An explanation

Jane Carnall

I read his mind. It was full of death.

I don't know what I looked like when my mind touched his mind. If you had been there, I do not think you would have seen anything. But there was death and fire in his mind, screaming, live lightning: too many years and much death.. I wanted him. He looked at me and smiled and said he'd have another beer.

I don't drink. But I said I would have a beer also, and he got me one: it felt cold in my hands. His hands were human-cold against mine. I do not like the taste of beer, but I drank it down, watching his throat move as he swallowed.

I wanted to read his mind again. It's easier with a touch, and I wanted to touch him. He was still smiling. I wanted to clear that smile off his face and his death from out of my mind. Can you understand how I could not resist?

I took his wrists in my hands and pulled him across my lap: he was still smiling, lazily relaxed, as my mouth came down on his. My teeth cut into his lips and I tasted the iron in his blood. I like the flavour of iron-rich blood: I ripped at his face and rubbed my beard against his lovely skin, purring at the sounds he was making. Not smiling, now. He bled so beautifully.

I slid into his mind, pinning him helplessly, and pulled. The years and fire came at me like a wave. Perhaps he was screaming. I was so close inside him I would never have known for certain. No more than he himself would know. Time past, present, future: all one. Pain. Fire. Grief. Men linked to him by living lightning: some women, but more men. I could feel the lightning inside him sparking against my tongue as I lapped at his delightfully wounded flesh.

"I have you," I told him. I think I was inside him in a way no one else had ever been. I read him: running the years back and back through my mind, falling back through time. He's older than he looks. He was filled with death - a thousand thousand ancient deaths, gathering inside him. And I had all of him, mine, blood, fire, death - everything of him I wanted.

So I took it. I emptied out his mind like a cup, and broke his neck almost before he knew what had gone. It was like the time of madness: I took his body as if I were in rut. He was passive underneath me at first, still as a fresh corpse, and then I felt him leap and jerk beneath me, and death and fire poured back into his mind.

He is dead, Captain. Dead-alive. We can do with him as we please.


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(477 words, 25 minutes, July 2002)