The Linguist wore the harness and collar this time. I liked that about him; he had a willingness to play. The whole thing wasn’t stylized with him. He hadn’t turned sex with me into a solemn rite—deadly serious, full of steps and choreography, with me playing my role and him playing his. With him, sex could be spontaneous and fun. And that’s one of the reasons he was my favorite client. Afterwards, he lay with his head against my chest, running his fingers through my fur. His real name was Dale, but I always thought of him as “the Linguist.” “I wish I had your balls,” he whispered.
Near the end of the night, my handler—Jonas—cleared a space around me and had me strip out of my shorts. He turned me around and lifted up my tail. He cupped my testicles and described, in great detail, the pleasures of my canine cock. When I got hard, a low moan escaped from the collected audience. I was the realization of a fantasy, here. Something new, and base, and primal. By the end of the night, I had a three-month waiting list. My contract tied me to ten years of service. No more than one client a day, five days a week, fifty weeks a year. Plus fifty films over the course of my contract—front-loaded, so most of them would come out while I was still new and exciting. The buyout price at the start of my term was well over seven figures.
I was coming from a movie shoot the day I found his body. It was a strange shoot. I was working with two other mods: a massive guy with dark red skin and devil horns, and a coal-black girl with bat wings and glowing orange eyes. I think they were supposed to be demons, and I was their hellhound, and we were sexually assaulting our way through a Puritan village.
Then, maybe, some simple, unchoreographed sex. I was looking forward to it. I was looking forward to him. But when I got there, he was dead. The front door was standing open, its frame shattered at the lock. I stepped inside, not really picking up on the disturbance, not really sensing any trouble—I was tired; I just wasn’t thinking. I found him on the living room floor, lying on his back in a puddle of blood. There was a gash in the back of his head, and cuts on his face. His arm was cradled up against his chest, and I could see blood on his fingertips; when I got closer, I saw that several fingernails had been torn away from his hand. He’d been tortured. It was horrible.
The House by the Park By Lee Thomas
The man stood from the concrete bench in his garden and looked at the sky. He saw neither star nor moon, but rather a swirling void. A maelstrom above. Deepest black and steel gray currents shot through with violet and crimson. He breathed deeply, taking in the scent of rose, sage, and freshly mown grass, and then he walked into the house, sat on the floor, and slit his throat with a razor.
“I’m being generous,” Fred assured him. “He just lies there and poses and coos like he’s looking at kittens in a pet shop window.” “Why are you with him?” “Oh, that’s easy,” Fred said, “I’m an idiot. My ex had a hard on for the kid, but Eric wanted me, so…” “Spite fuck.” “I’m not usually like that. Really, I know how it sounds. If you knew my ex it would clear things up, like, a lot. What about you?” “Single.” And then Denis told Fred about his late partner and the heart condition he’d kept secret, and Fred reached out and put his hand on Denis’s. He squeezed. He stroked the back of the hand with his thumb. After dinner Denis suggested they continue their conversation over coffee. Fred said, “I’ll make you coffee.”
He had no time to react before the man swung out and punched him in the temple. The world spun and swirled, and then his feet were kicked out from under him and he fell hard, his head cracking against the polished wood. Once the initial daze passed, he screamed and thrashed, slapping his palms and his heels on the flooring. The man in the suit landed in a kneel on his chest, knocking the scream from Eric’s lips. He planted his palms on Eric’s shoulders and leaned forward. His lips parted freeing a thick black liquid like tar. The ichor fell in dark bands over Eric’s nose and mouth and it slipped through his lips. It was bitter and acidic and it began to pour in gouts from the suited man’s mouth. It filled Eric’s nostrils. He held his breath as long as he could, but eventually, he had to open his mouth to breathe. He gasped. The perverse fluid drained into his throat like bitter syrup, and Eric coughed, gagging on the rich filth. A moment later, he was flipped over and slid around on the floor like a doll. Facedown, he continued struggling, digging his nails into the glistening finish. A shoe came down hard on the back of his neck. He tried to scream but couldn’t. The black shit had grown thick and dense in his throat and his chest was already heaving for breath. The shoe left his neck. He felt a second of relief before the man dropped onto him, knees digging into Eric’s shoulder blades. Hands wrapped around his brow and pulled his head away from the wood. A moment later he was stunned by the concussion of his face on the boards. Then it was time for the spikes.
At the open door, Maxine poked her head in. “Hello?” she called, not expecting an answer. But a sound did come back to her. Not voices. Not someone calling out an explanation for his or her presence in the home of a suicide. Instead, she heard thumps and raps, like someone locked in a distant closet, attempting to escape. Maxine walked into the house and immediately saw motion ahead, though the gloom made it difficult to identify the details of the shape. She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and dialed 9-1-1. Her thumb hovered over the send icon on her phone’s screen. Cautiously, she made her way across the kitchen. Ahead, she was startled to see a man lying face down on the floor. At first, she’d thought he was having a seizure. He jerked and spasmed against the hardwood, but just his torso and head. His hands and feet were motionless. Next to him, a woman similarly thrashed. Maxine continued forward until she saw all four of the bodies on the floor of the dining room, each of them in an agitated state. And then she noticed the spikes that secured them to the floor and her skin puckered tightly around muscles suddenly cold.
Remembering the phone she jabbed the send command and put the phone to her ear as she backed away from the horrors in the room. A shrill squeal like nails on a blackboard erupted from the speaker and Maxine yanked it away from her head. She turned to flee the house and saw with dread John Lucio standing in the opening of the patio door.
Something about cursing the world. John Lucio— The Book of Wives has told me: Tonight the sky will be wrung of light and I will offer my blood at the Gate of Hell. It will grease the hinges, so that as I enter it will throw wide. I sacrifice my Christian soul and curse this sinners’ world. In return I will be given After Life. I will anoint four apostles in the black honey, and they will walk the East, the West, the North and the South, spreading the Word. As the souls of the living pass through the gates, the darkness seeps free. Doubters will know truth. I will know forever.
He looked quickly across the road at the malevolent house, this mother of misery, and saw dozens of people moving about inside. A man pressed himself to the window—a grinning man in a black suit. He raised a palm in greeting and waved wildly as if the host of a magnificent party he couldn’t wait for Denis to join.
Pinion By Stellan Thorne
The witness was beautiful, in a way that was almost hard to look at. His face was abstract and fashionable, all eyes and angles, with a luminous innocence too perfect to be entirely sincere. Detective Greyling wondered idly how that face would look with a fat lip. Like a magazine cover, probably, a model fresh off a photo shoot. Saturday night fight fashion. A little trickle of blood down one corner of his mouth, like smudged lipstick.
Then he saw it through the window: a flash of nacreous white. A winged figure. It was standing not fifteen yards away, on the other side of the street. Watching him. He was out the door in a moment. “Hey!” He started towards it, taking swift strides. “Hey, stop right there!” It froze for a moment, wings outstretched. They looked terribly fragile, a delicate latticework of feathers. Then it ran, and Greyling took off after. It ducked under a fire escape, tucking its wings in close. A few steps away, beyond the building, Greyling could see the blue of empty sky.