Note from the author: I’ve been recalled to work. Today I endured through the usual first day of every contract: I had only managed to sleep for about an hour, so I have spent a whole workday fighting against my drowsiness while navigating through the interactions with numerous coworkers who seemingly believe I must be doing great now that I’m back at the office. My IBS has acted up worse than usual; my gut has churned and burned for the entire morning, forcing me to sneak away to the bathroom like twelve times. I wish I could transfer my mind to a robot body, because this rotten corpse I inhabit has long reached its expiration date.
In any case, I have most of this novel planned out, and I intend to continue writing it until I finish, but I suspect that the periodicity of new entries will suffer, and possibly the quality of the texts as well. But I’m assuming that anyone is actually reading this stuff, that the few likes I get aren’t just people wanting to steer attention to their own sites. In any case, I need to write to escape from the waking nightmares.
Jacqueline’s licorice black mouth smiles at me as she stands with her back against a cliff, on a background of clouds that drift like cotton balls. Her gleaming hair flows gently down past her bare shoulders, and her breasts overflow from the cups of her sleeveless, lace nightgown. I can’t look away from her cobalt blue eyes as she steps closer and wraps her hands around my back, squeezing our chests together tightly. Her scent fills my nostrils: a mix of flowers and citrus and a hint of manly muskiness that she exudes from between her legs.
When her fingers dig into my back with a fierce grip between tender affection and painful pressure, it shoots an electric shock throughout my nervous system. I shudder. Her pouty lips brush against mine softly, but then she presses hard as she cups the back of my head and forces open my mouth with hers. Her tongue slips out of her wet mouth to share her saliva, and it tastes like lemon juice and sugar syrup.
Jacqueline pulls me towards her so we tumble backwards off the cliff. We fall together into a freezing abyss lined with razor-sharp rocks and jagged, unforgiving spikes made of crystal glass. Jacqueline protects me in her firm embrace, a cocoon which shields me from the spikes that lacerate her flesh, cutting through skin and muscle tissue, as we plunge deeper and deeper.
When we crash at the bottom, the impact sends huge chunks of dirt and rock flying everywhere. A landslide of rubble and debris buries us alive beneath tons of sand and soil and mud and gravel. An opaque darkness has engulfed me. My screams echo inside my head, but Jacqueline keeps holding me tightly as my lungs fill up with silt and grit, choking me slowly to death.
I wake up with a start. My face is drenched in sweat, my heart pounds like a steam engine in overdrive. As I catch my breath, I stare wide-eyed at the darkened ceiling of my bedroom. I roll over towards my nightstand to check my phone. Four in the morning, two hours before my alarm blares. Although my window is closed and I have rolled down the blinds, I hear the ruckus of a drunken fight coming from a nearby street, as well as a dog that barks incessantly.
I sit on the toilet to pee while I rub my face with a towel. At least it’s Friday, so I can look forward to lazing around until Monday comes and I start anew.
* * *
The sunrise has tinted the numerous clouds tangerine orange as I approach the parking lot of our two-story office building. My legs tingle from the laborious exercise that trudging all the way up to this business park represents for my neglected body, and every five minutes I have been blowing my runny nose. I’ve caught a cold, I guess because I only warmed myself with a hoodie when I trekked back home in a windy October day, but at least this nasty cold allows me to justify why a scarf hides my neck. Jacqueline would notice the line of four puncture wounds, and I intend to avoid my coworker for the foreseeable future.
The office waits empty for me, as it has always done when I arrive fifteen minutes before the workday starts. I only hear a muffled buzzing of electricity in the walls and cars passing by outside. After I sit at the long, porcelain white table, I switch on my computer and I think how much more comfortably, and productively, I would work if I didn’t have to share my space with other human beings. If most people felt as anxious as I do in the presence of others, we would likely work remotely and communicate only through email, which would deprive me of the opportunity to gaze upon some delicious pair of large breasts that would drag me down a spiral of lust and obsession.
As I blow my nose with my left hand and open Outlook with the other, Spike announces his arrival with an explosion of fetid air and an abrupt clatter of hooves. I glimpse at the reflection of his bulging, black eyes in my monitor. Drool is dribbling down his chin and hangs off his jawline with gravity and weighty significance.
“Good morning, you walking disaster,” I say in a hyponasal voice due to the blockage.
“Are you doing okay, Leire?”
I look over my shoulder. The horse is standing close enough that his breath, as pleasant as the effluvia emanating from rotting organic material in a landfill, warms my face. I sneeze. Although I have warmed up to this beast, I should remember that his ugliness is an infection that can contaminate healthy tissues like cancer cells, and no amount of medication would be able to relieve that pain.
“Is that why you decided to visit me so early in the morning? To check on me?”
Spike nods. An expression of deep concern passes across the horse’s grotesque features.
“I can’t help but worry about your health after what happened yesterday.”
“My brain feels like a balloon with a hole punched in it, but I will pull through, probably. Thank you in any case.”
“Good. I won’t insist anymore today, I think… You should take care of yourself and get better soon, then maybe we’ll go see a movie together, play a board game, or something.”
“That might as well happen.”
Spike turns towards the entrance on his hind legs, as carefully as if he were operating heavy machinery. His grey tail was swishing when the horse vanishes along with its stink into another dimension, whatever else is out there waiting to swallow us all whole if we don’t stay sane. I find myself smiling. The rotten recess of my brain that generates this abomination must care enough to want me to remain alive and functional despite everything. I could have sworn that at this point every cell in my body would be begging for the oblivion of death.
Jordi and Jacqueline telegraph their arrival by filling the office with their prattle, too loud for such an early hour. I straighten my back, although my shoulders get narrower by themselves as if I were about to walk in the rain. I should remember that I don’t get paid to interact with them. I will focus on programming through my tickets while avoiding any distraction.
Jordi is wearing another black and white outfit, as if every day he expected to be interviewed for a job as an assistant.
“That’s one bulky scarf,” he says while he sits down. “Ah, you caught a cold, it seems.”
Our friendly intern always tries his best. I can’t fault him for interacting with me although I’d prefer to be left alone. I force myself to hold his gaze and smile wanly.
“Yeah, I was used to how cozy it felt inside my car, at least when it refrained from trying to murder me like a rabid dog and instead just sat still and behaved itself.”
Jordi returns my smile as he takes off his glasses and cleans them with a handkerchief before putting them back on his thin face. His eyes are as red as fresh blood and glow with an inner fire despite being surrounded with a pallid mask of skin and flesh.
I can tell that Jacqueline has swiveled her chair towards me, because her gaze is piercing the back of my head, but I pretend that I have received an email that requires my full attention.
“Good morning, Leire,” Jacqueline says with her slight French accent.
Her cadence had relayed that she understands I’m avoiding her. Jacqueline should remain for me a shapely blob at the edge of my vision, even if I sacrifice gazing upon those motherly breasts ever again, so I won’t face her smirk and tilt of her chin up in acknowledgement of the fact that she’s making progress with breaking in and gaining control of some part of my soul that she can use against me later. I already knew that I’m defenseless as a child. I must steer clear of predators.
Even the most gorgeous bodies contain the seeds of decay and rot hidden beneath layers of glamour and youthfulness, like maggots burrowing under their flesh to emerge at nightfall from the inevitable corpse those people are destined to become. Everyone is at the most a few decades away from a gruesome end as a pile of bones and excrement, and any notion that loses sight of that fact is a whisper of self-delusion.
“Yes, hi,” I reply in a thin voice, then I blow my nose.