“Ready, babe?” The words left his lips unconsciously; he didn’t need to pay attention to a question -even one he was asking- when he wasn’t going to care about the answer.
She saw this and didn’t break eye contact.
That must have been a yes, because the very next moment he was all over her. The two knelt together on the floor without exchanging another word.
The silence was broken by his enthusiastic groans and occasional yeah. She kissed back, sure, but quietly. She tried to close her eyes, but would look him over with each peculiar noise he made, occasionally committing to an eye-roll before closing them again. He was an enthusiastic kisser in an uncomfortable and unpractised way; his lips stretched far too thin, and his skull pushed too forcefully against her own. The force and speed meant that, were his lips any drier, they’d have started a fire… and not in a sexy way.
His hands conjured an image of a climber scrabbling up a rocky escarpment, and she wondered if that was how he considered her. Now and then he picked at the material of her shirt, especially between her shoulder blades; she understood his goal, but wasn’t prepared to offer directions. He had removed his own shirt half an hour ago, about ten minutes after his housemate had left. In truth, she had always fancied his housemate, and only considered him to be a consolation prize, though not altogether unattractive.
She was about to call time on this disenchanting situation when, with no forewarning, a great wet globule shot from his mouth and splattered against her lips and teeth on its way into her own mouth. She choked a little, but he just kept on smooching. Fortunately, this newfound moisture made for a more comfortable experience, and he seemed to ease his taut pucker and facial bombardment into something more akin to actual kissing.
Okay, she thought, better.
A moment later, he was warming to her. Literally warming; she could feel an abnormal heat radiating from the skin of his face and fingers, most prominently from his lips and tongue. She tried to assess the colour of his skin from her current viewpoint over the side of his face, and where she expected a ruddy hue, he was strikingly more pallid than before. She knew what a loss of complexion and sudden fever might lead to, and pushed away from him, lest he suddenly vomited mid-session. She briefly considered the earlier globule again and grimaced.
“What’s wrong, babe?” he asked pointedly, his brow furrowed in accusation, because whatever it was, it wasn’t him.
He didn’t sound sick, and seemed pretty eager to continue. He used this break in the game to grip her by the shoulder and lay her down. He clambered over her (she thought of a mountain climber again and was disappointed by the less athletic man before her) and resumed kissing.
He was still disagreeably hot to the touch, and the earlier issue of a dry mouth seemed a distant memory to the swamp-like ring that was slurping and mashing with her own lips. Swallow, man, for the love of God!
The presence of his body was becoming an issue. He wasn’t overweight or anything like that, but she reckoned that he shouldn’t skip any more arm-days at the gym. When first he loomed above, he wasn’t inflicting any weight onto her, but now it seemed like his chest was deliberately trying to restrict hers from breathing, and with his newfound heat, it just was not a welcome addition. She glanced sideways to his arms, which oddly were not bent in the slightest. Were they shorter than before?
As though noticing her brief line of sight, his arm moved inwards and she felt his toasty digits walking walk down her shirt, under the hem, and them back up the side of her body.
A little dribble ran down the side of her cheek, and she closed her eyes tight whilst wiping it off with the back of her hand; it was thick and tepid to touch. She kept her eyes closed, semi-consciously, and continued to kiss the smacking oval of his lips with her own.
His fingers, now far enough up her top so as to brush the side of her breast, were stroking and prodding at her skin. After a number of gentle swipes, she felt his knuckles as his fingers curled down. How odd, she thought whilst his delicate scraping continued, I can’t feel his nails. From the motions against her side, he seemed to be scratching, but the familiar sensation of a fingernail and accompanying papery clawing sound were both missing.
She opened her eyes to see that his were closed. She braved another oh, boy of an eye-roll, but had to stop mid-gesture when she clocked his scalp. His hairline was receding. Not in the usual observation of, this man has a receding hairline, but in the peculiar and concerning observation of, holy shit, his hair is falling out in a receding tidal ebb, and I am a little freaked by this.
She reached up and brushed at her own scalp to find that she was removing tufts of his hair that had fallen onto hers. Her body tried to give a little gasp, but her lips did not leave his. They were airtight. Alarm shot through her body and she inhaled deeply through her nose before pushing his torso up away from her and blowing out her mouth to remove the seal.
As his face rose away, she observed that his eyes were not only still closed, but she could not actually tell where the seam of his eyelids were. A second later and she saw that his nose was considerably flatter than she remembered and his nostrils had closed into mere slits above his gaping mouth.
His mouth. Oh, holy fuck, his mouth! Where there was once a perfectly natural pair of lips that covered a terraced row of cream-coloured teeth, there was now a disgustingly circular maw, whose pale lips pulsed in and out in as though attempting to rediscover her face through touch. Behind them, his teeth had redistributed themselves equally around the circle, and sharpened themselves until they each resembled elongated canines. Viscous fluid shone around and within the mouth, and dripped down in stretching beads to her nose, cheeks and chin; she was suddenly conscious to the rancid stench of it, like milk that had long since soured.
Now she was able to give that little gasp, but it came out as a scream.
She reached up and attempted to push him away by his broad shoulders, but only connected with the very heel of her palm; his shoulders -once wide and attractive- crushed inwards and disappeared into his chest. His arms now seemed to shoot directly out the side of his body. Despite finding no shoulder to push against, she might have been successful were it not for his one arm that was still fumbling dismally inside her shirt. Because of this unfortunate anchor, her poorly-planted shove only moved him an inch before her hands slid off and he came hurtling back down onto her.
His lips closed around her mouth with an upsetting squelch. The force of the landing caused the rest of his hair to shake suddenly from his head and onto hers, like the leaves of a diseased tree in a hurricane. She screamed again, her cry lost within his throat, and shook violently.
She tried once more to push him away, this time landing her palms against his chest. She had expected to feel the firmness of ribs as she pushed, but her fingers simply grooved into the grotesquely pliant sack that was his upper body. She pulled her hands away, afraid that they might be consumed by the gelatinous membrane of his chest.
Unable to force him upwards, she pushed up on her elbows and rolled with all her strength to one side. His face did not disconnect, so as she rose, he rolled beneath her. She tugged his arm out from her shirt and flung it to the side, where it hit the floor with a splat. She saw that his arm was less than half its original length, and that the fingers at its end had squashed down to nailless wriggling stumps.
She pushed up against the floor, but his lips were glued solidly to her flesh and his mass came up with her. She could look turn away from the sight of his nostril-slits closing fully and his eyelashes and eyebrows dropping from their follicles. His eyelids no longer followed the spherical contour of his eyeballs; they were now indistinguishable from the rest of the sickly pale skin that bulged from his skull.
She needed to get his face off hers. She put one hand over the space on his head where his eyes used to be, and went to put another over his chin, but the chin was no longer there; it felt like his head now meshed undisturbed into the thick undulation of his swollen neck. She settled for neck and began to push with both arms.
He would not come free. She shook and shoved and shrieked mercilessly, but he remained attached to her. Her arms went weak, dropped, and hung limp from the effort. She thought briefly that, considering the abstract horror of the event, there was the distinct possibility that his flesh was fusing with hers, and that she would soon become symbiote with what he was becoming. The terror of the thought gave her new energy, and with a primal force she pushed once again at the face of the creature, anchoring the base of her palms at both its neck and brow.
The skull cracked and crumbled beneath the thick and squishy skin, and disappeared hurriedly from his head. It almost felt as though it were being sucked in by some churning force deep within him. She retracted her hands and exhaled another muffled scream.
She was on her knees and attempted to stand up, preparing herself for his weight to pull her down by its grip on her lower face. She stood up with unexpected ease, and almost toppled from bracing too much exertion in her knees.
Why are you so light? She shakily brought her hands closer together, hoping to feel his body and discover somewhere -anywhere- that would still contain bone, and thus easy purchase for another attempt to shove him off. She blinked and felt the sting around her eyes from the tears that had been streaming down her face – this moisture blending with the vile mucus of the man she had been kissing. Her hands finally found his body, though far later than she had expected, due to the fact that he had somehow thinned to about a quarter of his width.
Her scream broke down into heavy, uncontrollable sobs that heaved achingly between each sharp intake of air through her nose. Her hands slid far too easily down the form of the thing attached to her face. She was pressing gently as she went, in order to find some firmness in the bloated soft-carapace of his body. She was expecting to come across the hem of his pants, but instead found that his fleshy form coned off to stubby point around the place where his groin would have been.
His base squirmed when touched, and a freezing chill shook her from toe to fingertip. She wretched and began feeling a thick blanket of dizziness overcoming her.
Help, she asked the empty room, for the love of God, help.
The circle of teeth began to press and nibble around her mouth in a suckling pattern. They were sharp and threatened to pierce her skin with their hypnotic to-and-fro motion, like a wave filled with needles, gently stroking the sand of a defenceless beach.
Beaches… She thought in a semi-conscious stupor, her knees feeling less and less able to uphold the heft of her body and the slender, sucking thing on her face. Beach….
Then it hit her. Leech.
Some forgotten minutiae -a benign factoid in a primary school science lesson, or throwaway line from some sci-fi program- dawned on her, like a holy epiphany. Her eyes opened wider than ever before; she needed to find something sharp in the room, and quickly. This task was made all the easier by the fact that the head-space above the creature’s mouth had completely melted away, so that now the unholy mouth was the entire head of the parasitic monstrosity. It seemed to be shrinking, which was not good news, considering the pin-like fangs that were attempting to break through her skin.
Find something, fucking find something!
A phone, lipstick, a television remote, an empty pizza box, a cushion.
No, no, no, fucking no!
An empty beer bottle.
She fell to her knees once again, hearing the base of the beast splot against the floor, and feeling its surprise register in an awkward twist of its teeth. She grabbed at the bottle’s neck, raised it high, and then smashed it mightily against the floor. It shattered perfectly, leaving a number of jagged crystal edges protruding from within her firm grasp.
Now don’t hit yourself in the face.
Without giving a moment more to consider the absurdity of her last thought, she thrust the sharp glass shards into the side of the creature’s face, just below its hideous and merciless lips. A jut of hot, pale plasma shot out on impact, and over her clenched hand. There came a rushing sound like the sudden whoosh of a tennis ball flying past one’s head. The creature’s air-tight suction was broken, and it came off her face with an upsettingly wet gurgle and rasp.
She breathed in deeply, hearing how tight her own throat had become through the strain and panic of the last couple of minutes. A few effort-heavy heaves calmed her down, even though she could taste the curdled sputum left by the monster as it flew into the suction of her breath.
There was a slapping sound below her, and she shot her eyes downward to finally get a full look at her violator.
Writhing, half on a mess of men’s clothing, and half in a puddle of unnatural greenish fluid, was a thick worm-like abomination, like a maggot the size of a badger; there was no longer a single trait of humanity about him. As she watched it squirm silently in pain below her, she observed that the cavity she had punctured in the side of its head was closing up. No, wait… It wasn’t just the hole, it was the entire body. The white, rippling slug was visibly shrinking, and becoming narrower at a disproportionate rate. As it shrank and slimmed, she feared losing it within the folds of underwear and socks around it, which she carefully kicked aside.
Finally, as unexpectedly sudden as the transformation had begun, the being landed on the shape and size of a tapeworm, and altered no more.
Whilst watching the final moments of its metamorphosis, her breathing normalised and her nerves stopped quaking. A ticking of fluid at the back of her throat caused her to cough a few times into her first, which she realised still held the fragments of glass within it. She dropped the glass and checked her hands over for cuts. Nothing. She felt about her face and found no signs of cuts or marks of any kind. She was apparently -physically- unscathed.
She plodded up to the sofa and bundled her possessions into her bag, then turned and lurched towards the door. Her legs felt uneasy, but she had faith that they would at least carry her home. Tears continued to stain her face.
She paused for a second, contemplating the fate of the worm that once was a man, realised it was out of her power, then left.