Some of my first experiences with things dramatic were the horror movies I watched in the theater in my small hometown. In the summers they would feature all-day horror movie mini-festivals, the kind where the posters outside the theater warned in overly-dramatically fashion that these movies were not for the “faint of heart!” and advised in big bold letters that a nurse would be standing by to revive any theater goer overcome by fear! Ridiculous stuff, but as a ten-year old boy I went crazy for it and would pester my mother until she gave in and gave me money for admission, if only to be rid of me and have some peace and quiet for an hour or so!
The movies I liked best as a young boy were the Universal Studio classics like Frankenstein with Boris Karloff, Dracula with Bela Lugosi, and Lon Chaney as the Wolf Man. As a teenager it was the somewhat risqué for the time Hammer films starring Christopher Lee as a red-eyed, blood lusting Count Dracula!
Even my earliest memories of writing are of describing scenes from these movies, trying to recreate them (and the chills they gave me) with pencil and paper. It’s a delight that’s never quite left me, if the following story is any indication.
So, I invite you to my Sunday Horror Feature! There won’t be a nurse standing by in case you should faint from fear (there’s no real danger of that happening), but I will warn you that this story contains graphic horror elements and adult situations. Enter if you dare!
Scorpio – Jim Noonan
Dark is she, but brilliant! Black are her wings, black on black! Her lips are red as rose, kissing all of the Universe! She is Lilith…”
Lilith Ritus, from the German by Joseph Max
I met her in a bar, an indistinct lounge inside an indistinct hotel somewhere outside of Pittsburgh. I couldn’t tell you why I was there. I remember a suitcase and cleaned, pressed shirts like the memory of a television episode seen long ago, but fuzzy like a point of land on the horizon of an empty sea, something shrouded in swirling mist that you might be approaching or leaving behind forever. That is all I remember. That and her eyes. I remember them distinctly. Luminous and unfathomable, gleaming grey and silver with pupils as black as midnight, dead-black and empty.
She sat alone at the bar. I watched her drain one drink after another, her lips slick and crimson, her tongue licking them slowly as she placed each empty glass down and picked up another. I sipped my beer and thought of only two reasons a woman would drink like that–pain and longing. I wondered if I would become acquainted with either as I left my table and approached the bar.
I felt as if I were entering a dream. I know it’s mad to even suggest it, but it felt as if something, some force, was compelling me to walk across that bar. I approached her with a confident stride and smiled an easy smile. Her eyes met mine and I felt a surge of predatory cunning and my smile twisted into a sly grin as I sidled up to the bar. She appraised me slowly, her eyes drinking me in.
My mouth moved almost of its own accord. “What’s your sign?”
Despite the flood of all I don’t remember that night, those words are burned distinctly into my memory, uttered awkwardly, my voice adolescent and cracking, all the confidence I had felt just moments before gone. I sought anywhere to hide, to disappear into the shadows until our eyes met again and all thought of escape evaporated. A smile creased slowly across her lips, revealing perfect, white teeth. Her smile unfolded like the petals of a flower and her eyes radiated a strange light. I shuddered as they took me in. “Scorpio,” she said. “Sit. Buy me a drink.” She patted the stool beside hers and glossy black fingernails tapped gently against the leather. She swiveled her hips, shifted her legs, and motioned me to sit.
We talked for hours as I slipped into the easy cadence of her voice, peering into eyes that asked me question after question until I felt myself burst open inside. Memories sprang to mind, vivid and shocking. My ears rang hollow with the pain and clarity of them as a tear rolled down my cheek. She nodded gently and drained her drink, her tongue playing along the inside of the glass. I shuddered as electric fingers brushed my arm and she leaned her body easily against me and breathed, “Come to my room, lover. I’ll make it better.”
In her room, she eased me back onto the bed. “Relax. I’ll do everything,” she said. I started to say something, something about how much I had had to drink, not being able to… but her touch was electric, like sparks against my skin. Her smile broadened in a practiced way and I felt suddenly naked, vulnerable. She straddled me and pressed her lips to my ear as she slowly unbuttoned her blouse. “What’s your name?” she whispered, as the warmth of her breath filled my head. Before I could answer, she pressed an arc of hungry kisses across my cheek to my mouth. Her lips were warm and alive. I felt a bright burst of citrus as her tongue met mine and I tried to remember if there had been citrus in her drinks. As her tongue explored, I tasted stinging spice and a sharp burning sensation began to spread through my mouth.
“Relax,” she smiled and I felt myself go limp, my skin tingling with a numbness that danced like fire over my body. She worked her hips in small circles as she lowered herself against me, her eyes fixed on mine, her heat searching for the only part of my body still coursing with sensation. An electric shock of pleasure raced through me as her body enveloped me. Numbness danced like cold fire over my body, soaking deeply into my useless limbs. All sensation in my body seemed compressed, as if unseen hands squeezed and corralled every nerve impulse, rerouting them, amplifying them a hundred fold, a thousand fold, focusing them with an unbearable intensity on the one part of my body still able to feel, to respond, to eagerly accept whatever she might have for it. Her eyes hardened to a purposeful stare and she began rocking slowly, rhythmically, as if to music only she could hear, slowly pulling away then plunging down with a grinding, twist of her hips, her eyes always fixed on mine. Inside her I felt a magical smoothness like warm silk and a coaxing, persistent pressure, as if a knowing fist clenched and unclenched around me as she moved. A terrible surge built within me like a river, swollen and treacherous, abruptly channeled through a narrow canyon, angry waters roiling and churning, violently seeking release.
My mind began to drift on a sea of ether. The word ‘dead’ burst like a soap bubble inside my head and she startled, seemingly interrupted. Her eyes narrowed, the corners of her mouth curled down, and she pressed her hips down on me with all of her weight. The muscles of her abdomen began to quiver with some new effort as she lowered her face to mine as her fingernails dug into my numb chest. Her eyes searched deep into mine, boring like molten silver through wax, as the clenching and unclenching inside of her became maddening. An airless whimper bled from my lips and my eyes followed a rivulet of sweat trickle across the swell of her breast and drop silently to my chest. I heard her voice in my head, ‘Behold,’ and her long black nails raised crimson welts down my chest.
The filament of my mind sparked and broke free, jolting and jangling dangerously. My world tilted sharply and I saw our reflection in the mirror on the wall–her straddling my limp form, her haunches smooth and quivering, as powerful as a predator’s. Her body kneading me slowly into oblivion. And I saw in a strobe-like flash, her tail, glossy black and segmented, arching up from between her legs. I saw at its tip a needle-sharp stinger dripping liquid like drops of green honey. Her body convulsed in a final throe, crushing me inside her, and the fang of her tail struck with lightning speed between my legs. A shudder shook through my body, but I felt no pain only delirious shocks that coursed through me and a burning sensation that began to grow and spread throughout my body. I tried to scream as the fire of her venom emptied into me, but my lungs had no breath. I tried to close my eyes but her voice in my head commanded them open. I stared pitifully into her eyes, twin pale moons surrounding infinite black voids. Drawing me in, crushing me, ejaculating me into the silver oblivion of her eyes.
She is Lilith, who leadeth forth the hordes of the Abyss, and leadeth man to liberation! She is the irresistible fulfiller of all lust, seer of desire. First of all women was she – Lilith, not Eve was the first! Her hand brings forth the revolution of the Will and true freedom of the mind! She is KI-SI-KIL-LIL-LA-KE, Queen of the Magic! Look on her in lust and despair!”
Lilith Ritus, from the German by Joseph Max
As I lay here now in this hotel room, I do not know how it is that I can still relate this story. My belly has swollen dangerously in just the last few hours and in these preceding minutes I have felt–something–moving within me. I’ve seen it travel like a ripple under my taut flesh from one side of my belly to the other and I’ve felt a terrible swirling inside me. It is only moments now, I am sure, before whatever is to be will happen. I feel the tension, the pressure building. I sense the indomitable instinct of the thing inside me to be free. To be born. In one last burst, like hot, moist lips against me, I feel it again–her stinger–piercing me to my core. In a last orgiastic convulsion, I deliver the gruesome offspring within me and silently wait to expire as the crimson-smeared thing, crawling black and glistening from my belly turns its silver eyes to mine and begins to devour me.