Intimate Flesh

         She wore only a shining sheen of sweat and her wedding ring. The ring wasn’t Carl’s marital promise. He hated the thing,

Edward Weston
and hated even more that sometimes, when she was really fired up and riding hard, she would stuff her ring finger in his mouth, the cold tang of her husband’s promise contrasted by her wet warmth.

         He wasn’t a fan of banging in her husband’s bed and figured he was tempting fate with each fling, but Christ, everything else on her was positively velvet; she was young and thin, a sex-stallion with red hair just long enough to pull, just short enough to look slutty. Her breasts were tiny, but her nipples were hard and round as buckshot. Nothing jiggled or bounced or worked contrary to their motion together, her muscles would tense against her skin when she rode him, making her a moving sculpture. And she always, always insisted on riding him.

         Tonight felt different. He almost didn’t show. Not that the sex was old, but she kept pushing. First the ring in the mouth, then her husband’s bed, and now she insisted he sleep over. Neil worked the night shift and didn’t come home until eight in the morning, but what if his alarm didn’t go off? Even worse, what if she confiscated every cell phone and alarm clock in the place, just to make sure?

         But during sex, Carl was focused. He was on the brink, their second session of the evening, the first one was a pre-dinner hello, this one was an exhausting fuck meant to put them both to sleep. He lasted longer the second time, but his calves were cramping, so he gigged her on with a harsh spank. Her hips throbbed and bounced. Her spur-like fingernails ate into his thick chest. Her hips seemed to double in weight as his muscles knotted, like concrete was drying inside of them.

         He clamped onto her hips and heaved her away from his unprotected finish, then turned, grunted, panted. Then he was still.

         Tia cuddled up to him, her cheeks blush, her breath short. She wrangled him until they curled into the spoon position, then he listened to her breath lengthen until she was asleep.

         She didn’t talk, she just stroked his hair. The affection felt wooden; all he could think was that they were about to sleep in semen-covered sheets.

         He stared into the dark. Sleep was there somewhere. He swallowed away the ring’s lingering bitterness while he waited. He didn’t want her to use him to get to Neil, but even more, he didn’t want her to love him. He decided tonight was it, that tomorrow he’d wake up a new man and start over, fresh, and not do this shit anymore.


         Sleep faded from Carl’s eyes. Morning arrived, and everything in the bedroom was hungover.

         He saw candles, their wax tears frozen beneath the black, spent wicks. A half-glass of water sweated on the nightstand. Did anyone ever drink the vile, warm morning-after water?

         Pictures of Tia and her husband were next to the water. Carl could tell Neil was much older than Tia. Perhaps as much as fifteen years, and Tia was about twenty-eight. Poor old codger couldn’t keep up with a machine like her.

         He sensed a sex-paste around his crotch. His mouth was coated with a tacky, morning film and his overworked lips were tumble-weed dry, but he’d still have to endure an insincere, hideous morning kiss that preceded the walk to his car two blocks down the road—if he woke her up.

         Six-thirty in the morning. Gray light carved through the slats of the bedroom blinds. Birds did that early morning, annoying as hell chorus thing they do when the sun comes up.

         Tia didn’t stir. Her ass was pressed against his crotch, creating a hard-on throbbing with the dual urges to piss and ejaculate.

         His dick wasn’t the only thing throbbing; his left shoulder felt like a knife was driven into the top of the deltoid. His left leg wasn’t just asleep, it was comatose, aching from a lack of circulation.

         Even more curiously, he was still in the spoon position, resting on his left side with his right arm draped over Tia’s midsection. His knees were against the backs of her knees and his chin was on her shoulder.

         He was still spooning her? He hadn’t moved all night? Regardless, she had monopolized the covers; his feet were freezing and his bare ass wasn’t exactly a hot plate.

         So, he’d have to peel himself away from her, possibly waking her up. Maybe even listen to her talk.


         Pain and pleasure bounced through him as he swelled against her; he tried to ease away from her, but didn’t budge.

         Hell, I wouldn’t want to let go, either. He tried again. She began to move with him, and he froze, not wanting to wake her.

         Carl tried to lift his arm and roll, harder this time, but still gentle, and again, she began to pull with him, his skin tight and sore against her.

         “Tia,” he whispered. She rustled against the sheets. “Tia?”

         She muttered, and he noticed she was trying to roll away from him to look at him. A sting rose in his face and arm as she moved, but they didn’t separate.

         “I gotta piss, honey. Let up for a sec.” She tried to move. So did he. They didn’t separate.

         “Honey. Let up,” he said.

         They struggled against each other, and he pulled his arm away from her torso with more might. It didn’t budge.

         The sleep ran from his eyes. He tried to lift his head from her shoulder. The flesh of his chin stretched but didn’t budge. He tried his arm, but felt the same stretching sensation. Even his knees felt glued to the rear of her legs.

         Tia started screaming, then tried to break away, her thrashing yanking at his own skin, sending pinch-pain up and down his body in the places where their skin was joined.

         “Settle the fuck down!” Carl screamed back. His eyes shot up into the large dresser mirror. He saw his hand and his entire lower arm, but not all of it. Part of him looked sunk into her, and the skin was harsh red around the border of his arm, like dry or infected skin.

         Glue, he thought. What else to think? His arm was only halfway there, as if he were melting into her in all the places they touched. He barely heard her scream a second time, but scream she did.

         “Calm down,” he said.

         This time, she listened, but she her screams morphed into sobs. “What’s wrong, Carl? What’s happening? It hurts. Bad.”

         “Stay still,” he said, testing the limits of their attachment. Each stretching strand of skin sent flames of pain into his innards.

         “What are you going to do?”

         “I don’t know, but let me think, OK?”

         He tried, but kept looking into the mirror and seeing himself merged with her. Ten ‘til seven. Sun getting brighter, the birds getting quiet as they started their day. He wondered instead of thinking, and then, a bigger problem struck him.

         “Tia, now you have to stay still and calm, OK?”

         She was still crying; he felt her swell with hot breath against his chest, and why wouldn’t he feel her? Surely they were enjoined there as well.

         “When, exactly—and I mean down to the fucking minute—does Neil come home on Wednesdays? Is it always at eight?”

         “Never before eight,” she said. “I was hoping he’d come home today and either catch us or smell the sex and know what happened. I hate him. I hate his guts!”

         “Stay quiet,” he said. “We don’t want the neighbors to come. Not yet anyway. We’ll figure something out.”

         She kept sobbing. He assessed his situation. Husband could come home at any second, skin melted to an adulteress he’d banged the night before, and if he tried to move, she’d scream. Typical problems for the sexually active, thirty-something male.

         “Tia,” he whispered, wanting to soothe her. “I’m not going to move, you are. Be slow, and don’t scream. If it hurts, stop.”

         She tried to roll, and the first flesh to pull was that of his chin and chest, but he endured the sting, but he could not endure anymore when he felt his penis become taut and threaten to tear from his groin.


         “I don’t know what to do,” she said, degenerating into soft sobs again.

         They remained still. Silence reigned.

         At seven-fifteen, she spoke with the detachment of a lecturing professor. “I deserve this, not you,” she said. “This is punishment. From like, God. I wear this ring, but I’m only free and happy when we’re together. I do all the things for you I won’t do for the man I married. I’m so sorry.”

         Carl thought of his jacket pocket.

         “Shut up. God’s got nothing to do with it.”

         He sighed, the expansion of his lungs pushing into her bony spine. “We can’t sit like this forever. If it hurts, so be it. Can you use your free arm, honey? Can you bring the pillow to your face?”


         “Bite it,” he said. “I’m going to try and pull free.”

         Her soft sobbing returned.

         “It’ll only be a second, like a band-aid,” he said, wondering whose flesh would submit first. Hers, probably. She was a woman with weaker, softer, finer flesh.

         “On the count of three,” he said. “You roll to the right, I go left. Ready? One.”

         Her increased crying was muffled by the pillow.

         “Two.” He primed himself, gathered his strength.


         He rolled away from her and realized, to his horror, that the loopy bitch had monopolized most of the bed along with the covers. His left hip slipped, and soon, he was suspended just off the side of the bed, hovering above the floor, held by her flesh and her flesh alone, a hammock of skin. She began to slip his way, screaming, clinging to the covers as she was pulled over the edge by his body weight.

         He felt thick thrums in his penis and chin, as if strands of wet rope were snapping. White stars invaded his vision, dots of pain, and then she fell on top of him, driving his skull into the floor. Then, darkness.


         Her sobbing rippled through their attached bodies, waking him. Groggy, his vision cleared. The clock now read eight-twenty.

         “We have to make it to the phone,” he said, shocked at the croak of his own voice.

         Tia just cried harder, then collected herself, paused.

         “He’s here,” she said. Anchored by Tia, Carl couldn’t see anything but carpet; couldn’t turn his head to look up. Carl could only see Neil’s unmoving shadow. The silence spoke volumes.

         “Help us,” Tia whimpered.

         A thud, then the twang sound of rolling coin. Only it wasn’t a coin; a wedding band rolled in front of Carl’s eyes, going under the bed, then falling over, gyrating against the hardwood until there was silence. That familiar ring; white gold with a single, speck of a diamond in the center that Carl always thought looked feminine.

         “Imagine how your wife would feel if she saw this,” Neil said, his voice wobbling as if a wave of grief had receded. Footsteps. Brown loafers. Neil circling them. “Tell me how she would feel.”

         “She would call an ambulance,” Carl said, his breath fogging the hardwood. “She would help us.”

         “Do you want to go home to her?”

         “Yes,” Carl said, without hesitating.

         “And my loving wife cries at this news.” Neil’s footsteps stopped. A clang echoed against the floor. “Who am I to keep you lovers apart, if you want to be together.”

         Tia railed against him, wringing out fresh, hot pain from their enjoined flesh. She struggled and screamed, angry at her husband or Carl, he couldn’t tell which. But he saw the twelve inch chef’s knife that Neil had dropped, the handle almost touching his wedding ring, and Tia, melted into his back, kept struggling and rolling until he was close enough to reach them both.

Fred Venturini completed a B.S. in English and Journalism at MacMurray College in 2002 and his MFA at Lindenwood University. His horror stories have appeared in River Styx, Polluto, Writer's Post Journal, Susurrus, Sinister Tales, and the upcoming anthology, Dark Distortions 2.

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