♦ This story has been knocking around in my head for over a year now, but for some reason, I was afraid to write it. Now that it’s out, I can’t say why. It was not meant to be a theme story, but it so happens that I finished today, on All Soul’s Day. How uncanny. – X
It’s a long one, so whip up a mexican hot chocolate, get comfortable, and get ready for a hell of a ride.
She prayed fervently. Her knees were raw and red, but she welcomed the pain. With trembling fingers, she pulled something from the condom she had retrieved from the trash. The red string was sticky and fragrant with his semen.
The little room where the altar stood was clean and neat, while the rest of her apartment showed signs of dissipation – the crumpled and sweaty sheets, the broken champagne bottle by the bed. Her foot still oozed blood. She wrapped the string around a smaller version of the ornate statue in front of her. The base of the white plastic statue was slashed with red. Her lips moved in prayer. Her eyes trembled underneath her eyelids.
See my heart. Feel my desire.
She unconsciously sucked her fingers clean, then scratched at her injured foot. Her fingers came up bloody. She looked at them with a dazed expression, then smeared the blood on the statue’s forehead. The molded skull underneath the cape looked gristly.
Make him trust me. Take me away from this life.
She looked up at Her. She had spent a whole month’s salary on the cloth and jewels she had dressed Her with – she had made sure to spare no expense. There was more rolled up bills below in a celadon dish, both American and Mexican. A small glass vial filled with meth crystals. A couple of choice buds. A bottle of Anejo. A vase with brightly colored paper flowers.
For my future. For me.
She wiped a tear away. Her family had sold her to the cartel years ago after catching her kissing another woman. Her father, a businessman who had been born devoid of a conscience, had given her in exchange for his business after he had made a bad deal. It had not worked out for him – he had been tortured and decapitated shortly after. Her mother and her sisters had woken up to see his fly-blown head stuck on a spike in the wrought iron fence that had surrounded their compound. Her mother’s tears had dried just as soon as she found out that he had left them all with nothing.
Before her father’s mutilated carcass was cold, she was already turning tricks. She was a beautiful young woman, and the cartel had made sure to put her in the best position to make money. She was no street walker – she was trained by an old campaigner from Spain who had stayed after falling in love with Mexico, and cartel money. She had long ago stopped turning tricks, but had consented to show her all that she knew after one look. She was old, but not dead.
Her lips curled in a smile at the memory of the first time she – her name was Encarnación – had seen her naked.
¡Virgen Santísima, que culo! Her strong fingers caressed, then squeezed. She pressed a finger against my asshole. It didn’t give easily.
“Turn around,” she whispered in my ear. She still had the lisp particular to castellano, and her voice was rough with years of smoke and drink. Her fingertips, yellow with tobacco, pinched the flesh at the tops of my thighs.
“Firm. I remember when mine looked that good. Riding makes them strong, eh?”
“I do love horses,” I said sarcastically.
Her gray eyes twinkled.
“You have a sense of humor, tesorito. A rare jewel,” she said, and cupped me. I still had hair, but it was fine and copper colored.
“You will need to get rid of that – strictly for purposes of cleanliness, of course. Personally, I have always preferred it.” She lifted up her skirt. I couldn’t guess how old she was by her body – she was still firm and smooth, regardless of the white in her thick brown hair. Only her breasts showed some sign of her age. They drooped, but just enough to accentuate their perfection, if that even made sense.
Her pubic hair was also fine, and there was gray in the brown. Ruffled pinkness poked through her plump pussy lips, and I blushed. She had seen nude women before – I had been a member of an exclusive gym for years before things went to shit – but this woman was showing me. She was giving me permission to look.
She threw her head back and laughed her throaty laugh.
“Este huevo quiere sal,” she said.
I looked at my feet. My eyes flitted between the grand dame’s legs again. I knew about men and their greedy, animalistic cravings, but had no idea about woman beyond the fact that they were luscious.
“You like pussy, don’t you?” She clapped me in the back. She had seen and known that in five minutes? It was unnerving. My lower lip poked out in irritation. I thought I was a better actor.
“How did you-“
“You think you’re the only whore who likes dipping in the coffers once in a while?”
I shook my head, and my dyed black hair tickled my nipples. I honestly didn’t know what she meant, but I still hated that word. Whore. My hatred for my father, a feeling that had once been molten – moveable – crystallized into something dangerously sharp.
Encarnación took my hand and grazed her lower belly with it. I stepped away, but she moved with me.
“What does ‘dipping in the coffer’ mean?”
She cupped my pussy in her hands. Our faces were centimeters apart. “This is your coffer, girl. Purse. Moneymaker. Et cetera.” She softly bit my lower lip, then kissed me. The fine hairs on my face stood on end, and the roof of my mouth felt like I’d just eaten something unbearably sweet.
“Come, chiquita,” she said, and sat down on a high backed chair in front of a window. It was second story, but the curtains were open. They were still quite visible. She patted her thighs. “Sit.”
I turned and sat on her lap. Where had my boldness gone? She slapped me.
“I’m not your tia, girl. Turn around.”
That means I would have to spread my legs. My heart beat in my ears.
I turned slowly. My face must’ve shown distress, because she was miffed.
“If it bothers you so much with me, imagine how bad it will be with a strange man.” I shook my head as if trying to clear it. It sounded awful. Beer breath and cigarette smoke, sweaty potbelly pressed against my forehead-
She pulled me onto her lap gently and caressed me. My nipples hardened as she rubbed her lips against my shoulder. She kneaded my flat belly, then caressed up and down the insides of my thighs. Sweat gathered above my upper lip. Her breasts were smaller than mine, her nipples long and taut. They pressed against mine. I could feel them. I was giddy.
“These men are out for one thing. Getting off. They rarely care whether you do. I will teach you how to separate the sensations from the act so it doesn’t ruin fucking for you.”
She used the word ‘coger’. Her voice roughened as her fingers worked their way between my legs. I was very wet. It was all she needed.
“I knew it, chiquita. You ever been with a woman before?”
It took me a couple of seconds to register the question. Her fingers stopped caressing, and it temporarily broke the spell. I stood up.
“Is this what you do? What exactly are you teaching me anyway? As far as I know, I won’t be fucking women for money.” I used the word she had used. It was still foreign to me, and I almost choked on it before spitting it out of my mouth.
The sun shone through her dark hair, and her skin glowed. She was pure sex. It came off her in waves. I didn’t realize I was rocking on my feet with the force of it.
“You will have whoever pays enough to enjoy you. And yes, it does occasionally include a woman.” She wiggled her eyebrow.
I couldn’t imagine a woman paying for sex. We were accosted constantly here, no matter how we looked, or what we wore…or who we were to the man. Sex was a cock of the head away at all times, if we wanted it.
I thought back to Yeni’s lips, still tart with the tamarind we’d been eating. And the horror in my fathers’s eyes when he caught us kissing in the garden, underneath an eave of early roses.
Someone pulled up, blasting a car radio that made the walls of the house vibrate. She started to dance, something that was an intoxicating mixture of filthy and lovely. I sat down where she had been. My ass absorbed her warmth. She turned and moved so liquidly, flashing her cunt with every roll of her hips. She lay down on a four poster bed and spread her legs wide. Her hips rolled. Her pussy shone in the afternoon sun. She turned on her stomach and arched, showing me another angle. Her eyes never left mine. Her nipples caught in the lace strewn on top of the bed, purest white against russet. Saliva gathered at the edges of my mouth.
“Do you see the power you have?” Her hips didn’t stop moving. I wanted to touch her – I felt it with every fiber of my being – but I didn’t know how. I barely knew how to touch myself. Others had done most of the touching for me. Looking away took physical effort.
“Do I have to beg you to come here again, girl?”
I walked to the bed and crawled in. She clucked and her hands slid easily between my legs. The soreness from having been used so roughly earlier had gone away. Now there was only the shadow of pleasure.
“Do what feels right. You’re free to do that now; freer, in fact, than any ‘decent’ woman in this town. Right now, I will teach you what feels right to me.”
I thought my face would burst into flame, but I still caressed her ass, then squeezed. She sighed, and kissed me. It started out soft – Yeni flashed into my head again, her thick blue-black hair tangling in my fingers as we rubbed our lips together – and I kissed Encarnación like I had wanted to kiss Yeni then.
I bit her lower lip, sucking the sweet saliva from her tongue as it slid against mine. I heard rough moaning, and realized it was mine. My hands moved blindly over her body. I wanted to touch and taste all the places I had longed to touch and taste on Yeni.
I kissed softly around her nipples, occasionally caressing them with my lower lip. I hadn’t seen many breasts, but hers were still the loveliest. Even her skin tasted good. Her belly tightened underneath mine, and she wrapped her longs legs around me. I sucked. Sweetness filled my mouth, and I squeezed her tit with both hands unconsciously, as if it would weep nectar. A faraway pain made me lift my head from her chest.
Her eyes sparkled, and the sex flush mottled the skin of her neck. I giggled, then groaned when she ground my hip bones between her thighs.
She clicked her tongue and shook her head. “Look at what you’ve done.”
I rolled off her lightning quick, humiliated. The skin on the wings of my hip was red and wet. Her breasts, creamy pale, now had angry pink splotches. A small bruise formed on one of them where I had nearly bitten in my excitement.
“Have I hurt you? I’m sorry-“
She stood up, so slowly, and wrapped me in her arms. I could smell her, a maddening mix of amber and sweat and our mixed musk. I tucked my face in her neck, warm silk. Without thinking, I licked her hairline. The taste of her sweat made my hands turn to claws on her ass.
“You, girl, are not what you seem,” she said. Her grey eyes had gone jade. The blush riding high on her cheekbones had spread to her chest.
“What do I seem?”
“Meek and mild. Yet another product of Catholic school education. Ordinarily clever. ”
Her far-seeing eyes made me nervous. Could I trust her with my true self? It was way too early to tell now. My face changed, and I clasped my hands to my chest. I fell to my knees in front of her.
“Hermanita, please give me a blessing!”
She drew a cross over my face, then hurriedly drew the curtains. Her hands were trembling. I started to dress.
“Sor Maria Encarnacion,” she said dreamily, then turned to me. “How did you know?” Her smooth brow crinkled.
“How did I know what?”
She pulled the bra out of my hands and caressed my breasts pensively. Her whole posture changed. She straightened her back, then dropped to her knees. Her eyes were feverish, her mouth a rosebud on her face. She recited a Hail Mary with an earnestness that bothered me, considering the circumstances.
“Okay, the game has gotten creepy,” I said, shaking her shoulder. She kept going, dead to the world, until she had uttered the last syllable. She bowed her head in silent prayer, her hands still pressed to her chest. I got a powerful flashback to faceless little sisters who had educated me since I was five.
Sor Maria Juana, Sor Maria Saturnina, Sor Maria Gloria…
Sor Maria Encarnación.
It clicked, but my face still twisted in disbelief. How could this beautiful creature, this seasoned whore, have once been a nunbot?
I said her name out loud, and she finally opened her eyes. She gave me a crooked grin.
“You?” My voice was quiet with surprise.
“Me. But, of course, Encarnación isn’t the name on my birth certificate in Málaga.”
“Which brings me to the subject…you must pick a name for yourself. Something your clients will know you by.”
“Right,” I said again. I was bowled over by everything that had happened in the last 20 minutes. Unbidden, I saw roly poly Sor Maria Juana on her knees with her habit pulled high over her hips.
“You here?” She poked me in the belly.
I played with my chipped nail polish. “Why did you renounce your vows?”
“Are you thinking of a name?”
She lay on the bed. Her liquid movements, practiced to the point of becoming second nature, made me feel guilty for my lust.
“I wasn’t born a Roman Catholic. My circumstances were far more colorful. But I fell in love with the little sisters. I would sneak into the church after my chores and pretend to pray. Even that little village parish was beautiful to me. The silver shining in the altar – promise of uncounted riches – the brightly painted Marias and the scent of candlewax were an escape. After much prayer and careful confession, the friar convinced me to run away to take my vows. Imagine that? A gypsy, running away. I doubt my family batted an eye.
My eyes widened. She was a gyspy, a creature I had only read about. She had gone from common whore to the most exotic woman I’d ever met in a blink of an eye. Encarnación caressed me back into reality.
“Anyway, at the time the thought of poverty, chastity, and a life lived safe under the eaves of Mother Church seemed like a welcome change.”
She lay there, legs spread wide and massaging her pussy lips. I watched her swell before my eyes. She was so good at it. I was starting not to care whether teaching me was a chore for her or not.
“Why did you quit?”
“Have you thought of a name yet?”
I thought of Sor Maria Juana again, bare assed and heaving, and shrugged. “Juana.”
She screwed up her face. “But…that’s so common.”
I shrugged again.”It’s perfect. I’m going to be a common woman.”
She beckoned to me.
“You are far from common. And why did I quit the Church? Because I never stopped craving flesh. Old habits will always and forever die hard. That is, if they even die.” She moved between my legs and pulled them apart. Her avid eyes made me liquid. “Enough confession. Now comes the fun part. For both of us.”
She bowed her head for the last time.
“Zoraida! Lord have mercy, help my burning loins!”
A drunken voice woke her from her reverie. He banged on her door, moaning. She rolled her eyes, upset he had cut the thread of her thoughts so cleanly. She hadn’t thought of Encarnación in weeks. It still hurt, but she couldn’t help it. Encarnación was inextricably tied to passion and hope, something she had not felt since she died. It had been her to introduce her to The Red Lady, and allowed her to take a part of her.
“Zoraida! I will pay double. Triple if you let me come on your sweet face. Please!” The door trembled, but did not give.
She looked back up at The Red Lady’s face. She had put crystals in the hollow sockets of her eyes, giving them a lifelike twinkle that she found comforting. She smiled down on her.
I’m too old for this life, Lady. With his help, I can go far away from this, where I can start again.
“Ya la verga me apesta,” she said out loud, her face twisting in vehemence.
Her dead crystal eyes sparkled.
Please, Mistress, help me. Free me, and I will give you praise wherever I go.
It felt good to say the words out loud. “Free me, and I will give you worthy sacrifice.”
The tattoo on her shoulderblade – a skeletal woman in a flowing red robe with a globe and a scythe, seemed to glow redder with the sweat covering her body. She bent forward to kiss her feet. Tears dripped on the silk covering the base of the altar.
“Give me courage, and I will give you sacrifice far worthier than my father ever was.”
Yeni was furious.
Her bastard of a husband had promised her months before that he would accompany her to the cemetery tonight. She raised her hands in frustration at a living room filled with flowers – gladioli, primroses, and her grandfather’s favorite – saffron chrysanthemums.
“Goodness knows what the hell he is up to tonight, Abuelito,” she said as she picked at a faded bloom. “or better put, who he’s into.”
She had married Gustavo to make her grandpa happy. He was part of La Familia, and a good man…in a matter of speaking. He was a third generation narco, after all. When they were first together, he had been working overtime to make a good impression on his boss and had no time to humiliate her, but now that he was on the fast track he had begun to creep. It didn’t help that he managed the lucrative flesh trade a couple of towns over, with girls they had either kidnapped or extorted to whore themselves out. Although she supposed she should be hardened to such details, it still left a sour taste in her mouth.
His messing around didn’t hurt her in an intimate, heart-breaking way, but she despised the thought of being a cabrona. The narco wives formed a sometimes toxic little club that she was forced into to save face, and they all loved to talk shit.
“If one of those oxygenadas starts in with caustic little comments about Tavo’s wandering dick, I might have to snatch the extensions right out her head.” she whispered. A bouquet of gladioli nodded at her.
She dialed him.
“Dimelo.” He sounded irritated.
“Tavo, you took the SUV. I can’t take all these flowers in the Maserati. You know that.” She whined.
“Oh shit. Well…um…take the truck, then. You’re smart – figure it out.”
She rolled her eyes. “Why can’t you come with me? I got Tata Meri’s favorite flowers for you to lay on her grave. She was your favorite tia.”
He sucked his tongue. She knew that sound – he wasn’t coming. Some pelado rapped about death and pussy in Spanish in the background.
“Look in the corner, by that big-assed vase you bought in Morocco, alright?
She sighed and pushed through the gladioli. There was a giant bouquet of dahlias wilting in the shadows. The red and white bull’s eye pattern was almost satire, considering their purpose.
“Oh wow! This thing is almost as tall as I am,” she said.
“I got them especially for you. Te gustan, eh?”
“They’re beautiful, but why-”
“I have to go now. Quality control and all that. I’ll see you later. Promise.”
“Quality fucking control? More like two-bit whoring, ” she whispered at the dust motes dancing in front of her face.
She stared at the dahlias for a long time, her teeth firmly biting into her lower lip. Years lifted off her face, one by one, until she was a teenager again, conflicted and aching. The maid startled her out of her thoughts.
“Help you?” She said, pointing to the flowers.
“Claro!” Her smile was too wide, but the older woman’s smooth Indian features didn’t budge. She had been a domestic since birth – she had grown accustomed to the steady weight of secrets.
Red, she thought as she gathered the rest of the flowers to take them out to the truck. I love it.
And she loved it with white.
A chill gathered in her bones. The wind was high, and it would grow cold once the sun set. She could tell.
Dahlias are my favorite flower, she slid into her good wool coat, the one with the bell sleeves and the hood. Mine, and hers too…
She sighed and locked her front door.
She did not take the flowers with her.
She couldn’t get that out of her head. Dia de los Muertos was her absolute favorite holiday, and he knew it. She knew that it was his favorite as well. They were both lapsed goth kids. In the nine years they had been together, they had never spent that night apart. There wasn’t much passion in their marriage, but there was friendship. They had a great time lighting candles and having their midnight picnics with their dearly departed friends, of which they both had many. It was the only time she felt they were actually bound to one another by something other than duty.
Till death do us part.
Their own special toast on that night of nights.
Who would he toast with?
Her jaw tightened with anger. Another woman. A whore, to boot.
She knew. She had known for years, when talk of her exploits got around. She had left shortly with that older lady with the freakishly beautiful body – a fellow whore. There was open talk of them having been lovers, even as they fucked their way around the world. They had made a lot of money for La Familia. It is said that she had slowly ingratiated herself to her handlers, and that her business sense had helped them quadruple their profits through certain internet ventures. Her husband was getting richer…because of her.
Acid made the back of her throat burn, and her knuckles were white on the steering wheel. She didn’t want to think these thoughts, but whenever they had spoken about La Vieja and Carelita – who had changed her name to Zoraida, the older woman’s birth name – she wanted to explode.
I was there first, culeros! She had wanted me.
At least, she wanted to believe it. Everything had happened so quickly after they were found out that she wondered whether she had not just been a means to an end to Carel. She had always hated her parents. Her father’s bigotry was a thing of legend – he had once killed a homosexual by shoving the searing-hot muzzle of an AK up his ass…before pulling the trigger. Her mother was so insufferably Catholic that Carel had often wondered aloud how she or her siblings existed.
You never know – it’s the frigid looking ladies that are the biggest freaks in the sack, she’d told her. Carel’s ashen face of horror had made her laugh until she cried.
Anyway, she must have known what their reaction would be. Perhaps she had not expected her father to sell her to whoremongers, but then again-
She sucked her tongue.
Although she had loved Carel, her bouts of darkness had been puzzling, and sometimes frightening. They were goth kids – listening to Marilyn Manson and wearing black and reading silly magic books – but now that she thought about it, she had done it all because of Carel. She had adored her, and didn’t understand where the chip on her shoulder came from. Her family had money, and pedigree. Her father had been made – at least, right up until the point he had been murdered for stealing money from La Familia.
She shivered and pulled her coat close around her. The road cut neatly through the endless fields on both sides. Laborers crouched, noses to the earth, already preparing the ground for next spring’s crops.
Supposedly, an anonymous source had tipped them off to her father’s skimming. She had overhead her grandfather say that the money had been hidden with such skill that not even their fancy D.F. lawyers and a small army of hackers and confidence men had been able to recover it.
She thought of Carel’s white breasts, pushed high and displayed like porcelain apples above her corset. The buckles hurt when she ground on top of her, but she would’ve taken any pain to taste her. Her nipples, bruised rosebuds, had tasted faintly of leather.
¡Virgen Santísima! She was surprised by the enormity of her desire.
Carel is smart. MENSA smart. Why is she a whore? It bothered her. She could’ve been a doctor or a lawyer or even a scientist, but she had remained a whore. Why hadn’t she tried to get away? She was clever enough-
Someone honked repeatedly behind her. She had been parked at a crossroads thinking for who knows how long. The sun was sinking in its bower of clouds. One of the laborers standing in the truck behind her stood up and squeezed between his legs and licked his dry lips.
“What are you doing later, bonita?” he yelled as they drove around her. Her skin crawled. How had Carel dealt with that for so long? Carel’s disgust for men had been something that had often given her pause. After all, they weren’t all bad. She adored her grandpa, and even her husband wasn’t bad.
At least, on most days.
She looked around dreamily. Her directional had been clicking for so long that the sound had hypnotized her. Town was just a couple miles to the left.
Is she there now, or is she in some exotic locale?
She had to be there. If not, her husband wouldn’t have been speaking about quality control. She felt a sharp stab of jealousy.
What if she asked him to spend the night with her?
Carel had loved Dia de los Muertos as well, and she knew that she would visit the cemetery. Their first kiss had been in a cemetery, hidden in the long shadows thrown by the torches. She had made her a crown of white dahlias, and she had made Carel a crown of red ones. They had shown so bright in her artificially black hair… the scent of molten candle wax and dead flowers still made her tremble.
What if she is alone tonight, and Gustavo is with another woman?
The question echoed in her head.
I could drive over, say I was sniffing around for Tavo–
Her hands trembled even harder on the steering wheel. She hadn’t dared to see Carel ever since she was taken.
If she even had been taken against her will.
The though was a whisper underneath more urgent thoughts, and she dismissed it.
Carel’s beauty was a thing of legend. She had stopped dyeing her naturally blond hair, and many had said her body made the novela actresses she occasionally partied with grit their teeth in jealousy.
She looked down at herself. She was fit enough, but she had never been what anyone would call classically beautiful. Her slightly Indian features made her a dime a dozen in these parts. Her thick black hair was pinned into a bun, and her bronzed skin shone naked – she hated make up. She looked in her rear view mirror. Her caramel colored eyes were feverish.
I’ll just check it out. If Tavo’s there, he’ll just get pissed off, then get over it. It’s his fault anyway.
She thought of the dahlias wilting in her living room. Perfect red dahlias.
She saw them both laying the flowers on Tata Meri’s grave, Carel’s hair glowing red in the torch light, getting close enough to touch her-
The screech of her tires echoed emptiness as she drove toward town.
The streets were already boiling with people. She nearly ran over an old lady with a plank of sugar skulls balanced on her shoulder while parking. Carel lived in one of the more well-kept buildings in the middle of town.
There was guard or two pretending to loiter near the wrought iron gate. She breathed relief when she saw that one of them was her little cousin Chuy. His bald head shone orange as a sweet potato in the setting sun.
“Hey, abre el porton. Hurry up.”
He loved her, but she looked windblown and nervous. He didn’t want any trouble with her husband, whom they expected at any moment.
“Why you here?” He gave her a quizzical look. He was one of the three people who knew about her and Carel. In fact, they shared several secrets. “You’ve avoided this place like the plague since forever.”
“Just let me in, boy. You’re wasting my time.” A stiff wind made her coat snap around her legs. She pulled the cowl on, and her face was just a shadow with twinkling eyes. He puffed up his chest proudly. He was no boy. He had tasted Zoraida. There was one weird thing about her too – she had given him one look and known his secret instantly. Tavo had stayed in the room to make sure he went through with it.
Just keep it up, boy, and follow my lead,” she had whispered to him so low that Tavo had not heard. She had damn near saved his life, and given him his first prostate orgasm to boot. She also helped him see his boyfriend. They would both visit at the same time like they were going to double team her, but then she would lock herself in her study and let them be free.
Zoraida called him that too. Boy. He wondered why it had taken Yeni this long to visit, but he was nervous for her. She couldn’t have picked a worse night.
“Why aren’t you already at the cemetery? The ghosts are waiting,” he said, wiggling his fingers and laughing. He was not a fan of the holiday, and all the noise and bullshit was already giving him a headache.
“Now, Jesus. I don’t have time to fuck around with you,” she said. He turned away with a sad shake of his head, but she grabbed his elbow, vice-tight. “Now, or I swear I’ll have a nice long talk with Gustavo about you.”
He paled, and pulled himself out of her grip. “You serious, Yeni?”
“Dead fucking serious.” Her heart hurt it beat so fast. She couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of her mouth. She would never dream of outing him, but she was desperate. Inexplicably desperate.
“Whatever, loca. Just…be smart, okay?” She could still see traces of the fresh-faced boy who begged to play Candy Land with her every time she baby-sat him.
“Te quiero, Chuyito, ” she said, and grabbed his hand. His palm was clammy with sweat.
“Yeah,” He said, and he relocked the gate behind her.
Her front door rattled, and she dropped the panties she was about to slide into.
Who could it be?
Tavo had a key so he never knocked, and the gate was closed. It couldn’t be a john.
She rolled her eyes and pulled the underwear on. Perhaps it was a surprise visitor organized by Tavo. He sometimes arranged for her to entertain men from out of town. The smartest thing would be to open the door looking devastating. And smile.
She put on a filmy lace bra and fluffed her hair.
The door shook as she painted her lips red.
“I’ll be right there! I’m just putting my face on,” she yelled. She wiped a dot of crimson from her pearly teeth and slid into a pair of heels that made her already long legs look endless.
On with the show, she whispered, and opened the door with a flourish.
There was a vision on her door step, shrouded in billowing red. There was no face, just those glittering eyes the overpowering scent of funeral flowers.
She fell to her knees. “Oh, Lady,” she said in a choked whisper. “You’ve come for me.”
She bowed low, tried to kiss the hem of her robe. Her hands were trembling. “Do what you wish, but I beg mercy. Please be quick.”
“Carel,” the Lady whispered, in a very human voice. “Carelita, what are you doing?”
For a dizzying moment she thought she heard Yeni’s sweet voice, but maybe that was just another parting gift from the Red Lady. She had told Encarnacion a lot about Yeni, and shortly before the cancer had taken her, she had told Carel to put it in prayer. Perhaps, she could take Yeni with her when the time came.
“Thank you, so much,” she said, and managed to lift the hem to her lips. She saw a glimpse of black high heeled boots instead of bleached bone.
“Carel. It’s me. It’s Yeni-” She sucked in breath when Carel looked up at her. Her beauty made her eyes burn, and she forgot the temporary confusion of Carel dropping to her knees as if poleaxed. Perhaps she was drunk, or on something…
And she didn’t care. Carel was on her knees in front of her, with the hem of her good coat still clutched in her hand. Wasted or not, she loved her. No drug, be it sex, liquor, coke or mary jane, could completely sap the maddening savor of her.
She pulled back her cowl, exposing her pale, tear-stained face.
“Yennifer. Is it-” Carel pulled hard at her coat, then ripped it open. Her trembling hands squeezed Yeni’s waist, then moved up to her breasts. “You. You’re here.”
“Of course I-”
Carel closed her mouth with a kiss. Her teeth grazed, then bit, but she welcomed the pain. Her mouth tasted like persimmons. Carel pulled her in and slammed the door behind her.
She pulled off her coat easily. Carel was a full four inches taller than her without heels, but now she towered over her, a tangle-haired goddess with clutching fingers and inexhaustible hunger. Buttons flew as she tore open her blouse. Her hands caressed Carel’s body, squeezing her breasts over the lace of her bra. Her nipples hardened almost immediately. She remembered her breasts, the taste of candle wax and leather, and her muscles tautened.
Carel pushed her against the wall and knelt. She saw stars and moaned and she pulled her skirt up over her hips. She squeezed her thighs and there were pinpoints of pain as she bit again. She slung a leg over her shoulder and started to suck at the growing wetness in Yeni’s panties. She was already swollen, more aroused than she’d been in a decade.
Carel bit again, and she screamed. Her tongue massaged her bruised flesh, licking swirls from her opening to her clit, then sucking. She lost strength in her ankles and fell in front of her.
“You’re so tight. It almost feels perverted,” Carel said with a half-smile. Yeni lay back, legs spread wide. Her teeth marks were still fresh on her mound.
“Do it again,” she said, and rolled her hips. Carel’s practiced half-smile had not faded, but there was real desire behind it. Yeni had seen it before, when she had begged her for a taste before she’d been taken. I’ll just suck it off my fingers. Carel’s breath had scalded the skin of her ear, her caressing hands burned the skin of her inner thighs. Those seven little words had been the last thought before she came for a decade.
Carel bowed between her legs, her face close enough that Yeni could feel the heat of her breath. Her fingers spread her narrow opening. Yeni twitched with anticipation.
“She wants a kiss,” she said.
Yeni whimpered. Yes, she does.
“Get on your knees.”
Yeni pulled down her skirt and assented, looking back at her with a smile.
“Open up. I want to see you.” Carel’s hands slid up the insides of her thighs. They tightened on her hips and pulled her against her. Her breasts grazed her shoulder blades, an alien pleasure. Carel licked the outside of her earlobe and cupped her pussy in her hands. “Mine at last.”
“It was always yours,” Yeni said, and pressed Carel’s fingers into her seam.
She withdrew her hand and lay face up on the floor. “Show me.”
She crawled to her side and touched Carel lightly. Her skin glowed, and she wanted to kiss every golden freckle.
“You have a mole – I’ve never forgotten. Below your belly button, brown as a chocolate button.” Yeni said. “I always wanted to taste it.”
Carel wiggled out of her panties. The mole was right above her smooth mound. She traced a circle around it, then bowed to kiss it. Carel sighed. Yeni was surprised at her scent – it had not changed, in all these year. She still smelled of candle wax and ashes. She licked her, and the raised skin made her groan. Carel’s fingers raked her bound hair free, and it fell heavy on her shoulders. She spread her legs and licked the sweat that had gathered on the seam between thigh and groin. Her hot, ready scent made her brow furrow. She sucked at the firmness of Carel’s inner thighs. She moaned as her hand moved down from her breasts and between her legs. Her fingers were shaking.
Carel squeezed the back of her neck. “Come here, tesorito. Let me teach you.”
Carel coaxed Yeni into straddling her head. She massaged her thighs with a dreamy grin.
“Sit.” Carel patted her chest. She sat. “Take off your bra.”
Yeni took of her bra slowly. A sheaf of gleaming hair covered the right side of her face. Her breasts were so small and firm they did not droop. Her brown nipples hardened underneath Carel’s pinching fingers. She wanted to suck them whole into her mouth, first one, then the other, but Yeni was sitting on her, pinning her to the floor.
Yeni scooted forward until her bare ass warmed her tits. Her eyes dropped to her pussy. Her scent made Carel lick her lips.
“Look,” Yeni said softly, and got on her knees. She leaned forward a little and spread her pussy lips. Carel whimpered as she started to rub her clit, slowly, just inches away from her face.
“Always a miserable tease,” Carel said. Yeni smiled and rolled her hips, the blush high on her cheeks. She had wanted to show her for so long, and now she couldn’t remember why she hadn’t done it before. She felt tainted now, by Tavo and by her doubts.
Carel pulled Yeni’s fingers out of her pussy and replaced them with her own. Her warmth made her break into a sweat. She hooked her finger and pressed rhythmically, massaging her clit and and g-spot simultaneously. Yeni let out a surprised yelp and stiffened. Her muscles fluttered.
“Already? But I’ve just gotten started,” she said, and quickened. Yeni was already coming. Carel pulled right above her face. Just before her muscles snapped around her fingers, Yeni let go a trickle of sweetness that dripped on her lips. She grunted and squeezed greedily, not caring whether it would hurt Yeni. She wrapped her lips around her twitching clit and sucked. Her moans were deliciously rough. It never got old, making a grown woman grunt and beg.
But Yennifer wasn’t just any woman. She was the woman. She had loved Encarnacion deeply, but had never been in love with anyone…except Yeni. The emptiness in her chest, something she had forced herself to get used to, cried out to her. Perhaps she wouldn’t have to spend the rest of her life alone. Perhaps she could take her away, tell her the reasons why she had done what she had done.
Perhaps, she would not think her a monster.
Carel’s hands had stopped moving, although her mouth still sucked.
Yeni caressed the sweaty tendrils of hair from her eyes. “Where did you go?”
She shook her head and licked her clean slowly, from her asshole to her clit. It made her ache how easy it was to please her. A touch and a flick of her tongue was enough to make Yeni tremble. In all her years of fucking professionally, she had never felt more powerful.
This is the sex that she wanted, with the person she wanted. She wasn’t like Encarnacion, who had not been able to give up strange flesh. Monogamy would come easily to her, since it followed the dictates of her heart. She wanted her because she loved her. She loved her because she wanted her, and only her. Time had told her that.
Yeni squeezed her thighs on her head until she didn’t have breath left. “It’s my turn, mi amor.
“Whatever you say,” Carel said. She spread her legs.
“No. Sit in that chair…please?” She pointed to a heavy mahogany chair in front of the window. Her voice was that of a shy teenager.
“No need to beg,” Carel said, surprised. She thought back to her first afternoon with Encarnacion, and her first taste. It had to be a sign.
The late afternoon sun made Carel’s tousled hair look like a diadem. Her flushed skin and her strangely innocent grin made Yeni want to weep with joy. It was as if they had found a wormhole. They were sixteen again, and none of the subsequent ugliness had happened. Their lives were once again theirs to live.
Yeni crawled slowly to where she sat, ass swishing back and forth.
“Preciosa,” Carel said. She didn’t have to coax her. Her eyes flashed gold in the light. She looked at her, and her mouth filled with saliva. Her head spun like she had swigged half a bottle of tequila, but her senses were razor sharp. Carel’s scent was different now that she was really aroused. She didn’t know where to lick first, so she licked all of her.
Her taste sent a shock through her body; she was galvanized. She understood why Carel had been so rough earlier. She simply could not help it. Her tongue poked into her opening, drawing out her juices.
Carel tugged at a tendril of hair to get her attention. “You’re moaning louder than I am.” Yeni shrugged and bowed her head again, and soon Carel matched her. She had learned so quickly where to lick, and the inexperienced thrusting of her fingers – rough and fast – was perfect.
She threw her head back, her hands tangled in Yeni’s thick black hair. The chorus of their combined moans finally drowned out the sound of the banda playing outside their window.
And the sound of the gun being cocked by the door.
Tavo had walked back to Zoraida with a swing in his step. His girls always took care of him, and he had spent most of the afternoon with her, and had only stepped away to talk business with his boss. And it was booming.
He had been balls deep in her ass when Yeni called about going to the damn cemetery again. He had enjoyed his time with his wife, but putting up with her frigidity was more than he could stand. It was beyond humiliating. His contemporaries already had kids half as tall as they were, and he was sick of lying about the reasons why he did not have his own. Her grandfather was long dead, and he owed the dead nothing.
A familiar moan from inside Zoraida’s rooms made him smile. She was hard at work again. He decided to give her some time to finish. She had earned that respect.
When he had met her, she had just been a common whore. Profitable to be sure, but low-profile. Although at first he had been irritated by her audacity, he’d begun to listen to the business advice she whispered to him after the sex was done. It had been solely about how she could up her value. Then, it had extended into he could increase his profits for the whole brothel. It had worked so well that he had begun to listen in earnest, and in 18 months he was doing enviably well. Well enough that she had convinced him to start putting money away. She had been kind enough to suggest certain contacts. He, not being a complete idiot, had screened and tried the contacts thoroughly, and they had checked out.
Another moan rose to a cry that made him suck his tongue. Zoraida was on, and he was glad. It would benefit him if she were in a good mood.
A really, really good mood.
He looked at the potted orchid on a table at the end of the hallway distractedly. He now had over 3 million dollars put away in three different accounts, all accrueing interest. She had been the reason why he had caught the boss’s attention. He wasn’t just a thug anymore. He had prospects. A future.
A woman yipped, and it wasn’t Zoraida.
Hell yeah. They’re doing the clit to clit rub in there, he thought and rubbed his palms together. He was tempted to go in and ‘surprise’ them, but decided against it. Zoraida’s temper was nothing to fuck with, and she loved the ladies.
Loved the ladies. He shouldn’t, but he couldn’t help wondering how Yennifer was doing.
Most probably already lighting the torches and fluffing the flowers he had bought for her. Pobrecita doesn’t know that soon I’ll be putting flowers on her grave.
The dahlias had been Zoraida’s idea, since he had insisting on meeting with her tonight. Symbolically, it seemed right, considering what he was going to ask Zoraida to do. He had mentioned Yeni’s love for Dia de los Muertos at some point, but he didn’t remember ever having mentioned her favorite flower.
Luck is favoring me.
Since it was her idea, he had let Zoraida make the arrangements for the flowers, and she had chosen the perfect ones. It was a sign. It had to be her.
Now two women moaned in unison behind him. He was starting to get impatient.
What a world. Dahlias. Red and white dahlias. It was almost uncanny how well she-
Zoraida moaned the other woman’s name, and he froze. He pressed his ear to the door.
His blood turned to ice. It couldn’t be. It was impossible. He pushed the door open, his other hand already on his piece.
Zoraida was sitting on the chair in front of the window, legs spread wide. A woman with dark hair sticking to her back with sweat knelt in front of her. Her head bobbed enthusiastically. The scent of sex made the wings of his nose tingle.
For a couple of seconds, he didn’t recognize his wife. After all, she had never looked or sounded that way with him.
Black dots swam in his vision. It was someone had flashed the worlds biggest camera near his eyes. Before his hand moved to cock the hammer, he had one last thought.
Yeni looked beautiful. Truly beauti-
Yeni watched as Carel stretched gracefully. One of her long arms went behind the chair, and something silver flashed, a blur that caught the light of the setting sun and blinded her.
Her hand was mid-thrust when she heard the hiss of the silenced gunshot. Carel scooped her out of the way – She was lifted off the ground and hit the bedframe headfirst – Carel bounded two steps to the doorway –
She turned her head in what felt like slow motion.
Her husband Tavo, dressed in his narco finest, knelt in a pool of blood, eyes bulging and hands clawing at this throat.
Carel’s face was still flush with orgasm, but her eyes were clear.
“Don’t move a muscle. Promise me.”
Yeni crawled by the bed and hugged her knees against her chest. Her heart was still rushing, Carel’s juices were still wet on her chin, but her husband was dying just three feet away from her. She could smell the licked penny scent of his blood.
So much blood.
Hysteria tickled at her throat. It was closing, closing, like when she ate sesame seeds. She let out a soundless exhalation of horror.
Carel kicked him toward the other room. She was almost ugly with determination. She was bent over, a vulpine crone struggling with his dead weight.
She saw his gun – bloodstained gold, hammer cocked – and crawled away from it like she would from a hissing rattler.
“Yennifer! Don’t you dare leave this room!” Carel’s tense voice neatly sliced through her unformed thoughts.
Carel crowned in red dahlias, with her hand underneath Yeni’s skirt. Love swelling so fast she feared her skin would split. Stay, a whispered word, as her blue eyes flickered. Color dripped from the dahlia petals. They bled, tattoing both their faces as she leaned to kiss her-
She looked behind her, and she was dragging the body into a room that was painted red. Tavo gurgled and twitched weakly. Carel kicked.
Carel had thought of this moment many times. She had uttered the incantations until they were second nature, until she didn’t have to think about the words and just concentrate on what they made her feel. She had not wanted Tavo – she had made plans to go much higher than him, take even more from them, but this is how the Lady had wanted it. She peeked out of the room at Yeni’s prone figure. It was already more than could have ever expected to receive.
“Gustavo!” She patted his cheek. It would count more if he was still alive. Her aim had been impeccable – she didn’t hit an artery. He blinked. “Yeni. She’s mine. Always has been.”
A blood bubble burst on his lips. She winced. She sliced easily through his shirt, then his leather belt. She threw the gaudy blinged out belt buckle to the corner with distaste.
“I’m done with this life, compa. And with La Familia.” She pulled his pants down and grabbed his cock and balls. She squeezed until he managed a shriek. “This is my curse. But She has given me the opportunity to cut it from my life.” His eyes, woozy with blood loss, focused. She leaned down, caressing him with the knife. He tried to move, but had no strength left. He was panting. Air hissed in his perforated larynx. She straddled him, pinning his arms to his side. The knife was pointed down at his belly, just in case he tried to be clever. If he tried to sit up and bite her, it would end him. She leaned down, her ear near his mouth.
She tapped his head painfully with the dull edge of the knife. “What’s that? Speak up. I can’t hear you for all the come in my ears.” She giggled and ground her knees into the soft crook of his elbows. He groaned.
She smiled, and the bastard actually started to smile back. Her lips peeled back from her teeth, and she leaned back and stabbed him in the thigh. He bucked underneath her.
“Don’t worry. I didn’t hit any major arteries.” She said. A solitary tear rolled from the corner of his eye, leaving a clean streak in the blood on his temple.
She leaned in again. “Money what?”
“You can…have it. Go free. Just take me to a pinche hospital.” She fiddled with the knife’s hilt pensively.
“Good offer, but moot. I’m taking it anyway. Every penny, and bit more. And Yeni.” She pulled the knife from his thigh. It let go with a ghastly rip that made her goosepimple. It was slightly disorienting – she didn’t know whether the goosebumps were there because of disgust or pleasure. “And She’s-” she pointed to the Red Lady with the gory blade, “-is taking your soul, guey.”
He actually managed a smirk. “Whore. You can’t.” He had made sacrifices to her. He felt secure in his faith that he and his would be avenged for his death at the hands of this crazy whore. He couldn’t believe she had tricked him so well. Good pussy was the true scourge of the earth.
“If there is anything I’ve learned in this kooky fucking life, is that anything is possible.” She stabbed his other thigh. Her heartbeat had increased, and she knew now it was not fear. Her sweat made his skin slimy. The blade hit bone this time. He shrieked. She laughed.
His breath was a steam whistle running out of juice. She pulled the knife out with a grunt and studied the blade. “I would’ve gotten real mad if you nicked the tip. Its work isn’t done.”
He began to shiver, and his heartbeat hiccuped underneath her ass.
“Uh-oh. The time has come. It’s been nice doing business with you, Tavo.”
“They’ll find you.” He spit the words out with crystal clarity.
“You were gonna kill Yeni, weren’t you? So you didn’t have to share the money I made.”
His eyes rolled into whites. His breaths were erratic.
“You were gonna ask me to help you, because you knew about her, didn’t you? But you didn’t know about us…”His hands opened and closed rhythmically. “…And best of all, you didn’t know about me. Say hello to my father in Hell, you bastard.”
Before he could release his last breath, she lifted the knife high with both hands and plunged it into his still-beating heart.
“Yeni! Wake up!” The strong scent of blood made her stomach turn.
She opened her eyes. Carel’s face was pale, but calm. If it weren’t for the slaughterhouse stink, she could trick herself into thinking it was a dream. Carel threw something at her chest. The sun had sent long ago, and the banda music made the sides of the house shake. The parade must’ve started.
Dia de los Muertos.
She looked hard at the papier-mâché skull Carel had thrown at her. It was glossy and painted with flowers. Red ribbons were strung at both sides – a mask. Carel slung a black cassock over herself. She was dressed now, and clean. The blood scent came from the drying bloodstain on the floor. She tugged at her, and helped her into her red coat. She kissed her tenderly, then put the paper skull over her face.
“We have to go, negrita. Now, when the crowd is thickest.”
People whooped and yelled happily a story below them.
“Where are we going?”
“Away, mi amor. Away!” Carel’s sudden joy gave her second wind. Carel was home. She’s all that mattered. She had no doubt about the motives for her actions. Carel would share them all. And she would accept every word.
Far, far, away.
She took Carel’s hand and followed her into the dark.
3 years later
San Michele Cemetery, Venice, Italy
Carel’s windblown hair tangled into the chrysanthemum crown, making the flowers look like they’d sprouted golden fur.
They sat in the silent garden, alone except for the occasional visitor inspecting the gravestones for a familiar name.
“I never thought I’d say this, but I like this peace. No banda music, no screeching children on a two day- sugar bender. Just this.” Yeni waved her hand at the cyprus trees and the violet sky. The sun turned the lagoon in the distance to liquid gold. Distant bells rung eventide on the mainland.
Carel shivered on the gravestone beside her. “Crazy, right?”
“What?” She put her head on Carel’s shoulder and rubbed warmth into her hands.
“That today would turn out being our anniversary.”
“Nuts,” she said. The air started to cool in earnest. She linked her arm with Carel’s and sighed. On every other day of the year, she could deceive herself into perfect peace. They traveled, they drank, they ate. And they loved and loved and loved. They had enough money to last them ten lifetimes – it turns out Carel had been doing a lot more than whoring. Only on this day did she feel the full weight of the skeletons in their closet.
“They’ll come for us, won’t they?” Yeni whispered, as if the dead were listening.
“Maybe,” she said. Yeni did not share her faith, but she had enough faith for both of them. She had sacrificed everything, and the Lady would not forsake her, or their love. She felt it in her bones. “Death comes to us all, Yeni. That’s what all this is about, remember? But it’s alright. It’ll be alright.” She kissed Yeni. The wind sighed in approval.
She plucked a chrysanthemum from her own head and tucked it behind Yeni’s ear. It looked like artificial sunshine in her dark hair. Her heart expanded with love, and she let it. The pain was a daily gift she had still not grown tired of. She doubted she ever would, but such things were not meant to last forever.
But, if we were lucky, they lasted just as long as they needed to.