For anyone who's been keeping up on the progress of this story and all of its related posts (1, 2, 3), you'll know that I started it after an encounter with an acquaintance of mine (it's based very loosely, mind you!) over a year ago and I've been working on it furiously. I wasn't sure to end it and I polled everyone here in my LJ. After some internal arguing with myself as to which direction I wanted the ending to go in, I finally buckled down while I was at work the last few weeks and finished it. I'm still thinking that it's going to need a revision or twelve before submitting it anywhere or publishing it in my collection, but nonetheless, I have it here in its entirety to share with everyone now that I'm finally done with it.
Without further adieu, let me present to you...
LEAVING A MARK by Stephanie A. Schoepple
Her eyes scanned past writhing bodies under garish, out-of-place blue and red Christmas lights. The blurry, alcoholic veil over her made it difficult to distinguish one wriggling, hormonal worm from another, friend from foe, identify those she'd already counted as conquests from a sea of new faces. That didn't matter, however, as she wasn't so much on the prowl for anyone new tonight as she was on the hunt for someone in particular.
His name was...his name was unimportant. He had told her plan as day when they'd met, but it was lost amongst the hazy, drunken pieces of fun and moment and enjoyment that parties always later become. She didn't feel like sifting through them all. She simply just wanted to find the enigmatic boy who had walked away from that night’s revelry with a healthy collection of scars. Her scars. Her scars, to mark the sudden, unsettling, and altogether consuming passion she felt for him upon his introduction. Her scars...and, oh, how he had loved them, and loved her for providing them in turn.
Finally, she spotted him in a rather unlikely place sprawled out on a couch in one of the "away from all the action" rooms. Despite the raucous sounds of melodic assault, cheering hordes of partygoers, and the faint undercurrent of a few budding sexual preludes, he appeared to be sleeping soundly. She approached on catfeet, cautious and with a seemingly preternatural grace, slipped onto the cushion and took his head in her lap. She mused momentarily at how like a little boy he was; his body small and lithe, his eyelashes long and fluttering to the beat of his dreaming, his lips two sweet, moist slices of blushed melon. It was this faux innocence, implied by his looks, that initially endeared him to her; she was in awe of his youthful sweetness and vim and so longed to alternately take delicate care of him and corrupt him absolutely. As she laced her fingers through the tendrils of his sweaty hair, admiring him like a pet, he began to stir and, tired eyelids shuddering, was brought back into the world of consciousness.
"It's you," he told her without the slightest hint of surprise hiding in his voice. She smiled.
"Who else would it be? I came here for you tonight," she informed him more diplomatically than seductively. She sensed a weakness in him during the long pause that followed. She cocked her head with concern and asked him what was wrong. He looked up at her with sad eyes.
"I'm hungry," he said, almost apologetically, holding up both arms and unsheathing two scratched wrists from beneath the cuffs of his black dress shirt. She was helpless to keep a small gasp from emanating through her lips. "I'm hungry for more of your pain."
They shared a tense moment of reading one another's eyes and she almost hated herself for leaving him wanting the week before. Leaving him welted and scratched and branded as her property, yet unfulfilled as she coolly led someone else to the bedroom upstairs, leaving him with words no more promising than, "You don’t want me, Sweetness. Not here, not now. Besides, absence makes the heart grow fonder, my pet." She instantly wished that it had been the broken boy at her side who had followed her up the stairs hand-in-hand, whose flesh had captured her attention for the few remaining fevered hours before daylight, who had exhausted her with passion then scrambled to collapse in slumber in the soft snatch of her arms. Wishing she had made this choice instead, she realized that at the time she was secretly wishing it had been him anyway. She hoped this would be her chance to make up for it. Morals, values, conscience, whatever it was called, it was internally begging her not to leave her new toy so unfulfilled again.
"I hope you didn't have anything important planned for this party tonight," she told him, flashing a coy half-smile and taking his palm in hers as she rose from her seat. She wove through the blurry masses of the dancing and drinking and out the patio and back door, and she never once looked back.
Ont he stereo, some neo-God-of-rock's guitar gently wept as lights were hushed and candlelight was summoned with a matchstrike and a flicker. He lay comfortably stretched across her smooth burgundy sheets, slender torso barely taking up a fraction of the bed, when she came in for him. Her hands each held the end of a small tray--he surmised, one laying around for one of her admitted occasional sushi cravings--and on it were a few scattered slices of plump, vermilion strawberry. Slinking in like a cat, she slid easily onto her knees next to him on the bed. She commanded him to pick a slice and feed it to her, and he was careful as he sat up to hunt for the reddest, juiciest piece on the tray. He pinched the fragile slice of fruit and touched it to her waiting, painted lips, covering them in a thin film of juice. She slowly licked the berry residue from around her mouth, allowing him finally to place the morsel upon her tongue. It curled the strawberry back until it disappeared past her teeth. Her jaw worked slowly until she wallowed, and a satisfied look spread over her face. She thanked him and he smiled, pleased with himself for pleasing her, and then opened his mouth to receive the chunk of strawberry she plucked off the tray for him. Once she finished, she set the tray on one of the skillfully crafted headboard shelves and shimmied down the length of her paramour’s body until she was laying by his side.
He pulled himself against her and she was instantly warmed by the heat of his limbs--and loins, which he began to grind against her. She stared him down, with just a look admonishing him that first moves were a territory strictly hers. Muscling for rank in the primitive bedroom game, she rolled over, straddling him, pulling at the gleaming buttons of his shirt. Leaning forward, she carefully bit open each button from its loop of fabric and proceeded to kiss the open expanse of his smooth, chiseled chest. She did so with no evidence of haste, thought she licked, suckled, and otherwise mouthed and caressed his tiny, tan nipples with fevered intent. Her haze shifted upwards; she was suddenly a predator observing its prey for the next move. Satisfied, yet otherwise untouched in his resolve, he flashed an obligatory smile back.
"Hungry." The word fell from his lips as easy as exhalation, and she wasn't entirely sure whether it was merely a repetition of what he expected of their evening together of a cocky challenge for her to deny what she was feeling. One way or the other, she admired his clout. She's always liked the thrill of possessing those with a strong will that were a challenge to take. That feisty, impetuous attitude put dancing spiders of lust between her thighs, even as she was tearing it apart. She blinked slowly and her face warmed to his onlooking attention.
"I want the rest of your clothes removed before I'm done with the slice of strawberry I'm about to pick up. Understand?" He eagerly nodded his compliance and stood up, displaying himself for her as she edged to the other side of the bed.
Her hand returned from the shelf with another slice of the fruit and she saw that he hadn't yet begun to do as she asked. One of her eyebrows raised as if daring him not to obey her, but his insolence ended with him gently nudging his open shirt off his shoulders with his fingertips. She ran her snack over her lips much as he had, taking in the simple perfection of her plaything, his clear-cut abdominals, the intricate linework of the tattoos decorating his sleek arms. The much she had seen of him last week, and she regretted that she had not left any marks that would still be there tonight. Flirtatiously teasing him with fluidly tonguing the tip of her strawberry, she took her anticipation out on something besides her lover. She longed to see him--all of him.
His jeans hung lazily around his hips, sculpted pubic bones peeking their small crescents just over the top of the waistline. She loved this part of her men more than any other, and his were most likely the new favorite out of the gallery of men's bodies she'd admired in her lifetime. She ran her juicy treat down her neck and around the small "V" of her cleavage provided by her low-cut shirt as she watched him deftly maneuver his fingers around his buttons. He slid them off but left his snug-fitting Y-fronts, opting instead to maintain a little element of mystery, but removed his socks for appearance's sake. She sucked again on her piece of strawberry and beckoned him forward with her free hand, all the while entranced by the perfection of the boyish body on display for her. He sat, admiring his voluptuous, dark, and desirous crimsonfire-haired mistress.
She suddenly popped the tool of her seduction into her mouth, swallowing it whole with a barely audible gulp and a wicked giggle and took him by surprise, flipping him like a helpless child onto his back and removing his underthings with a swift yank to one of the legs. He let out a great, helpless yelp and, forgetting himself, reached up and past her to grab for them. A forceful yet feminine hand with nails painted black as pitch and great, ornate rings reflecting beams of light around the bed came up to meet him, easing him back down on the pillows. His eyes were glued to the darkened, intense, kohl-rimmed pools of blue gleaming down at him from her face; she remarked to herself with delight the slight quivering of his luscious lips, marked mostly by the steady visual vibration of the little metal hoop ring sticking out of the bottom one.
She sat atop him once more, smiling down benevolently but coming across like a giddy executioner. Her form shifted forward to the shelves in her headboard, leaving her firm but pendulous breasts inched from his face. He craned up to nuzzle between them. He took in the fading mixed scents of berry juice, lightly musky perfume, and anxious perspiration. She let him enjoy her for a minute or two more, eventually leaning back to him with an Exacto-knife in her hand. Her body bent down again, burying her face to his messy honey-brown hair, lips waltzing across the outer folds of his small, doubly pierced ear.
"So you like to cut yourself for pleasure?" she whispered in his ear, part sensual husk and part menacing accusation. She felt his head nod into her collarbone and against her cheek. She ran a hand gently up his neck, tickling up his sideburn and up into his hair where she tangled her fingers idly around this tuft and that, finally giving it a stark tug. His head went with it and she casually ran her tongue up the length of his exposed through, stopping abruptly at his ear to say more to him.
"You are never to make another cut on your body unless it is at my request. Do you hear me?" He looked up at her and nodded, his eyes full of shame and, at the same time, a sense of enlightenment. She continued. "If this is what you do to replace the pleasure that you feel only I can give you, then the solution to your craving problem is not to carve up the sumptuous, radiant flesh that I love, but to seek me out to give you more of what it is you desire." She raised the knife and studied it, its sharpness, and its angular makeup. She shifted her attention to the man beneath her, specifically his finely toned calf. Her fingers danced over his skin, and as she rubbed a particularly round and meaty portion of his leg, he resigned himself to what he knew she was planning to do.
He watched her every motion intently as she put the knife to his skin and prepared to make the first cut. Applying pressure, she began to carve and scribe, using only the razor-sharp tip. As she moved on from the first character, he impatiently craned his head to see and--in lightly raised, pink, puffy skin quickly becoming dotted or filled with red--saw the number "3." She glanced up at him, instinctively expecting a puzzled look on his face, and he didn't disappoint. But she was stalwart and intent and saw her task to completion before giving him some sort of explanation.
"Look at your calf," she instructed him firmly, which he did, and saw that what she'd scrawled into his flesh was a phone number. "If it's a matter of not being able to reach me, I've made it quite impossible for you to forget how. It will continue to get etched back into place until you either remember it for yourself or it scars to the point of permanence and it no longer needs to be refreshed. Are we clear?" He nodded, carrying a face splattered with fear and delight.
In a swift and fluid motion, she regained her position atop him. To her dismay, felt him attempt to squirm in defiance but suddenly remember his place, and she couldn’t help but feel the vulpine smirk cross her face. She was pleased. He looked, momentarily, as though he had something to say, but the flash of inspiration was gone instantly. Instead, he lay in a delightful and almost bovine stupor, appreciating his mistress and this splendid new incidence of her brutal care. He lay contented weight and her charm. The satisfaction he felt now was enough to ensure that he would never defy her and mar himself again.
She leaned back and her gaze kept him pinned to the mattress. Hair was tossed and shaken about lips pressed, and as he felt the searing serenity of her clawlike nails piercing and raking him neck to navel, he couldn’t help but see her as a lioness poised for the kill. She stopped, and her expression turned into cool, stern ice.
"Your body seems to be argumentative this evening," she cooed with a slight hint of bitterness. “Is there something you’re not telling me, Precious?” He shivered and considered his response.
“Your will is mine, My Lady, I couldn’t disobey you.”
“That’s not what I asked you.” She paused for a moment, as careful as he to choose the right words. “I would like to think that you know as well as I do that you are mine. All of you belongs solely to me. I own you.” He timidly nodded as she spoke. “I am not the type of woman who allows any of her possessions, at any time, to enter any condition short of perfection. So you see, my prize, that if for any moment you are not in the highest of spirits, are wanting for anything, at all, or are at odds with me, your value with me is going to depreciate.” Her eyes hardened and her jaw locked. “Exponentially. Do you understand?” Thought his face read only dismay, he again nodded his agreement. “So before that telling face of yours gives you away another time, you’re going to share with me what it is you’re so anxious to say to me.”
After much stammering and a few weak and failed attempts to quell his fear, he brazenly admitted, “I’m addicted to you. I’m addicted to everything you do for me, to me. And like any true addiction, the more you give, the more I need.” He stopped abruptly to calm himself and reconsider the brash nature of his confession. When he spoke again, her face was an unchanged wall to him, and his words shook with a timbre of insecurity. “What I mean to say is, My Goddess, that I’m begging for more. More of you, more of your pain, more of your pleasure, more of your discipline, more of your teaching. I simply cannot have enough of them anymore and I crave that cocaine adrenaline pounding in my veins that is YOU. I haven't a clue how I survive in between these nights when we’re together.”
The two sat silently, letting minutes pass by unnoticed and uncounted. Their stores burned strong into one another; his refused obedience as hers demanded it and hers refused the approval for which his was begging.
“Is that why you ignore my instructions and insist upon marking up this exquisite skin of mine?” Her fingertips told a tale of honey sweetness as they tickled the angry pink lines drawn on the landscape of his pecks and abs, but her irate expression told another story entirely. He nodded shamefully and reluctantly.
She dismounted and slid languidly off of him and onto her knees beside the bed, rummaging around underneath it with a sense of urgency. The candles clumsily spattered light around the room, just enough for her to see what she was doing, but not enough for him to do the same. Regardless, he remained stationary where he lay.
She rose a moment later with her arms full of a large and professional black and metal suitcase, and she stared him down as though ready to attack while she tossed it with great pronunciation at his feet on the bed. She circled the room and climbed in next to him, never breaking eye contact, and drew close to him, her face spreading that sly, animal grin once again. His body convulsed with anticipation and became one tense muscle as she found the throbbing root of his desire with a powerful grip.
It wasn’t until the Exacto rose in her free hand tot he sliver of space between their eyes that he realized it had the same dangerous, silvery-white moonlight glare as her wicked smile. And it was then, and only then, that he realized what exactly he’d just asked for…
The Twins were a delicious change of pace. Bodies sculpted by ultra-modern modifications of ink and steel, shockingly unnatural bolts of haphazardly chopped jungle green and ultramarine hair, clad in net and leather and denim, and spangled with an array of buckles, snaps, O-rings, chains, studs, bracelets, and belts. They would have maid a tintinabular and shrill symphony of nonconformity had the party not been so numbingly loud.
This particular soiree was scene of the same sweaty, lusty escapades and home to the same cast of drunk and carefree characters as all the others. The only change—thought not as evident amidst the revelry as was appropriate—was that this night’s festivities were to honor the life and memory of a young, sweet-faced boy who had often been one of them on these fevered, dizzying, hedonistic nights. His body had been found in the tall weeds, reeds, and bluegrass of the vacant lot next to the party house a week before. The news tickers lit up with word of his tragic end and every individual in the orgiastic drug- and music-fueled mass had been through the unsettling experience of answering media and law enforcement inquiries into the matter.
Reports said that the cause of death was obvious, even after the autopsy on his horrifically mutilated and dismembered corpse, their first guess of massive blood loss was correct. He was rumored to have been stabbed, slashed, and carved into a peeling mass of pulp and bone. His body was left a smooth and sticky rounded blob. All of his extremities had been lopped off, leaving him just a sad and virtually unidentifiable trunk. Fingers and toes, facial organs, genitals, hair, piercings, even moles and scar tissue, had been strewn about his torso in the field, a grim reminder to anyone who had known or seen him of all the ways he was physically set apart and comparably more beautiful than most.
When she read the newspapers now, interest always piqued by the snippets of new and disturbing information on his murder supplied in the article, the details of the body’s state at time of identification always provoked a laugh from her. Briefly, she would always feel a tiny pang of remembrance which ultimately led to remorse, but the irony of it all would overtake her and wash away any lingering softness or guilt. The poor boy. In life, he really wasn’t at all “together” after meeting her, and in death, he was found in pieces. A divine comedy if ever there was one.
Her attention now, however, was on her pair of punk rock beauties she’d met earlier. As was usually the case at such events, a brief word became a stiff drink that culminated in a long night. They were laid out before her, broad backs displayed for her and bodies pressed together forming a scarred mural of pain and pleasure. Each half, painfully, painstakingly, had been scraped in flawless symmetry with the other so that they formed a mirror image of decorated flesh. She held a dull penknife in one hand and a bowl of ice cubes rest before her where she knelt. The former of which she used to dully trace delicate lines, swirls, and designs into the Twins’ awaiting hides, and the latter of which she employed to retrace her tool’s steps and turn the calm and deep white scratches into angry, puffy pink trails. The Twins both shuddered with an eerie synchronicity whenever her fingers purposely groped or accidentally grazed the raised scars. She had them marked as hers and she knew that they were, mentally and physically. Still, she couldn’t help but think back to her boy, her little lost soul.
Ordinarily, her act was on less of charity than devotion. Cutters like him had, until then, remained off her menu, so to speak. They were too needy for her tastes, asked for too much of her, and until he had found his way into her arms, she couldn’t fathom ever wanting to be around someone like that. She supposed lately that she had needed him to teach her what she now carried with her. It was true that he had left his mark on her. Another tally of completion, another story to recall, and another lesson to keep in mind. Cutters, he had made her realize, like the razors they often brandished and employed, were extremely disposable. They possessed intensity in spades, but at the expense of true depth. She always liked the strong ones better, who faced her conquest of them as a fight instead of an outright defeat. Not to mention, she adored when they struggled.
Presently, the delicious pair before her was begging through body language to whip them with a leather flogger over the tracks of raw, raised flesh she’d left in her wake. As she was not one to give something for nothing, she resisted until both of them were dangling on the edge of tears, begging her to give into their pleas. Tremendous ripples of pleasure shuddered through her body as she struck them back and forth. With this work she was not as obsessively concerned with symmetry. Her only goal was to do what they had asked, to reward their prayers for such sensations.
Being dominant, she mused as she flayed them, was less about being selfish and more about giving someone what they needed. You were there to guide and to teach, to correct, to inspire and motivate, to reward as well as punish. It had everything to do with knowing what someone needed, and acting as their provider.
The Twins, oblivious with lust and quite literally whipped into a frenzy, defiantly turned around to feast on her sumptuous skin with ravenous kisses. Onlookers swallowed decadent and nondescript white pills or threw their heads back in triumph of their latest shot of red, brown, or amber. Voyeurs in this and the surrounding rooms took notice of the unrestrained display of exhibitionism. This made her quite happy.
But then, so did the idea of enjoying these Twins of hers to the fullest degree imaginable as the night when on. A dark, moonlight smile spread across her face. She couldn't wait to find out exactly what it was that she could provide for them.
In the (hopefully near) future, look for a newer, shorter short story called "First Time for Everything." I consider it a cautionary tale of young affection and adolescent confusion, and the lengths we're willing to go to in order to please the one we love. Best of all? It has two alternate endings, and you'll get both of them when I post!
COMMENTS APPRECIATED AS ALWAYS BECAUSE I'M A MASSIVE ATTENTION/FEEDBACK WHORE!!! O__O
X-posted to: deliciouslydark, horror_writing