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By Duane Pesice
Friday, March 29, 2002
Splatterpunk meets the Cthulhu Mythos. Adult content warning.
A door opened, and a young woman entered the relatively august edifice Scather and Ryan's Fine Foods, Inc.
Two youngish men of disreputable mien were discussing the relative merits of a life of crime, and the perils and probability of large ebon gentlemen robbing one of one's posterior virtue, when their attentions were captured by a vision of loveliness in the colors of the forest.
This lissome young thing was passing among the aisles, where her physical attributes were frankly admired by the two from behind their mirrored sunglasses.
"Who's that?" Asked Dexter Wintergreen, jerking a thumb toward the looker in the green dress.
Mull Stively glanced in that direction, kept looking. "Jesus, I dunno. What a babe. She could be a model or something."
"You can say that again." Dexter grinned, smoothing down his sideburns. "Great-we need some new blood around here. I haven't seen any fresh meat for a while..."
Mull leered back. "Slim pickin's. Haw haw. Not much meat on her bones...that dress fits like a second skin."
"Like she'd look at you twice." Dexter guffawed, lowering his shades.
Mull faked looking hurt. "Yeah, right, Mr. High and Mighty. You're the big stud, when's the last time you got any?"
Dexter practiced his hang-dog expression. "Okay, it's been a while." He brightened. "But I got me a feeling that's about to end." The pair watched the new girl in the green dress buy candles, incense cones, and a holder to put the cones in. She exchanged pleasantries with the clerk while she bagged the purchases, and tripped away out of the store.
Dexter followed with his hands in his pockets. He whistled a little tune under his breath as he walked, taking care to stay out of the girl's line of sight. "See you later, Mull,' he said. " I gotta find out what those candles and incense are for."
"I'm gonna get me some cds..." said Mull doubtfully to Dexter's back.
Outside, Dexter drew a pack of cigarettes from his shirt pocket, shook one out, lit it. He exhaled smoke in the girl's general direction, waiting until she had turned the corner before crossing the street behind her. He continued to follow, a block behind.
She never looked back, not even when she unlocked her front door with a key that she took from the mailbox. Dexter made a mental note of the address and the location of the key, and slunk away.
He hung around the bar, watching a baseball game and nursing a couple of beers, waiting until dark.
He went past the house at seven, and the lights were on, so she was still home. Dexter went to fetch his car, thinking to get some groceries, but got sidetracked and wandered by her house again.
He parked a block away, and walked to the house, crept up and stood in the gangway, on tiptoe, and watched as she fed her plants. It took a while, because the place was full of them.
Dexter saw some violets, and some orchids, and a few he wasn't familiar with. All were in the full bloom of health, brightly colored and standing straight up. She talked to them-Dexter could hear her cooing away. The kitchen window was open just a bit. The incense was already burning, and the smoke hung in the air like broken cobwebs.
"Mother bless you, great Mother render you fecund, great Mother bless you twice," she burbled to something hanging in a pot suspended from the ceiling. The tendrils of this one reached all the way to the floor, and extended for quite a bit after that. The green girl skipped around the room, watering her plant buddies.
Dexter couldn't see her all of the time, as he was looking through the hallway into the front room. Sometimes the smoke seemed to obscure his vision.
The hallway was dark, but Dexter could see it was full of plants too. Craning his neck to see better, he almost fell over. There was a little bit of light showing through the bay window in front.
He stepped lightly back, skirted the hedge, and kneelwalked into position to see through the crack. It was so damp in there among the evergreens that Dexter felt like some of the cobweb was clinging to him.
He still couldn't see the whole room, but now he could see the kitchen and all but three feet of the wall next to the window. The sound of a television was coming faintly from that direction.
She had stepped into an anteroom, where Dexter couldn't see her. The candle flames and the smoke of the incense followed her as she passed.
The green girl returned bearing a big spray bottle, for outdoor use. Though it bore at least ten gallons of water, the girl hefted it casually, deploying it as a censer.
"Aqua," she said, "aqua for thuja plicata , she's thirsty tonight. And for attalea funifera, and caloptropis. For miss procera is sere once again. And for melia azaderach, my little chinaberry, an extra dollop of sweet dew. All of my friends, from the coreoopsis sisters to the poppies somniferum and orientale, they're all parched. For the Mother has been away, and left only her daughter, this poor thing, to tend you.
"What a chore it has been. For I am small and cannot carry much, and the task is hard. The pitcher plants are starving, in need of meat, and you ferns...always I carry you all outside, each day, til my back breaks. But I bear the pain gladly for the Mother."
"Geez," said Dexter under his breath. "Gimme a break already."
He stuck an unlit cigarette in his mouth and chewed on it a little.
The girl left the room, and didn't come back for a while. Dexter began to think of other things to do...
Something was beginning to tug at the little hairs at the back of his neck, and a little sticky sap had run onto his coat.
"I'm outta here," he whispered, and slunk out onto the front walk, where he immediately began walking normally, at a measured pace, like he wasn't in a hurry to get anywhere.
He lit the cigarette half a block away. His furrowed brow betrayed the spinning wheels of Dexter's mind. The fact that there hadn't been any furniture in the room besides the tv bothered him a little. There had always been furniture in every room he'd peeped, back from when he was a tot spying on his folks, watching them make the beast with two backs. To his three-year-old perceptions, it looked like they were trying to get inside one another.
Dexter had been around the track a few times since then. He kept his nighttime forays a secret, and didn't tell about the things he saw and heard. He'd never been caught. He thought himself clever because of that.
"Hell," he remarked. "It has to be more educational than television." He leaned on the side of the car and smoked, looking out at the stars, then drove the few blocks home. "But that was weird." The radio squalled, caught between stations as he thumbed the volume. He punched a preset and the pitch of the static dropped a few octaves, overwhelming the bass reflex in his speakers. "Shit!"
He pounded the dashboard in frustration. "This is just not my day." As he turned onto 55th, missing a white Nissan by inches as he swung into the lane, the radio acted normally again. "Weird," he remarked, sitting at the last stop light before home. He was looking at the play list on the back of a tape, trying to decide whether to play it, when his concentration was disturbed by honking. The light had turned while he was making up his mind.
"Fuck you!" He said into the mirror, deliberately braking once, lightly. The kid at the wheel of the car behind him didn't have the stomach for the game, and slowed. As soon as was possible, he changed lanes.
Dexter turned right at his corner, went around the back of the shabby brick two-floor, pulled into the lot.
After parking his weatherbeaten old Caprice carelessly in the lot behind his dilapidated four-flat, Dexter stalked up the stairs. The landlady poked her head out briefly, saw Dexter, disappeared.
Inside, for lack of anything better to do, Dexter booted up his computer, meaning to surf around for a while, maybe troll for a cheap date in a chat room. His neck hurt, and he had the beginnings of a headache.
During the process of booting up, the screen was briefly a most curious shade of green. It was only for an instant, and Dexter forgot about it as soon as it went away. But it made his head throb madly for a time.
He frowned, the blue light casting otherworldly shadows on his hawkish features, and moused over to his bookmarks. Briefly, he hesitated over the adult links folder, but passed it by, and opened up the chatlinks folder. Selecting a link to a chatroom sponsored by the local parish, he assumed his most innocent look, preparing to assume the newbie persona he'd adopted. But no salacious talk was to be found there, and he went instead to another local chat site.
Clicking on random links brought him to a room where there was only one occupant, someone named Satin Worshipper. Dexter liked the sound of that, and chortled at finding the room.
He pursed his lips and blew a kiss at his image in the screen. He clicked on another link.
"Welcome to the den of Satin Worshipper," said the screen.
"Hi," typed Dexter. The screen said "Hi"-dextrose
"You're the only one here"-d
"I like it that way. But there's two of us here now. You type really slow, huh?"-s
"Making fun of me?"-d
"NO, not at all. Just an observation.":-)-s
"Okay. What's the sideways smiley mean?"-d
"Punctuation-it's called an emoticon. There's lots, and acronyms, initial things like LOL and ROTFL and IMHO.;-)"-s
"Wow-Hmm. Laugh Out Loud? Love On Line?"-d
"The first one. Rolling On The Floor Laughing, In My Humble Opinion.:-P"-s
"Did you just stick your tongue out at me?"-d
"Right. Very good-see you're getting the hang of it. Is your email the same as your screen name?"-s
"I'll send some some stuff, links that can explain it better for you."-s
"Oh, ok, thanks. SHOOT THE KEY IS STOCK. STUCK."-d
"Click Caps Lock. It's on the left hand side, below the Tab key."-s
"okay. i can type faster if i dont use caps."-d
"Then don't. A newbie. I love fresh meat.:-P (licks lips)"-s
"oh, comments. i see."-d
"Yes, comments. Check your email. I sent the package of links over while I was waiting for you to answer."-s
"stop teasing me."-d
"Okay...let's start over. I'm Kalia, I'm from another country, and I just moved to Chicago. I write poetry and like cats and plants and magick, and I have black hair and green eyes."-s
"Dexter, that's me. I have brown hair and I'm a lifelong Chicago resident."-d
"Hey, cool. Have you lived here long?"-s
"Hey, could you tell me some good places to eat? I don't know my way around? I don't drive either."-s
"Where do you live?"-d
"I live on Keeler, south, by 55th."-s
"I know where that is. I'm not far away. There's places you can walk to. What kind of food do you like?"-d
"Hey, you're doing better. Typing faster. And you haven't spelled anything rong yet. I like pizza, with pork sausage juice dripping from it, and ribs, all kinds of stuff. I'm blessed, I can eat whatever I want and not spoil my figure."-s
"Try Angeleto's. Corner of 55th and Kostner, across from the park. Great food."-d
"I don't even know you."-d
"Come on-it'll be fun."-s
"I don't know."-d
"Chicken. Chick-chick-chick. Come on, I won't bite."-s
"Promise. Come on."-s
Dexter signed off. He hoped this one was a winner. The last one had been such a pig, and argumentative to boot. Damn near as much of a pain in the ass as his ex-wife, God rest her soul. At least there hadn't been an autopsy...not that Dexter had anything to worry about. He was far away when she decided to clean the gutters. But it served her right-nobody told Dexter Wintergreen no. Never. Ever.
Dexter performed his toilet with special attention. He shaved slowly and carefully so as not to nick himself, admiring the sharp blade of his nose bisecting his face, the high cheekbones, the dimples, and the even white teeth that he'd had installed. He showered using scented irish soap, and hummed to himself while doing so. He even took a clean unwrinkled shirt out of the closet, and donned a clean pair of black jeans. He set his shades on top of his head, grabbed his keys and wallet and money, and made for the door.
It was a warm night, and the moon beamed full upon Dexter as he strode confidently toward the eatery. He even essayed a little tune as he walked. The back of his neck still felt like he had been stung, but at least the headache was gone. The closer he got to the restaurant, the more appetizing were the smells coming from it, and he was suddenly ravenous. And horny.
The bar was crowded, and looking inside the restaurant side didn't disclose any women with raven tresses and emerald eyes, so Dexter returned to the bar and ordered himself a beer while he scanned the room, trying to be discreet. He put his shades on.
He paid for the beer, sipping it slowly. A seat at the bar opened up, and he climbed on it and sat down. There were a few brunettes, and he gazed curiously at them, trying to determine the color of their eyes. While he was admiring the rump of one on his right, someone tapped on his left shoulder.
Dexter spun around, open-mouthed in surprise.
Standing before him was undoubtedly the famous Kalia, a long cool woman in a green dress that set off her eyes brilliantly, cocking a mocking eyebrow at him. "So you're Dexter..." She began. "I knew it was you. Let me look at you." She possessed herself of his shoulders, gave him a through once-over. Dexter was at a loss for words. It was the new girl. Almost visibly marshaling his efforts not to freak out, he managed to look back frankly.
"You'll do," she said.
That broke the ice for Dexter. A lingering trace of patchouli remained as she backed carefully away. "I'm glad. Boy, you didn't tell me you were so pretty. A goddess even."
"Flatterer. I bet you say that to all the girls."
"Hmm," he said, biting his lip. "Sure. But with you I mean it."
"Careful, you'll turn my head. Will you buy a girl a drink? A Black Russian?" She had dimples, which she displayed to her advantage as she smiled at him. He ordered her the drink, paid the bartender.
"Do you want to get some food?" Asked Dexter.
"Yes." They carried their drinks to the front of the hostess station, were seated at in a booth toward the far end of the room. Dexter ordered a pizza, with occasional questioning glances to determine Kalia's preferences, until he thought she was making faces at him. This was because she was sticking her tongue out at him and wiggling her fingers in her ears.
"I like this place," said Kalia, looking around at the dark wood paneling and the tremendous beams that buttressed the roof. "Lots of atmosphere. And dark. Candles on the table..." She reached over and squeezed his hand. An electric current ran through his body. "Thanks. I'm so glad we met. And how romantic this place is..."
Dexter didn't know what to say to that. He was still reeling from her touch. His eyes were huge behind his glasses, and his palms were moist. There was something about this girl, her scent, her perfume as she sweated lightly in the crowded bar on a fine warm summer night.
"I'm glad too," he managed at last. "Real glad."
Kalia smiled again, revealing even rows of sharp little teeth, very white. "This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I like you, Dexter. There aren't many like you still around. You're so cute I could just eat you up."
She was wearing a silver pendant, a picture of a star within a stylized circle, and it rested between the humid mounds of her breasts. Dexter tried to keep his eyes off of it, but couldn't. The pendant kept attracting his eyes.
"You like it? I got it from my mother. Go ahead, look at it more closely. Supposedly it keeps my evil nature inside where it can't hurt anyone. My folks had strange ideas about religion..."
Dexter bent closer, scented her perfume. He inadvertantly brushed against her breast as he fingered the pendant, and almost jumped. "Sorry," he said. He inhaled deeply of her musk. "I don't believe you have an evil nature," he breathed into her fragrant cleavage.
"It's okay," she grinned. "But talk to me, not to them."
"W-was I that obvious?"
"I could tell you were trying not to look. Even with those ridiculous sunglasses on." She leaned over and took them from him, putting them on herself.
"I was trying not to l-look at the pendant. It hypnotizes me."
An eyebrow raised above the rim of the glasses. She crossed her legs with a rustle of silk that straightened Dexter's spine. "Yeah, sure. The pendant.." she drawled. "Tell me another one."
"Really, truly." His embarrassment spread across his face.
"Hey, you're turning red." She laughed, and clapped her hands, for the food was just arriving. They ordered another round of drinks and dug in.
Dexter gallantly served up Kalia's slice, deftly pulling the spatula from underneath.
She lifted the piece to her mouth, dripping sauce on the tablecloth, and took a greedy bite. "Chomp!" She said, and laughed through the mouthful.
Dexter fell in love when a rivulet of sauce ran down her chin. He was head over heels by the time the meal was done.
The bus boy came by and removed the bricabrac, and Kalia excused herself.
"Gotta go to the little girls' room," she said. Dexter watched her walk away. Her silk dress was so tight that he could see the twin indentations above her twinkling buttocks. He pinched himself. Her perfume lingered in the air behind her.
She returned, freshly powdered and primped. "Dexter, I think we're done here. Let's go for a walk, what do you think?"
Dexter took her arm, left money on the little tray, and they moved out of the tavern into the night.
They walked arm in arm and hand in hand through the neighborhood, aimlessly, talking of this light matter and that light matter. Kalia laughed frequently, and musically, and her voice echoed between the buildings.
They sat on a bench, watched the traffic go by. Kalia leaned over and pecked him on the cheek.
He reddened again.
"I love how you do that. I'm sorry, I was just tasting you."
"You sure have a weird way of putting things."
"Remember, silly, I'm not from this country."
"Oh, I remember. It's starting to rain."
More than starting. It began raining hard.
"My house is closer!" Yelled Kalia. "Come on-we'll dodge the raindrops." She grabbed his hand, and they ran.
It was a block or so, and Dexter was huffing and puffing from the unaccustomed exercise.
They clambered up the steps. Kalia unlocked the door, and they tumbled inside. She pulled him in so hard that they fell on top of each other, and Dexter was brave enough to steal a kiss.
A more passionate kiss followed.
"I'm lonely, Dexter," breathed Kalia. "Stay with me..."
"Anything. I'd follow you anywhere." She brought his hand up to her breast. The rain had revealed the shape of her nipple through the wet dress, and he pinched it lightly, then palmed her breast, the nipple nuzzling his palm.
"Let's get out of these wet things," she whispered conspiratorially. "I'm so hungry for you." She pulled on her belt and the dress slipped off. It fell onto the floor and was immediately lost in the greenery there.
Dexter ran his hands through her hair, combing it in great handfuls between his fingers. He buried his face in it, inhaling her scent.
"Gentle," she breathed. "Gentle." She ran a hand over the back of his neck. It didn't hurt. In fact her touch made it better. He thrust a greedy tongue in the direction of her tonsils. His hand tangled in her hair.
"Ow! You're hurting me. Stop!" He pulled her hair again, forcing her down. He covered her mouth with his and undid his belt. She tried to push him away.
His member came forth, and he grabbed her hand, moved it there. She pushed again.
That push worked, a little, and she broke free and moved away. "Goddess visit me! Oh Mother of the Forest, I ask thee..."
He caught up to her. She screamed. "No! You don't know what you're doing!"
"Oh yes I do. And you're gonna like it." His face grew ruddy. He could hear the blood rushing through his veins. He tried again to push her down, but by then Kalia had lost patience with this game.
"You really don't get it. If you hadn't done that, you could have walked away..."
"Huh? What are you talking about? I'm gonna fuck the legs right off of you so you can't get away."
She backed away quickly, breaking his grip again, then came in and whacked him hard enough in the side of his head to make him see stars. She hit him again, harder, and he crumpled to his knees. She backed away as he got up again.
"To think that I actually sorta liked you for a while there," she said, shaking her head. "Your naivete was charming at first..."
"We're not having this conversation." He shook his head. "No sir. You hit good for a girl. Gonna fuck you up for that." He grinned wolfishly, and took a step forward, reaching for her, but couldn't complete the action. "What the fuck?" he cried.
The pounding in his head and in his groin was unbearable. He thought he could hear it echoed below him, but that was crazy. This place didn't have a basement. There was like a choir too, and pipes of some kind. And crazy laughter, like they were in another room but still in the room with them, too.
Two of the tendrils of the hanging plant had fastened around his legs. The limbs of the bonsai forgot they were dwarf and grasped him, held him tight. The pitcher plants opened in silent laughter.
The bud opened at the back of his neck. A miniature Dexter bloomed, was eaten by a pitcher plant. Another appeared and was eaten. Dexter felt that, and began to struggle in earnest. He shouted. "What the hell-you gotta let me out of here! Where the hell's all your furniture? Hey, what're you doing?" He grabbed his neck, feeling the vine that was growing out of him. He pulled at it. "Hey, what's this?"
Kalia whispered several words in an unknown language as she called for her mother in the old way. "This is my wedding day." She laughed again.
"Wedding Day?" Dexter's eyes grew very wide just then.
"Yes. I thee wed."
"No way. I'm not gonna cooperate." He tried to move, but was connected to the greenlife. Red fluid began to pass through the vine from his neck. The vine grew small flowers. Each petal wore Dexter's face. The chorus cried "Ia! She comes!" The walls had gone, and Dexter could see them now, rows and rows of men in dark robes, with cowls or masks over their faces. Each had a conspicuous erection pushing at the folds of its robe. They smelled strongly of rut. A few attended each other.
Female satyrs, equally fragrant, attended more of them. Others attended each other. Some attempted other variations, endless combinations resulting in a pile of sweating flesh before the choir.Wine was passed in giant golden cups, and all drank of it.
There was a collective gasp. Other monsters began to arrive, some clad in the finest livery and appointments. Some were endowed in frightening fashion. All began to mingle enthusiastically with the pile of bodies.
Dexter's eyes rolled up in his head. He felt faint, saw a red haze. Kalia leaned over and slapped him awake.
"Dexter," she said, her very red lips parting, her small sharp white teeth showing. "I will attempt to explain something to you. By listening at the window, you became part of something much older and greater than you can even imagine."
She gestured, and the silken leaves of the Lily of the Valley caressed his throbbing member. Another gesture caused them to minister to Kalia as well. The alien but sweet scent hung in the air like the smoke of a burnt candle. "There are things it is better not to know. Unfortunately you got swept up in one of them."
She writhed among the greenlife. "The pattern of growing the garden has therefore changed, and the makeup of the garden will be different, to account for your presence." The pile began to grow larger as the choir joined that assemblage, still singing lustily.
He groaned, even as he stared at the green girl . Some of the plants began to surf her closer to Dexter. "I hope you're listening to me, Dexter."
She drew nearer. Black ropy tentacles had begun to erupt from her slim form. "You might have lived through this still if you hadn't tried to rape me." She laughed that tinkling, musical laugh. "But no, you couldn't listen when I said no. Asshole. Well, you get better than you deserve. In about thirty seconds, you're going to fuck a Goddess. Think about it, Dex old chap. The very best piece of ass in the universe. All yours. She'll ride that thing right off of you."
Those words echoed in his ears.
The crowd reached them, took them within its midst. The greenlife attached themselves to the company.
"The Goddess Comes! Oh! She COMES!" She sat upright.
The garden bore her upward, positioning her on top of him.
Tentacles manipulated his genitals, leaving behind a trail of viscuous green slime. A sudden storm broke out, and the hot wind from outside entered as Kalia mounted Dexter's flesh, and at that moment was possessed of her goddess and transformed into a tremendous black horror with thousands of tentacles that cracked like obscene bullwhips as they whirled about, taking small bites of Dexter's flesh. Each of these tentacles terminated in tiny mouths, with rows of sharp little teeth. As they whirled about, they flung droplets of Dexter's blood around the room, where the thirsty foliage drank in the drops that came their way.
The walls were soon spattered, and rivulets of scarlet ran down their faces, strobed by flashes of the storm's lightning. The block went dark after a close strike, and there was a hush as the wind ceased for a moment. The plants wound around his body, lovingly. He was lost in the sea of green, enveloped by the black horror, bare to the small mouths that tore at him as if they were so many piranha. The lover increased the pace. Her aroma was overwhelming, and Dexter responded still further.
The ropy lengths had the skin from him in an instant. Dexter screamed as he bled, naked of his integument, and screamed all the more loudly when tendrils from the hanging plant insinuated themselves into him through his nether orifice. His erection seemed to stretch a mile as the tentacled horror with the head of a goat continued to ride him ruthlessly. He tried to pull out, but he was clamped solid. The pain from his flayed skin caused him to scream constantly, more and more loudly, the unbelievable pressure of his impending orgasm made him feel as if he would explode himself at its explosion. The weight of the titanic horror pressed Dexter into the dirt of the floor as his traitor body responded to the overtures of the Goddess of fecundity. His hips impossibly lifted.
The mass of bodies pulsated, heaved upward. The greenlife held them all connected.
Dexter couldn't tell if there were drums in the distance or if it was the pounding of his ears. His legs were arched in a permanent rictus, his knees locked as he arched his back to support his lover's thrusts. The effort caused his back to shatter in a thousand places just before he exploded into the tentacled horror's orifice with a force that caused a great deal of Dexter to accompany his seed, and the pressure that had built up was enough to cause him to visit several miles of area at once.
The garden blooms luxuriantly in the summer, and if you look closely you can see Dexter's face on some of the petals, there where the house used to be. It'll still be there. And there are other small patches, here and there, where the green has spread from the red Dexter shed.
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|Reviewed by Nicole Lasher
|This story gets better every time I read it :)|
|Reviewed by SilverCeltic Moon
|I agree, Cheeky, this one does make me look at my plants a bit differently...AND makes me wonder about that greenhouse you made lately, Duane. ;)|
|Reviewed by Nickolaus Pacione
|Oh hell yeah -- give me a hell yeah. Someone with the balls to introduce HPL's Cthulhu Mythos -- one protege to another -- this one is well written very powerful.|
|Reviewed by brennie's daily
|This is pretty creepy...gorey...well-written and horrifying in it's own right.|
|Reviewed by Charlie Delgado
|Hmmmmm... puts horticulture in an entirely new perspective, eh? Interesting read. :)