Even before he had entangled me with his long black body, I knew he was deadly.
I lay there, motionless, my breath coming in little gulps as I fought to keep my composure. A powerful concoction of fear and guilt rushed through my veins like venom from a serpent’s bite. I tried hard to suppress these emotions, focusing my attention on the ugly brown stain that discolored a large portion of the ceiling. A few months ago it had been only a small tan spot, but it had slowly grown wider by unperceivable increments, until it had extended its ugly webbings across nearly a quarter of the white plaster. Why hadn’t I noticed it until now?
He lay beside me, panting like a dog, his broad chiseled chest rising and falling rapidly with each breath, his long dark fingers clenching the white linen sheets. His dark brown body was covered in a layer of sweat so thick I could smell it, the musty odor penetrating my olfactory cells, sending poignant images through my mind. I could smell his sweat, and all of his glandular secretions, which covered my own naked flesh, mixing with my own, invading my body, seeping through the pores in my skin into the very core of my being.
The silence was so heavy; it was almost palpable, an oppressive white noise squeezing the wind out of my lungs. The ringing in my ears grew steadily until it had reached an unbearable pitch, ramming me on towards the threshold of insanity. I stifled the cry that fought to escape from my parched, clenched throat. I wanted to scream, confessing my iniquity to the world, but the tightness of my vocal cords wouldn’t allow me to utter a single syllable. Despair had slinked its way up my spine, and it now held my nerves in its claw-like grasp. I continued to stare at the grotesque watermark, my sight gradually losing focus as time slowly crawled forward.
Presently, there were gentle stirrings beside me. His heavy breathing had subsided and given way to a low, barely audible sound, almost like the purring of a fat tabby cat, warm and satiated from a bowl of milk. There was something else too, a slight, almost imperceptible undertone like the hissing of a python lying paralyzed on its plump round belly too full to move after consuming a huge and delectable meal.
But he did move. Slowly he roused himself from the soft linen sheets and stepped unto the beige carpet. For a while, he just sat there on the edge of the bed, resting his elbows on his knees as he yawned and played with his scruffy beard. Finally, with a shake of his head, he stood, and I quickly averted my eyes in embarrassment of such a blatant display of his ripened anatomy. He stood stretching in front of the half open blinds, the waning sunlight casting a dark and stunning silhouette over his obsidian form. I could not prevent my eyes from drifting over to glance at his striking physique, the toned and sinewy flesh rippling beneath his glistening ebony skin. He reminded me of a character out of Greek mythology, a chocolate version of Atlas, poised and ready to support the world on his sturdy, broad shoulders. For the past few months I had allowed this man to bear up my world, had placed it directly in his hands, and I knew, as I watched him with a confusing mixture of love and hate, lust and dread, that he would inevitably drop it.
Slowly he turned from the window, and I refocused my attention on the ceiling, but I could still feel his steady gaze perusing my body, eagerly taking in every detail. Never had I felt so naked and ashamed, as if someone had stripped away my exterior and laid bare my vulnerable, throbbing heart. With one swift motion, I swept the sheet across myself and scampered out of bed. Tripping over a shoe, I dropped to my hands and knees, searching for the white silk gown that I had tossed haphazardly unto the floor only a few hours earlier. I stumbled twice more before finally managing to pull on the flimsy material. I stared at the floor because I could not bear to look at him.
Already dressed in his khaki shorts and white tee shirt, he sauntered over to the side of the bed, where I stood, wrapping his long lean arms around my waist. I could feel my body tensing up, every muscle taut, every hair pricked, the blood pounding in my temples, truculent waves of nausea rising in my stomach. He moved his veined hand to my cheek and caressed it gently, but his palms felt rough and scaly against my face. I squirmed slightly, and he released my from his embrace without reluctance. He backed away a few feet and ran a hand through his coarse black hair.

“Well,” he smirked. It was the first word he had said in over an hour.
“Well?” I looked into his round hazel eyes, searching desperately for reassurance, appreciation, anything.
But instead there was nothing, his eyes hard and cold, void of compassion. “Well, I guess I’ll call you or something. I have a lot of work to do tomorrow, so I’d better get home before it gets too late.” And with that he turned for the door.
I could feel despair rising, “Wait!” I croaked in desperation, my voice betraying the intensity of my emotions. “What?”
“You…you forgot your hat.” I handed him the black fitted cap.
“Thanks.” And with that, he slithered out of my life. With my soul devoured, his task was completed.



Joined January 2008

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