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Desdmona's Erotic Story Contests
2005 Shivering Short Story Contest
Honorable Mention


Some storms are merely a nuisance; others are darkly ominous, eerie, lifting an innate terror that has been long submerged in fragile logic and the comforts of technology. Not until the gray hue of premature twilight descended did I consider either. A sudden gust of wind, tainted with fury, alerted my dog to an unseen danger. The silly animal bolted into the forest, away from the path we had been following, and vanished.

I scanned the wall of trees, shouting angrily, and fear of the swirling snow boiled up quickly inside me. I promised forgiveness if he returned immediately. No such empathy was in the storm’s sting; it slapped my face with icy cold. My footprints had already been swept away, as though I was a phantom traveler, drifting with the ebbing currents of white. Rationalization demanded I make haste, leave nature to care for its own, seek my own shelter; I could not. A distant whine swelled my heart with compassion.

I studied the blurring landmarks as best I could, going so far as to remove my scarf, winding it round a low branch, a splash of red inside the white. Then I plunged into the underbrush where confidence told me my pet waited, crying to a peril it had inadvertently stumbled across. Simultaneously the wind struck my cheeks, blinding me, stealing my breath. I groped for support, finding only a white nothingness. A shiver, more from panic than the inrushing of cold, told me I was not dressed appropriately to be stranded in this God-forsaken place.

As I fought to take air, an abject loneliness bore down on me. Memories, long buried, scrolled vividly before my eyes. An isolated childhood, punished for the crime of poverty, a broken family, scorned. Abandonment had left eternal scars. Relationships- those once perceived as love, comfort, protection- dissolved. Grains of snow penetrated my flesh, each of them miniature faces of those who hurt me; my limbs numbed. The father I knew only through photographs, the man who never knew me, had a voice in the wind; it said I was pitiful and pathetic; it said I was lost. A husband, absorbed with his career, was nowhere within reach. Pain wracked my body as I thrashed through the swelling drifts, searching for the familiar, not knowing where to turn. I squinted, hoping to catch a glimpse of the red wool of my scarf, calling out for nonexistent ears to please, just this once, hear my cry.

Only a drumming silence answered me. The memories, haunting as they had become, were too difficult to hold onto. Loneliness and fatigue were my only comfort. I wept because of wretched weaknesses and sunk under the weight of the storm, shielding my face, ice on both cheeks. No longer cold, I closed my eyes.

Then I was warm again.

I struggled to take in my surroundings. The wind screamed vainly at a distance. Sleet tapped menacingly on a darkened windowpane. Smoke from a fire wafted through the stale air. One lantern beside my bed glowed. A rug of musty fur covered me. I remained still, my thoughts and my vision obstinately unfocused. Yet I sensed I was not alone, confirmed by the tap of solid heels across a wooden floor. I could struggle no longer, succumbing to the widening void of sleep.

“What time is it?” I had been dreaming. Bad dreams. Running. Demons, their hot breath scorching my back, and I couldn’t move fast enough to avoid the double-edged claws that reached for me. If I knew the time, if I could see the bright digital numbers, I’d have a focal point and the demons would leave, as they had always done. There were no numbers, no claws, no demons. Only a lantern.

And him.

God help me, he was a vision of perfection! Thick black hair, streaked with gray, was brushed back from a solid forehead. The steely eyes beneath his heavy brow spoke of wisdom that only maturity could bestow. Lines on his weathered face were a map, if only I could read it, leading to paradise. An unspeakable lust surged in me, and the frailties I had always tried so valiantly to conceal bubbled up in an irrational display of tears.

“Don’t be afraid. It’s all right now. You’re safe here.” The baritone voice purred from a throat covered with a chequered bandana. My mind spun wildly to the sensual tone, the music of each carefully pronounced word. The pleasure it initiated in me was severe. My subsequent desire was to return the pleasure three-fold.

Embarrassed by the rising fantasies, I shifted. The body I wished to present to him ached. Still, I managed to lift one hand, to brush my damp cheek, and found my fingers tightly wrapped in a yellowed cloth. Alarmed, I asked: “What happened?”

He examined my feet; they were bound also. “Frostbite,” he answered.

My plight came rushing back to me. “My dog. Did you see my dog?”

He shook his head. His peppered hair was long, bunched on one shoulder with a leather strap. A medieval lord. Me, a damsel in distress. The one-roomed cabin his castle. “I’m sorry,” I said aloud, as though he read my childish thoughts.

“Sit up,” he said, his hand helping me to do so. Once a blanket was folded against the cast iron headboard, he motioned for me to lean back. “Drink this.” I was presented with a tin cup and tasted the tepid contents- coffee- laced with alcohol. He pulled a three-legged stool beside the bed, interlinked his fingers, and waited, for what I suspected should be an explanation for my getting lost. An explanation I could not give.

“Where am I?” We had bought waterfront property, my husband and I, and I couldn’t remember the estate agent saying anything about neighbors. The forest at the base of the mountains was thick; the trail I used for pleasant walks was an old wood road. Hunters had used it for years, we were told. And there was something mentioned about silver mines and rambunctious miners a century ago.

He stared at his hands without answering. Not that it mattered.

I sipped more of the drink, enjoying the warm sensation of liquid to my gullet, luxuriating in the company, an instinctive feminine response to being safe.

“Could you at least tell me your name?”

His black eyes snapped into me, evoking a surge that rippled down my spine. “Jack Mortimer McCrae.” He kept those eyes on me as though the name should have implication. It didn’t.

I smiled behind the cup held next to my chin. “Do your friends call you Jack or Mortimer?”

“I don’t got friends.” Briskly he stood up, rubbing his fingers. “Jack,” he said, barely a whisper. “You call me Jack.”

I was touched by his shyness. And saddened by his apparent loneliness. Seemed we had this in common. “I’m Carolyn. My friends call me Carrie.”

He dipped his chin, pausing to think. “Carolyn. That’s the First Lady’s name,” he said softly.

I laughed. “Not since 1889.” Odd, those useless pieces of trivia one remembers from school.

Fury rattled the door; wind whistled through a crack. I shivered, even though I was thoroughly warmed by the fire and the alcohol. He strode across the room, poured himself the same drink he had given to me and returned to sit by my side on the bed.

I was pleased for the closeness and alarmed by it as well. The silence wasn’t helping. “Thank you,” I said, shifting again. “If not for you I might have frozen to death out there.”

He drank. An askew glance alerted me to seriousness. “Carolyn. Do I please you?”

I puffed another short laugh. My intention was not to cause embarrassment. The question took me off guard. His spine stiffened. “I’m married,” I said, half apologetically.

“Not no more.”

Despite the sensual feelings I had earlier entertained, I was a little frightened by his stern comment. I chose to ignore it. “He’ll be looking for me, once the storm is over.”

“Do I please you?”

It occurred to me now that this man had been out here for ages without company. Without a woman. One good deed deserves another. Another. Six months ago, in the city. The affair. Passionate, severe. The reason we had moved. An attempt to patch our marriage. A way to keep me isolated. Escape the scandal. Wagging tongues. My sins came rushing back, too many to count.

“Yes,” I answered truthfully. “You please me.”

A corner of his mouth twitched to a smile and was gone. “I want you to know I didn’t do what they said.” He became increasingly agitated. “It were all a lie.” His eyes darted quickly around the room.

“I don’t know what you’re ... ”

“She were real pretty, like you, but ... ” He dug the heel of each hand into his knees. “I only did what she were asking me to do. She came here and said things. I weren’t looking for no one. She came here. It were an accident.”

“Jack. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t care.” Curiosity niggled, despite my comment. The couple who had the waterfront property before us left suddenly. No reason was given. My lurid imagination filled in the gaps. Frustration. Wantonness. The discovery of a rugged eccentric man. The dreaded ‘affair’?

He studied me. Relief washed over his creviced cheeks. “You believe me?”

“I believe you.” I had nothing to lose. We both had skeletons. Who was I to judge?

The ball in his throat bounced beneath the bandana. His eyes had watered. “It’s been a long time for me.”

“Me, too.”

He squinted. Disbelief.

This I could explain. “I cheated on my husband. I tried to keep it hidden, but he found out. We’re still married. Well, on paper anyway. Things between us have never been quite the same.” Things. Loaded connotation.

“They hang him?”

“No,” I laughed. “Infidelity has consequences, but it’s not a hanging offense.” I wondered silently why he’d ask such a question.

“You a whore?”

My smile remained, shielding shock. I assured myself his belligerent question was rooted in years of a self-imposed and unforgiving existence. Social niceties were an anomaly unknown in this desolate place. Yet it was a title I had been called. That and worse. I had taken the assault as due punishment for my crime. “I prefer adulteress,” I answered weakly. Adulteress had a mythical ring to it, like Goddess, or Temptress, my pathetic attempt to regain a thin strand of dignity.

A pause lingered. “You won’t cheat on me,” he said finally.

“Not as long as the snow keeps falling.” Stupid joke. I never handled alcohol well. This was no exception. My humor fell on deaf ears. His stoic expression was etched in stone.

“Been a long time for me,” he repeated, raking a feral gaze over my body, one that woke my dormant desire to sin, a conscious need to be possessed. I had come close to death. There was no shame in needing to taste life, here in this warm room, cushioned by a relentless storm, dissolving reality. In the entire world, at this time and place, it was just me, and him.

I ached for more than just his gaze. What creature awoke in me, I could not envision. If he wanted a whore, I would be a whore. Anything, as long as it meant passion.

“Jack.” Even his name was solid, untamed. I folded forward, dropping the empty cup to the floor. The bandages on my hands kept me from feeling his fingers. We watched, together, as I guided his touch to my breast. Tentacles of heat radiated from the massage. Through the thin cashmere he cupped me in his palm, thumb stroking one curve. He winced, features contorting to painful ecstasy. The storm outside was a summer’s breeze compared to what was about to rupture within the confines of our mutual fervor.

It was surprising to me that instead of roughly accepting my flirtatious intimation, he slowly lowered a cheek to my cleavage and convulsed to the release of tears. I coddled his head, rocking maternal comfort. The child inside, submitting to feminine comforts, my mind raced with wild visions of sexual prowess. I wanted him more, blinded by a longing to absorb his body, his mind, and soul. “Baby boy,” I cooed, my lips on his smoke-scented hair. “I’m here for you now.”

He burst from my embrace, the child swallowed by a demon. “God-damned right you are.” He sneered, eyes wide, fingers gnarled. “And here you’re going to stay.”

I gasped, stunned by the transformation. He fed on my emotion, wired with power. Of course. This was how he got off. The wilderness was part of his being, part of his prelude. The growl resonated. No longer a Temptress being seduced by the Demigod, no longer a damsel in distress, saved by a knighted warrior. I was the whore, about to be soundly soiled. Payment. Retribution. Deserved.

The fist of lust snapped into my gut. “Do it.” To hell with morality and all its codes; to hell with restraint and the aching urges that must be deadened; to hell with guilt. A red wave of brutal fantasies hammered against my skull. The Mountain Man was about to make each and every one come true. “To hell with it all,” I said. “Just fuck me.”

His nostrils flared. “You are a whore.” He grabbed me. I spun, my cheek pressed against the rug on the bed. Hoisting my hips, he yanked my jeans, pulling them to my ankles. My panties tore. Exposure. I sensed the coolness, draft upon the wet heat of exhilaration. The flesh of each buttock spread, cracked nails piercing into my skin. I sucked a rasped breath, matted fur on my dry lips. The sting of a vicious slap, rippling through my groin, opening me. I mocked protest, spreading my thighs. Another slap.

Heat from one palm pushed into the small of my back. Motion. I bit my lip, waiting, blurred to the ecstasy that was coming. And whimpered, adding to his pleasure. A guttural sound, louder than the screeching wind that thrust harder against the window, around the cracks, down the flue. I squirmed. He expected me to do so.

I was vaguely aware of a small noise, the clatter of a bottle striking the floorboards. More movement. Rubbing. Him, and the cold grease, odd smelling, that was roughly slathered between my buttocks. His weight folded over me, the long hair tickling my neck. The voice against my ear was dark, and he shuffled closer, into position, pointing the swollen tip of his cock through the oil.

“Don’t fight.” The breath was wet, the demand ruthless.

I gasped, a stark realization. Instinctively I stiffened. “No,” I pleaded. “I can’t. I never have ... ” This game had always been confined to fantasy.

“Lie still.”

He had me pinned. All I could do was lie still. “Oh, no.”

“Look at me.” He put his cheek on the rug, directly in front of mine, so close, the crevices, the map, clear. The black eyes were hazed, almost sympathetic. “It’s good,” he whispered. He pushed. A slight flinch curled his lip, a counterfeit smile. “So good.”

“It hurts.” I winced, tightening, muscle involuntarily gripping the solid tip.

“Okay. A little farther.” The cast iron sunk deeper. He shifted, one forearm under my throat, his fist guiding the measured penetration. “That’s it.” He rocked. “Little farther.”

An unexplainable bliss emanated through me. My cry was wrought with sheer pleasure.

“Good girl,” he moaned, purring, his voice octaves lower. “All the way now.”

Short smooth gyrations, he was completely buried. Ultimate control. His forefinger and thumb swept over my sex, pinching my clit. He studied my facial reaction, eyes darting, catching every contortion. “Do I please you?”

“Yes,” I hissed through gritted teeth. “Christ, yes.” My mind blanked. No guilt, no condemnation, no insecurity. His possession had made me free.

He rolled my clit, thrusts stronger. I shuddered to the intensity of what was nearing, concentrating on nothing but the inrushing precipice, the lifting storm. The hunger in him exploded as I shrieked to the orgasm. Feral eyes widened and he heaved, teeth sinking into my nape, the arm around my neck solidifying, taking my breath. Like the icy wind in the forest I could not breathe.

Miniature stars flashed; I was so dizzy. “It were an accident.” My dimming mind screamed. An accident. Overwrought with the act, the intrinsic need for release, he had squeezed too tightly. My predecessor had perished. And I was next.

Innate terror lifted in me once more. I had survived the storm’s wrath; I would survive this as well. But my hands were constricted. The bandages hindered physicality. The dead weight on me was suffocating. The intrusion into my body still exuding an eerie pleasure, begging me to succumb, one last time.

Panic became my tool. I reared fiercely. He seethed. “Whore.” Liquid heat. Before the growl ended, I pushed into the hesitation, the slight swirl of weakness. Weightlessness. I sucked air, staggered, yanking my clothes. The wind pitched the door from my grasp. I was outside, the cold stark and cruel. The drift was deep, but I moved, as in the dreams, the demons hot on my heel. This time I could not wake. This time I was caught.


The storm snapped off. I was behind a shimmering waterfall of light. Through it were voices, angry, excited. I turned, squinting for clarity. Men. A lynch mob, sentinels, under a tree limb, softly creaking to the weight that swung there. The body turned. Jack Mortimer McCrae.

“Carrie! Oh, God, no.” A small dog yelped.

My attention swerved. My husband, bent over a drift, sobbed into a red scarf. I tried to call out, tried to part the shivering light. I could force neither. Horror struck me. Protruding from the drift was my frozen face.

“He can’t hear you.” The voice beside me was calm. “You’re hidden. We both are.” The branch creaked again. The sobs grew dim.

The Mountain Man lifted his arm, tugging the bandana from his throat, revealing the thin red burn of what was once a noose’s grip. Once. Over a century ago.

Not since 1889. It’s been a long time for me.

Stunned, I slumped to the ground, peering at my bandaged hands. He knelt beside me, unwinding the yellowed cloth. My fingers were black. Dead.

I’m married. Not no more.

I cheated. You won’t cheat on me.

I’m here for you now. And here you’re going to stay.

A flash of white, lightning through the snow, and we were alone. No longer cold, I reached for him, my blackened fingers caressing the red slash under that perfect chin. He shuddered, a tear forming in one dark soulless eye. “Baby boy,” I whispered.

“Do I please you?”

I ached for more than his gaze. The creature I had envisioned within me was free. No guilt. No condemnation. No insecurity.

If he wanted a whore, I would be a whore. Anything, as long as it meant his passion.

Demigods. Demons. Dangerous dalliances with all that goes bump in the night. Writing is akin to slowly manoeuvring one’s way down a darkened corridor. When doors creak open I linger between shock and delight. Desdmona was the first and I am truly grateful. This light from within has encouraged my step. My thanks to invisible friends from the Fish Tank. You are the whispering voices that help to keep me brave.

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To: crystal jade

Desdmona's Erotic Story Contests
2005 Shivering Short Story Contest
Honorable Mention