“In the Quick”
by Eric Del Carlo
My eyes snap open to a midnight room as if a gunshot had sounded alongside my head on the soaked pillow. I am knotted muscle and cable-taut tendons. Crackles of energy dance invisibly on my bare skin. I am in the Quick; and I have dosed myself to keep me insensate; but I am nonetheless awake now in the night.
And I know suddenly that there is another of my kind out in the city’s never-dark. Nearby.
The drugs I’ve used to put me under are still in my bloodstream. If it weren’t for this other’s proximity, I would still be out. Senseless. Sweating and rigid and dreaming fiery dreams, but out. Safe from my own Quick.
In the dark of my room I lie, body slick and naked. Nerve endings pop and sizzle, and there is a metallic hum in my ears and a similarly metallic taste at the back of my throat. I feel a vigor mounting in me, an urge…a need.
I rise from my bed. I lurch to the door. This is a bad idea, but I am past ideas. My plan, as always, was to sleep through the Quick. I’m practiced at it. I’ve lived in this city for many years, without trouble, without incident.
But now I am opening my apartment’s front door, stepping naked into the empty carpeted hallway. It feels good to move. The knots are coming loose in my body. On padding feet–lighter with each step–I go up the stairs to the roof.
I push open the swinging steel door, and the night air cools the sweat coating me. I’m stimulated. My cock stirs. The city ambience of streetlights and illuminated windows bathes me in a spectral glow. I feel each individual teardrop of gravel beneath the soles of my feet.
I put back my head and taste the night. It pours into my throat, into my ears and eyes. It licks my flesh, and my cock grows harder….
There. On a nearby roof. Sensing me now as well. A youngling, but young only in the measure of our race. He isn’t a boy. He’s at least a century old.
I run toward the edge of the roof of my apartment building. I vault outward, wind rushing over me, and land nimbly on the next rooftop. I leap again, the distances effortless.
The younger one stands frozen, watching me approach. Perhaps he’s never encountered one of his own kind before. An orphan, a foundling left to fend for himself. Maybe he’s new to the city, any city.
He doesn’t bolt as I alight on his rooftop. He too is naked, and I see plainly he is in the Quick. His head tilts, long blond hair spilling onto a lean bare shoulder. Feral eyes glint.
But he looks at my cock, and his own twitches into swift youthful hardness. I sigh with relief. I will not have to grapple with him. There is an easier way.
I cross the last few feet separating us. Still he doesn’t try to flee. I take him into my arms, pull him against me. He is narrow, perhaps a bit underfed, but his lovely body twangs with muscle. I like the silky texture of his skin. I press my needy cock into his flat belly. His is a warm bar against my thigh.
I reach down and knead his buttocks. He makes a mewl of pleasure. His wet mouth brushes my chest. He is all instinct, and I am turning his Quick’s predatory impulses toward a different purpose. I can redirect his stamina, so to use up the urgent energies pulsing in him. We don’t need to hunt the humans. It’s a vestigial predilection, one our secret species can overcome.
Desire is fully alive in him now. I tilt back his head and put my mouth on his. He eagerly stabs upward with his agile tongue. I pluck at his nipples. His wiry body undulates in my arms.
I pull him down onto the tar paper rooftop. Grit crunches softly beneath our bodies as we roll one way, then back the other. Our kissing is a frenzy. His urgent hands grope me. I am of his kind; he knows it. The new instincts are in motion.
He clutches my cock. I cradle his balls. He is brimming. He is primed. I will taste him.
I lick a path down his torso, his abdomen. His trembling legs spread wide, and I hunker between them, hard shoulders pressing on hairless inner thighs. His cock rears up like a spike as I drop my mouth onto it.
His flavor fills me. Desire broils my being. I am channeling my own Quick’s impulses into this. I suck him earnestly, tongue swirling his cockhead, swallowing him to his balls. His hips buck. He mewls again.
Hot liquid salt fills my mouth, and I drink it down. Has this been enough for him? Have I wiped away the hunting urge in him for the night?
He sits up, eyes blazing. He flips over onto hands and knees and looks back at me, with unmistakable intention. He wants me to have my fill too.
I can’t resist. I smear spit-wet fingers over his hole, and I sink myself into him. His ass grips me like a fist. I stroke into him, the tempo mounting, all the dangerous energy of the Quick pouring into this act.
The night goes white around me. I pump my come into him.
He is slack afterward, spent. I carry him in my arms as I make the leap back to my roof. He buries his face against my chest. He knows to trust me, one of his own kind.
Eric Del Carlo’s short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld, Analog, Strange Horizons and in multiple Circlet Press anthologies. He resides in his native California.