“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”
“When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
There was a scent that led me to you. I asked if I could study in your room. You let me in.
It was just before our spring break. I was, of course, already done with the assignment and asked if you wanted to take the night off.
“I really need to get ahead.” you told me.
You were drowning in papers—trying to write them while falling asleep there in the commons. We were taking the same poetry class. Our teacher wanted us to dissect what was—in all our minds—a glorified typo: Lighght
I found a way to make my paper about the Kishi Bashi album instead. It was easy to talk about it for three to four pages. I stood up, walked over, knelt down in front of you and undid your belt pretending to mishear what you said. You didn’t try to stop me.
It turned out to be a pleasant surprise for both of us.
I put you to sleep with my lips and I woke you up early to study. You did not fail your test the next morning. You even managed to find your own way of writing 1,000 words about just one.
I confess now, I thought you smelled naturally of licorice then, but I believe it’s actually anise. It’s not common knowledge, but on canine-kind it’s comparable to catnip. My nose is very good.
The following summer I was worried I would be turned away, but your parents were kind to me. They let me in. They trust your judgment.
I almost felt bad for you. This was your home. You even bought my plane ticket. How could you have known? And how could they? I was a girl in frumpy grandma’s clothes. What big teeth I have. There are scratches down your back that tell a tale.
The next morning, I went through your closet while you went for a jog. It’s your own fault what happened happened. I woke up pawing for your morning wood, but you skipped out on me.
The things I did with your clothes...
Like I said, I looked through your things. All of your things. I hope you don’t mind.
I discovered where you hide your condoms—and the panties I gave you. I found another frilly, baroque pair I didn’t recognize. They smelled of long-stale, dried petrichor. Perhaps an old keepsake—a relic you couldn’t bear to part with. I shouldn’t make assumptions about what belongs to whom, but that’s how it is: you let me in. For a time, I have you and reason to be jealous. That’s okay though—you have me, too.
I was done with your room, but I realized I was not finished. I wasn’t satisfied with your secrets alone and down the hall passageway I went—in search of more, in your parent’s chamber.
You almost caught me snuffling around then, after I found your mother’s noir playthings. I almost left one of them out for you. I would have hid inside their bedroom closet and watched to see what you might do with it. Instead, I quickly put it away when I heard you coming and entered their bath, drawing the hot water. I was wondering how recently your mother might have worn them, when I felt you press the point of your prick against the small of my back.
I’m not very tall. It isn’t easy. But we make it work. I stand on my toes. You bend your knees and get low like you’re lifting a jug to impress me.
The warm water makes you come right away. It still feels good to me, but there are pleasures I want beyond the wet slap of your stomach against my ass in the shower.
There are things I know you would give me if I asked. You’re a good Catholic boy, but you would genuflect just the same and take your communion between my legs—if I wanted you to. Lick my little prayer bead, like a kitten lapping milk. With the water running down on your head, you’d need gills to breathe.
What I want you to do, I can’t have because you have to ask me for it. But I would be anyone you wanted me to, and everything you’d never dream of asking me for.
I wish you would take me into your parent’s bed. I want you to fuck me while I wear your mother’s stockings and garter belt. I want to look up and see the face your father gave you wince with pleasure. It’s prettier on you the way you wear it. Your older sister looks just like you—you get it a lot—and if she had a y instead of an x, I’m sure I’d fancy him, too. It’s nothing personal.
These are the things that occupied my thoughts as I clawed my hand over your jaw and pushed your head back…back…under the showerhead. I went for that exposed throat. I started to maul your neck, and then finished—with a kiss.
You’ve disappeared now. I wonder where you’ve gotten to—why you’ve gotten out of the water so soon. I look over and see you toweling off. Watching me finish my shower. My hand spreads out to you then, paw-like. In disappointment, it finds the frosted shower door separating us—padding against your crude image. A shadow.
My own figure flickers before you like candle fire—across the condensed glass—in it belies another shape. But even if you could know both the creature and me—your idea of me would die then. You wouldn’t be able to reconcile them. People see only one of us—or the other.
You are just a blur yourself, but you look like you are privy to something secret—something I’m treating you to.
I ask you something like this, but it’s a question I already know the answer to. It’s something that’s been on my mind, even after my sociology class last semester:
Is it the passions we have and act on that makes us? Or is it our denial of them—our control—that we are to be admired for?
You tell me—all things considered—that you think it is a loaded question. You’d prefer not to answer. If pressed, though, you would sheepishly say it is the latter. You Catholic boys. You’ll be the death of me.
When we part—I say “when” for I know it is coming—with the end of our last year at the university—you will think I’m acting irrationally.
You will talk of physicians and necessary procedures, blame it on some wandering internal organ, or the moon, but it’s all you. You’re the spin-doctor.
You’ll spirit the memories of me down a narrow corridor to a gas-lit oubliette.
You prefer to keep me immured there. You’re the type that likes to forget, rather than remember. Of course, we all do what we must, but that doesn’t make it okay.
There will be a last time. A last time my world will be perfumed by your sweet musk. A last time my teeth sink into your Adam’s flesh—taste the apple of my eye. Be thankful I will not break the skin. I like you too much. Your parents too.
There are those who take one look at me and know exactly what I am. Those that cry words from an Old Country. The Old World: suffer not a wolf to live.
Sometimes I have nightmares that you will join them. Fall under their spell—embittered. Your family will be there too. Perhaps you’ll even lead them against me—holding the book, bell and lamp. I’ll hear those words from you too—you’ll all be chanting them…
“Burn the bitch.”
I shrink from those who would will such harm against me. Against my kin. Perhaps it keeps their sons safe for now. At least, until they have a home to wreck of their own. One they might invite her into—the wolf at their door.
For what is a wolf? Just a word—or a world I can be confined to?
A world that begins with the grueling application of dogma, then thumbscrews, proceeds in the pangs of my spine stretched upon a rack, and always ends—whether I’m judged guilty or not—with torches warming a pyre beneath my feet. Well, if it’s going to be that way, come on, baby boy.
"Spoor" was originally published in 3Elements Review Issue No. 12 / Fall 2016