A hot yellow circle of light dances across my skin. Tethered to the flashlight's phallic end, the light is an extension of her hands, her thoughts, and her desire. The light rings itself in pink, catching the cherry glisten of blood beneath my thin skin, the deeper red-gray of tiny capillaries strung like fishing line, an intricate netting suturing dermis to muscle and bone.
I am a creature of darkness. She keeps me bound by shadows, as if to risk the light would mean certain death, the crisply curling, smoking limbs of no-longer-mortal flesh frying in the sunlight.
The bright circle of light stabs my eye, warms my cheeks, and frames a nipple; it slides like melting pudding across my belly, soft as bread dough.
"No lights," I'd said the first time. "Just follow the sound of my voice." She'd stumbled a bit in the darkness but found the bed and fell across it, a weighty intruder, rocking the mattress.
"Come here," she commanded, and I crawled through the night to her side, where she grasped my legs and spread them wide, as though she meant to rip them from their sockets and suck the meat from my bones. As if I was a roasted capon, a duck, a bird.
My joints crackled and popped. I smelled myself, warm and grassy, on the cold air. I imagined steam rising from the vent between my legs.
Now, she's put on her creepy music again, with its sorry, wailing babies and thundering heartbeats, teeth-rattling bass and nerve-scraping violins. I can't stand it, and yet, the music excites me, just as it does her. Breath picking up pace, as if she's running and settling into stride, measuring her intake, preparing for the marathon haul across burning sands and blinding tarmac.
She pushes her fingers inside me, scrapes my womb with assuredly dirty fingernails. Digs her knuckles into soft spots, worms and worries her hand as if searching for an exit. I feel the rough metal edge of her flashlight disappear as well. The light beams from my mouth.
We were silent the first time, but after that, she brought her music: Music to incite migraines, music to make me weep, and music to bleed by.
There were ropes involved and something cold and slimy; I shudder to think what it might have been.
She offered to numb my arm with Novocain and take a bite, eat me alive. My fear of tetanus alone prevented it. And the pain, that's not my kind. I would have had to sit there and listen to her chew and swallow, think of my living flesh masticated and broken down by her churning stomach acids, the bits of me-meat traveling her intestines, being pushed out her asshole and flushed into the sewers and out to sea.
We don't know each other's names. If I cry, she might ignore it. Or she might return from the kitchen with a piece of bread to sop up my tears and salt the butter. If I resist, she is a force of silence, still and steady as a wind, pushing itself up over a mountaintop.
She wrings the sobs from me in silence and darkness or surrounded by the pulsing warble of an ancient song. We do not allow the light to reach our faces. Sometimes, quite by accident, I have seen the corner of her mouth, a glow reflected on the underside of her nose, a gleam of green inside her iris.
Sometimes, there is just deep breathing: panting, moaning, and grunting. I think that I hear the sound of bells, the tinkle of ID tags on the collar of the Saint Bernard called to rescue me from the avalanche of sensation that buries me. I am often lost. I think that she has gone, and believe myself alone, but then her hand forms itself from blackness and reaches for my own. Her invisible fingers close around mine—this woman whose name I do not know—and she squeezes, as if giving extra thanks at the conclusion of a prayer.