Stories

HOOKUP – Rachel Lilim

You flick off your bathroom light, face dissolving slowly on the mirror’s tongue. Features melt to pale cut lozenges, dripping saliva. Flip the light back on -quick- before it swallows. In your hallway the walls sweat algae tinged condensation. Trace your hand along, feel it sting small cuts on the webbing between fingers. A voice on the phone tells you about a club you’ll be at later. Kitchen resplendent with a thousand splinters of light. Rest your forehead on the table for a while. Get dressed.

Clouds are the insides of a gun’s mouth, cavernous, rifled steel soft palate undulating, drool of hot thick rain. Voices telling you how gorgeous you are, voices offering you things that burn demons down your throat. Inside and it’s all shredded choirs and gabber kicks and daggers reflected off vacant sockets. AREOLE: letters malignant neon melt swaying plastic sheets. Downsampled organs like demons through grass, join sway of ecstatic flesh. Hands caress. Acid at back of throat.

Lock the bathroom door and stare into glassy eyes. Trace your cold flattened face with lacquered nail. Fumble your hand across the wall -don’t look away- and flick the switch. Dissolve. Ignore the knocks on the door, float in darkness. Flip the lights back on and smile into now vacant glass. Back out into the hallway. Throbbing brittle din, burnt out speakers. Poorly encoded conversations at the bottom of your vision. Everything compressed and fuzzy and whirling slush of faces. Shoals of flesh. A hand at your elbow pulling you out into fanged concrete wind.

“Erica” an offered hand phosphorescent, a metallic scratch, a flare of light, smoke. Eyes dawn before you, adjusting to the dark. “Looked like you needed some fresh air.” Lungs already smoke possessed, you can’t tell if they’re joking. Claw out a laugh, “Yeah it’s pretty awful in there.” nails pick at elbow. Gaze darting manic. They jerk their head, shower of chiming jewelry in your ears “You wanna..?”

Back through the club following, nearly pressed to their form. Razor thin moments of light strobing: the crowd, discontinuous marble friezes of ecstasy, sirens air raiding out from speakers; obsidian altars, bodies seeming to merge and split, limbs tangled and melting from one frame to the next. When you reach the exit you’re shaking, no breath to ask, just a pale hand into which they place a cigarette, slim and gray. Jade teeth when she smiles. The inhale coursing through your bones. “Your place or mine?”

———

-[overlapping voices. Incomprehensible, questioning]
-some club
-[choir crowds curious]
-Areole. I’d never seen her there before
-[impatient static, thousand hands motioning to continue]
-she seemed fucked up
-[you’re in a field. Cicadas / mocking / reproachful, run through distortion, piped behind your eyes]
-about something not *on* something, Jesus
-I mean..
-I don’t know
-both, maybe
-[noise wall plays good cop]
-yeah. just a hook up

———

Smile jade gleaming in the mirror, rustling in the bed. Girl from the club -Solv?- searching her jacket, back trembling softly. Water and searching fingers: through hair, cold tile, flick off the light. In the dark you’re alone. “You mind?” Her voice is feathers, rust. Eyes appearing in the dark, twin gold coins. a syringe glows holy, reflects off nervous grin.

———

-She was talking about her hands
-How her hands looked
-Like she was looking at them through water