“On a Wing and a Curse”
by Eric Del Carlo
She senses the leathery whisper against the dead face of the moon. And she knows they are in flight.
The awareness has pulled her up from fitful sleep. She awakes with sweat sticking her oversized T-shirt to the narrow dimensions of her pale body. She doesn’t get out in the sun much, doesn’t have much appetite. Life is…monotonous. She merely gets by, surviving in this tiny apartment. Waiting for nights like this one.
She pushes off the covers and is at the window. The pane rattles upward in its grooves, and she breathes in the city night. Lights glitter; distant downtown skyscrapers are spires of dusky jewels. There is smoke, damp. There are the many sorrows and frustrations of humanity: she can scent them, hear them. It is her peculiar gift.
It is also how she first became aware of them.
Chill cools her. Gooseflesh rises beneath the big baggy shirt which comes down almost to her knees. It was left here by a male lover whose name she no longer remembers. It was before she became so very vigilant, so attuned to the motions of the nighttime that she could detect the beating of dark wings.
Her heart quickens. She leans out her window on the shabby apartment building’s fourth floor. The faint thunder of wings falls on her straining eardrums. They are close tonight!
But she is not high enough. The roof. The lock is broken. If one jiggles the knob just so, it will open–
Before she can give it any more thought, she bustles out of her apartment, bare feet murmuring across the thin carpet, then ascending the stairs in the sleeping building. She reaches the top.
The night sky wheels overhead as she bursts out onto the gravelly roof with its tar paper smell. She lifts her hands, beseeching the heavens. Take me! Take me tonight!
She has done this before, to no avail. She has never even actually seen these creatures who have become the center of her reality. But she knows they are real–more real than anything else in her life.
Tonight she will not hold back. She peels off the shirt and flings it aside. Her naked body is kissed by the chilling air. Arms aloft, she pirouettes, she twirls, she performs an instinctual dance of seduction, proclaiming her desire, her availability, her vulnerability.
Take me… It is a plea. And, after all, they take to wing to feed. So why not feed on her? She would welcome it.
Her nipples are fine erect points. Her cleft is slick. On her roof, alone, she cavorts, a lonely madwoman perhaps…
But no! The beat of leather membranes is close, closer than ever before. Her heightened senses detect the individual sound. One has broken off from the rest of the flock. She tracks its swooping course. Yes. Yes! It comes toward her!
It crosses the full stark moon, a flitting darkness. To let her see! she realizes. Is the creature giving her a chance to flee? Does it know pity, compassion?
She has no wish to run. She is committed utterly to this. Her whole life, it seems now, has been focused toward this very moment.
It–no, he–comes down in a final hush of leathery flight. He alights on the roof with nary a shift of the gravel. How lithe he is, how graceful. Immediately she notes his masculine lines. His form is taut, his muscles tightly defined. He is tall but not too tall. His proportions are very human. When the great wings fold unto his back, he might almost pass for a man. But for his leathered hide and the talons, the big yellow eyes and the mouth brimming with long sharp teeth.
“Take me,” she says aloud, betraying no fear, even though she trembles visibly. But that is quivery desire.
The winged shape comes to her, and she sees–finally, unmistakably–that he is male. His member rises, and the yellow eyes grow luminous. He takes her in his arms, and she feels how smooth his flesh is, more silk than hide. His hard staff presses against her flat belly. She is overwhelmed by the feel and fragrance of him. She snakes her narrow arms about him.
She tips back her head. His mouth comes down. She feels his teeth as they kiss, but the kiss starts so gently. His lips are soft. She is the one who advances her tongue, and he responds. The kiss deepens. His wings rustle on his back.
She reaches between them, grasps his shaft. His strong escalating pulse is there. She pumps him. A surprisingly soft and (human?) needy sound issues from him even amidst their now slavering kiss. His talons are on her back, the long hazardous nails, but he only brushes her skin and the contact arouses her further.
With a cry she leaps up into his arms, and he deftly catches her. She fits herself down onto the swollen crown of him, crying out as he pushes up, parting her nether lips. His great clawed feet anchor them both. She is but a tender sensual weight which he cradles easily, even as she is lowered further and further onto his rampant self.
Pleasure swarms through her. Knees bent, he begins driving up into her. She takes all of him. She rocks down onto him. Bliss shakes her being. He speeds, gripping her around the waist, slamming her down repeatedly on himself. Her arms lock around his neck. She buries her head on his shoulder.
Are these creatures the damned? Are they cursed? She doesn’t care.
She exposes her throat to his mouth. In the moment when they both erupt into final ecstasy, his teeth take her. She sighs with pleasure. The bite will change her, and she too will fly. At his side, surely.
Eric Del Carlo’s short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, Strange Horizons and many other venues. He has a story in the current issue of Analog, his fourth appearance there. He has also written scads of erotica, some of which has been collected by Circlet Press. Find him on Facebook for questions and comments.