All posts by Michael M. Jones

High Pornomancer of the Golden Horde Circlet Microfiction Editor Editor of Like a Cunning Plan, Like Fortune's Fool, The Circlet Treasure Chest, and other sundry items.

Microfiction: Fear-Desire-Love by Annabeth Leong

Fear-Desire-Love

When I took Ru Hi Na to dinner at my parents’ home, my father noticed at once the way hir scenting tendrils flicked always in my direction no matter where hir many eyes pointed. He asked me for help in the kitchen, and when I got there, he gripped both my shoulders. “What’s going on with you and that alien?”

“Nothing,” I said firmly, as if the word, pronounced with sufficient emphasis, could convince us both. But my blood escaped my control. I could feel the rush of it through my ears, the blush heating my neck, chest, and cheeks.

My father turned and spat in the sink.

***

Ru Hi Na and I went for a long walk along the river after we left the house. Ze trailed hir scent tendrils before and behind us and let hir eyes drift shut. At last, ze said my name in hir voice made of sighs, the three syllables simultaneous, winding around each other as they formed. I loved hearing it that way, and I’d once spent hours playing with audio software, trying to construct a proper pronunciation of hir tripartite name in my voice.

“Ru Hi Na,” I answered teasingly. Ze told me once that ze likes how I separate hir name, as if I’m calling to each of hir three parts individually. My father was right, I thought. We were fascinated with each other.

“Tonight-at dinner-always with me, the smell-name-breath of you is anxious-expectant-sad. Why?”

I took a moment to savor hir intertwined thoughts as the poetry they were, delivered in the mix of hir language and mine that we had invented together. Then I untangled them painstakingly in my mind, careful not to drop any of the threads.

My father’s disapproval had made me feel rebellious enough to be honest. I answered in my stuttering approximation of hir words, the sentiments isolated in my mouth, though they mingled in my chest. “Fear-desire-love.”

Hir three-fingered hand brushed the back of mine. I caught and held it in the way of human lovers, and I knew ze understood because I could feel hir swallowing the scent of me with every one of hir throats.

***

We went together to hir room, where I stripped for hir. I had no idea whether my body would be attractive to hir. Human ideals of loveliness had never accounted for the light-and-shadow vision of hir people or their exquisite sense of smell. Hir scent tendrils licked through the humid interior of my mouth, tickled my armpits, then settled between my legs.

“Unknown-thrilling-uncertain,” ze sighed.

“I don’t know how to do this either,” I admitted.

Ze bared hirself as well, turning hir kaleidoscopic skin inside out to reveal its vulnerable pink underside, the nerve endings visible and quivering. For me, the question of beauty did not matter. There was only intimacy, the deeper knowing I had always desired with hir.

I had once tried to read a PhD thesis on the anatomy of Ru Hi Na’s people, but the descriptions had been too human, too separate. It seemed incorrect by nature to examine Ru Hi Na a piece at a time when ze embodied multitudes.

I despaired of this human limitation as I attempted to create a way of making love to hir. I wanted to put my hands everywhere at once, but I recalled that ze enjoyed my humanity. I could not be with hir as one of hir own. I could only be myself.

I eyed those exposed nerves. Did ze want me to look at them? Smell them? Lick them? I didn’t want to hurt hir, but I’d also been with too many lovers who’d seen me as fragile and weren’t willing to do the rough things I enjoyed. “What do you want me to do?”

I didn’t know the words ze breathed in reply. For a moment, we stood helplessly, farther apart than ever in this moment when I desperately wanted to bring us close.

Then ze reached for me and brought me into hir. My body settled against hir soft, pink skin, and hir nerves moved against me. They felt like the ends of pencil erasers. I imagined them removing all traces of other lovers, all previous ideas of what love was supposed to be and how I was supposed to behave.

Ze made an unholy sound as ze did this, trembling everywhere in the sweaty throes of the thing beyond pain and pleasure that is sometimes called ecstasy but ought to be known as revelation.

Was this how hir people ordinarily made love, or something ze did now only for me? Beneath my desire for a territory that belonged only to us, however, was an older knowing, that there is absolutely nothing new. Lovers have always discovered each other, have always searched together for the place where pain and pleasure no longer matter.

I rubbed my cheek against one of hir nerves. I caught the scent of my sex on my fingers and lifted it to hir questing scent tendrils. Ru Hi Na wouldn’t expect me to do what humans usually did, and there was no need to approximate the practices that had always seemed imperfectly fit to me.

Carefully, I showed hir how to give me the feeling I truly craved, how to touch me in the places I’d been taught never to let anyone touch me. An orgasm spilled from me unexpectedly, almost incidental to hir touch.

I knew I could never answer my father’s question. The explanation for what was going on with me and Ru Hi Na would require more words than even ze could intertwine.

Microfiction: The Arena by Niki Crow

The Arena

I make my way through lamp-lit streets. It’s the middle of the night but I woke up with a craving I couldn’t quench.

I can see it just up ahead—the Arena Club. I’ve been on this planet a year now and I’ve been a member for nearly as long. In fact, I became a member the same day I first heard about the place. It’s housed in a modern building, with big signs telling everyone what’s inside. This is a fancy neighborhood; on Moha it isn’t shameful to have sex. So unlike the people of Earth, the Mohans don’t hide away to make love.

I’m at the entrance to the club now, and I can feel the pulse in my pussy, filling my clit with blood, engorging it and making it sensitive. How I love that feeling of anticipation! I hurry inside and choose my usual seat at the back of the female only section. For me, it’s as much of a thrill to watch other women bringing themselves to orgasm as it is to watch what goes on on the stage. There’s nothing quite as beautiful as a woman touching herself, watching her as she spreads her legs and pushes her pelvis forward to expose her clit, or to watch her fuck herself with any kind of object. There’s nothing quite as beautiful as the look of utter pleasure on her face as she comes. It’s remarkably similar in all humanoid species.

I leave everything but my favorite dildo in the locker room, and make my way to my seat. I have a clear view of the stage, but what goes on there– an ordinary guy-girl fuck–can’t hold my attention. There’s someone in the seat next to mine, and she’s mesmerizing. Her shapes are soft and rounded, her skin as dark as the night, and there’s a thin sheen of sweat covering her forehead. Her legs are flung up on the armrests of her seat and she’s slowly pushing a pink dildo into herself. I can’t help myself; I lean forward to get a better view. She notices, of course, but only smiles at me. God, how I want to touch her! I want to rub her clit, suck those prominent nipples, and drive that dildo deep inside her. But there’s no touching in the Arena Club, no sex allowed unless you’re on stage. But I bend the rules, just a little, and reach out to touch her thigh.

“Wanna play?” I ask.

I’ve never been up on the stage before—not that I haven’t received invitations—but I’ve been happy watching and touching myself. Until now.

Her smile broadens and she leaves the dildo halfway inside her to tap on the panel next to her seat. A moment later, a light flashes on my own panel—her invitation. I accept and we’re entered into the queue.  There’s no going back now, and as the couple leaves the stage to make room for three Mohan men, both our panels flash again. We’re up next.

In the props room, I choose a strap-on with a built-in vibrator for the wearer. I put it on and align the vibrator. The metal against my clit feels wonderful and I brace myself not to start it just yet.

The guys don’t take long, and before we know it, it’s our turn. She takes my hand as we enter the stage.

“I’m Anna, by the way,” she whispers.

“Rita,” I reply.

And then we’re on. Anna lies down on the padded table in the center of the well-lit stage, and spreads her legs. She’s flexible, giving the audience a great view of her gorgeous, wet pussy. I put the tip of the dildo against her and push inside, slowly. I can feel the eyes of the audience on us, and it’s turning me on like crazy. Why have I never been on stage before?  I set the vibrator on slow and fuck Anna in an equally slow pace, in rhythm with the suggestive alien music, pushing upward with every stroke to touch her G-spot. All the while I rub her clit with my thumb, and she’s pinching her nipples.

It doesn’t take long before we’re both about to come. I push harder into her, speed up the pace, and amp up the vibrator to maximum. Seconds later, we’re shouting out loud as our bodies lock in spasms and I’m swept away into oblivion. It’s divine. It’s heavenly and  it’s without a doubt the best orgasm I’ve ever had.

I catch my breath for a second and then I meet her eyes. I want more, I’m not ready to get off the stage just yet. And as I remove the strap-on and move to straddle her face, I know for certain that I’ll never spend my nights at the Arena Club cooped up in a seat in the back again.

 

Microfiction: Custom Made by Tuulia Saaritsa

Custom Made

The brain is a sexual organ.

Mine sloshes in its container, a pretty metal casing, its outer layer shaped like a skull. My skin (another organ) stretches over it, pulled by a minute network of wires. I am smiling up at my lover.

Tonight, she’s a bear.

I bury my face in her coarse fur, my fingers at her shoulders, searching out the slip of leather on metal. The skin is real, but not alive like my organic skin, which fires up at the feel of thousands of single hairs pricking my thighs. We couldn’t afford more than one real skin apiece; we’re not old enough. Decades to go yet on the assembly line before my next promotion, putting together radios, motors, escape pod control panels; tiny intricate metal entrails.

“Screw me in both holes?” I pant, the bellows in my chest drawing in cooling air, and she flips me over. Her claws dig into my hips.

She is enormous as the sky, and the familiar purring of her machinery picks up pace as her desire heats her core engine. I spread my legs and bury my head in our pillows as she skewers my oiled cunts with her many-jointed pricks.

Goldilocks, she calls me through our neural link, and I imagine a young woman of gooey flesh, spread willingly on the bedsheets by a creature of muscle and bone. Fantasies. Always fantasies. It wouldn’t work otherwise.

We grind together, hard enough to dent, and my brain lights up like fireworks.

Microfiction: Multiplicity by Cèsar Sanchez Zapata

Multiplicity

“It is a tribute—the ultimate tribute to decadence,” said he, the man named Stephen Orrok, standing on the second-story balcony and staring out at a coterie of media vans cluttered beyond the steel gates bordering his estate. Four aerial cams hovered two feet over his head, their flickering lenses trained down on him. Static droned inside his ear, and then through the buds, he heard the rapid-fire questions of journalists—out there.

“You think yourself God?”

“Pray to me in any name you wish.”

“You certainly consider yourself above the law.”

He tapped a fingertip over his pursed lips. “I abide by the ones I agree with.”

“You’ve violated hundreds of international cloning edicts. Special agents from three different global agencies are on their way to shut down your operation.”

“They arrived ten minutes ago.” He grinned, turning on his heels and walking inside. He crossed his hands behind his back, pacing slowly with the cameras always floating above him. “I offered them a deal. They accepted—every last one, man and woman. They leave my little party alone, and in exchange, they get one free night.”

“To do what?”

“To do her.”

He felt the awe, the excitement take hold of their bodies, as profoundly as he felt it overflow his own; felt it, more than heard any indication, no gasps or tight frenzied murmurs. The farther he moved, the more he felt the heaviness in his balls, and thousands of moans and sighs bleeding together, reaching out to him from beyond.

“How do you respond to critics who claim you’re only a bitter, vengeful cuckold, hell-bent on soiling the image of the world’s most beautiful woman?”

“I’m not dealing with androids. These are not machines designed to act, or sound, or to resemble her. Those fools fail to understand—they are her, every single one; her heart, body, and all-consuming passion. Albeit, minus certain inhibitions. Well, they don’t hold their silly reputations sacred.” The moaning grew louder, bouncing off the walls in the corridor, as he neared the corner. “Rest easy, the world will still have its most beautiful woman . . . just multiplied infinitely.” He reached the iron-cast railing overlooking the grand ballroom, so the cameras could survey his kingdom. His voice dropped to a whisper impossible to hear over the cacophony of sex, “How special will she be then?”

The buzzing set off again, the hacks riling up for another barrage of questions; he tapped his earlobe severing the feed. Interview ended.

He gazed at the ocean of bodies—naked dozens tumbling over naked dozens more, here, there, everywhere two dozen more arms, legs, breasts, tongues moist and slavering. A chorus of hers, a choir of orgasms with which he was intimately familiar. Each her was more than a mere replica of her—they were fantasies. Fantasies come to life, scalding flesh and blood, with the hunger for pleasure emanating from every pore. Every man and woman had paid to attend and realize a dream by owning her for the evening. Roaming eyes be damned! The fantasy came true the moment they took her, any which way they chose.

That’s when he saw that one, knowing immediately she belonged to him.

The desire was so clearly, frustratingly, evident on her face—the hammering ache of lust that is unstated, and worse yet, unsated. Clad in just a silk, purple robe, she weaved amid the orgy, like a queen over her subjects, gazing steadily, unwaveringly at him.

He walked along the rail, undoing his belt, unbuttoning his pants, and started down the grand staircase as she reached the first step. She rose out of the sea of coitus like Venus herself, slowly removing her robe, revealing her stunning perfection. She was a goddess—fit for a god.

He snatched her wrist, wrenching her forward and hauling her into his arms. “Welcome home, lover,” said she, and it didn’t matter that he knew; it always shook him when they first spoke. In that instant when the words first reached his ears, he felt all alone with Dianna—with the only her.

He steered them backwards, and she had her hands full of him before his bottom touched the steps, and climbing onto his lap, thrusting her breasts over his mouth, positioning. He seized her ass and she dug her nails into his back, her thighs tightly embracing his hips, her elbows carving into his shoulders as his cock slipped lower between them, between shaven lips. He doused her chest with kisses just as he entered her; tracing the tiny, scattered birthmarks on the underside of each breast with his tongue while his prick explored within.

She moaned into his face. Hot, hurried breaths—a tiny squeal, as he rolled them over laying her on her back. She rolled them around again, and on and on they went, restlessly, eager, oily and pliant as seals when they came together. It was bestial; it was greedy, each voracious and unforgiving. He never relented on her nipples, his licks and bites measured and meticulous. Precise.

She always said he had a talented mouth.

The real Dianna said.

Let others write lies, but the love they’d shared was nothing if not a lesson in hedonism.

The one thing they both prayed never to see was the one inevitability. And when they reached that end, they did so together—collapsed forward on all fours, breathless. Tangled.

Shit.

Only a man who’d once possessed the real thing could tell the difference—and such was his hell, for he knew—unlike the others—he knew in his heart, festering inside, that the woman now beneath him, squirming, pleading in whispers for his prick wasn’t, as they say, the real McCoy.

A suitable alternative, surely, but he would never taste or feel or touch the real her again. If ever that chance existed, he’d spoiled it tonight.

A small sacrifice to pay for revenge.

Bitter? Perhaps—

Multiplied infinitely.

Microfiction: Latex Hack by Dee Maselle

Latex Hack

My body floats in a gel tank, my brain and nerves wired to the infinite sensations of the exonet.

I can shape my appearance here, but appear I must. Nothing is invisible in the exonet’s virtuality. My shieldcode becomes a skintight suit of black latex embedded with intelligent micromesh, covering me from toes to fingertips to chin. I feel the latex; smell it via the conductive gel bath. The tightness and sheen empower me, make me bold and lithe.

Still–I fall into an unseen trap as I glide around EasBank’s patrols. Nothing is invisible, but destruction can wait beneath a layer of benign code.

I find myself in a seamless granite pit, its opening capped with bars. My wrists are shackled to the floor. Electric blue chains had dived to snare me as I tumbled, disoriented by the explosion of the trap.

An agent appears in my prison. He is cleanly bald, his bronze arms wrapped in fine cybernetic wires. Black latex trews cling to his lean legs like wet ink. A dark metal cuirass protects his torso.

He saunters around my straining body and raises an antiquated monocle. He leans to examine me through the lens. I know the device must not be as quaint as it appears; he is probing the data structure of my suit.

“Well, well,” he rasps, tucking the monocle in a compartment on his cuirass. “One of MachEmerge’s. Pretty outfit.  But what were they thinking, sending an ingénue like you against EasBank?”

> YOU’LL NEVER KNOW, I send in plaintext. The intelligent mesh in my gloves has abraded the encryption in the cuffs. I rush the agent. When he grapples me, I steal his monocle. I spring toward the bars above, melt through them, and escape with my fragment of EasBank tech.

> DUEL. The text scorches the rubber of my palm. I keep my grip on the smoking monocle; the pain is illusion. I have won, but the agent wants to meet me in neutral territory.

We are professional exonet specialists, but there is a secret stratum of the curious, the proud, and the inventive who will duel. My breath catches at the notion of a curious, proud, inventive agent in black rubber and cybernetic wire.

He meets me in a frost white chamber. “Let’s talk deal, not duel,” he says huskily. “I’ll study your suit, and you’ll detank with two million fresh toll codes.”

The agent has not hidden the stiff bulge stretching the glossy rubber between his legs. I cannot hide my arrested stare.

“Four million, and I’ll study your pants,” I whisper.

A transparent blade extends from his fingertip. He slices circles from my latex top, allowing my breasts to spring through the holes. The blade comes exquisitely close to my skin, but never touches it; my nerve interface is left intact as the code of the suit is cut away.

My nipples are stiff; my breathing quick. My breasts are pale moons against the darkness of my suit. The agent meets my gaze and allows a twist of a smile. He crouches and slices a careful oblong in the latex at my crotch. I do not stop him. I am sure my tanked body is aroused by this exposure, and I am wet in virtuality. I feel it as the chill of the chamber brushes my shaven cleft.

The agent’s cuirass vanishes, its shieldcode sinking into his skin. He keeps his latex trews. He slices them open and his cock presses forward: thick, veined and tawny. The blade retracts. His hand curls around my core and he squeezes his palm to the mound above my clit, three fingers arcing into my slick opening.  The curve of his wired hand hums with vibration. Curious, proud, inventive indeed. My passage quakes and I whimper with pleasure. I tug him to the white floor.

He sinks between my legs and thrusts into me. We are both on corporate time. It will be a fast mind-body mating for two anonymous rubber lovers a globe apart.

We fuck with the shameless aggression of craving. He presses me into the floor, his clean-shaven sac pounding against my ass. He rests his weight on one wired arm; he catches my breast in his hand and the aching tip of the other breast between his lips. He nips the crown, and laves it with his hot tongue. The processing power! The intricate randomized detail of a realistic tongue!  My gloved fingers grip his pumping ass, stretching his latex and letting it snap against his skin. The smell of hot rubber rises between us.

I gaze at the bars above, my mouth opening to release immaterial cries. I know my body is silent in its tank, tubes in my nose and throat preventing anything but quiet air from escaping. The agent’s cock scythes without mercy through the opening he has cut for himself in the crotch of my suit. He explodes, sending his own low groan to the digital abyss.

I feel his cream pulse hot inside me, and I wonder if he has ejaculated in his tank in EasBank.  He pulls out and smears our mingled fluids on the rubber stretched across my belly.

That–and the image of his essence dispersing like a cloud in a warm gel bath—and I am lost. He rubs his twitching meat against my clit, growling and biting the side of my neck. I wrap my glistening legs around him and crash to a ferocious climax. I cannot stifle an anguished shriek. I pull his hips hard against me to compress my wracking pulsations.

I still quake as a MachEmerge tech yanks me from the tank. “What on earth were you up to in there?” He jerks his head toward my vitals screen. “Got a few million toll codes rolling in, though.”  He begins to towel away the damp residue of the bath. I want to dive back in.

END

Microfiction: A Blindfold. A Cigarette, Offered and Declined. by Bernie Mojzes

A Blindfold. A Cigarette, Offered and Declined.

There is the blindfold, of course. That always comes first, though he could always decline. He never does. The blindfold, and the wrist-binding rope. Then the long walk through cold, stone corridors. The scent of mold, of the sawdust that scuffs under his bare feet, and under the heavy-booted feet beside him. The creak of rusted iron hinges, and harsh step into the light. Hot sand between his toes, the sunlight warm on his face, spots of brightness–the closest thing to daylight he’s seen in a year–through the black fabric covering his eyes. The scent of gunpowder.

They’d played this scenario so many times, Emelia leading him out of her basement and onto the desert sands that sifted through the courtyard of her family’s home. Toe-tripping over rubble from the bomb blast. Pressing him against the hot stone of the courtyard wall.

The sound of the rifle being loaded.

Always, was this the time she’d actually do it?

There was an offered cigarette. Always. Part of the ritual, though he’d never taken it. Though Emelia knew he didn’t smoke. The one true thing she’d known about him. The rest–their courtship, their marriage, their shared love of cheesy romantic comedies–all a lie.

Now her family was dead. His fault. His mission.

Once a month, she’d lead him out of his cage, out into the courtyard, up against the wall. The blindfold, the cigarette, the loading, the gunshot.

Splinters of stone cutting his cheek.

Then her hands pulling at his belt, pulling his cock free, hardening in her hand.

The rustle of cloth. Rough fingers gripping his hair, forcing him to the ground, and then Emelia, his captor, his wife, his enemy, straddling him, taking him inside her, riding him hard and fast and angry. Shattered stone digging into his back, his ass, his thighs. His bound hands a painful lump in the small of his back. The scent of her enfolding him.

Her need is as desparate as when they’d first met. Of course it is, he’d been designed for her, sculpted to her tastes, his pheremones tuned to her locks. The perfect spy.

“I loved you,” she said, always said, her tears wet on his cheek, her cunt wet on his cock. Or, sometimes, “I love you.”

I love you, too. Thought, not said. He’d lost that right, when he’d sent the codes that disabled the compound’s anti-missle defenses. When he’d killed her family.

For God and country.

But he couldn’t kill Emelia. And though he could have escaped, how could he deny her this one thing?

It’s Pavlovian, by now. The blindfold, the long walk, his erection pressing against the thin cloth of his cotton trousers.

Emelia comes first, always, at least once. So much has gone into his design, down to curve of his penis and his sexual endurance. Nothing left to chance. The perfect lover, the one you don’t let go.

Sometimes, she sends him back to his cage, still hard. Aching. Sometimes, she brings him to climax, his seed sticky on her fingers, or spilling into her mouth to be spat back contemptuously on his face.

Now, today, there is the sun on his skin, the fabric on his face, the sand under his toes. The cigarette. The cartridge sliding into the chamber. The bolt being drawn.

Always, is this the time she’d actually do it?

It’s spring, and the gentle breeze brings the scent of desert wildflowers he will never see.

Microfiction: Fallen Leaves by TS Porter

And since you were good enough to enjoy our deliciously sexy trick, please, have this treat to see you off into the night. Don’t worry about the things in the yard and the things in the trees and the things that go bump in the night–not every nocturnal sound is a scary one, after all!

TS Porter is a talented newcomer who thought it would fun to slip this into the mailbox, and again, we forgot to get a bio before they vanished…but I can tell you that a piece by this author will appear in the forthcoming Like a Haunted Trail sometime next year.

Happy Halloween, Spooky Samhain, and so on and so forth to all!

Fallen Leaves by TS Porter

They lived for that one night every year – not that either of them were alive, anymore. The days turned crisp and cool, the trees erupted with a riot of reds and golds. Summer died on the cold teeth of winter, and for just a single night the lines between the spirit world and the physical world blurred completely away.

Eliza could feel it in the house as October lengthened. Increasingly she felt a prickling at the back of her neck, as though she were being watched. Things moved in the house, not where she’d left them. Doors opened and closed on their own, and quiet footsteps echoed across empty floors. Occasionally she felt the ghostly touch of fingers on her arm, her cheek, brushing across the back of her neck. It was an old house, Eliza had built it for her love centuries before. There had obviously been renovations since then, but at its core it was a very old house. It would be easy to blame it all on a draft, on the settling of an old building as it adjusted to the cold of winter. She knew better.

Eliza dreamed full lips against her own, the softest golden skin in broad curves under her hands – rubbing her face against plump breasts and running her fingers through long dark hair. She dreamed endless kissing, caressing touches all over her body. She yielded eagerly to insistently probing fingers that entered her, stroked and filled and brought her to the peak of pleasure. She dreamed the heat of a pulse shuddering under her teeth and the intoxicating sweetness of her love’s blood on her tongue. No one else tasted so good.

She woke in the evening with a second depression on the bed beside her and ran her cold fingertips across the silk sheets, feeling the ghost warmth with a smile.

It was like this every year as the walls between them began to fall away. Eliza purchased the latest fashion magazines and left them in a neat stack on the coffee table. Over the next days she found them other places around the house – as though someone had been paging through one curled up in the window seat overlooking the night garden, or lounging across the bed, or on the couch by the fire.

Eliza sometimes caught a glimpse of a raven haired woman in a red dress as she walked through the house, just a hint from the corner of her eye, but whenever she looked back there was nothing. Just mirrors that reflected an empty house back through her.

The month wore itself to a close, vivid dying leaves fell from the trees, and finally it was time. Eliza brought up a bottle of rich red wine from the cellar, a good year from a wonderful vineyard that tasted like home. She let it breathe while she dressed herself in the very best of her clothes.

She sat by the fire and poured the wine as the sun set, the welcome dark of this one night settling in. Eliza could feel the change in the air, a presence when her love could finally join her. Lightly glowing fingers wrapped around the stem of one of the wine glasses, and Eliza finally looked up to see her love seated on the other end of the couch.

Rosabel was every bit as gorgeous as she’d ever been in life. She wore a very modern slinky red dress with a slit up to the thigh, but her long black hair she still wore in a crown atop her head, bound in ribbons. She moaned as she sipped the wine, a happy hum with ruby drops on her soft lips.

Rosabel’s warm brown eyes crinkled at the corners in a smile as she set the glass aside.

“My love,” she greeted, reaching toward Eliza. Eliza took Rosabel’s hand in hers. It was warm and her skin was smooth, so very much like how she’d felt in life.

“Eliza?” the ghost asked, reaching up to softly wipe away a tear from Eliza’s cheek.

“It’s just been a long year,” Eliza shook her head. “I missed you.”

“No, dolcezza…” Rosabel crooned, tugging on her hand, and Eliza couldn’t hold back any longer. She fell into her love’s arms, holding as close and tight as she could. “I know, I know,” Rosabel soothed, gentle fingers stroking through Eliza’s hair. “I’m here now. I’m here.”

Eliza leaned up to kiss the smoky wine from Rosabel’s perfect lips, her own glass forgotten. There would be time for wine later. There would be time for talking, to tell the most important of everything that was new. There would be time for dancing, Eliza had new music of their old dances to share. There would be time to make love. Eliza would have the chance to worship Rosabel’s body, to feel and taste and brand her love into her memory for another year.

They lived for this one night every year – neither of them alive, but each eternal in their own way. They were nothing but bright leaves fallen from the tree – but did not leaves dance as they fell?

They would dance as long as they might.

Microfiction: The Fairy Princess, the Trickster, and the Hatchet Man by Renata Piper

Happy Halloween! For your reading pleasure, we have a pair of tasty treats, free for your enjoyment. Just knock on our door, and try not to flee in terror when our door-ghoul answers. I assure you, it doesn’t bite…much.

First, have a bit of a trick, courtesy of the talented Renata Piper, who dropped this off on our doorstep and ran away cackling madly before we could coax a bio from her. All she’d confess was that she’d been previously published by Circlet in Like a Beast

The Fairy Princess, the Trickster, and the Hatchet Man

Charlotte shivered. She loved her costume–pink-and-gold netting, tiara, dragonfly wings–but this was October in New England, and the night air smelled like snow. She sniffled and kept walking. She wasn’t used to heels, but they were definitely part of the outfit. Be beautiful, she told herself, and be brave, and have fun tonight. That’s all you need to do.

As if summoned by the thought, a woman appeared at her side. She wore down-at-the-heels cowboy boots, a sensibly-heavy plaid shirt, and a slouchy leather hat. She stood eye-to-eye with Charlotte, which was saying a lot. “Good evening, princess,” she said. “Who are you?”

Charlotte was suddenly, bubblingly happy–it was the word princess. “Charlotte le Fey, of the Eternal Rainbow Realm,” she replied, and meant every word. “Good evening to you. Are you a cowboy?”

The woman chuckled, or snorted. “I’m Coyote the Trickster. Glad to meet you, Princess Charlotte. Where are you headed tonight?”

If Coyote had been a man, Charlotte thought, this conversation couldn’t be happening–Charlotte wouldn’t have answered, or lied. “The Weimaraner,” she said. It was public and accepting, and she didn’t expect to see anybody she knew. “There’s dancing and a costume contest.” Coyote walked alongside, nodding. “Want to come?”

Coyote smiled, nodded again. She took a large, square, undyed-cotton kerchief from a pocket, draped it around Charlotte’s shoulders. “See if that keeps you warm,” she said, and it nearly did. After an adventure with heels and a high curb, Coyote’s arm around Charlotte’s waist did even better.

At the Weimaraner, to Charlotte’s surprise, the doorman accepted Coyote’s wink in place of the ten-dollar cover. Inside was dark and dry-ice-smoky, smelling of pumpkin and booze. The music was silly–“Zombie Jamboree”–but Coyote led straight to the dance floor. The kerchief was twisted behind Charlotte’s waist, more a ribbon than a shawl. Coyote held the ends, so they danced together without even touching hands. Coyote moved fast, boots pattering, while Charlotte swayed in place, mindful of her heels but enjoying the roll of her hips and arms. When “Tubular Bells” ended, she stepped forward and kissed Coyote on the mouth.

It was an excellent kiss. Coyote’s arms came around her, warm even in the heat of the club. Her fingers slipped up to Charlotte’s neck, angling to let in a touch of teeth. They broke apart when “Psycho Killer” started, and Charlotte was brave enough–without even a single drink–to say, “Tell me, milady Coyote–might you like us to go out back and do a little more?”

Coyote’s grin went feral, and she winked at the doorman as they went past. Back in the alley, Coyote pressed Charlotte against the brick wall–softened just a little by the cotton kerchief–and they kissed at length, again with a little of Coyote’s teeth. Then Coyote tipped her hat back and dropped to her knees.

“Oh no–oh wait –!” Charlotte squeaked, terrified. Coyote nodded and stilled, smiling up from under the hat. Moving very, very slowly, she lifted the layers of Charlotte’s pink-and-gold skirt. Without breaking eye contact, she ran a hand, very lightly, down the front of Charlotte’s panties, outlining the erection within.

“This enough of a wait?” asked Coyote gently. “Still no, or maybe, or yes?”

“…Maybe?” Charlotte whispered. “I mean if you want…?” She didn’t think she sounded like a princess at all.

Coyote grinned. “Yep.” She pulled a condom from the same pocket as the kerchief, and let the skirts fall over her as she coaxed the heavy organ out of Charlotte’s underthings. The condom slid on easily, followed by the heat and sucking pressure of Coyote’s mouth. One hand dropped to caress Charlotte’s balls, the other behind to knead into her ass. Charlotte’s hips bucked and Coyote rode her like a bronco, rocking back and pushing in, twisting and sticking through every thrust. When Charlotte came she cried out–something she never did, certainly not in alleys–a high stuttering sound like a laugh.

When she opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was the full moon, sailing just clear of the Weimaraner’s roof. The second thing was Coyote’s face, nipping a kiss into the corner of her mouth. “Oh my goodness,” said Charlotte. “Oh my… Coyote, can I do something for you?”

Coyote smiled tenderly, then turned away as she spoke. “Watch my back.”

There was someone else in the alley. A man, taller than Coyote or Charlotte in heels. His face was painted white, with an ugly smile in red lipstick. In one hand he held a hatchet, and as Coyote approached he raised it high. “Ugly little back-alley bitch,” he said. “I’m gonna–”

Coyote skipped up and stopped his voice with a kiss. “You’re gonna pay ten bucks, go inside, and dance,” she said clearly. “Come back out when somebody nice asks you, and suck them real good, almost as good as me. Be kind to them always, forever after. And tonight you’re gonna forget that axe, leave it at the bar, and never even think about it again.” The man was nodding. Coyote took him by the shoulders, steered him back towards the Weimaraner’s doors.

Charlotte watched until Coyote turned, beckoning Charlotte over. She took the handkerchief, wiped lipstick off her mouth with a grimace. Then she grinned a hangdog grin, handing it back. “Wanna clean up too?”

Charlotte blushed. “Thanks,” she said, turning away. There wasn’t much mess, but she palmed the condom awkwardly.

“Thank you,” said Coyote. “It’s been a pleasure. But I’m tired now, and I’m going home. Happy Halloween!” She went to the end of the alley and turned left. Charlotte couldn’t have been more than two steps behind, but when she reached the sidewalk, Coyote was gone.

Charlotte looked left and right, then down.  In her hands the condom and wrapper had changed into a mug from the Athenaeum full of hot chocolate, and a long woolen cape embroidered at the edges with gold.  She swung it over her shoulders, and she didn’t get cold or trip even once as she went about that night.