. Not on any other woman—not anywhere in nature.
I brought my hands to my face and found them clean—there was no trace left. Never again was I to touch, smell, or taste my love! Yet still, I was not dismayed. Though my Karen’s form was lost, she still resided in my heart, in my blood, and in my mind. In my mind my Karen would live! In my mind I would make love to her over and over and over again. I would embrace and inhale her and devour every inch of her body like that last night we shared together.
My thoughts returned to the ticket handler—and his lingering suspicions. I looked about the train. I needed to speak to the him before my journey’s end and dispel his ill opinions. We were both gentlemen, perhaps we could talk about the current market and its impact on small business, or a passing word on the recent epidemic, or the war, or the embargo tragedy, or religion, or the weather! And with that being his final contact with me, his doubts would flounder and I could leave the next stop. Karen’s name would slip from his memory, and the smell of blood that rose from my fingertips, would be dismissed. Perhaps he'd feel shameful considering such nonsense from such a fine gentleman as myself. Yes! That is surely what he will think when I am through speaking with him!
But it was only moments later that the ticket handler bellowed the approaching station. My mind fumbled. Soon he would pass through the car stamping new tickets! I had no choice but to speak with him. I had to leave the train at the next stop!
It was my moment to act! The ticket handler rushed down the aisle looking for newcomers. He had no intention for casual chitchat as he sprinted to the next car. I had to intersect him.
I stood and raced down the aisle toward the lavatory as the ticket handler hurried toward me. What were we to speak of? The market? The weather? My thoughts cursed, Good God, think of anything to say! And then he stood before me in the lavatory hall. I opened my mouth to speak, but no sound came forth. My words lodged in my throat! My startled eyebrows raised and twisted! My nostrils flared, my mouth flopped open and closed like a fish as he gazed at me in the same way he had before. I reconfirmed his suspicions: he thought me raving mad!
He eyed me up and down, gathered a full scope of my lunacy, said, “Excuse me,” and attempted to walk past me. But I wouldn’t let him. I could not! The lavatory door across from us spelled, Vacant. I reached my hand in front of him and pushed the door open, shoved him inside, rushed in, and locked the door behind us. Two full-grown men in such a tight compartment—yes we barely fit—but I needed his attention. I was committed to leave the train on the next stop! Only the ticket handler was in no mood to talk and struggled from the toilet seat where he had collapsed.
“Are you mad? Let me out of here!” he bellowed.
“No sir, please!” I had found my voice! “I have a few words I must exchange with you!”
“Get out of my way!” He thundered and reached for the door. But I would not let him. I had to relieve myself of my lunatic standing, leave this train and find a place alone with my Karen outside of public view. Was this too much to ask?
He attempted to push me out of the way, but I wouldn’t let him. I grabbed his forearms and pushed him back on the toilet seat. He forced his body fully against mine as we struggled and heaved in our pinch of space, and suddenly I was no longer on a train trapping a ticket handler in the lavatory, but in a dimly lit room clenching the arms of my love as her body struggled against mine on our last night together. I closed my eyes and embraced her warmth. I could smell her sweetness. I tasted her mouth and neck. No longer did I need to wait to make love to my sweet Karen. She had returned to me! She stood before me now!
And this time she would not scream.
I resolved this by holding her hair back and butting the crown of my head full force into her throat. She gurgled as the blood rose to her lips. I drank from her deeply, her warmth filling my mouth and sliding down my throat. I bit her lip and chewed the soft flesh in my mouth. I looked into her eyes, so quiet, so serene. I felt my passion rise, boiling intensely beneath my skin. I wished to kiss, to taste everything! Her lips as well as her earlobes, fingers, eyes, and cheeks, I needed to taste it all!
Blood dripped from my mouth. Karen’s sweetness again and again swam down my throat as I gorged myself on her beauty. Her flesh in my teeth, I ripped the clothes from her. From her cheek, her inner thigh, her fingers I tear, suck, and swallow. I cannot stop! To taste all of her, to have all of her is my one desire. My insides are near to explode! I remove my trousers and force myself into her. I feast on her breasts as I thrust my love! I feel my soul disengage from my body and float to the heavens! I throw my head back as the breath of life resurrects my being! I am beyond terrestrial existence! I inherit the knowledge of heaven and creation! I am taken to full ecstasy and merge with God as I release all that I am into her! My heart thunders in my chest as I exhale, “Karen,” from my lips and look down and suddenly, I am once again on a train in a tightly enclosed lavatory with the ticket handler slumped lifeless in the toilet seat.
What have I done?
Blood has painted everything—his face is in ruin. Nose, eyes, cheeks savagely ripped from him. His clothes removed. Is he truly dead? My hands are sheathed in blood…again. I wash them in the sink along with my face. How would I leave this mess? Perhaps if I turned my clothes inside out it would help hide the blood. Yes, it surely would! Thank God for my moments of clarity! Where would I be without them?
My trousers already partially removed, are quickly inverted followed by my shirt and jacket just as the train slows and approaches the next stop.
I smooth my hair back, prepare for the train to halt, then exit the lavatory, carefully closing the door behind me.
I step from the train. Above me a sign spells ‘Port Hensley.’ I straighten my coat and catch sight of my fingertips as I smooth my hands over my chest, the blood still crimson beneath my nails. I suck tenderly on my pinky. My Karen.
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