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By Holly Woodward

“I’m a nightmare in bed,” I told the stranger staring at my cleavage.

He leaned close, tilting the barstool. “That brooch must have cost some scratch.”

I muffled a growl. “It’s from my mother.”

She had pricked me pinning it to my breast and said, “Love is a blood sport.” Mother had patted my butt. “Go scare up a man and bring him to me.” In her fairy tale, I was still a virgin.

"Monsters" by Rebecca Levéillé

“Monsters” by Rebecca Levéillé

I motioned for the bartender to refill the peanut bowl again.

The man touched the diamond pin. “Is your mother somebody I should know?”

“No.” I bared my lower teeth, then rested my chin to his shoulder.

He murmured, “You smell of peanuts.”

“I like snacks.” I lowered my mouth to the rim of the wine glass and lapped.

He picked up the tab. “Be right back.”

The acrid smell of burnt electronics made my nose twitch.

While he paid, I poured the new batch of peanuts into my purse; they pattered on the box of licorice.

On his return, he offered a mint. It tasted of treacle, lobster, lemon, and gin.

“Let’s scram,” he said.

“Wait, who are you?” I shook my head.

“Bit of a freak, too.”

Woozy taxi ride to his apartment in which I cuddled, murmuring, “Let’s canoodle.” He carried me to bed, then lay behind and slipped his arm around my throat. He put his hand to my lips. I licked the last of that strange candy from his palm, then he slipped his hand in my mouth. His fingernails scraped my palate and the gold watch clicked against my front teeth. I passed out.

That hand in mouth must be how he was with me in my dream. I rushed him to my home.

In the lobby, he balked at the bottom step to my fourth-floor walk-up. I tugged.

He cocked his head at the braying that came through the linoleum. When he raised the trapdoor under the stairs, that raunchy smell of goats hit our nostrils. The creatures gazed up from the basement. They clutched lyres to their bare chests and whickered.

He was the first down the ladder. I followed after.

Hooves rasped as the satyrs slipped on wet stones, pressing close. One munched peanuts from my palm. Their long ears flicked as they butted him in the crotch.

He fended off their short horns. “What the hell?”

“Men turn to animals when I sleep with them.” I shrugged. Everything was fine at the start when I tied men up. While I slept, they chewed through the rope. I didn’t like to be left.

“How many did you fuck?”

“It’s hard to count a herd.” I stroked a ripped torso. “Don’t tell my mother.” I winced. “Things get ugly when she’s upset.”

I turned to tell him let’s get to bed quick, but he’d vanished.

The next night, I crawled back to his pad. He tucked me in and primped the pillow around my head. While he uncorked a bottle, I rifled the nightstand for the box of chocolates.

I glanced up at the volcano photo over his headboard. “My mother lives there.”

“I want to meet her.”

“Bit of a monster.” Best not to rouse her from her beauty sleep. I recalled that last kerfuffle over how to pronounce hors d’oeuvres. “Let’s just hanky panky.”

He drew back. “I don’t want to turn into a wildebeest.”

“They’re satyrs,” I said. “Quite famous for lyre playing.”

He pressed my forehead back to the bed. “Relax.” He stuck the snore strip on the bridge of my nose. “I love a good bitch.”

I splayed my arms on the bed. “More bonbons?”

He fed me chocolate that tasted of mocha, siracha, prosciutto, and cantaloupe, then gave me a glass of Pinot. I slurped it down. My tongue stretched to get the last of the magic candy. That maneuver with his hand in my mouth again as I went under. In my dream I bit down and he yanked it out. We stood on the volcano’s lip. The acrid smell of burnt electronics made my nose twitch.

He dragged me down to the lair where, on a pile of loot and gnawed bones, the beast lay wheezing.? Her human head lay tucked on her feline paws while her dragon tail snapped at some private nightmare.

I shoved him behind me. “Don’t let her get a whiff of you.”

He stumbled on a goblet. As it clattered, the monster rose on all fours, arching her back. She hissed, baring sharp incisors.

I held out the licorice box. “Hi, Mom.”

She swiped a paw and the candies scattered on the dusty floor. She scarfed them up and the wrappers crackled as she chomped. The black candy gummed her glistening fangs.

I picked up her cell, pocked by bite marks.

“You chomped the phone I gave you.” Perhaps I shouldn’t have said it was an Apple.

“You never call.” She came close to tuck a strand of my hair with a claw. “I miss you.” Mother’s sigh singed the hairs at my nape. Her nostrils fluttered as she sniffed my neck, sensing alien scent.

“Have you snared a nice lawyer, yet?”

I snorted. “No such animal.” I offered her red licorice whips. “He’d cream me in the divorce.”

The man behind me grunted. So he was a lawyer.

Mother pricked her furred ears and reared on hind legs, screeching.

I backed into him and we fell in a heap, tangled up with licorice. She shrieked, flapping her wings.

?I hobbled to my feet. “Mom, this is the man I’m seeing.”

“What’s his name?”

“We haven’t gotten that far in the relationship.”

“Miles,” he said.

Was that his name or the distance between us?

She stretched that aristocratic neck to lower close to his nose. “My daughter is a child, sexually. A child.”

He looked into her glittery gold eyes as she rose. “I know.”

I whipped the licorice on his shoulders and purred as the strands slithered down his shirt.? I licked a whip.

He ripped it open to offer his bare chest.

Mother leaned into me and whispered, “Harder.”

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About Holly Woodward

Holly Woodward was a Russian spy who defected to the British Secret Service at the fall of Berlin—oh, snap, that’s her novel’s heroine, who has more fun. Her lover, Vera, is a Russian poet who becomes a sniper in WWII, one of many Soviet Army women whose aim was more accurate than the men’s, as their heartbeats were less jolting.

Holly is an artist and writer. Her story, “Promiscuity,” won third prize in a Literal Latte contest, and her work appears in magazines, most recently, “Sex for Beginners,” was posted on the Red Fez website.

One Comment

  1. kathleen seltzer
    Posted December 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    great story… funny and weirdly erotic…

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