Friday, November 12, 2010

In the Dark

Cold stone presses into my bare skin. I try to lick my swollen lips only to realize I have nothing to spare to take away the stinging dryness. My sore body is covered in bruises and scrapes. I have always thought of it as strong and healthy, but now that health is a curse that simply keeps me alive longer waiting for the inevitable.

I thought I had seen the worst of Neutral Politics before, but I was clearly wrong. This is the dark side. They claim what Henri and his people do is wrong, but they do the exact same down here where no one can hear you scream and they pretend that they are above treating their fellow humans like animals. But here I lay on the cold hard ground in a place that is said not to exist as all traces of my life and my daughter’s life are erased as if we had never been. No one will ask questions. It just happens from time to time. People accept that as a hazard of living a free and civilized life.

This is the hidden truth that is easy to ignore when playing dress up and going to fancy dinner parties and playing spy. We volleyed lies back and forth the way children play catch. And I dropped the ball, didn’t pay enough attention, somehow I didn’t see this coming.

I had one chance to communicate with them. Those letters would be my last words to the outside. I will die here. Hopefully in my sleep on this floor and not out there where the Special Servicemen wait for me to think I’ve recovered before they begin again.

Exhausted, my eyes fall shut even as the cold from the ground moves through me. I lack the energy to shiver. My mind wanders freely over memories that bubble up to the surface without my conscious thought. They comfort and at the same time they hurt, and I would cry, but that I have nothing left to even moisten my lips with…

Firm, hurried kisses. Large, warm, calloused hands on me, sliding up my waist, pulling me to him. I remember I could feel him in his trousers, pressed against my leg. He was a large man in an old style tux, an anomaly, a man who shouldn’t have been. Where he should have been was dead or in a lab still being experimented on. Yet he stood before me, a full person with a mysterious power, on my side of the fence at a political function no less. A large mass of a man who had accepted my presence in the men’s bathroom and my following romantic attack as if it was something that he was familiar with.

He was surprised at first. I had seen it in the weary look in his eyes as if he worried for a moment that I could possibly be more than I was. An assassin perhaps? Or maybe by then he was already simply too used to needing to be on guard from a life lived in the Wildlands where no one could be trusted.

I clung to his shoulders as his hands slid down to my thighs, pressing the fabric of my dress into my skin as he slid it up towards my waist. He had me against the counter, the corner of the counter top pressing into my backside before he lifted me. The cold stone sent a chill along my exposed skin like an electrical charge. I gasped in surprise, but Henri continued. This hadn’t been what I’d honestly intended at all, yet Henri had managed to gain the upper hand even though I had been the one to catch him off guard.

I could have stopped it. But my brain refused to work other than to observe him, to take in the personal details of his touches and the firm way he held onto me, leading the way to our deviancy. Though I was younger than him I was not lacking in experience, yet there was something different, an electricity that sat in the air around us and between us, shocking me each time his bare skin touched mine. I could almost imagine that there was some reverence to him, deep seated under the firm grasps and the way he nipped at my neck.

He moved my panties to the side with one of his large fingers, brushing against my skin for a half second before pressing himself into me. At that moment, we both seemed to hesitate, pausing as our thoughts caught up to our bodies. But he was inside me then, it was too late for either of us to stop. I grabbed him, pulling him close to me, wrapping my leg around him, begging him to continue. It was the only way it could end.

There was no tender gentleness. He was a man who knew exactly what he wanted and what he needed to do to get there. His arms held tight to me, and I had little to do but fight to stay quiet.

It was over quickly as those sort of crazed passion fueled dalliances are prone to being. It wasn’t any less satisfying for either of us. He didn’t move away from me. I held him inside me for a moment longer with my foot pressed against him until our breaths began to slow. Neither of us was in a rush to get away from the other.

We couldn’t stay there forever, but we couldn’t go back to the party smelling of sex. So we simply didn’t.

The Center of the Room -->


  1. Paula's Mum!!!! :O

    I love the description of her experience of Henri, it makes me wonder if there was more to it than that, or if it was just a one time fling that had more results than expected. But there does seem to be a chemistry between them...

    It's good to know that she's still alive, but not good to know the state in which she lives. And whether she'll live much longer. :(

    Great Update!!

  2. Oh, I'm all excited, we're going to find out more of Paula's mum, Paula's background, how she came to be.

    What a tantalising start, and so chilling. The second paragraph really set the tone:"pretend that they are above treating their fellow humans like animals", "people accept that as a hazard of living a free and civilized life". How delusional are these so-called civilised people? That isn't living free, not by a long shot.

    It's as if the Neutral territories are the fake world and where Henri and the tribes live is the real world. There's no illusion there, what you see is what you get.

    I loved the flashback between Cheryl and Henri, it felt right, completely believable, not like a shocking revelation at all but more just a reminder that these are two warm-blooded humans working for what they believe in and finding they have more in common than "the cause".

    Of course it raises a whole gaggle of questions - not least of which is was Paula a result of this coupling or were there further encounters?

    Now I'm worried about what Henri wants Aaron to do. I have a funny, awful feeling that although he may have been told to rescue Cheryl if he can, his primary mission is to protect their people at all costs, even if this means putting an end to her misery if the rescue cannot succeed without putting others at risk.

    Having said that, though, just from this brief look into Cheryl's life I think she would agree with those orders.

  3. oh...this was so unexpected. Sex as what, appetite? Lust in the men's room. Was there ever anything more?

    Cheryl's dying thoughts about life where she is versus life in Henri's world are horrifyingly sad, but like most comparisons, probably not all that accurate. Brutality in fancy dress is no different than brutality in rags, and it should not be harder to recognize. She definitely made a mistake. She may have made a similar mistake in Henri's world and come to a similar end.

    I can't see Henri rescuing Cheryl unless she has something he needs. Can't imagine what that might be.

    Stunning piece. Terrifying.

  4. Whew.

    Happy smut indeed--but tinged with such sadness because she's using that memory to bring her comfort in horrible circumstances.

    She's so different from Paula. I can't see Paula ever doing something so bold. I like that Henri was surprised at first, but then he just went with it. The description of their encounter was perfect. And like the others, I wonder whether they had a repeat performance.

    I'm starting to wonder the same thing as Illandrya--whether Henri sent in Aaron to dispatch Cheryl if it's too much trouble to save her. I can see Henri trying to save her for a couple reasons--to prevent her from saying anything important, to pay her back for the help she provided, and to help take some of the burden of Paula off his hands. He has no idea how to deal with Paula. At all. But I don't know how much he's willing to risk for those things...

  5. Kiri, thank you. Cheryl is a hard character to control. SHe just wanted to blurt out her story, rambling on. With a little prodding, this came out, lol.

    Yes, that part is hard to write. She already knows that she won't make it. A complete absence of hope.


    Oh yes! This'll be very fun.

    Indeed! I think these people are conditioned to just not ask question. They know no other life. As far as they're concerned, the Wildlanders are the animals who live in the dirt and hurt each other.

    Oh, thank you. Yes, this surprised me in a way, but I'm glad it felt right.

    As for what Henri needs Aaron to do, you see? Paula does have a reason to be worried. :( I won't bother to deny that Henri would and could ask Aaron to do something like that. He might even see something like that as a mercy.

    SB, your reading of their story always fascinates me! I think we have a want to romanticize things-- or at least I do. But while writing this, this line struck me and actually made me think of you: "This hadn’t been what I’d honestly intended at all, yet Henri had managed to gain the upper hand even though I had been the one to catch him off guard."

    I almost feel like there's a bit of denial on her part. Something in the back of her mind, in her subconscious. She says she could have stopped him, but she doesn't really know that.

    But we will definitely see.

    Rachel, yes, she is SO very different from Paula. Paula would never do this, and I wonder if she'd even believe her mother had done this.

    All good questions of course. Henri will do what he has to and what he thinks is right. He's always been that way.

    Also, he really doesn't have an idea of how to deal with Paula. I didn't even think of that third reason coming (you know, helping to take the burden of Paula off his hands) but I can see that definitely being a motivator even if it's not something he'd admit.

  6. You do your first-person narrators SO well. They have such distinctive voices! I missed the introduction to this when I first read it, but I knew instantly that it wasn't Paula talking. I wasn't sure who at first (though I quickly figured it out), but I knew it was someone wiser, more confident and worldly than Paula is.

    Wow, I'm so glad we get to hear from Cheryl. The hypocrisy is fascinating, and she's the perfect person to tell us about it.

    And thank you for that lovely bathroom scene! :) I've always wanted to hear the story of that night! So frenzied and steamy! So unlike the Henri we know, but at the same time, it doesn't surprise me at all that he has this in him.

    Oh, I could wonder a million things! Not because you haven't given us plenty here, but just because I can't get enough of these two, and I'm pretty much dying to know their whole story from start to finish, lol! How did they meet? How well did they know each other before this? Did they speak again after this night? Did she tell him she was pregnant when she knew?

    So I'm glad Cheryl will have a little intermission (though I'm still dying to know where Paula is and what's happening to her, lol! I can wait.) Can you tell us how many stories you have planned for Cheryl?

    Oh, but I don't want her to die! :(

    I'm holding out hope that Henri and everyone might try to save her. Don't know if that's what they're planning though. And mercy, well I guess that could be a form of saving, if it came to that :(

  7. Great job on this piece, Lunar. It gives answers and raises questions. Interesting to see Cheryl's encounter with Henri--loved the description, by the way. Completely vivid. Can't imagine they were involved to any greater capacity, but there was definitely some hint of something.

    I hope she makes it, although it's a shame to see the horrible conditions she's being kept in :(

  8. I'm worried for Cheryl now. I'm wondering if she has anything to do with what Alex said to Paula last week. A really chilling opening.

    Anyway, how fantastic to hear a little more about Cheryl! She's so important but has been mostly absent from the story so far. And that's a totally different side of Henri from what we've seen so far. He always seems so measured with the way he reacts to things these days and this almost seemed like the opposite.

    Am I right to assume that Cheryl and Henri never got more involved than this? You may have said something about it in the past and I've forgotten! For some reason, I'd been assuming there was some sort of relationship between them at one point but this suggested to me that that really wasn't how things were between them.

  9. Laura, aw, thank you. I sort of screwed up the introduction to this, so glad you could tell right away it wasn't Paula. The slow dawning of it being Cheryl is something I kinda wanted.

    Haha, true. It is unlike the Henri we know, but I'm glad it's not a surprise.

    Oh we'll get to all that. Cheryl is just a hard character to focus sometimes. I need to give her a good shove. But I don't know how many stories there are planned. I had her piece written out already, but as with everything, once I got to it, I realized it wasn't right, so I'm re-writing as I go again. (And I keep saying I won't do that.)

    Van, thank you! Coming from you about the descriptions, that's a compliment.

    Yeah, passion like that doesn't necessarily mean much more. But it's a fun scene to play around with. *cough cough*

    Carla, yeah, I feel bad that Cheryl has been largely absent. I think she's always on Paula's mind, but I can't see Paula dwelling on those memories-- not if she doesn't want to turn into a sobbing wreck, and I think if there's anything her mother had instilled in her it's to stay strong in any way possible.

    Henri does come across as measured, but we've only seen him around Paula and through her eyes, and I think around her he really doesn't know how to act.

    I wouldn't assume anything at this point, lol. You might be assuming there was more of a relationship between them because she was one of his spies, and so it's been hinted that they do work together in a way. It just happens that the thing she got caught on was Paula who was a direct tie genetically to Henri.

  10. You tease, first you leave us wondering about Paula, and now you throw this at us :P

    Great chapter mate :)

  11. I love your intermissions, fleshes out the characters and narrative so well!

    I find Henri sexy. Can't help it. Yow, the way you describe their encounter *sizzle* It seems, Henri is quite the swain, it seems he gets around. Like I said, sexy. And a 'mysterious power' as you say, also sexy.

    How utterly tragic, her memories of Henri comfort as well as hurt.

  12. Poida, lol! *laughs coyly* I don't know what you mean.


    Drew, thank you. I think his surprise sexiness is his power, lol.

    I know, I'm feeling bad for her myself. Poor Cheryl.

  13. Wow. It's great to hear a strong female voice, even if she's in a position of vulnerability right now, and to think that strong voice is the mother of uncertain, timid Paula is interesting, not least because Paula is growing in boldness and taking more risks as she goes on. Guess she picked up a little more of her mum than anyone might have realised. Poor Cheryl, though, what a grim situation to be in right now.

    Interesting power encounter between her and Henri, I can see how he would turn someone else's approaches and instigations on their head so he's in control and I would imagine that's something he can do a lot, not just sexually but in many arenas.

  14. I thought Cheryl would be a nice break from her timid and uncertain daughter. It's hard not to grow up around her and have something rub off!

    *nods* Oh yes, exactly. I hadn't even thought of it that way, but you're right. That would definitely be a skill he has, one that would be necessary.

  15. You know this piece brings me back to the favor that both Henri and Jimmy asked Aaron. I remember the bits and pieces of Henri and Aaron's conversation that Paula overheard where Cheryl's name was mentioned. And I am wondering exactly what he was asked to do by both, rescue Cheryl or put her out of her misery?

    She is obviously a very strong woman. Her relationship, her encounter with Henri was stunning. And another reason that I feel somehow Henri wants her saved. I think there was more there for him with Cheryl than he lets on. He is very complex so it is hard to tell where his emotions are or if he has them but...I don't know...I think Cheryl was special.

    Sorry I am rambling a bit...and probably reading this wrong.

  16. *types* *stops and deletes* *types again* *stops again* LOL! Crap, I really can't say anything but that you're very perceptive Gayl, and it gives me hope that I haven't screwed things up yet.

    I do see a complicated relationship between them. Henri is a complicated man. Rachel's comment in the next entry made me think about that. He looks and acts so normal compared to the others, but I think he's really the most broken of all.

  17. I was just rereading this one for its ummm, smut skill, lol!

    I wanted to say wow! Because I'm not sure I articulated that in my first comment. This is a textbook perfect example of how sexy sensory details can be fused with intense storytelling! I am in awe of this! I will aspire to write a scene this perfectly crafted until the day I die.

  18. Is it appropriate (or should I say believable) to both laugh out loud and blush? lol!

    Thank you so much. Coming from you that is very high praise and it means a lot to me.