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‘Are you coming with me?’ He spoke quickly— he was excited, sweat dripped from his hairline, and

his eyes were wide and glassy. His buzz was infectious.

I tried to keep him in focus, watching his eyes fidget from me to the others. If I didn’t

go with him, he would go anyway and then I would be left alone with them. They were standing

across the car park from us, falling around each other, smoking and shrieking. We were near the

doors— the thudding of bass was coming through them and entwining itself with the pumping of my blood.

He took me by the hand, his was clammy but I immediately recognised the soft, fleshy comfort of it.

I squeezed it with mine, my blood’s rhythm transferring through my fingers. He was pulling me

away but he turned back and laughed,

‘You always do that’. He was grinning. ‘You always squeeze me like that when you’re off it.’

He held me round the shoulders and drove me onwards, he was wet with sweat and his hands were too delicate, ghostlike almost, and quivering. Hardly touching me, he herded me forwards, his arms forming barriers to keep me straight. Periodically, his fingers pressed me in the back like a dog nipping at a sheep’s ankle. I could feel that the night was cold, the wind was sharp and I had left my jacket there— but I was warm, hot even. A glow of yellow light was spotting in my eyes and I felt as though I was bouncing— my heels wouldn’t touch the floor. My lungs were full of helium and where he pushed me in my lower back, there was a pulse of something like electricity. I watched the streetlights blurring and sharpening, mesmerised by the watery glow.

He took the lead, and I followed him obediently— I didn’t know where I was and he was walking

fast. I had to jog to keep up, and like a puppy being chased, he began to run too. We raced down

the street in a rattle of shoes slapping concrete. The night was slipping under my feet faster than I

could run, and I fell hard— a double handed clap, a high-ten to the floor. The stinging sound of split skin went unheard for the blood still pumping in my ears. As quickly as I fell, he had me by my scruff and I was up, running again, laughing through the heat of my hands.

As we reached the top of the park, where the hill becomes steep, we slowed. We scaled up it close

to the grass, beating the ground with four limbs. My hands burned. At the top of the hill, we stopped and the stillness we’d run into was torn by our throats struggling for oxygen. I lay on my back—and felt reassuringly heavy against the earth— though my head was still running, and I felt sick.

Searching for some light, I held my hands up to my face and blinked. Three blinks more and the moon washed them gently with silver. Concentrating hard, I saw the stones had made patterns on the parts of unbroken flesh. In the dark, they were colourless and the blood ran black. I looked at the other

side of them, half expecting to see a nail poking through, but there was nothing. I was shocked

when I turned to see him there— so still, staring at me without blinking.

‘Fuck’. He moved closer. ‘You’re bleeding’.

I felt shame then, and clasped my hands together, hiding the palms. The feel of each on the other was surprising— burning hot, slick with blood, and full of grit. He leaned closer and closer until I could smell sour whiskey. His eyes were closed and his mouth sank onto mine, moving rapidly. I watched him at close range, not a participant but an observer. He looked strange so close up, I couldn’t tell if it was him. His lips were slippery and his tongue was somehow cold. It jabbed at my lips, which gave way too easily. I put my hand to his face, I think to move it away, but he was rigid. His eyes were still closed and he had put his hand on my chest. It felt so heavy there and was pressing down, his fist clenching. I shifted slightly, hoping he would shift his weight too, but he remained still. I shut my eyes and saw an alpha dog standing square and proud over a bitch, her nipples long and pathetic, her womb flaccid and empty. The dog’s chest a pack of compact muscle, his tail erect.

I breathed deeply and tried to relax— it was only him after all—I was so dizzy—so pissed— but he didn’t notice, and kept his own rhythm. This close, I didn’t recognise him, his white face blurred then sharpened into a horrifying, lifeless being.

A trickle of panic trails down my neck and then floods my breast— this grey, deadened creature wasn’t him— that was why he wasn’t responding—he was a corpse! A bot! Dulled sensations snapped into focus, the earth felt heavy on me now and the sky looked so free— I felt as though I could jump off the earth and free fall into the galaxy. I was dizzy and sick. I jumped. Out in the sky, I saw everything clearly—the flesh on my breast was bruising, squelching through his fingers like dough. Or clay— I was being remoulded into some grotesque figurine, a Picasso woman! He moved his hands and my flesh obliged. My skin had lost all its substance and was melting— easily adjusted in his expertly careless, sculpting hands. I tried to resist, to be substantial, but I was warping, a photograph set alight— curling and distorting under his intense heat. My hot hand was stuck to his face, I moved it away too quickly, and ripped some of his cheek off with it, a hole left, jagged and deep with black blood seeping from its centre. Or was that my blood? He didn’t react, but I couldn’t see in the suffocating dark! I felt a stabbing between my legs, his fingers pushing their way through my weakened flesh. Always giving way too easily— I was being reshaped! He was still cold and damp, and his face was just hollow, black shapes set against waxy grey skin. He was biting me now, huge chunks of my neck, falling away to his bared teeth. Growling in my ear, he pulls at my legs and the dough easily tears, I’m a sharing loaf. I try and scream, but my mouth is pressed out of shape by his— my lips are a pulpy mess of boneless tissue— no form, no function. I try to breath but his hand has flattened my lung completely and it won’t inflate.

‘Are you okay?’ He asks, puncturing the silence— the whites of his eyes glowing in the dark. ‘Say


‘How can I!’ I scream inside, trying to form the words, my pathetic lips dribbling apart, blubber and

fatty lumps rolling off my chin with each attempt.

‘You’re fucked.’ He snorts and holds open my eye with a finger. I can feel the finger

prodding its way deeper— I can’t keep it closed, he is forcing it open and I know he is going for my eyeball too— quickly, I take up my own finger, it has been buried somewhere behind

me— I can feel the bone— the bone! My finger is solid, my last remaining bone…he is dogged and

unyielding… a memory flits across my vision and vanishes, but I know where to get him now, and I

push with all my strength with my one solid bone, and his flesh gives way so easily, too easily, one

more black hole in his face, but this one roars in agony. I remember now— the eyes are the

weakest spot of a predator— and as his blood pumps freely, I am running— running as fast as I

can to the thudding of the bass.

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