by Fallen Kittie
Something steals into Vera.
Her ship has passed its prime. The sails are tattered. Rust chafes at every crook and crevice.
Each day, Vera rides the eye of the wind. The sea is the only thing that keeps her together. She casts traps, reels in the bounty at bay. Life is its own trap, she figures. People from the cape know that life is particularly unforgiving for those who are unable to pare out a living at the docks. Far away, Vera discerns what flares afield. Lights which belong to cape cods and vacationers whose lamps and lanterns are only the merest of which dispossess the locals. There is no apple in the eyes of the cottagers, just a compote that lingers in their periphery.
Every deed is at odds with Vera. Overboard, her heart sinks, always deeper than before.
The isle mists upon a wide, open expanse of saltwater. It brims with shoal that veil rocks beneath which form a sharp, jagged outcrop amidst thickets of game and Sargassum. Which makes for a harsh, yet oddly beautiful seascape—although it’s far from the latter at night when the fog descends.
The prospect of sailing in the dark was grim to say the least, but several of her traps had come undone and coasted astray. The tide only eases up by night and she can’t afford not to reel them in. The vessel has always served as her means to live and her sanctum therein.
But there’s something.
She eyes a citrine glow that kindles in the distance.
The sun has long since sank.
The moon hides behind the clouds.
And, the nearest lighthouse is miles off.
What is it?
The light starts to flicker along the incline of a sharp escarpment. It takes shape once it starts to mist, curling in the brine as flaxen tendrils.
Vera’s eyes dart side to side, searching for something—anything—to explain the luminous onset, but finds nothing as she nears the mustard overcast. The scent of brine flares her nostrils.
Some gulps later, a static pulse emerges from the deck. She recovers the source: an ungainly device whose face is mottled with pallid numerals and a meter that invariably ticks. Her palms clamp its steeled palpitations.
The Geiger counter, she thinks. It detects radiation. She shakes the gauge as if to attest its purpose; not as a tool, but as a signifier of traversal. Its body comes alive as the needle within its face barrels to one direction. Its voice is radiant.
Or rather, irradiant.
The mist is heavy like the throb that pierces her grasp. Vera’s heart pumps in unison, as if eager to break free of her chest; but she knows there’s no escape.
There never was.
As Vera recovers the traps, she recovers her senses. Garish high beams engulf the deck. The light is kindled with pale fumes. They strike Vera in a flash. They ignite her veins which were once unseen. It is a light beyond light; a light that unravels whatever is sown from its emanations. Miasma curdles every breath she takes. Her skin begins to peel. Nerves simmer, then erupt. She lifts her eyes, but all she feels is her solar plexus.
The detector continues to crackles in her grasp. Each click carves her skin to the bone until she is eclipsed by neon green. Her temples throb. The rabid clicks of the detector persist. Its face blackens. From its glass emerges a reflection: a molten visage crowned by an intangible mass of curls. It is no secret that a wealth of pollutants reside within the ocean, from historical dumps and remnants of natural disasters. Seafarers hear of, but seldom believe in, the phosphorescent immortals borne from radioactive waste.
The cove is nearer now. Indiscernible shards of light take shape, recognizable as the luminous algae bloom of plankton. A mint glow seeps from the promontories which claw out of the inlet. Except the glow does not wane under the prow of her boat. As she wades further, the glow flares until it embodies a figure. Howls knell in its wake.
Everything inside her moves when a voice emerges: “Vera.”
The voice belongs to a statuesque form. Timeless ambiguity emerges from its cool curvatures. Saltwater and sinuous, daring her to look, rousing her desire as it holds her gaze. Each breath caves in its cheeks.
“It’s late to be this far from shore, Captain.”
Vera shudders. “What…Who are you…?”
A crown of jade tresses bequeaths a long fringe. Luminous muscularity whose bones swelter. Neon burrows away their ligaments. Its scent is teethed by fumes. It has eyes like currants. They wash over her.
Its answer inclines her to stare after the dive site that teems with eel and octopi some metres away: Clark’s Rock.
“I’ve seen you around, Vera,” Clark says. “I know you seldom see pleasure in your life—and I knew it would only be a matter of time before you came my way.”
“The rock is where I can take form.”
Vera swallows hard. “What do you want?”
“What do you think?”
“You’re…glowing,” she reels.
“I can make you glow too,” Clark offers. “Let me.”
Clark sees her, but doesn’t know her. But Clark knows enough: how long her ship has sailed, how it sputters along the lone tide and gathers a draft that whistles in her ears; how the mainsail occludes the very sky she searches for reprieve; how she struggles to indulge the charade of niceties, loathing the screams of others when she can barely pacify her own.
All she knows is this life.
She wants to know more.
Vera still clutches the detector. Everything melts away in a matter of clicks. She finds his eyes wonderfully dark.
Clark nears until they are edged together. With a hard nod, she assents to the advance. Creamy pearls bead, then varnish the head of its sex. The tips of her breasts harden. They climb over one another, to wrest against or upon, to parallel pleasures. Torrid peaks and caverns give way to resolute tongues. Their eyes lock even as it begins to stroke within.
Shadows enfold Vera in the fading moonlight. She strokes whatever she can reach. Licks and fingers stray into each outstretched orifice. Clark anoints each one.
Until her flesh no longer peels.
Clark recovers the detector, hastens its pulse. Vera could care less. She reaches for Clark who engulfs her in a firm but subtle grasp. Clark steers her through shoals until they plummet to depths beyond measure, where the rocks give way to inky fissures which spew darkness. Vera realizes she has no need for breath despite being submerged. All she needs is pleasure, she resolves, as Clark ushers her through boundless caverns. Only after this realization does Clark enter her. Bulbous cirri twist within her. They are resolute, determined to relish every inch of her. They pair to her lips, breasts, sex, and backside. Then, they probe and pulse until a kaleidoscope erupts behind her eyelids. The enormity of Clark purges her inhibitions with hard, steady thrusts and the dragnet of light that subsumes her.
“Look at me, Vera.”
Vera blinks to discover that like Clark, she dims and brightens.
Clark swims around her, circling as if he edges her very life. “Oh, captain, my captain.”
With this affirmation, Vera bares electric green canines and lurid molars. Her flesh bursts through a lattice of peridot petechiae. Sweeter still is the revelation that she belongs not to, but in the sea. Clark proves this. The reassurance of Clark’s form, the vow of pleasure, the collusion of their forms washing away the shit lay of the land.
Fallen is an Afro-L’nu scholar who studies existentialism and supernatural folklore. She holds degrees in sociology and gender studies, and hopes to promptly finish her doctorate further down the line—in between movie marathons and indie reviews on her website: fallenkittie.com