We’re Fucked, Pt. 10 (Fiction)

I boarded the Euskotren from Irún, so I managed to wangle one of the best seats available in any of the carriages: the individual one next to the corridor connection, which faces a row of three seats. Now that I’ve grabbed that seat, nobody can stand beside me, as I have a curved, plasticky wall on my left and an opaque glass divider on my right. But at this hour, the train quickly got crowded by a cross section of the workers and students of this province. Two women in their forties, dressed with conservative business attire, have taken the opportunity to get some shut eye in front of me, and the remaining seat got filled by a student who keeps scrolling on his phone.

I want to sleep, if only to disappear from my life for a few minutes, but my heart is pounding and my palms are sweating because I dread what awaits me at my office. For the first time since I became a wage slave all those years ago, I’ll arrive late to work because of a horse that eats my dreams, and also because my car nearly killed me. I had feared that the poor excuse of a horse that stalks me would hinder me as I face the workday’s challenges, but now I’m sure that my terrible mood will ruin my performance, although I was already slacking off.

I keep picturing my boss’ lascivious visage as he reprimands me for wasting his time and money with these shenanigans of mine, while he fondles his hard cock under the desk. Ramsés’ eyes always seems so hungry when he stares at me with those serpentine black pupils. He’s going to fire me and replace me with a young and obedient female employee, someone he can use like a sexual toy. Or else he’ll force himself upon me in various positions, while he yells obscenities in my ear and I cry tears of shame and humiliation in full view of my coworkers. I shudder with disgust. How sick is that man to want to fuck a woman right next to her colleagues?! And why does he want to fuck me so badly anyway?!

Why can’t the crowd shut up? Who would want to carry a conversation at this hour? Stop interrupting my thoughts! Be quiet for a minute, just a minute, so my brain can rest. Why must we talk all day long, filling our heads with nonsense? I bet they just want to hear themselves over the sound of the train’s engine and the clatter of its wheels against the tracks beneath us. Their voices make me dizzy and nauseous, like they’re speaking through an echo chamber that amplifies every word they utter and turns every syllable into an insult that stabs deep into my soul like knives made out of nails. Their brains rot in their skulls while their mouths spew filth into the air. What have they done to deserve to be born into this world, to live their pathetic lives in this miserable country with its shitty weather and its ugly people? Please, let this be over soon.

And those two female office workers sitting in front of me look so placid. Their minds must surely be drifting away into dreams of lovemaking, while mine is consumed with thoughts of a horse’s obscene appendages that he so eagerly wants to stretch out towards me.

The train has passed Oiartzun, and again the view from the windows gets reduced to a succession of naked trees that have sprouted from the earth close to the tracks to expose their numerous, skeletal limbs like perverted alien abominations. Why can’t nature shield its hideous appearance at least when I’m forced to stare at it to distract myself during such insufferable rides? Instead, I’m being assaulted by its ghastliness every passing second as this monstrosity of metal rumbles along.

When we stop at Errenteria’s dreary station, with its graffiti suggestions for us to get out and for the fight to continue, the doors open and a bunch of people penetrate my carriage like an invading horde of zombies. Two Eastern European guys whose stocky builds and worn T-shirts and cargo pants suggest they work in construction, one of who sports a scar that bisects his left eyebrow, stare back at me as they pass by to find seats. My heart beats faster. Why the hell did they hold my gaze? What did I do to them? People always have to bother me even though I’m just sitting here, stewing in my misery. Just leave me alone, damn you!

They are gone. I shouldn’t need to worry about those bastards anymore, and I have to focus on finding a way to survive the rest of the day. My stomach feels like somebody has stuffed a fistful of sand down there. I catch the student gazing over his phone towards my work bag, that I placed between my seat and the glass divider. Is he trying to steal my bag? I barely put anything in it, I mostly carry it around because it soothes me somehow. Why does however is in charge of trains in this country force me to share my ride with a thief? Then I hear the muffled sound of my chosen ringtone coming from my work bag. After I reach into my bag to hold my vibrating phone, I anticipate the embarrassment of having to open my mouth and speak surrounded by all these strangers.

When I find out who’s calling, I nearly piss myself. It’s Jacqueline. The insisting vibrations of her call are travelling down my forearm, straight towards my nether regions. What do I do? I’m too nervous to talk to Jacqueline, especially after she provided such a stupefying orgasm in the shower this morning. But if I don’t take the call now, she might hang up and go away forever!

“H-hello…?” I say as I hold the phone against my ear.

I hear a muffled sigh on the other end of the line. I strain my ears to listen in on whatever she utters, hoping to retain every word.

“You know,” Jacqueline starts, “I feared you wouldn’t have answered, or that your phone would have been disconnected.”

I could taste the concern in her voice. She thinks about me when I’m away. I exist.

“Why would you think something like that?” I ask her with a dry tone that evidences my anxiety.

Jacqueline chuckles.

“Because you aren’t here? I’m used to seeing you sitting at your PC as I walk into our office every morning. So either you were sick today, or something much worse had happened. After you broke down in the bathroom…”

Jacqueline continues talking, but my gasp interrupts her.

“Wait, I don’t want the others to find out about that!”

I spoke too loud, becoming one of those annoying assholes who bother the other commuters by forgetting they aren’t sitting in their living room. A few stares land on my exposed skin, so I lower my head and cover half of my face with my free hand.

“I’m standing outside,” Jacqueline says. “The dawn is about to break, so that should be nice. Did you wake up today only to start crying all alone?”

I lower my voice to defend myself.

“I’m not that pathetic. No, my shitty old car broke down, that’s all. I’ve found myself having to rely on the train to reach our awkwardly situated business park, although I hadn’t gotten on a train for years.”

“But you didn’t call the office to tell you were running late, did you?” she asks with a slight French accent that makes her sound charming and childish.

“R-right, people inform others when they will arrive late to things…”

Jacqueline laughs, and I become jealous of how natural and effortless it sounded.

“Yeah, I guess you wouldn’t have called. So you are fine then? You’re safe?”

“I’m fine, other than the fact that adult life is an unending nightmare of indentured servitude to pay for the debt I incurred when I was born.”

Jacqueline giggles. I’m offended that she considers modern slavery a laughing matter, but I can almost see that gorgeous woman’s smile through the phone speaker. Her laughter is infectious, and I would have laughed if my heart wasn’t rotten after years of sadness and self-loathing.

“Alright, Leire. I’ll see you soon, then?”

“Who knows what might happen on my way to the office. I can think of many disasters.”

“Stop thinking of disasters, sweetie. Tell yourself that everything is going to be fine.”

Jacqueline’s voice is so warm and soothing that I’m inclined to do anything she demands.

“Because everything is guaranteed to be fine if I tell myself so?” I ask incredulously.

“Not at all. But it would lessen your anxiety, which would contribute to make you feel better. That’s what’s all about, isn’t it? Being happy and feeling good while we are still alive?”

That sounds incorrect to me, but my chest is hot and tight, and my breath has become shallow, irregular. The hint of melancholy in her voice had told me that she had experienced some dark times. I wish we could keep talking for hours. Jacqueline blesses me with her attention; it gives me strength and courage to continue to function as a person. And I’d do anything for this woman to hold me in her arms again.

I can’t tune out the conversations of nearby commuters, but I hide the legs of the three people who occupied the seats in front by covering both my eyes. I hunch over, resting my elbows on my knees. Jacqueline and I are alone in the office. She has stayed after hours at our workplace as an excuse to spend time in private with me. Or even better, she has invited me to her house, and she’s about to excuse herself to put on more comfortable clothes as I sit on the edge of her bed.

“Hey, listen,” I say softly, my lips brushing the phone. “Thank you again for caring for an annoying wreck like me. It means so much that you are looking out for my well-being. I-I want to repay you somehow, so…”

I can’t come up with any way to repay her that doesn’t involve me kneeling in front of her pussy. A few seconds later, Jacqueline remains quiet. I can’t even hear her breathe. I open my eyes and find out that the train is speeding through a tunnel, so the call has dropped. Why does this damn province have to be so hilly?

But as I slump in the chair and I take a deep breath, my body quivers from Jacqueline’s lingering presence. I close my eyes. For the rest of this journey, I’ll lose myself in memories of our intimate moments together.

As soon as I get off the train at the underground station of Lugaritz, I’m surrounded by fresh young adults who likely attend the nearby college. They walk around while they hold their phones. Some of them stop and chat with each other about their classes.

An unpleasant feeling comes over me, and I start to sweat and shiver. The butter yellow panels that cover this station’s walls, along with its bright fluorescent lights, remind me of looking into a fridge, and I’m one of the packaged products waiting on a shelf. When did I become someone’s disposable article, meant to be thrown away when they no longer need me anymore?

The nearby humans likely smell my fear of them and consider it an invitation to attack and devour me. There is nowhere to run away to now that I have arrived at this place of horror. The smiles of these twenty year olds are full of malice, but they restrain themselves from touching me in case they catch something contagious.

As I stand on the sidewalk outside the station, a few minutes after sunrise, I look down the slope towards a peanut brown building that features two parallel, vertical constructions that resemble blocky smokestacks and that may house the elevators. The business park where I work is in that direction, but how do I reach it from here? I should have looked it up online at home, but that was a problem for future me to handle. I better start walking.

The clouds look like they are melting into the sky as they fly by fast. I trudge past modern-looking, white and grey apartment buildings, a roundabout, and tall office towers that make me feel tiny. The October sun shines brightly on my face through the trees. My eyes are already tired and sore, and my nose is runnier than normal. My nerves are jangling around inside my body like a chorus of impotent monkeys. Everything is a nuisance and a burden. Why do I bother, in general? Why struggle through this life? I wish it all could cease with the push of a button.

I thought I had gotten lost, but I recognize an upward slope that I have driven along five days a week since I started working at this job. The reclined sidewalk is adjoined to a park with freshly cut grass, and that contains a playground where a few housewives are already playing with their spawns. As always, the moms ignore my existence because I’m not their biological child.

I can’t say I’m into kids, but that housewife life sounds like a dream come true. I would forget how this decaying world looks like at six in the morning, and a few hours later I would wake up, prepare myself a cup of coffee, and accompany my young child, whom I would have cursed with my anxiety and depression, down to the playground, where the kid would climb and slide while I would lie down on the soft, green lawn and let my mind drift away until I fell asleep. But I can’t do that, because I need to reach my workplace, which is why I’m pushing myself forward and up this hill as my legs burn unpleasantly from the lack of exercise, and I have to steel myself for the remaining hours of the workday, during which I’ll have to pretend that I’m a functional human being instead of an anxious wreck that wants to die.

Once I reach the plateau where they built the business park, I turn left and follow the sidewalk, passing by a wide variety of cars that are occupying all the available parking spaces close to the office blocks. The sun whitens the mirrorlike, wavy surface of the building that contains the restaurant to which Jacqueline had dragged me during a lunch break. Less than a minute later I’m staring at the boxy, salt white office building that contains my workplace and that was built to ruin my life.

As I hurry towards the entrance, a sudden movement in the row of multicolored garbage bins makes me stop. My body shudders at a sudden chill running through it as a wind blows from behind me. A dark mass is perched on the lid of the banana yellow bin. A second and a third mass slink up the sides of the bin to join the first entity. A fourth and a fifth mass follow suit. They are formed by a fluid substance that resembles tar. As if my eyesight was getting sharper, I can make out the shades that differentiate each entity as they coalesce to form one single black blob.

I stare at the mass as it shuffles in place as if breathing, and on the edge of my hearing I pick up sounds that resemble whimpers of pain and anguish as the creatures melt into a lump of putrid, foul-smelling sludge of despair.

Whatever. I continue on my way to find out what horrors await at the office today.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 9 (Fiction)

I dream of a white horse that’s trotting around in circles. Its hooves kick at the ground while its lace white mane flaps wildly about. Its eyes are large and round, and sad as if they often overflowed with tears that had been trapped within since birth.

The images disturb me enough that I wake up. I find myself staring back at a wide set pair of black, bulging eyes that belong to a horse’s face. Its ears are unnaturally long and drooping, and its lips are curled back as if sniffing something foul, revealing black gums, sharp, pointed incisors and jagged rows of gray enamel. A thick thread of saliva drips down its chin as if this beast couldn’t wait to swallow me whole.

I scream, but I cut it short when I realize that I know this horse. The silence returns to my bedroom, and I hear the muffled sound of my neighbor snoring away. I switch on my bedside lamp, which illuminates Spike’s unsteady body as he balances himself on his hind legs, swaying slightly like an old drunk trying to stay upright. The hooves of his atrophied front legs gleam dully. The horse’s stench is overpowering and almost makes me gag; maybe he shat himself while he waited for me to wake up.

I grunt as I prop myself on my elbows. My lower back aches as if a giant was gripping onto my spine, and I’m coated in stale sweat. Why do I always wake up more exhausted than when I went to sleep? How does that make any fucking sense?

After I rub the rheum from my eyes and I take a deep breath, I complain loudly to Spike.

“What, now you are watching me sleep, like some unimaginative pervert? You ugly pile of shit! I would call the cops if I could figure out how to explain your existence.”

Spike’s eyelids twitch slightly. His head draws back, making his elongating thread of drool swing. He looks bewildered.

“You were sleeping…?”

Is this bastard mocking me? No, he seems genuinely confused. A sudden urge to laugh bubbles inside my chest, making my throat quiver and my mouth twitch uncontrollably. When my laughter subsides, it leaves behind a feeling of emptiness, as if my soul had fled somewhere far away.

I wipe a tear with the sleeve of my pajama top. As I toss aside my blanket to swing my feet off the edge of the mattress, the alarm goes off on my phone. It’s six in the morning. Nobody should be awake at this hour, but I do it five days a week. I have to get ready and head to my garbage job that stresses me out so much that I fantasize about blowing my head off. As if the mundane routine of struggling to survive wasn’t enough, I have to deal with a horse that insists on stalking me.

“Are you doing drugs now on top of being a hideous horse?” I lash out. “You malignant spawn! You better not be messing with my mind, because if you infect me with your creepy thoughts, whenever I find myself with a hammer, you are going to be the first on my list of victims, got it?! Fucking horse-faced freak!”

I stand up. Spike’s atrophied front hooves click together as he struggles to retreat on his hind legs towards my wardrobe. His mouth is agape with a silent gasp. The grotesque sight of that stitched wound where his horse dick ought to be makes me cringe. Such an image will get burned into my retinas, seared into the deepest recesses of my brain cells. Life is an endless stream of horrors that never end as my mind is slowly eroded by the accumulation of stress and anxiety until it will be obliterated and replaced with the collective consciousness of the dead.

I intend to leave my bedroom and prepare a cup of coffee in the kitchen, but this goddamn horse is blocking my way out as if trying to prevent me from moving forward with the rest of my shitty little life. If it were possible for this abomination to follow me into my dreams as well, then I wouldn’t hesitate at all about killing myself, because I wouldn’t be able to handle that crap.

I gesture wildly for Spike to move aside.

“Get out of here and never come near me ever again, you filthy, repulsive creature! You are nothing but a piece of shit that should have died millions of years ago. I hate you for existing, and for ruining everything that is beautiful on this planet.”

I’m on the verge of crying already. My heart is racing as if someone was squeezing it tightly. I can’t stop seeing those horrid, bulging eyes and that malformed face. I smell his rancid, nauseating odor, and I can almost taste that foul, toxic saliva dribbling down his chin.

Spike’s nostrils flare as he inhales deeply, as if filling his lungs with fresh, sweet oxygen to fuel his hunger for human flesh.

“You are really mean, Leire,” he says, sounding hurt by my words and tone. “Why are you so hateful when we are just two lonely creatures who are forced to endure our own personal nightmare?”

My voice trembles as I reply, “Because you are a horse, a disgusting horse, and a horse is a horse whether you are a horse or a rat or a cockroach or a fucking monkey! This is reality, asshole!”

“I am sorry for you, and for everything that you are going through right now, but please don’t blame me for your problems.”

Spike lumbers away from the wardrobe towards the wall beside my bed. He climbs awkwardly onto the mattress as he places his weight on his front legs. This damn horse rests his head against my pillow, then he holds his long neck at an angle to look at me with his dark eyes full of sadness, which remind me of an open wound oozing pus and blood, even though that is impossible since horses are incapable of bleeding at all due to their lack of a circulatory system.

I shake my head as I stomp to the doorway, but when I stop and turn around to insult Spike some more, he’s gone. I feel bad for a moment. Perhaps that horse has no other choice than to eat human brains to stay alive. In any case, there’s no point in caring about the feelings of a hallucination.

In the kitchen, as I wait for my coffee maker to finish spitting my coffee, I keep smelling my unwashed body and the lingering stink of the garbage sitting in my trashcan. I hear the engines of a couple of cars as their owners head to work. While I lean against the counter to drink my warm coffee, I feel like a castaway left upon a barren island to rot away and die alone.

Once I take off my pyjamas as I stand on the cold tiles of my small bathroom, I avoid facing in the mirror the dark circles under my eyes and the stress carved in my face, but I check out my pale, skinny body. Despite my sunken abdomen because of poor eating habits, my tits remain nice and big. They’re my only pride, especially for someone who often fantasizes about breasts being crushed by powerful hands and mouths devouring them while they are still soft and pliant and hot and sticky with milk and cum. I fondle my tits for a bit until I remember that I must wash off the stale smell of my body, then head to work.

No matter how hard I scrub my skin clean with soap and hot water, nothing can erase what is engraved into me by that horse’s weird gaze or his stench. But while I shampoo my hair, I make the mistake of closing my eyes. The dark theatre of my mind was playing, without my knowledge or consent, a vivid picture of Jacqueline wearing that apple red, wrap dress that she comes to our office in from time to time, the neckline so deep that it exposes the black center gore of her bra underneath. Her raven black hair cascades over her shoulders and caresses her large breasts that the dress barely contains. She is also wearing pantyhose that are pulling and stretching around her shapely calves and thighs. My breath thickens in my throat as I stare at the mental reproduction of that mystery wrapped in a sexy package like a chocolate cake with whipped cum on top.

Jacqueline’s cobalt blue gaze pierces mine, and it sparkles with a maternal love and compassion that also radiates out of her soft, pink lips, so moist and inviting to kiss and suck on for hours. She must be a goddess sent from heaven to rescue a lost lamb like me from this awful world where everything is ugly and evil.

Jacqueline approaches me, filling most of the darkness, then she strokes my neck and smooths down my hair while she whispers sweet words to soothe my troubled mind. My soapy hands belong to her as she massages my sides, then wraps me in a warm embrace. Her tongue licks my right earlobe, then its slides down along the side of my neck until she reaches my collarbone, where she sucks at the tender flesh while her hand moves lower over the curve of my hips to stroke the skin between my thighs.

As I rub my burning hot pussy, I remind myself that I’m not masturbating about Jacqueline: I’m masturbating and Jacqueline just happened to come across my mind.

It’s always the same routine: my fingers slide between the folds of my labia while I imagine that they are the tongue of an animal licking the juices of another female mammal, until I cry like an infant when the tension finally dissolves inside the warmth of my cunt. This orgasm makes me fall into an exhausted stupor. Jacqueline’s phantom touch has been imprinted into every inch of my being and is still seeping into my bones and muscles. How I needed yesterday to undo the buttons of her blouse and cup those large orbs of hers for a quick squeeze or two! Now I would have gladly returned to bed, but I snap out of it to face the horrible suspicion that I should have left the house already.

As the water running off my body drips all over the tiles, I check my phone that I put on the sink’s edge. I should have left five minutes ago. Although I often masturbate in the shower, I had never wasted time in the morning arguing with a horse.

When I run down the stairs of my apartment building and I exit into the cold October air, my hair is still moist, but more importantly, my Renault Laguna isn’t parked next to the garbage container as usual. A neighbor has raised the lid of the container to throw away a bulging bag, likely filled with human excrement and rotting food scraps mixed with cigarette butts and used condoms. I look around frantically, but most of the parking slots are empty, my car is gone, and the only other sign of human activity is a young guy rolling up the rusted shutters of his garage.

I bend my trembling knees as I nearly tear my hair out.

“Where the fuck is my car?!” I shout aloud, since nobody can hear me anyway in the fog of this nightmare. “I will fucking slaughter whoever stole it! Fuck this shit! Fuck this shitfuckthisshitfuck this shitfuck this shit…”

Oh yeah, my car is gone because Spike ate it and turned it to mush! That goddamn horse has to go to the dumpster and eat half a dozen tires and rusty mufflers and broken windshields and a couple of hubcaps and a whole bunch of other shit to stay alive. Then I remember. Yesterday I abandoned my Renault Laguna after I nearly crashed while driving back home, because I was too busy thinking about Jacqueline and how good her nipples tasted. No! The car nearly killed me by swerving by itself into another lane, and cars don’t do that unless they’re drugged or possessed by an evil entity from outer space or something equally ridiculous like that.

I bet Spike ate my thoughts and memories to turn them into sickening hallucinations without asking me first and without giving me any warning whatsoever. He’s a monster! If there’s such thing as a horse god of the underworld, then that’s him for sure. Even though I was getting used to him and started accepting his presence, he goes and fucks me raw like a wild stallion.

What can I do now? I’ll take the train. That’s how I intended to travel around from now on, I think. But how do I reach the closest train station from here?

We’re Fucked, Pt. 8 (Fiction)

I walk down the hallway like a zombie while my mind feels numb and heavy as a lead blanket. I’m still trying to work out ways to delay Jacqueline from entering our office when I raise my gaze and find her waiting in the doorway, holding the door open for me to pass through first. I give up. I’ll resume my duties, and squeeze as much work as I can out of this remaining hour just to deduct that much stress from tomorrow’s workday.

To my surprise, as I type away at my dirty keyboard, my fingers move more fluidly than usual, although I feel as detached as if I had swallowed a couple of anxiolytic pills, able to concentrate on what needs to get done but uncaring of the sacrifices it demands of my fragile mind. But warm shudders make me tremble from time to time, and I have to restrain my gaze from wandering to my right, to ascertain if Jacqueline is glancing at me. I need those piercing blue eyes to stare back at mine with motherly compassion, to let me know that everything is going to be alright, that she can fix my numerous issues with her healing hands that caress away every pain.

Our boss leaves his office at a quarter to six and says goodbye energetically while he walks past our table. As usual, I pretend that I can’t distract myself from the lines of code I’m programming; acknowledging Ramsés’ presence might mean offering him the opportunity to assign me more work or to manipulate me into working overtime or accepting some of his sexual advances.

The workday ends, but I only realize it because my coworkers Jordi and Jacqueline are quick to get up to leave. I remain paralyzed, halfway through refactoring a small function, when I feel Jacqueline’s warm presence as she stands beside me. She puts her hand on my shoulder, which sends a tingle all over my body.

“No way, you aren’t working overtime today,” she says gently. “C’mon, get up.”

I nod and obey, although my body wants to collapse. Jacqueline rubs the back of my neck as she addresses Jordi, who is standing nearby. The intern eyes us with curiosity while he puts on his leather jacket. Does he know that Jacqueline had held me in her arms, and how wet it had made me?

“Don’t you think it’s time this girl gets some rest?” Jacqueline asks to our male coworker.

“Sure. I keep suggesting that Ramsés is working you to the bone. You should take a break now and then.”

“That’s right. Go straight home, Leire. Prepare yourself a bath and relax for an hour, and then cook a proper dinner. You need to put some meat in you.”

I only own a tiny shower, and Jacqueline’s suggestion filled my mind with images of dicks.

“Hey, if you give me permission, I’ll gladly leave for the day,” I say wearily.

I grab my work bag and I accompany my coworkers to the parking lot. The sun is already setting, and I narrow my shoulders against the chill of autumn. Workers from nearby office buildings are maneuvering out of their parking spaces. I glance at my Renault Laguna, parked in front of the row of garbage bins, and I recall that I’ll have to deal with my old car’s supernatural abilities.

When I look back, Jacqueline is contemplating me as she wears a smile with a hint of mischief. I feel that she can see everything, and that she is reading every thought that crosses my mind, every feeling that stirs within me, every desire that burns my throat with its intensity. This woman always seems so confident and sure of herself, as if she could do whatever she pleased with anyone, that it used to annoy me. I considered her a vapid bitch. But now that I’ve felt her touch, I guess I find her as irresistible as those twenty something year olds she seduces on any given weekend night.

“See you tomorrow, Leire,” she says in a confidential tone.

As Jacqueline turns towards her fog grey Audi, that is gleaming like it had been coated recently with wax, I realize that this woman had never bothered to interact with me outside working hours; the same way I was wary of her, I imagined that I irritated her in turn, and she couldn’t wait to lose sight of me. Apart from my hallucinations, anyone going out of their way to talk to me is a novelty, unless they intend to demand my expertise.

I step forward and raise my nervous voice.

“Thank you for helping me.”

My eyes dart around as I try to figure out what else to say, but Jacqueline smiles warmly. She opens the door of her car.

“I’m glad that I could. And I meant what I said. You have my number.”

I stand on the asphalt with my arms crossed as I watch Jacqueline climb inside her Audi, start her engine and drive off. After both my coworkers have disappeared, I realize that I had hoped for Jacqueline to offer me a ride, and for her to drive me to her home instead of mine. But I will end up having to face another night alone.

What is happening to me? I blacked out as I was driving home, a talking horse started stalking me, and strange black shapes appeared and faded away wildly as if someone was performing a shadow play from inside my eyeballs. On top of the nightmare that my life has steadily become, now I feel like a teenager with a crush, who can’t wait to find out what the object of her affections looks like beneath her business attire and makeup. But Jacqueline is right, I need a break. My mind is too fragile to tolerate a full-time job, let alone one in which I often have to work overtime. I should move to a tropical island and spend my days lying in the sun. I want to hold a big, round coconut in each hand and sip happily on their milk.

* * *

The night has already set in as I drive past Beraun. The only sounds are the popular songs coming from the radio in my car, as well as some traffic noise due to cars passing nearby at high speeds. Beraun’s apartment buildings peek out from behind canopies that resemble shaggy hair.

My mind is hazy, confused, and I’ve been tempted to swerve twice because cow-sized, quadruped shadows had crossed the highway in front of me without warning or sound. I feel, more than see, smaller black shapes floating in the air like fish in a tank. My heart is pounding, and a constant buzzing is rising in my ears as if an electric saw was cutting into them with every beat of my heart.

As I approach the tall, blue signs hanged over the road, which announce that I’m heading towards Irún, Hondarribia and Bayonne, in the blink of an eye my Renault Laguna has left the signs behind as if time had sped up. Although I take deep breaths and grip the steering wheel tightly, at random, the wild vegetation that lines the highway, as well as the cars whose positions I need to follow constantly, get accelerated as if someone was pressing forward on a video. My reaction time remains the same.

This dreamlike state of confusion, all these weird visions that are invading my consciousness without warning or rhyme or reason… Either the growing stress has triggered them, or maybe these are the symptoms of a brain tumor that will eventually kill me, if I don’t crash my car first.

I’m covered in cold sweat. I’m surrounded by cars that are rushing home from work. I want to take an exit ramp onto any secondary road that would allow me to park for a moment and take a breather. Behind the noise barriers to my left, and over the tortilla brown roofs of houses, the Jaizkibel mountain signals that it’ll take me about fifteen minutes to reach my rotting city.

My car suddenly accelerates, but I quickly press the brake pedal down. Did I push the accelerator pedal by mistake? I can’t tell. Although I can still make out the outlines of the landscape and the buildings, and the white lines painted on the asphalt, no matter how hard I try to avoid it, the distinction between reality and illusion is fading fast.

The steering wheel turns to the left under my firm grip, like a wild animal that’s resisting capture. As I try to correct the trajectory of my Renault Laguna, an enormous truck starts passing me by, hiding the view of the Jaizkibel mountain. I brake sharply to avoid colliding with its cargo trailer, which would have crushed the hood of my car, made it flip, and possibly caused the pursuing cars to slam into me. My body is thrown against my seatbelt with a sickening jolt. As I swerve back into my lane, I nearly crash against the guardrail that prevents us from driving off the bridge onto the woods below. The driver of the car following me leans on the horn, and through the rearview mirror I see him gesticulating towards me as he complains.

My hands are shaking, and I’m beginning to hyperventilate. I often fantasized about crashing my car against a pillar and finally putting an end to this nightmare of a life, but now I’ve become a public menace. If I continue driving, I’ll end up ruining someone else’s car, maybe injuring the occupants gravely, or I might run someone over. I picture myself realizing that my windshield has cracked and has been dyed red. I’d get out of my Renault Laguna and look back towards the corpse splayed on the asphalt, twisted into an unnatural shape, and I’d fall on my knees and bury my face, knowing that for as long as I lived I’d have to bear the consequences.

I open the window, and my eyes start watering when the wind hits my face. I have to leave my car. I slow down as much as the pursuing vehicles allow me, and I barely blink as I follow the road towards the next exit ramp. A few tears of panic run down my cheeks. While I ignore the shadows that pop in and out of existence, an eternity passes until I recognize an exit ramp that, past a toll barrier, progresses onto a two-lane road that nears the Txingudi mall. Soon enough I find myself back in the outskirts of my hometown. My entire body tingles uncomfortably as I maneuver onto a strip of parking spaces next to the graphite grey, modern building that houses the Café Irún restaurant.

As soon as I pull up and turn off the engine, it feels like a miracle that I have survived the journey. I can’t drive anymore. Hell, someone as deranged as me should have never considered getting behind a steering wheel.

I rub my eyes with my sweaty palms. When I open them again, a sentence in bold letters has appeared across the dashboard as if it were a sticker, and it reads YOU ARE BEING WATCHED.

I’m unsure how many seconds pass as my heart keeps pounding. My mouth is dry.

“I-is that you, Spike, you hideous horse? Or what part of my deranged psyche is talking to me now?”

The sentence disappears. I find myself staring intently at the plasticky dashboard of my Renault Laguna. I clench my teeth together to keep from screaming at the top of my lungs. I look in the rearview mirror expecting to see Spike’s horse face as he sat on the backseat, but those two seats remain empty like they’ve always been.

“If one of my stalkers is brave enough to show itself as a castrated horse,” I croak, “you fucker with the car messages should just pop up and talk to me face to face, pussy!”

Nobody takes responsibility for the message. A group of middle-aged men leaves the restaurant and part from each other to get into their cars. An amorous couple is enjoying the evening under the awning, sitting at one of the outside tables. Nobody pays any heed to the crazy woman, with possibly a bad case of schizophrenia, who is decaying inside her shitty car.

I shake my head. I reach for the handle of the door, but it has reverted back into a two-dimensional object, so my fingers slide over the surface. I’ve had enough of this car and its supernatural abilities. I go through the trouble of starting its engine, opening the door, then reaching inside to turn off the engine again. I don’t bother pulling out the key card from its slot in the dashboard. I’ll never get into this car again. Whoever ends up stealing it, and I doubt it’ll take long in this city, will get to enjoy rotating random objects with the car’s steering wheel, assuming I didn’t imagine the whole thing in the first place.

As I stand in the cold October air of this dark evening, my legs tremble, my chest is heavy. The nearby supermarket and car dealers look blurry, likely because I’m dizzy and I want to cry. I better start moving. I’ll either walk the entire way back to my apartment, or I’ll get annoyed enough that I’ll take a bus. Either way, tomorrow I’ll have to wake up before dawn and repeat this nightmare all over again.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 7 (Fiction)

I can’t escape, I can’t refuse to shoulder this unfair workload as the leading programmer of the only company that hasn’t discarded me because I’m a lunatic. Now that my mind has surrendered for a while to the nightmare that my life has become, it has ceased to struggle every time I stop adding new lines of code, so in what little remains of the workday I’m accomplishing more work than I had since it started. But my brain aches and burns from overexertion. Sweat is dripping down my forehead onto a keyboard covered in smudged fingerprints. My breasts and nipples are itching under my hoodie. My pussy is also on fire and needs relief desperately. I want to cry as I curse myself for having failed to masturbate before coming to work today.

As if inhabiting my festering body wasn’t enough of a punishment, I keep typing while I ignore the black shapes that dart in my peripheral vision. They are shadowy, indistinct blobs, the negative images of living beings whose absence has punched holes in reality, leaving behind pitch-black voids. Sometimes they approach me slowly like marauders stalking prey, but most often they appear suddenly, and shortly after they fade away. They must be phantoms created by my mind to torment me.

I hear shadowy whispers inside my head, I feel them draining more and more of my energy with every passing minute as if I were covered in leeches. This is a hellish world of shadows and nightmares, and it’s slowly killing me because that’s all I deserve. Nobody cares for me, nobody loves me, nobody wants to help me out of this hole of despair that is eating away at my sanity.

During a pause to wipe the sweat off my face, I look over my shoulder expecting to stare back at a deformed horse’s eyes, but that equine stalker has disappeared. Now that I think about it, I haven’t caught a glimpse of him since I exited my supervisor’s office in defeat. Maybe Spike was a manifestation of my growing urges to kick someone’s skull in, and now that I’ve capitulated, that horse has abandoned me without saying goodbye. I had complained so much about him and insulted him as creatively as I could muster, but that horse was willing to talk to me instead of treating me like a wage slave whose duties unfortunately can’t be automated. He treated me like a person worthy of respect, and now I might never see his ugly mug again.

My fingers are numb and trembling from stress. The keys are sticky and wet with perspiration and tears and snot and semen and blood. About an hour from the end of the workday, my mind is so worn down that it refuses to understand the lines of code I force it to read. I can’t think of anything besides how badly I need some release for this unbearable tension building inside of me. I need something real, tangible, and palpable. I need a dick deep inside of me, one thick meaty pole full to bursting with cum to fill up the empty spaces left behind when my thoughts are depleted.

I slip away to the bathroom, which is thankfully empty, and I lock myself in a stall. As soon as I have collapsed onto the toilet seat, I start shaking uncontrollably. A few tears trickle down my cheeks. The pressure from the built up tension causes it to force its way out of the small openings in my eyes.

I squat over the toilet bowl as if trying to dig out an impure substance that has seeped through the cracks of reality to infect my insides, and then I release a stream of piss as if a floodgate had opened somewhere in my lower abdomen. I hunch over while my piss hits the water, and the tears that run down my face drip onto the cold porcelain of the bathroom tiles. My body shakes and shudders with each sob, and my stomach knots up into painful cramps.

After I empty my bladder, I rest my elbows on my knees and I take deep breaths as I sniffle. The knot in my abdomen loosens somewhat. Once the last tear drops away, I grab toilet paper to blow my nose. I open the stall door.

I find myself staring at a pair of white, thigh-high stockings that are hugging two shapely legs. A fleshy bit of thigh is showing between the welt of the stockings and the dark grey skirt. Wait, I recognize these appetizing legs, and also the cream white blouse tucked into that skirt. The gilded buttons shine in the bathroom lights, as well as the pearly pendant that draws my attention to a large pair of breasts that I want to sink my face in.

I wasn’t ready to face Jacqueline’s concern as she observes my red eyes, my swollen eyelids, my tear soaked cheeks. My hands are trembling. I squeeze the tissue soggy with snot to control my pulse rate. As I walk up to the sink, I open my mouth to brush away my pain, but Jacqueline has brought a hand to her chest, and I see myself through her glistening eyes: a broken woman who’s barely hanging by a thread.

“I-it’s nothing,” I say under my breath. “It all felt like too much for a moment.”

Jacqueline smacks her lips. I turn the sink tap on to wash my face, but my coworker steps forward and runs her soft, warm hand across my cheek to comfort me. Despite her beautiful face and those pearly white teeth, she can’t hide her crow’s feet and the marked nasolabial folds that betray a lifetime spent smiling. I find myself leaning into her hand as Jacqueline strokes my damp cheek.

“Oh, baby,” Jacqueline coos. “It’s okay to cry to release your feelings, and there’s no shame in needing someone to talk to when things get rough and tough.”

I wasn’t ready for her touch nor for that soft tone meant to comfort me. A warm tear slips past my shivering bottom lip. I turn my head away, but Jacqueline cups my chin and turns it back. With her other hand she wipes the wetness from my cheeks. After she steps closer, she wraps both arms around me as if she was embracing a frightened child. When I return to my senses, Jacqueline is running the fingers of her right hand over my scalp while she whispers in French into my ear.

I’m overwhelmed by the snuggly feeling of Jacqueline’s embrace and her large breasts pressed against mine. Our nipples would touch if it weren’t for the fabrics that separate them. I bask in the warmth that radiates from her tits, those two soothing cushions in which I want to sink. They are breasts with a soul. I wish they would crush me into submission, that she would hold me tight enough that my ribs would break and my lungs would get punctured from the pressure of her breasts crushing inwards against my ribcage.

I raise my hands to hug Jacqueline back. My breathing has become shallow and rapid, and a shuddering sensation ripples throughout my trembling frame as my coworker’s fingers play with the hair at the nape of my neck. I take a couple of deep breaths to calm myself down, but it doesn’t work because Jacqueline’s scent is overwhelming, a mix of her perfume, shampoo, deodorant, sweat, and other bodily fluids, a strong aroma that makes my legs weak with a desire to slide down to her crotch and bury myself between those plush mounds until my eyes roll up into their sockets.

Jacqueline is so close to my skin that her bacteria must be jumping ship. I picture the millions of microorganisms that inhabit her vagina as tiny, pink cells squirming in a thick mucus soup inside of a gelatinous, fleshy pouch. Her vaginal secretions are a rich source of nourishment for those microscopic creatures, which multiply rapidly in a moist environment such as hers. My imagination takes flight; I can feel each individual cell moving within its own bubble of fluid, and I am seized by an intense urge to taste some of that delicious liquid.

As Jacqueline strokes my back gently with both hands and presses her breasts more firmly into me, I imagine her vagina opening up like a flower with petals of slippery jelly stretching wide and welcoming me into a hot steam bath of gooey juice. A tingle starts at the tips of my nipples, and it spreads quickly throughout my breasts and down my stomach towards the waistband of my pants. Then I feel a gush of wetness between my legs that threatens to soak through my panties onto my thighs.

Jacqueline coos, “It’s alright, honey. I know you’ll make it out of this alive because you have such an amazing brain in your pretty skull. It’s going to be fine…”

I sigh. I close my eyes and bury my face in her neck. Does Jacqueline notice how hard my nipples are getting? Are they digging into her flesh through our bras, my hoodie and her blouse?

I’m so cozy, like a baby in its womb. When was the last time someone offered me such a caring gesture? No one is interested in talking to a person whose head is a mess of strange thoughts and feelings they can’t understand, especially someone who is clearly suffering like a zombie trapped within a cage of its own making.

I’m feeling woozy as if drugged, and the troubles that had threatened to crush me seem lighter and bearable. I wish I could stay forever with this woman’s arms around me, with her breasts pressed against mine, with her warm breath on my face and her fingers massaging away my discomfort.

When Jacqueline pulls back slightly, signalling that the embrace has ended, my heart skips a beat, and I want to beg her to continue consoling me. Her blue eyes stare into mine with genuine concern.

“It’s true you work too much,” Jacqueline whispers. “I wish I could tell you I would convince our boss to hire someone else to help with the workload, even an intern, but he won’t. Most of it goes to pay the bills of this place so he can keep the miracle going. That’s just how it is. But you can rely on me, Leire, for everything. I’ll keep you strong, alright?”

I nod weakly. My mouth has filled with saliva. Jacqueline smells so good, she’s so warm. She’s a beautiful angel with a kind smile on her lips, ready to give me a shoulder to lean upon. A beacon of light amidst my dark days.

Jacqueline accepts my silence for a few seconds as I look deeply into her eyes. Then she tickles me gently on my chin, and leans in to kiss me on the forehead. Her lips linger on that spot just above my brow line, a kiss that sends a jolt straight to the base of my spine and a warm glow to my cheeks.

“You’re a good girl, aren’t you, sweetheart?” Jacquelines asks softly. “You just need a break, a vacation, or a boyfriend, and everything will be fine, won’t it?”

She must notice that I’m breathless, and how much I’ve blushed. I’m holding back the urge to shove my tongue into her mouth. If we were alone in this building, with no one to interrupt, I may do something drastic.

Jacqueline’s blue gaze dances over my countenance. The tip of her tongue pokes out for a moment before disappearing again behind those lovely white teeth.

“Ah, you are so cute,” Jacqueline says, then she brushes a lock of my hair behind my ear. “Listen, just do the most you can during your regular workdays, and then head home for your well deserved rest. If Ramsés can’t organize himself better, you shouldn’t have to suffer for it. You will do that today, right, head home along with us?”

Jacqueline’s gentle voice struck me with an unexpected wave of melancholy. I feel like a child I had never been, one that could rely on someone who would lend her a hand when she was helpless, without asking anything in return except for a little bit of love. I lower my head and narrow my shoulders. I have been forced to play a cruel game for too many years, pretending to be someone else than the child who once fell by the side of the road and never managed to stand up again.

My thoughts are muddled. Jacqueline reaches to turn the sink tap off, then she guides me out of the bathroom as she rubs my neck.

“Let’s go back to our desks now. You already have my number, right? You can call me when you feel like this and you want someone to comfort you.”

A warm sensation flows through the pit of my stomach while I rack my brain for any excuse that would keep Jacqueline by my side.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 6 (Fiction)

As soon as I enter my supervisor’s office and I close the door behind me, I’m struck with the usual envy that arises in me when I see this bastard’s workspace. I wish I didn’t have to work, but because I’m forced to, I’d prefer if I owned my own office in which I could sit with the back of the monitor facing the door, so I wouldn’t spend my workdays suspecting that my coworkers are spying on my browsing habits.

Behind the expensive desk made of dark wood, Ramsés, sitting on his leather executive chair dyed blue, was shoving a potato chip into his mustached mouth when he noticed I had entered his office without knocking. He calmly wipes his fingers with a tissue and closes the drawer of his desk that likely contains his stack of vending machine snacks. The early afternoon October sun is pouring through the tall windows and lighting Ramsés from behind, thinning further the already sparse hair growing out of the top of his head, making the graying strands look like the remnants of moldering straws. An enormous picture on the wall depicts the Pyramids of Giza, I guess partly because my boss’ parents knew in advance how big of a dickhead the guy was going to become.

Ramsés swivels his chair towards me and deploys a cordial smile with his lips and his thick mustache. I despise how this man stares at me, with a conspiratorial glint in his eye as if we shared some private joke, or sin. It makes my skin crawl.

“Leire,” Ramsés says. “Is this about your new ticket?”

I’m controlling my breathing, and hiding my rage behind a mask of professionality. Shouting at this prick as soon as I open my mouth would hurt my point. You can’t let them know you’re angry and afraid, they will use it against you and exploit you for what little value remains in your soul.

“Yes,” I say in a raspy voice. “I have to shoulder a whole new contract when I haven’t had the time to finish the previous ones.”

Ramsés runs one hand across his mustache. His nostrils flare slightly as if sniffing something unpleasant, then he purses his lips and nods a few times. He stretches his arm towards the stylized chair, made of matching dark wood and leather dyed blue, that is facing the front of his desk.

“Please, sit down. Let’s talk about this.”

He won’t agree to argue unless my ass is occupying his chair. When I sink into the leather, I have to look up at Ramsés, whose executive chair is raised partly for this purpose. His eyes are boring into me as he leans forward and places both hands atop his desk.

I wonder if the desk is hiding that my boss’ erection is protruding menacingly, and if he has coated the underside of his desk in years of dried cum. This guy keeps his suit jacket buttoned even when he’s sitting, and the buttons are struggling to contain his bloated belly. That body must be so hairy and sweaty.

I shift my weight uncomfortably in the chair as I force myself to keep holding my boss’ gaze.

“I’ll get right to the point: you are sending me way too much work. It’s stressing me the fuck out. I’m always anxious, but these past days I’ve been feeling particularly vulnerable, so I can’t handle this workload any longer.”

I had looked away to figure out how to word my point properly, and when my gaze returns to Ramsés’ face, I catch him ogling my breasts although my hoodie should be disguising most of the curves and bumps of my body. The sight of him, or any living creature for that matter, looking lasciviously at my boobs triggers a wave of anger that threatens to overwhelm my rational mind and cause my body to respond to it with uncontrollable arousal. This is the last thing I need; now my body is screaming that it needs to be fucked and filled with cum by a man, and because of that, my mind is urging me to spread my legs and accept a cock inside me. I frown and grimace, but Ramsés offers me what he likely believes to be a pleasant smile.

“I noticed that today you weren’t resolving your tickets at your usual pace. You are feeling vulnerable, you said? Is it just stress? Maybe you’ve caught a cold? It’s October, after all.”

My immune system has struggled for years; I survive on a diet of cold sandwiches and I suffer from chronic insomnia. However, unless the Chinese have fabricated a virus that can make people hallucinate horses, I’m merely losing my mind. In addition, my boss’ foul-smelling breath has reached over his desk and invaded my nostrils with the stink of cigarettes. I wonder how many cigs a human being has to smoke a day that his breath always smells foul. Maybe he smokes to hide that his normal breath smells like a sewer rat’s anus.

“No, I’m not sick,” I assure him, controlling my tone. “I’m stressed out because I’ve been sent too much work lately, and I’m frustrated because I can’t complete any of it on schedule. Ramsés, you know I’m even working overtime because I can’t get enough done during the regular workday! This stuff is too much for my brain to process anymore.”

I hate how whiny I sound, but if my boss didn’t want me to bitch about this shit, he shouldn’t send me so much work.

Ramsés rests his hands on the desk and he shoots me an aloof look. He’s probably thinking what a fool I am for having allowed myself to be trapped in a workplace where a stinky horse keeps talking in my ears for hours on end and fills my mind with worthless thoughts.

“Leire, you know I prefer that my employees refer to me as ‘sir’,” he says condescendingly.

My stomach clenches as I feel bile rising in my throat. This guy thinks that since his dick is bigger than mine, he’s entitled to treat me like a servant. He’s got no idea how hard and fast I could ride his cock if my pussy wasn’t currently stuffed full of a vibrator. He’s a piece of shit and deserves a punch in the nose.

“There’s a clear division of labor,” Ramsés adds, “and I’m the one who will suffer the most if this venture fails, not to mention that I’m paying your wages at the end of every month.”

As I stare through the shiny floor, I swallow the bitter taste in my mouth and try to regain control over my accelerated heartbeat. The murderous confidence with which I had burst into my boss’ office has fizzled out as if it had been a mirage in a desert. All that remains is my empty shell, into which I wish I could sink and disappear forever.

“You’re right, sir,” I answer reluctantly. “Sorry for calling you by your name when speaking about work issues. That’s inappropriate conduct for an employee.”

My voice had grown hoarse as I spoke, and the heat in my cheeks had spread to cover my entire face. Ramsés watches me intently with those creepy eyes of his as a shudder runs down my spine. He takes pleasure from making me squirm under his power, he enjoys watching me cower beneath his gaze and strain against my chains. He is going to take advantage and fuck me until he leaves me gasping for air with cum dripping between my thighs.

When did I cease to be a human being? My integrity had been chipped away concession by concession: by submitting to an inferior position within an organization; by agreeing to do things outside of my job description; by choosing to shut up when I should have complained; by staying around to work overtime when I should have refused to handle such workloads; by becoming obsessed with an unhealthy addiction—masturbation. Every time I woke up before the sunrise and got into my Renault Laguna to drive to the office, I should have stripped naked and run into the woods while shouting incoherently. Instead, whenever these days anyone touches me or talks to me, I have to fight the urge to fall to my knees in front of them like a submissive slut. I don’t know why I exist anymore.

Ramsés wants me to submit again by consenting to have sex with him, but he doesn’t realize that his cock is already inside me. His cum marks his territory. His will holds me captive like some kind of demonic possession. How far does this submission go? Will Ramsés fuck me so badly that I will be reduced to nothing more than an object of desire and lust for him? Is this submission an expression of gratitude towards him for having hired me at all, an admission of defeat, or a surrendering acceptance that Ramsés owns me completely?

My boss is smiling at something dark that’s inside my skull, a foul thing that’s eating at my soul like an infection. He’s the one who created this abomination, an eternal nightmare where nothing is real except for tormenting visions of pain and death. He’s a master at using his cock like an ice pick to stab deep into my brain. But I still need his greasy self, because he provides the money that allows me to live in this world.

When I dare to look back up again, Ramsés seemed to have been waiting patiently for me to engage him again, because he raises his eyebrows and sighs like a father who needs to placate his unruly daughter.

“Leire, I can’t blame you for feeling stressed. Everyone except the very rich have every reason to be worried these days, and most of the income I get from the contracts I secure goes to paying the bills of this office along with your wages.”

“What? But this place is tiny, and you only have two programmers, one of them an intern!”

Ramsés shrugs.

“Yes, that’s how bad it’s gotten,” he replies dryly. “The economy has turned sour due to the recession, and there are also too many competitors. Clients can easily hire a team from Eastern Europe that’ll give them a product for a fifth of what we can afford to charge. These are dark days, Leire. We can either accept the reality of our situation and help turn things around, or give up.”

I run a hand over my face as I take a deep breath. I’m getting dizzier, weaker.

“Sir, this new contract will involve me programming in Python,” I say in a voice drained of energy. “I haven’t touched that language in months, so I’ll need to read up on it on my spare time, but I lack any. I’m working overtime because I can’t progress in my tasks fast enough otherwise, and my weekends pass in a blur because I’m so exhausted I can barely do anything but sleep. This is just no way to live.”

Ramsés looks towards his framed diploma hanged on the wall, as if he’s considering my words, but when his dark eyes stare back into mine, they seem indifferent.

“You are my best employee, Leire,” Ramsés says in a calm but firm tone, “a great programmer, and I’m very grateful for your dedication, but life isn’t supposed to be easy. Achieving important stuff has always been a struggle. To be honest, I’m a bit surprised that you are having such problems coping with the workload, given your talent. That suggests to me that your personal life might be hindering your productivity. I know you return to an empty apartment. Do you socialize enough in your free time? You aren’t seeing someone, right?”

I let out a desperate chuckle. Even if I had a boyfriend, which is none of this bastard’s business, how would I maintain a domestic life when I work overtime most weeks, and by the time I get home I only want to sleep?

“In my free time? Did you hear what I said?”

Ramsés interlocks his fingers over the desk and leans forward with an intense look.

“When you don’t socialize with your colleagues or with friends, soon enough you get burned out, unhealthy, and emotionally unstable. Is that not the case?”

“N-no! Of course not!” I protest as I try to regain control of myself.

“What you need is some excitement and fun in your life, someone who waits for you to return home exhausted after a long, hard day at work, and makes you feel alive again. Isn’t that what everybody should strive for?”

I’m sinking into the chair as I struggle to prevent my hands from trembling. Ramsés must be convinced that people can put up with whatever bullshit life throws at them, and perform at high level most of the time. Maybe I’m the exception and most human beings just breeze through life although they complain and joke about retiring, while I feel like I have to wade through mud at every step. I’m so exhausted and sick of it all that I fear I may cry.

My boss is observing me silently, trying to figure out if I’ll break down under his gaze and become a quivering mess of emotions.

“Leire, you are clamming up again, waiting for me to just agree with you,” Ramsés says with a hint of amusement. “I think that you need to learn how to be more flexible and open to suggestions, and to face that most of the time things aren’t going to be easy. There’s no point being bitter because life is harsh and cruel sometimes. Just try to relax, loosen up a little bit. If you make the effort and keep fighting until you reach an objective, then eventually things will change. You are a good programmer, as I keep telling you, and you should feel lucky, even privileged, to be a part of this company. We are special in ways that I bet no other company in the world is. And you can rest assured that I will take care of you.”

My stomach hurts, partly because this guy keeps me on a steady diet of his shit and his poison. I’m forced to tolerate his foul-smelling breath as he dismisses my valid complaints that cause me weekly to consider throwing myself off a cliff. Ramsés must realize how miserable I am, and yet he placates me with that condescension. He’s verminous and vile, he is scum and filth and trash like me and everybody else on Earth, a sadist who uses and abuses everyone under him for profit. He’s likely also a rapist.

I want Ramsés out of my life forever, and preferably dead too. He will continue fucking with us because nobody will shove a steaming hot iron between his ribs until he screams so loud that the whole industrial park would hear him begging for help. How I wish I could get away with murdering him, or anyone I dislike for that matter. But alas, this is reality and nothing will ever be simple and nice except maybe for Ramsés himself and his ilk.

It feels like my skull is caving in, and everything inside is melting away like ice cream left in the sun. Soon enough there won’t be anything left of me but an empty husk of flesh and bones cradled by an endless void of nothingness. I picture myself leaping at my boss and pushing a knife into his heart while whispering to him in French, “tu n’es pas réel“. I envision him lying dead on a pool of blood, my knife sticking out of his chest, gaping holes where his eyes once were, and his eyeballs stuffed up his asshole.

I stare at my boss as I sustain a pasted smile. I loathe every aspect of the man I’m facing. I despise his entire species. I wish with all my might that the ground would swallow him up in a sinkhole of mud and vomit. I hope that the planet erupts in a fiery explosion as a result of the sheer magnitude of the anger built up inside me.

I struggle to speak due to how heavy and thick my tongue feels.

“Sir, maybe you could consider hiring a new programmer.”

Ramsés eyebrows twitch, and he shifts his weight in his executive chair as he studies my expression.

“You mean you want to quit? You’re quitting?”

“No, I need the money. What I meant was that you could hire another programmer, not just an intern like Jordi.”

A look of annoyance overcomes Ramsés’ clear intent to remain calm and in control. His lips curl upward slightly, revealing a glimpse of teeth, as he replies.

“I’d hate to lose someone as talented as you, Leire, so I’m glad I misunderstood you. Regarding your suggestion, I’d love to hire a second programmer, and a third, and a fourth. I’d hire a legion of them if I could! But I can barely afford the three of you with the contracts I can secure, so we’ll have to soldier on for now.”

I nod stiffly as I raise myself to my feet as if my legs had aged decades. I’m already turning away when I speak, but I regret it; now that I’ve exposed the curves of my ass, I suspect I’ll catch that look in my boss’ eyes, like a rapist who just caught a glimpse of a woman walking alone at night in a park.

“Well then, I’ll keep at it heroically.”

Ramsés leans back and smiles smugly.

“You meant it sarcastically, but that’s the spirit. We are in this together, Leire. Don’t hesitate to come talk to me whenever you want, alright? I’ll always have time for you.”

I can feel tears forming at the corners of my eyes as I walk out of my boss’ office and close the door behind me. I stand there unsteadily while my shoulders droop and a lump forms in my throat. My gaze falls upon the table where my coworkers sit facing my way, partly hidden behind their monitors. Jacqueline stares at me with curiosity, her pale face framed by smooth, raven black hair.

Once again, my rage had fizzled out as I faced my beastly boss, and now I need to restrain an intense sadness. I was born defeated. I’m struggling pointlessly through a life that only serves as a punishment for crimes I have forgotten committing.

The Shitty House at the End of the Street (Poetry)

Five days a week, sometimes six,
As the train carries me back home,
When I’m passing through Belaskoenea,
The train leaves behind an old brick wall
And a view opens of a working-class street,
At the end of which you used to live.

Every time, a hollow ache fills my chest
Because you will never be here again.

Their walls are dirty with downward streaks
From decades of rain releasing the grime.
I forgot in which of those apartments you lived,
But I had sat against the wall, on dried piss stains,
For the chance to hear you play the guitar.

I avoid remembering my past;
My brain bombards me regularly
With everything that I’ve done wrong,
Or that has gone wrong on its own,
So I don’t need to put any effort
To recall those series of painful moments
That involve failures and disappointments,
But nothing that feels like happiness.

Through writing I create new memories,
Which feel stronger than the real ones,
As if I were hacking into my brain
To take advantage of its primitive functions.

Even when I am at work, or trying to sleep,
Your ghost now haunts my desert spaces.
You make your presence known every day
By leaving traces on my mind.

I close my eyes and I return to that day
When we sat in front of each other in a restaurant
As we shared our first meal on top of Monte Igueldo.
I took a photo of you that I would have cherished
For a thousand lifetimes.

I remember when I woke up early in the morning
And I walked up to the second story of our house
To enjoy my warm coffee on the balcony
That overlooked the neighboring, wavy countryside.

I remember when I witnessed you walk down
Towards the library at Hondarribia’s old town
To join the attendants of a writing course,
And how proud I felt because you had dared.

I remember you sleeping next to me on a bus
That was taking us on an eternal journey.
I feel your warm hand in mine
As the sights of Cantabria pass us by.

I remember when we took a walk at night
While cold, thick raindrops fell on our heads.
We stood in front of a wooden fence
And we gazed upon the distant lights
Of an industrial city you had never seen.
Tears ran down your face, and you told me
That all the pain had been worth it
Because we ended up right there.

The back of my eyes burn
And I have trouble breathing
And I want to hide in the dark
Whenever I recall what I did to you.

In one dream, you and I were alone together
On this silent island floating through space.
We talked about our lives, shared stories,
And discussed how we could change.

Away from reality, away from the world
Where humanity gathers to destroy itself,
Those who live inside their imaginations
Are always alone.

My life has become a small room
Without windows or doors.
In this little cell of emptiness
There is only noise and pain,
And no one inside except an echo
That repeats itself over and over.

I’ve never missed the skin I got to touch
Like now I miss yours.

How much longer do you plan to stay?
Please, just leave me alone,
Disappear from this rotten world.
I can’t afford to keep crying anymore.

In the end, it’s a good thing
That you never existed;
Reality never got the chance
To ruin you.

‘The Shitty House at the End of the Street’ by Jon Ureña

We’re Fucked, Pt. 5 (Fiction)

Once the lunch break ends and the three of us return to our small office, the deformed horse is sitting awkwardly on my seat. As he pants heavily, he’s trying to balance himself on his horse ass while the atrophied front legs dangle. The horse turns his bulky head to stare at me with his dark, empty eyes. My anxiety shoots up as I wonder whether Spike had snooped on my internet history, but I realize that even if he intended to spy on me, his hooves are unsuited to handling a computer mouse.

I ball my hands into fists as my teeth clench by themselves. I stride up to Spike’s side and I glare at his drooling horse face.

“Get out of here, you freak of nature!”

Spike tilts his head slightly as if confused by my words. This damn horse seems drugged half of the time. It’s not only physically repulsive, but mentally disturbed too. I grab the back of my chair and shake it violently, sending the horse toppling onto the floor. He lands hard, and he rocks his body around until he manages to get up slowly onto his two hind legs. He limps away as he shakes the dust off his mane. I might feel sorry for him if his stench wasn’t this unbearable. At least take a bath in a river once in a while!

“Who are you berating?” Jordi asks casually as he sits at his assigned workstation.

Shit, I had forgotten that I share this space with my coworkers. I shouldn’t have accompanied them to waste a significant part of my daily salary on a combo plate that my intestines will struggle to break down. I can only regain my energies when I’m alone, but I squeezed most of my reserves on arguing with Jacqueline. Now I’m wide open, I can’t properly regulate my unhinged nature. And that horse is still lingering in the corner of my vision.

After I sit down wearily, I expect our intern to be weirded out by my outburst, but his thin, freckled face looks curious. He’s staring at me strangely through the lenses of his glasses, like he’s peering into a crystal ball.

“I have been infected by an acute form of schizophrenia for almost two years now,” I say with a stupid smile. “My condition is incurable.”

“And yet you can focus on reality enough to keep a full-time job, huh? That’s commendable.”

I can’t help but chuckle nervously. My mouth is dry.

“I appreciate that, Jordi. Nobody had realized how much I struggle to seem like a normal person. I guess I was normal enough until a year ago, when my entire family died in a car accident. Since then I’ve become a recluse. I spend every day at home, and every night, and even when I sleep, I am being watched by a horse that wants to become my friend. It has a strong stench and it’s constantly following me, and it’s deformed and castrated, so I can only imagine that it must be a demon.”

“I don’t know any demons,” Spike says behind me.

Jordi narrows his eyes and looks to the side to give my deranged outburst some thought. What is this strange elation warming my chest? I feel proud that I have opened up about the fact that I’m sick and losing my mind? I’m so exhausted that I must have slipped into my self-destructive mode, and I will eagerly pursue any path that leads me closer to my inevitable doom.

As I was about to apologize, Jacqueline pats me on my right shoulder.

“Sweetie, we are the ones who should have gone easy on the wine, remember?”

The hint of concern in Jacqueline’s voice makes me avoid her gaze. Her motherly instincts have glimpsed through my nonsense and spotted the black, rotten core of despair lurking beneath it. I straighten my back as I hurry to compose myself. I don’t want Jacqueline to be disgusted with me, for her to understand that my mind has been irreparably shattered.

“Do you want me to solve a couple more of your tickets?” Jordi asks me.

I shake my head and my hands, then I roll my chair closer to the keyboard.

“No way! You already help me too much, and I have to get used to this new world order. You are the one getting exploited as an intern while Jacqueline and I earn real salaries, so no need to burden yourself further. That’ll only lead to resentment! No, I’m more than capable of taking care of all my problems.”

My coworkers’ stares burn my cheeks for a few seconds as I scroll up and down my code in the IDE window. Please, don’t you fucking look at me. Just leave me work in peace. I need to catch my breath and center my brain.

Fifteen minutes later I’m sweating. My belly is filled with an unpleasant warmth as it struggles to digest the fatty foods I shoved inside me. My heart pounds with anxiety. I want to go home, and cry along the way. I’m so lonely. Nobody understands what’s going on with me, including myself. Why do they think that it is okay for them to just keep their mouths shut and look away when I am suffering? The people that were supposed to love me never gave me anything but pain.

Jacqueline is one of those. She is probably the worst of them all, because she can see right through everything. She knows exactly how much of a monster she has created in me. She is evil incarnate. She is trying to destroy me from within, but she won’t succeed. Not while I still have my sanity intact.

Spike’s unbearable stench envelops me. It stinks as if he was rotting inside his skin.

“You are exhausted, Leire,” he whispers in my ear, which sends a shiver down my spine.

No shit I’m exhausted. I don’t need a horse to tell me that. I want to reply to my stalker, at least tell him to fuck off, but I don’t want to disturb my coworkers further.

“I can smell your desperation,” he continues, “your desire for death, but you are not ready yet. We must learn how to live, or else we will remain forever trapped between life and oblivion.”

Spike’s words are like a bucket of ice water dumped over my head. How could a person live on if her mind has been crushed by madness? Where does my mind go now? There’s nothing left on this side of life except a pile of rubble and a smoldering fire that refuses to die out.

This is why people are afraid of horses. They might try to kill you one day if they are hungry enough to devour you whole. And I can tell Spike is always hungry. He smells it on you like an aroma of roasted meat wafting through the air at a barbecue party.

I’m sure this horse will continue talking and I’ll just bite my tongue, unless I figure out a way to communicate with him that Jacqueline won’t notice. I open a Word document, then I point at the blank page so my stalker realizes my intentions. Spike’s drooling chin is hovering close to my right shoulder. His breath is heavy and smells like rancid butter mixed with moldy cheese and rotten eggs.

“Are you writing me something?” he asks.

You are not real, I type.

“Hey, don’t say that,” the deformed horse complains. “I am very much real.”

No, you are not.

Should I relent? Would replying to Spike only make him more disruptive, as if I were acknowledging the ghost haunting my house? Maybe it’s better to pretend that he doesn’t exist at all, and let my mind focus on other things, like my work. But what work can someone do when they have lost all hope and purpose in living anymore? We’re all dead anyway. The world we knew has disappeared without a trace, replaced with an endless, empty void. What kind of sense would it make to keep going when there’s no reason for us to do so? A horse should realize that. All that awaits a broken mind is a dark eternity of nothingness.

“I know that I am quite hideous,” Spike says, “but I am still alive and kicking.”

Back when I was a child, I went on a school trip of which I only remember the moment when I passed by some horses hitched to a post, and the teachers insisted that we should stay away from the beasts. They mentioned than on an earlier trip, a girl had approached one of the horses from behind to pet it, and the horse had kicked her in the head, caving her skull in, killing her instantly. Ever since, I knew that horses were evil creatures hungry for blood.

A black shape darts by at the edge of my vision. I only move my eyeballs to search for it, but there’s nothing in front of me apart from my computer monitor, a pillar that holds the roof, and further away, the door left ajar that leads into my slimy supervisor’s office. My body feels sticky with sweat, and I’m hearing the faint echoes of remote, unintelligible voices in my head.

“We have to talk about something important,” Spike says solemnly. “We made a mistake. Few people know it yet, but it might get out of hand. A lot of powerful people would murder to get their hands on the wound we opened. You need to help us, Leire, or everyone may die or become insane before our eyes.”

My mind is racing as fast as my heart. I’m finally going crazy. I’m a danger to myself and to society. What can I do? I have always been broken, so this descent was inevitable. What choice do I have but to let this madness take over my entire existence?

I hunch over as I type frantically.

Fuck off with your horse nonsense! I’m losing my fucking mind over here. Stop talking to me at work!

“This may be an inconvenient time,” Spike says. “I’ll try later, then.”

I grit my teeth. The air that I inhale through my flared nostrils smells like it’s burning.

Horse, you are a monster, a disgusting creature, I punch on the keyboard. Go away and stop bothering me. You are a disgrace to horses everywhere. Get out of my sight and never come back. Your stench is unbearable. Ever since you arrived, I can’t concentrate, and my mind keeps wandering to all sorts of perverted things.

“Your mind was already filled with sexual depravity,” the horse retorts.

A bead of sweat slides into my left eye, and that cornea burns as I blink madly. The heat is unbearable. Sweat drips down my forehead onto my hands.


I am breathing heavily, trembling with rage as a wave of nausea hits me, accompanied with dizziness. This can’t continue any longer, or else it will devour everything around it and turn this office into an inferno of hellfire and brimstone, and maybe even destroy Donostia itself, and everybody who lives within its borders, and perhaps beyond its reach, and possibly this world and all of its inhabitants will cease to exist altogether, and this is why I am trying desperately to find a way to communicate to this equine abomination, this horrible, repulsive, and obnoxious monstrosity, this stinking stallion of unspeakable filth that has found its way into my life like some sort of foul demon.

I rest my elbows on the table and bury my face in my hands as I steady my breath. Has Jacqueline noticed how much I’m losing it? I need to be alone, I need to sink in the silent darkness by my lonesome self.

My computer plays the notification that I have received a new email. I freeze. Finding an unread email in my Outlook inbox is like someone calling me frantically because he’s killed someone and I need to hurry over there and help him dig a hole to bury the body before the police finds out about the crime. My adrenaline is pumping wildly, and my fingers are numb as they hover above the mouse.

The email is a Service Manager notification indicating that I’ve been assigned a new ticket. This one involves programming in Python and working on the client’s Django server, that is using GraphQL. I’ll need to automate SQL queries, fetch images, and develop a whole widget to upload images and to write associated comments. A new contract that my boss has secured.

I feel like I’m lying face down in mud while some jumps on my back. I don’t want this job. I want to go home. I want to curl up in bed. I want to sleep. I want to forget.

A couple of minutes have passed since I read the message, and I still haven’t moved. I’m staring blankly at the screen. My skin feels hot as if it were sunburned all over. When I finally lift my gaze off the monitor, it falls upon the half-open door to my supervisor’s office. Every time he seeks such contracts and he states the boss equivalent of ‘sure, my full-time programmer will develop this in no time’, he must be aware that he’s forcing a burning hot poker down my throat, and yet he continues doing so without remorse or guilt. Hell, he likely fantasizes with forcing something hot down my throat every day of his life.

I stand up slowly as I take a deep breath. My heart is beating so hard it’s painful. I’ll walk over there and make that fucker pay.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 4 (Fiction)

When our lunch break arrives, I’ve gotten used enough to a drooling horse looking over my shoulder that I have resolved a couple of my tasks, as much as I would have achieved in those cursed days when a migraine blindsides me. I look forward to spending an hour at my workstation eating a cold sandwich and watching YouTube videos. But my coworkers have stood up to leave the office, and Jacqueline places a hand on my shoulder.

“Come with us, let’s have lunch at the place where we usually go,” she says, slipping into a thicker French accent. “You shouldn’t be alone today.”

I’m deflated, exhausted, and a horse keeps staring at me. I may as well follow my coworkers into some tumultuous restaurant that will drain the remainder of my energies. I nod, then stand up slowly.

“How nice,” Jordi says with a smile. “I’ll get to spend some time with my senpai.”

Once we exit the office building, I’m careful to lag a bit behind my colleagues. I have shoved my hands into the pockets of my hoodie, and I’m squinting at the midday sun although it’s October. While we follow a walkway lined with leafy trees, I hear Jordi and Jacqueline laughing as they gabble. They make it seem so easy.

Our destination is a popular restaurant located in a building with a crystal facade that resembles a wavy mirror. The owners must be rich; they feed every worker in the nearby office buildings that doesn’t spend the so-called lunch break in front of their desk by their lonesome. As soon as Jordi pushes the glass door open, the din from the dozens that are already enjoying their meals threatens to scrape my nerves raw. The conversations are loud enough to drown out the clatter of cutlery against plates, but none of the patrons seem bothered by the noise. Most of them are either wearing business suits that look freshly ironed and pressed, or casual clothes worn with care.

The interior is decorated with panels of dark wood. A huge illustration behind the bar, that covers most of that wall, shows a team of rowers during some competition, the sea foam frozen and tinted yellow by the sunset, making it resemble a giant’s golden shower. The tables are homely, the kind you’d expect at your grandparents’ living room.

A cheerful middle-aged woman seats us at a square table so small that our plates will touch each other. Jordi and Jacqueline are regulars, so I let them worry about all the details. But even if we had come here for the first time, I’d prefer if they handled everything while I sat quietly. The world is a big game board and I’m missing most of the pieces.

As I peruse the menu, I have a hard time focusing on the options because I’m reflecting on the absurdity of spending a third of my daily salary on my lunch, and then I realize that I had forgotten entirely about my horse stalker. I shoot up in the chair. I guess the horse disappeared to wherever hallucinations go when the mentally ill originator forgets about them. Have I lost it so much that I can just brush off a bipedal, castrated horse that insisted on talking to me?

“What kind of wine would you prefer, Leire?” Jacqueline asks, seated in front.

“Wine? Is that what you do on your lunch breaks? I’m surprised you don’t get drunk and fall asleep at your desks.”

Jacqueline smiles widely.

“You’re very funny. We’ll get our usual, then. White wine from Álava.”

I’m unused to dealing with Jacqueline in an informal setting. She could pass for someone’s mother with that air of nurturing maturity of hers. And I’m trying hard to avoid plunging my gaze into the low neckline of her blouse.

When the waitress arrives to hear our orders, she glances at me with curiosity before addressing Jacqueline and Jordi in a friendly tone. My coworkers order in five seconds. I haven’t weighed my options, but I want to get through this lunch break as soon as possible, so I pick one of the combo plates. Jacqueline and Jordi continue their conversation while I hunch over, zone out and wring my hands. I feel like an outsider in a group that’s been together for years.

Shortly after, a waitress brings us a pitcher of water with a lemon slice floating inside, along with a bottle of white wine. She looks at me with a critical eye, which startles me. What the hell have I done to her?
Jacqueline pours some white wine into her glass, swirls the contents, then takes a sip.

“He was gentle and patient, and eager to learn,” she says as she lifts a corner of her mouth and narrows her eyes, pleased with herself.

“Who was?” I ask for whatever reason.

Jacqueline licks the wine off her lips and points at Jordi with her pinky.

“Jordi asked me about my recent date. A sweet young thing, fresh out of college. He even showed me his guitar and played me a couple of songs. He seduced me properly, although he didn’t need to bother! And he was a master of oral.”

I sigh, then shift my weight nervously. The images of a drooling horse get replaced with Jacqueline splayed on a bed covered in black velvet, as she runs her fingers through the hair of a kid who’s lapping at her juices. My pussy tingles.

“Is this what you guys do during our lunch breaks,” I ask hoarsely, “go on about your sexual escapades?”

Jordi pours himself some wine.

“I want to know. It’s entertaining.”

This is why I don’t go out much. Too many weirdos like these two. They’re just as strange as the stalking steed.

“You see?” Jacqueline says. “He wants to know, and I love to tell my stories.” She tilts her head at me. “Does it bother you to hear about sex, Leire? I didn’t take you for a prude.”

My stomach churns. Do not be fooled by her air of maternal kindness, I tell myself. She’s a predator, a vampire that thirsts for a whiter kind of bodily fluid.

“Me, a prude?” I ask in raspy voice. “You have no clue who you are talking to. I just hate that I’m not the one getting fucked.”

I regret my words as soon as they jump from my tongue. Jordi chuckles, but Jacqueline nearly chokes on her wine, then she giggles for a few seconds. She places her warm hand gently over mine.

“Instead of being envious, sweetie, you should get out there and seduce some guy,” Jacqueline says. “That way, we can both be happy!”

When she lifts her hand, my own feels cold. Her smile is now a sickening reminder of the horrible things she’s capable of doing, like making my crotch uncomfortably sticky. She’s no longer a woman, but a depraved crone.

“Maybe you should stop bragging about how many twenty something year olds you get to fuck, particularly when our intern is involved,” I suggest as my heartbeat quickens. “Do you want him to keep picturing you in sexual circumstances? You can bet that this horny little puppy is already jerking off thinking about you.”

“What can I say? If it gets him off, count me in. Isn’t that right, honey?”

“Hell, you could fuck each other if you wanted. One day you’ll end up doing it just because you may as well. Do you know how awkward that would make working at the same table? But go ahead, just give him a taste of what you’ve got down south! See what he thinks of you after that.”

Jacqueline giggles. She leans towards me and opens her mouth, but the waitress interrupts us to place our meals before us. As I stare down at my two eggs, three breaded loin chops and a load of fries, I realize my mistake: I’ve trained my stomach to survive on cold sandwiches, to the extent that my organ may have shrivelled. But the scent does make me salivate, so I’ll force myself to finish my meal that I will have wasted a significant percentage of my daily salary on. I reach for the salt and pepper shakers and pour a dash of black and white crystals onto my plate.

Jacqueline has ordered grilled fish with potatoes, bathed in a sauce that smells spicy. She brings a morsel to her mouth and chews on it delicately as she narrows her eyes at me. After she swallows, she wipes her mouth with her napkin, smudging her lipstick.

“Since you’ve brought it up, I’d be fine with teaching Jordi a thing or two, but he’s not interested. Ah, if only men were like women, huh? They wouldn’t need us to teach them anything. We’re all mistresses of lovemaking.”

I stop shoving fries into my mouth.

“Speak for yourself. Also, what the fuck, Jordi? What kind of relationship you two have? And what kind of man are you that you don’t want a sexy mommy like her?”

Jordi rests his elbows on the table and turns his palms calmly towards the ceiling.

“I’m just not into sex. I’ve never found it interesting on a personal level. I like hearing about Jacqueline’s adventures from a human perspective, you know?”

“No, I have no clue what you are talking about. How could anyone not be interested in sex? It’s the only way to reliably escape from the nightmare of being alive. Even masturbation is enough, most of the time, to make the pain go away.”

As soon as I stop talking, I feel the heat in my cheeks. I pretend I’m eager to swallow more of my eggs, then I wash it down with a sip of lemon-flavored water. A waiter walks past carrying a tray with plates of steaming hot meat. His ass is big enough that I’d fill my hands with it.

For whatever reason, I continue talking.

“Look, it doesn’t matter if you have a dick, a vagina, a rod, a strap-on, a cunt, a snake, a tail, a horn, or even a pair of wings. The whole point is to enjoy the act because it makes you forget that you remain here, and that there is a world out there in which people get eaten by wild animals every day.”

Jordi clears his throat, then pushes his glasses up.

“Anyway, I’ve been learning a lot about myself and my tastes since I started working at our beautiful company, but sex hasn’t entered the picture yet. Maybe one day I’ll find someone with similar interests, who knows. I’m not in a hurry to explore that aspect of life.”

My heart is thumping as if I just ran uphill. Jacqueline looks back at me and shrugs. She lifts the wine bottle and attempts to fill my glass, but I move her hand away. She pouts.

“You need to loosen up, sweetie.”

“No, thank you, you can get drunk by yourselves, which I’m realizing you have done regularly during the workday. No wonder you two assholes look so content all the time. If you keep drinking, you might forget that you are going to die someday, that your life is meaningless, that our company will eventually lay us off and we are too old to start over. Sooner or later, we’ll be left alone to face the rest of the universe!”

Jacqueline laughs, then she pours herself another drink. She studies my reaction as her lips curl into a naughty smile.

“You need to get fucked, Leire.”

My nostrils flare and a flush spreads across my cheeks. Jacqueline smirks. She must think she’s won.

I groan.

“How nice. I could have spent my lunch break watching prank videos of people farting on YouTube, but instead I followed you so you could tell me to get fucked.”

I take an angry bite of a greasy fry. I’m mad because she’s right. I want a good cock inside me, and I also want to rip Jacqueline’s blouse open and munch on her tits. But mainly I need to get through this fucking workday without losing what remains of my sanity.

Jacqueline takes a swig from her wineglass, then she licks the rim as she smiles at me again.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 3 (Fiction)

After the deformed horse talked to me, a nervous chuckle escapes from my mouth. My brain comes up with the notion of reaching for the imaginary horse’s coarse coat and poking it to prove I’m merely losing my mind, but before I dare to stretch my arm, a chill runs down my spine. I sense the evil this beast possesses. I can almost taste its putridity.

I turn towards the sink mirror, which reflects the impossible horse accurately. It may mean little; after all, my brain also made up that I could rotate external objects by turning the steering wheel of my Renault Laguna. Human brains are mysterious and powerful enemies.

The horse steps closer. A strong stench wafts up from its body. It reeks like rotten meat mixed with urine, feces and rotting vegetables. Its round, black eyes are boring into me through the mirror, as if trying to peer into my soul. I can feel the heat radiating from the bulky body, and I’m certain that if it got any closer, I would catch its raspy, foul breath on my tongue.

“My name is Spike,” the horse says in an eerie whisper. “I am your friend.”

I take a deep breath, then I splash my face with cold water to cool down my racing heart. After I raise my head again, for a split second my reflection resembles that of a bloated corpse decaying before my eyes. A large and gaping hole has opened over my nose, exposing an empty cavity where my brain once rested. I blink and the mirage is gone, but in those frantic eyes staring back at me there’s no sanity left to grasp on.

“You are a woman,” Spike continues. “And you are sick.”

I wipe away some water from my eyes. My hands are trembling.

“No, I’m not engaging with a non-existent horse.”

“Are you not aware?” Spike asks. “Your life is pointless.”

I stand straight as if preparing for a battle or to run away from a predator. Everything in the bathroom seems real except for the bipedal horse. How did a monster like it end up living inside my head? Why does it stink like a pile of garbage? Something must have gone wrong with my body, perhaps some kind of malfunctioning device installed in my head.

Spike takes another step towards me. His warm breath tickles at my neck. Every hair on my arms stands erect as if warning of danger.

“Leire,” the horse whispers again, and it sounds like a plea for salvation. “Please be with us. We are kindred souls.”

I lean towards the mirror and pull down each eyelid to examine my sclerae, then I raise my head to look down the black holes of my nostrils. It’s pointless; whatever is causing such events likely resides deep inside my mind.

Spike’s gaze remains locked on mine through the mirror. In its bulging, black eyes and its drooling muzzle I see a beast obsessed with the smell of blood and sex, and now it’s time to pay the price. I picture it grabbing at the front of my hoodie and pulling at the fabric until it tears, revealing the soft curves of my breasts and the pink nipples underneath. I envision its hot breath on my exposed flesh, my nipples stiffening and poking out at its touch. But why would this horse go through such trouble when its dick is gone?

I rub my eyes and take a deep breath. That’s enough. I’m a functioning adult whose life consists on resolving tickets and programming website widgets so I can earn enough money to buy food and pay my bills. This nonsense is just an illusion that’s about to fade away.

I walk out of the bathroom and march down the hallway towards my office door, but a rhythmic clicking of hooves follows me. My heart pounds as if it were going to jump out of my chest. I almost run until I reach my office, then I close the door behind me and lean on the frame as if ready for an assault. Jordi and Jacqueline are typing or clicking away at their workstations, and my assigned seat remains empty, waiting for my ass to occupy it.

I swallow to loosen my throat, then I walk to my seat and sit down carefully. I have barely rested my right hand on the mouse when I hear the office door opening. The horse’s stench reaches me before I hear the clicking of its hooves. Frozen in my seat, I roll my eyeballs towards Jacqueline, but she hasn’t reacted to the conspicuous presence of a bipedal horse invading our space. That’s good, so I’m just crazy after all.

I shake my head. I manage to write a line of code when I feel the horse’s eerie presence towering over me as it stands behind me, slightly to my left side. I swivel slowly in my chair and I find myself staring up at the horse’s round, black eyes and its horrid, gaping maw filled with its massive, drooling tongue and sharp teeth. The hooves of its folded, atrophied front legs are glistening in the light of the computer monitor.

Why a horse? Do I harbor a fetish for them about which I have remained ignorant? And if that’s the case, where’s the dick? Or is it a metaphor for something else? A horse is a mammal with a long history of domestication and breeding that started with a wild ancestor of Equus ferus caballus. It’s a stupid animal that eats grass and shit, and that can be exploited for transportation, war, and entertainment purposes. A horse is also an erotic symbol for desperate middle-aged women and pre-teens.

I can’t fault Spike for all that drooling; the trauma of being castrated is too much for any psyche to bear. Still, why should I have to deal with such mutant freaks? A weirdo like that should be locked up in an asylum, because its existence is nothing more than a curse that will sap the strength of anyone that encounters it.

The horse tilts its head as if listening to the sound of my heartbeat pounding at my temples. Then it lowers its head towards me. When its mouth open wider, displaying its yellow teeth, its hot breath warms my face. Its wet tongue slithers across my cheek, leaving an unpleasantly salty trail on my skin. It felt as if a bolt of lightning were shooting through my body.

I try to be calm as I turn my head towards my work, but I can’t stop smelling Spike’s stink, like that of a rotting corpse mixed with urine and feces. I’ve barely struck a few keys when the horse nuzzles its muzzle against my temple, and its coarse hair rakes across my skin like barbed wire. Then its rough tongue brushes aside my bangs and laps at my forehead like it’s an ice cream cone. I’m getting nauseated, but I can’t even shoo the hallucination off without freaking out my coworkers.

My hands are trembling, and I have broken into a cold sweat. I only notice that Jacqueline is addressing me when she rolls her chair towards me.

“Leire, you are pale as if you were about to vomit. Are you sure you aren’t sick? Maybe a fever?”

“Could be,” I say in a thin voice. “It’s likely contagious, too.”

“Hey, don’t joke around with such things.”

I give her a dismissive hand wave as I avoid holding her blue gaze.

“I’m fine. I just… I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately…”

I dare to glimpse at Jacqueline’s eyes. They are filled with pity and compassion for poor old me. She leans forward to stand up dramatically, and her breasts swell pushing at the buttons on her cream white blouse. They are begging to be fondled and sucked. After Jacqueline stands confidently next to me, she smacks her lips and pats my hair gently.

“You even forgot that you intended to get yourself a coffee,” she says, amused. “I’ll buy you one. Latte, right?”

I nod and smile wanly. As Jacqueline walks away from me, her fingertips slip from my hair enough to touch the skin of my temple. My heart flutters, and I barely contain a warm shudder. My nipples stiffen under my hoodie while I picture those voluptuous breasts swaying from side to side as the click of her heels fades away down the corridor. Fucking Frenchie, if you go through the trouble of disturbing me like this, why don’t you just shove your hand down my panties? Don’t leave me so horny that I can hardly breathe.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 2 (Fiction)

As I eat breakfast and then take a shower, I look out for possible black shapes scurrying around. None appear. After I get dressed and leave my apartment, the sight of my Renault Laguna strikes me as ominous, but as I fire up its engine, nothing explodes. Still, during the long ride to the industrial park located in the outskirts of Donostia and that contains my office building, I’m surprised that none of the functions of my car ruined the lives of strangers. I keep telling myself that I hallucinated every bizarre event that disturbed me yesterday. I probably didn’t even pass out. But I’m unconvinced, so I refuse to test whether my car remains imbued with uncanny powers.

At ten minutes to eight, I reach the street in the industrial park where I always park my vehicle. The buildings are blocky monsters of crystal, steel beams and patched slabs of grey and seafoam green to add some artistry to the soul-crushing activities taking place inside. Two cars are maneuvering to occupy spots in the parking lot to which I’m headed, but as usual I park in front of the multicolored row of garbage bins. I always feel at home near trash.

I turn off the engine, and I reached absentmindedly for the handle when my hand slips on the surface of the door. The handle has become a two-dimensional object again. My body goes tense as a feeling of dread seizes me by the throat. I feel an urge to run around while screaming incoherently.

I bury my face in my hands and take deep breaths. Alright, so I remain crazy. This world doesn’t give a shit that I’ve snapped, I’ll have to amass money anyway, if only to afford therapy again. Maybe there’s something wrong with one or both of my frontal lobes. That should cause hallucinations and other strange events, for sure. In any case, I have no choice but to play by the rules of these delusions until they’re gone.

Now I need to start the engine so the car will allow me to open the door. Once I step onto the asphalt, I stretch my arm to turn off the engine and remove the key card from its slot in the dashboard. After I slam the door shut, I straighten my back and breathe the morning October air. I’m ready for yet another exhausting workday filled with tickets to develop boring website widgets. But I’d get busy working on similar stuff as a freelancer, except that I would be the one receiving calls from deranged customers at odd hours. While I remain an employee at my boss’ company, he deals with all the clients.

When I enter our office in the second floor, Jordi is already occupying his workstation, a couple of meters to my left at the same table. He’s sitting there like a lump of clay waiting to be molded into whatever form his master desires, or maybe I just picture it that way because he’s our intern. His expression is vacant as he scrolls through a news feed. He’s wearing another copy of his chosen uniform: white shirt and black pants. I’ve never gotten used to him being conspicuously younger than me, and treating me deferentially. Despite his unkempt red hair, his glasses and his thin and pale face speckled with freckles, his movements are precise and confident, so maybe he’s got a big dick. I wonder if he would lick me dry if I ordered him to do so.

After I plop down on my seat, Jordi turns his head towards me and smiles.

“What’s up, Leire?”

This kid’s voice sounds almost musical, which likely soothes and reassures others whose brains aren’t this fucked up. I just purse my lips and shake my head, too disturbed still to behave like a normal human being. Jordi’s gentle gaze studies me.

“You look more worn than usual,” he says. “Are you okay? Are you not sleeping right?”

I pretend that I badly need to tidy up my workspace as I wait for Windows to load. To be fair, my desk is cluttered and messy, piled up with notes that I wrote while coding away in a trance state. Why does Jordi care, or pretend to? I’m just a random programmer that will one day either quit or get replaced by a stranger. But I guess that Jordi would also feign interest in the private life of my replacement.

“Yeah,” I say wearily, “I had some kind of breakdown last night and it’s taking a toll. But I’ll be fine. Plenty of tickets are waiting for me to resolve them, anyway.”

Jordi raises a brow, then leans closer.

“Leire, you work too much. You should stop and relax more often. Take care of yourself first before worrying about everything else.” He pauses briefly then adds, “And don’t forget to eat healthy food. Your brain is what makes your code sing, remember?”

My stomach growls loudly as I roll my eyes internally at his silly platitudes. I suppose he means well, but his advice irritates me, so I sigh and mutter only half aloud, “yes, yes.” Then I try to concentrate on getting comfortable until the damn computer finishes loading all the programs.

“I’ll handle a couple of your tickets, alright?” Jordi says.

The kid is browsing my active tasks on Service Manager. It makes me feel naked.

“If you want to do my job, knock yourself out, as long as I get paid the same amount.”

“You really aren’t in any mood today, are you?”

“To put it this way, if I had a gun you’d witness me opening a hole in my skull.”

Jordi snorts, then nods knowingly.

“Yes, the line is so thin, isn’t it? I could just grab a pen, stab someone in the eye and then my life would be ruined. Sometimes it feels so easily to slip over that precipice…”

The kid trails off and looks thoughtful, but I have given up on paying attention to my surroundings. I want to lose myself in coding and forget that my life has been crumbling steadily for years. I have barely revised yesterday’s work in Visual Studio Code when the characteristic clicking of heels approaches us from behind.

“Hiya guys!” Jacqueline says cheerfully. “How are you today?”

“Just the fucking worst,” I answer sullenly.

She laughs, Jacqueline’s default reaction whenever she encounters anyone who’s having a bad day. Her smile infects our intern, and likely brightens the atmosphere, but my brain is impervious to her influence. My skin prickles uncomfortably.

Jacqueline’s dark hair is pulled back in a ponytail. She’s wearing a cream white, low-cut blouse with gilded buttons, tucked into a dark grey skirt. A pearly pendant hangs between her large breasts, which are enticing enough to make most men drool uncontrollably, or me for that matter when I yearn for a mommy to nurse me back to sanity. Today her legs are also clad in white stockings that show a bit of her shapely thighs.

Jacqueline is carrying two cups of coffee. She sets one down next to Jordi’s keyboard, then she pats his head. After she places the remaining cup next to her keyboard, she bends over to turn on the radio that will play her preferred music until the workday ends. I get a good whiff of her floral perfume mixed with the scent of warm milk and sugar.

After Jacqueline sits down, I thought I would get to concentrate on my code, but her piercing blue eyes are staring at me. They look like a summer sky dotted with clouds of white cotton candy. They glow warmly; last night she likely milked a much younger guy dry. I feel like she’s rubbing it in my face, but I remind myself that our clerical worker is pushing forty five, evidenced by the wrinkles she tries to hide, and that none of those hundreds of men have settled for her childless self. In a few years, twenty something year olds will consider Jacqueline a middle-aged woman, so the available pool of booty calls will diminish by thirty percent or so.

Jacqueline narrows her eyes at me as she sips her coffee.

“So how’s it going, sweetie?” she asks softly.

Her voice, including that slight French accent, should clear away all of life’s troubles and woes.

“You know, just the usual nightmare,” I reply curtly. “Nothing special.”

Jacqueline’s lips curl upwards ever so slightly. When she studies me this closely I can’t figure out if I want to tell her to knock it off or if I want to shove my tongue into her mouth.

“Another sleepless night, huh?” she guesses.

I slept more than usual, likely because yesterday’s hallucinations and the general panic drained my energies.

“Not everybody can always seem as happy as you, Jacqueline.”

“I wish I could transfer some of my happiness to you, Leire,” she replies with a soft laugh. “But alas, that would require a miracle.”

In a couple of minutes my coworkers understand that I’d rather be alone, so they stop talking to me, but my hands still tremble as I struggle to get in the zone. How come these two are always at least content, anyway? How does anyone wake up at six and a half in the morning five days a week to come sit at an office to fray their nerves for hours, and then manage to smile? Everyone around me seems to be able to cope with life, while I struggle with every little task.

Jacqueline takes a sip of her coffee. She’s working in an Excel spreadsheet, entering numbers, copying data and pasting it elsewhere, changing values, erasing lines… She works slowly, but she’s very thorough in every step that she performs, and saves her work frequently.

If only I was programming a video game or a VR experience, maybe I’d come to work eagerly. I’m sure I’d end up crashing my car on the highway because my brain was brimming with exciting ideas to implement. But I don’t want to hear yet another HR employee telling me that she’s sorry, but that she doesn’t believe I’d fit in a team environment. Can’t I just find a job that doesn’t make me want to die? Is there such a thing? Do companies exist for people like me?

My fingers fly across the keys and such fragmentary thoughts fall apart. As the minutes pass, from the jumble of incoherent nonsense that life is made out of emerge patterns that I can comprehend. My brain operates faster and faster until the problem becomes manageable, a series of steps that lead me towards success.

I’m not crazy. There’s nothing wrong with me that can’t be fixed by medication or suicide. I live alone in Irún, that’s why I’m depressed. Without adding hallucinations, my city is hopeless even for young couples raising children, and I’m a thirty year old who expects to die alone.

I hadn’t noticed that I had lifted my gaze off my computer screen, and it has fallen upon my supervisor Ramsés, who is walking past our table towards his office. He’s carrying his laptop bag and he has dressed his paunchy body in his suit jacket and slacks, as if he’s coming to a fancy restaurant instead of to sit behind his desk and do paperwork and call clients. He smells of expensive cologne and soap. His mustache is trimmed so precisely that one could use it for shaving one’s legs, not that I’d ever want that ugly bastard near my bare skin. He looks like a parody of himself.

Ramsés catches me looking his way, but before our gazes meet, I hunch over and pretend that my code can’t wait. I get the feeling that he’ll call me into his office soon enough to discuss some details of my tasks, and I’ll have to tolerate his gaze slipping down to take note of every curve that I cover with my hoodies and sweaters. I wonder how often he strokes his fat cock while thinking about me. Maybe he pictures himself fondling my ass cheeks and pinching them so that I squirm and moan like a slutty whore. Or maybe he fantasizes about forcing me onto my knees and shoving the head of his dick deep into my throat.

Once Ramsés enters his office and leaves the door ajar, I take a deep breath and force myself to return my attention to the keyboard. I try to overcome the wave of dizziness that has suddenly overwhelmed me. Maybe I should see a therapist again, then drug myself with anxiolytics… No, they prevented me from thinking coherently, and from caring, and I need to pay the bills. So many bugs on the backlog that either myself or Jordi will have to squash. I can’t allow my swirling thoughts to distract me anymore.

At around twelve, I find myself rubbing my thighs together. I need so bad to masturbate. I worry whether my coworkers can smell my arousal. I should be able to rub my clit just a bit while I picture myself grabbing a handful of large breasts, firm mounds of flesh heavy with milk, their texture smooth and silky. Or a pulsing, veiny cock that fills my hand. I want to spit out a load of cum in a face full of hair, or into a mouth with wet, full lips, to feel the warmth of her tongue and her throat as she swallows the salty seed. Please let me climax, damn it! Anything to escape this hellish life, which has become too vivid to ignore any longer.

I slouch to rest my elbows on the table and cover my eyes with my sweaty palms as a bout of uncontrollable trembling threatens to shake me off of my chair.

Jacqueline’s caring voice washes over me from my right.

“Take a break, Leire. You are working too hard.”

“Thanks for noticing,” I mutter. “Yeah, I need a coffee.”

She smiles sympathetically as she bores holes into my eyes with her blues. I picture myself grabbing a black coffee from the machine, then returning to my seat, unbuttoning Jacqueline’s blouse and squeezing her breasts to sweeten my beverage with her tit milk. If we were married I’d spend most of the day sucking her tits while she stood at her vanity mirror admiring herself.

I hurry out of the office and down the hallway towards the bathroom while I try to steady my breath. I need to be alone. Could I get away with locking myself in one of the stalls and rubbing one off? Or better yet, I could dare to enter my supervisor’s office and tell him that I’m taking the rest of the day off because I’ve been having nightmares. He might even give me money for groceries or something. No, I’d rather stick around and remain miserable and horny than interact with that prick.

Why do I need to touch myself so badly? Should I eat something instead? Yes, yes, eat something salty and oily to lubricate my channel. I’ll think later about eating something, though, because now it’s all about nipple stimulation. Go ahead, suckle those nipples one more time, please! A little more pressure, a little harder, fuck!

After I burst into the communal bathroom and close the door, I wonder whether anyone will come in while I splash my face with cold water. I’ll also need to wash away the sticky residue between my legs. Any of the women from the neighboring offices may ambush me, and then she’d push me into one of the stalls, bend me over and shove her thick strap-on inside me while she squeezed my tits and her tongue lapped away at my ear until her strap-on shot plastic cum deep into my cunt. Afterwards we could lick the sweat off each other’s skin or go back to her place where she’d feed me her cream pie for dessert. That would definitely help me forget about everything for awhile.

My heart is pounding on my chest while I wash my hands and my face furiously. A stall door squeaks open slowly. I must have bothered someone while she was taking a shit. I casually look over my shoulder and find myself staring at the head of a horse, that is peeking out of the stall’s entrance. Its nostrils flare wide, accentuating long hairs that trail below its muzzle like whiskers. Its grey lips curl back to reveal sharp teeth and black gums.

I freeze as I gape at the vision. Its amber eyes lock onto mine as if reading what lurks within me. Maybe tired of waiting for me to react, the horse’s hairy hooves click on the tiles as it steps out of the stall. My heart pounds against my ribs. The horse is standing on its two hind legs; his front two are retracted and atrophied, like vestigial limbs, but the healthy legs aren’t adapted either for walking like humans. Instead, the horse walks hunched forward, and its hind legs move only enough to support the weight of its bulky body.

Drool is dripping in thin strands from the beast’s chin. There’s a sutured wound where the dick should be.

“Hello,” the horse says.