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Under the Surface · Original Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
I Want You to Touch Me
I can’t hold Jake’s hand anymore. He won’t let me. His palm is open as we sit on the couch watching Netflix together, and I want to grab it, but know I shouldn’t. I know what he’ll say.

“Lynn. I have a girlfriend now. Please respect that.” He’ll say it in that unbearable chiding tone, as if he were my father lecturing me for putting my hand in the cookie jar.

There’s about six inches of distance between us as we sit on the couch. The gap is just large enough that anyone observing would know we’re not together. It’s close enough to be intimate, but not too intimate. Can’t be too intimate anymore. The new girlfriend wouldn’t like that.

We’re watching It Follows in Jake’s apartment, a movie I’ve seen before, but he hasn’t. I’m more watching Jake to see how he reacts than the movie at this point. I hope he likes it, because I like it. As a prospective film student, I find it interesting how people react to film.

Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

Jake catches me staring, and I awkwardly shift my eyes back to the film. I remove my glasses and rub my eyes as if I had something in my eye to avoid suspicion. I don’t think it works, because Jake knows me, but he doesn’t say anything either, so maybe he bought it.

God, I’m a mess. Being in love with your best friend does that to you. Especially when you used to be more than just friends. It’s like being demoted at work and having your old position filled by a younger, sexier girl with big tits who also fucks the boy you love. But hey, at least you’re not fired. That counts for something. Right?

I’m not great with metaphors.

I close my eyes and take a long sigh, the existential ennui weighing heavy on my shoulders. I slump down into the couch, trying not to be too much of a buzzkill. Which I can safely say I fail at, because within moments I feel a firm hand on my shoulder.

“Hey. You okay?” It’s Jake. He’s staring at me, hazel eyes locked onto mine. God, he’s handsome. His face is close to mine, right outside the lean-in-for-kissing distance.

Lie. Don’t kill the mood. Pretend everything’s normal.

“Of course!” I blurt out, my voice laced with faux-confidence. I feel my face flush with embarrassment. “Just a little squeamish at this part.”

I hadn’t been paying attention to the movie, but fortune was on my side, and we’re at the part where the sex demon takes the form of a guy’s mom and fucks him to death. It Follows is a weird movie, but that’s why I love it.

“Oh.” Jake takes his hand off my shoulder and returns to sitting a safe six inches away from me.

He bought it. I take a moment to relax, making sure not to actually let out a sigh of relief.

“So…” I circle my thumbs against the couch’s leather exterior. “Whaddya think of the movie so far?”

Jake deliberates for a moment. He’s very deliberate and always likes to think out exactly what he’s going to say before he says it. “It’s good so far.”

Yes! Success!

“I knew you would,” I say, with a hint of smugness. I don’t take pride in a lot of things, but one thing I do is knowing people’s taste. “Weird sex horror movie—that’s about as Jake as it gets.”

Jake laughs.“You know me too well.”

The good mood is shattered by a loud vibration coming from Jake’s phone. I curse silently because I know who’s calling, but I secretly hope it’s Jake’s mom, Karen. Karen is such a sweet lady.

“Hey, sweetheart.” Jake pauses the movie.

Fuck. It’s Jen.

“Yeah, I’ll come let you in.”

Jake listens for moment.

“Oh. Sounds good, be down in a second. Love you, bye.”

I bristle at that “love you.” It’s been two months and already at “love you.” If by “you” Jake meant “your tits, ass, and not-quite-tight pussy”, I could understand. I find it hard not to roll my eyes.

“Hey…” Jake says as if he’s trying to coax a nervous deer. “Jen, uh, wanted to go out to dinner. Like, now. So, can we get a raincheck for this?”

I feel a sickening pit brewing in my stomach, like I’m going to vomit up all my frustration and sadness all at once. It’s that special combination of self-pity and anger where you don’t know if you’re going to snap at someone or hang yourself.

“Sure. It’s no problem, really.”

Jake stares at me, still a bit apprehensive. “Okay. Let me walk you down.”

“No, it’s okay, I can walk myself down.” I don’t look at him as I make for the exit.

Jake’s apartment is on the fifth floor, and there’s only one stairwell leading to the exit. We walk down together in silence.

It’s really awkward.

Jen is there to greet the two of us. She embraces Jake and gives him a kiss, subjecting me to a good ten seconds of uncomfortable PDA. Whenever she goes in for a kiss, she doesn’t close her eyes. Instead, she stares directly at me.

“Oh, hi, Lynn!” she says as she releases Jake from her lip lock. She speaks with that stereotypical valley girl lisp where she holds out every possible vowel and every word is coated with a thick layer of false excitement. She’s dressed like a typical sorority girl, with an oversized t-shirt and short shorts to show off her glossy tanned legs.

“Hi, Jen.” There’s no tone in my voice at all, carefully modulated to prevent conflict. There have been conflicts in the past, and they did not go in my favor.

“Me and Jake were gonna get dinner’s at LaSalle’s. You wanna come?” she asks.


There’s the vaguest hint of my lack of enthusiasm penetrating her cheery façade. Her bubbly smile drops into an ugly frown for a fraction of a second, but is near instantly replaced by that same, artificial exterior.

“Suit yourself!”

She grabs Jake’s hand.

I walk away without a word.

It starts raining outside once I’m within six blocks of my apartment, and I don’t have an umbrella. Typical. At least the fabric of my white blouse is pretty thick, so I don’t have to worry about flashing my bra to everyone.

Not that it matters, because besides an old homeless woman sleeping on the curbside, I’m the only person on this street. Strange, usually there’s more people out and about in this part of L.A. But I’m grateful for the solitude.

I absentmindedly look at my phone, one new message. It’s from Jake.

“Are you okay???” it reads.

I contemplate responding, but elect instead to leave him on read. I’m still mad at him. I’m mad at Jen. Most of all, I’m mad at myself for being so pathetic. I shove my phone back into my purse.

I hope a bus hits me. I wouldn’t go and stand in front of an oncoming bus, of course, but if it just so happened that a bus driver who had too much to drink careened off the road and crushed me, I’d be okay with it. Angsty stuff, I know. But that’s how I’m feeling.

The homeless woman stirs in her sleep and turns to face me as I draw close to her. She begins to sniff the air like a bloodhound. She smiles, a ghastly, misshapen thing filled with more space than teeth and laughs softly.

“Young lady,” she croaks, “do have you some food for us?”

I’ve learned after months in the city that the best way to deal with homeless people is to simply not engage them. No eye contact, no reaction, nothing. Just walk on by. I still feel a bit bad for doing it, but after having my purse cleaned out by beggars during my first month in L.A., I think I’ve done enough good work for a while. I pass by her without a word.

She sniffs the air again. It’s a series of long, uncomfortable snorts. I can feel her eyes on my back as I walk past her.

“Yes! Yes! You do have food. We can smell it on you…” I can hear wet smacks from behind me as she licks her lips.

I try to ignore her, but she’s gotten up and started following me. I pick up the pace. She matches it.

“I don’t have any food. Please leave me alone.”

I cringe as she takes another huge whiff, even closer to me now. I can hear her feet scraping along the concrete as she shambles towards me. I feel needles pinprick at the back of my neck and my breathing starts to quicken.

Oh please God just leave me alone.

“We know what you’re thinking, yes, you little whore.” She makes sure to say the word “whore” with as much contempt as possible. She tosses a pebble from the curbside, and it hits me squarely in the back. It’s not painful, but it’s very, very irritating.

I whirl around in a fury, swinging my purse at her. “Leave me alone, you old bitch!”

The woman dodges rather spryly for her age. She bounces on the tips of her toes like a boxer, while ducking her head to avoid my swing.

“Yes, We’ve seen a million sluts like you before,” she says, again with that special emphasis on “slut.” Her eyes smolder like the embers of hot coals.

She changes her inflection to a more mocking tone. “'Oh please let me go home and touch my little cunny while I cry about the boy who doesn’t love me.’”

I freeze up, caught completely off guard and on the verge of tears. Why today, of all days, did I have to run into a crazy woman?

“Th-that’s… not true. You don’t know anything about me!” I sound unconvincing even to myself.

The woman takes another long snort and licks her lips, as if anticipating a delicious meal.

“We can smell it on you, slut.” She paces in front of me and points at my crotch. “You reek of it.”

“Just leave me alone!” I claw at the bitch with my fingernails, but she bats me away. I can feel the heat rushing to my face. The tears are falling now, and my mascara is running down my cheeks.

“Shake our hand, and we will.” Perplexingly, she offers a wrinkled old hand to me.

“What?” I blubber out.

“Shake our hand.”

“Get away from me!” I slap her hand away. I start to walk away, when I hear her call out after me.

“Oh… we suppose he’ll just fuck that other girl then.” The previous hostility in her voice is gone. She’s not taunting me. If anything, she sounds like she’s depressed, as if my sadness had rubbed off on her.

“Look, if I shake your hand, will you leave me alone?”

The old woman’s beady little eyes lighten up immediately.

“Of course, dearie! And you won’t have to worry about that other girl anymore!” Her affectation reminds me of my grandmother who’s been dead for five years now. Sweet, innocent, with no traces of the anger or sadness. It is like I'm talking to a completely different woman.

“Okay.” I extend out my hand, trembling.

She meets my hand and gingerly shakes it. I’ve touched actual clams that were less clammy.

“That wasn’t so hard, was it?”

She smiles her toothless grin.

I wake up in my bed feeling oddly refreshed, as if I just drank a glass of water straight from the spring. On weekends, I usually don’t leave the bed for several hours after waking up, but today I basically jump out of it.

There’s a certain pep in my step I can’t rightly describe as I walk to the bathroom, as if a weight has been lifted from my body, and I’m moving unrestrained for the first time in years. I feel pretty great instead of like a particularly lethargic sloth for once. I decide to mark the occasion with a good old-fashioned “dress up to feel hot session.”

But with less crying this time.

I figure I should finally text Jake back. No point in drawing out this drama any further. Today I put on my big girl pants and turn over a new leaf.

“Yeah, I’m okay now :3”

I brush my teeth and shower, then start laying out my outfit:

Glasses, check.

Skimpy black mini-skirt, check.

Low-cut blue cardigan, check.

Black heels, check.

Padded blue bra with front clasp and extra padding just in case, check.

“Get Lucky” necklace, check.

Blue thong, check.

My phone buzzes. New message from Jake. “Okay good. Sorry about yesterday.”

I remove my towel and pick up my bra, fixing it over my boobs. But try as I might, I can’t get the damn thing to clasp. I strain myself over and over, but it’s just too tight.

Am I getting fat? I didn’t think I gained weight recently. But then again, I haven’t been the best about dieting recently. Need to lay off the ice cream, I guess. Maybe I should start going to the gym again.

I fling the bra aside for now. Instead, I put on my thong. But the waist is too big on me, and it droops along the side of my hip. Have I actually lost weight? I throw it off to the side with my bra.

As I stand there, naked and dismayed, an idea dawns on me. I rummage through the back of my dresser to find my old bikini bottoms and top. They use string ties, so I don’t have to work about how loose or tight they are.

I’ve never worn them in public before. I don’t usually like having my whole body out there like that on full display, but today it feels right. Today I want everyone’s eyes on me.

I text Jake back. “Np. Free to hang today?”

But what to go with the bikini?

Daisy Dukes, of course. It’s a classic Californian look: Daisy Dukes, bikinis on top. I hum the rhythm of “California Girls” to myself as I dredge all the way to the deepest recesses of my drawers and dig up a pair that I haven’t worn since that one bitch whose name I can’t remember made fun of me in film history class.

Not exactly what I had in mind when I started the day, but when life gives you lemons, you begrudgingly accept the lemons while whispering “go fuck yourself” under your breath. I put on my clothes and do my makeup with life’s lemons.

I slap on my glasses, but notice something is off. My vision is blurry. I guess I need my prescription updated or something, because I can’t see shit with them on. Oh well. I toss them in the pile with all the other stuff. Always felt they took away from my lovely emerald eyes anyways.

Another buzz. Jake: “Yeah.”

“I like the new look” is the first thing Jake says to me when I get to his place. I had a feeling he would, but it’s nice to have the affirmation.

“Thanks,” I say completely nonchalantly, but I can’t quite hide my blush. I step past him to walk over to the couch, and I can feel his eyes glued to the contours of my body.

I can’t express how gratifying it feels. But I’m going to try. It’s like being a C-student all your life, and then suddenly you wake up one day, and you’re winning the Nobel Prize. And also the guy you love finally shows interest in fucking you legitimately instead of out of pity or because he’s lonely or whatever the hell that was.

It’s a pretty great feeling.

On a normal day, I would probably sit down on the couch, ask to see a movie I’d already seen, and feel sorry for myself, but today is going to be different. Today is my day, and I’m not going to miserable on my day.On my day, I’ll get what I want for a change. But I’m still gonna sit on the couch because it’s really comfy.

“Did your dinner go well?” I ask.

“Not really.” Jake shrugs. “Jen ended up not feeling well once we got to the restaurant, and we decided to call it off.”

“That’s too bad.” I’m lying through my teeth, but I make sure I sound sincere enough for plausible deniability. “So, how have you and Jen been?”

It’s a probing, but innocuous enough question. Not so blatant as to set off any alarm bells, but nonetheless I’m watching Jake’s face to see how he reacts.

“Oh, we’ve been fine, I guess.” His eyes wander around the room, but there’s nothing to look at.

I smirk. What a noncommittal phrasing. Fine, a word you’d use to describe a less than satisfactory meal, not good, just okay. The cracks in the armor are showing, and I’m ready with a snarky follow-up to stab right through them.

“You don’t sound too convinced.”

Jake takes another one of his trademark pauses as he considers how to respond. I’m sure he’s cognizant of the fact that I just took the first shot across the bow at Jen, but he’s used to that. I doubt he’s questioning my intentions yet.

“Yeah…” He scratches the back of his head. “I don’t know. I feel like I might have rushed into things a bit.”

“How long have you been dating again?” Of course, I know the answer.

“Two months.”

“Hmmmm,” I say for dramatic effect like I’m pondering a particularly hard question. I let the silence linger uncomfortably in the air. I can tell from years of being his friend that he’s got something he wants to get off his chest, but I let him go at his own pace.

He moves over to the couch and sits his safe six inches away from me. After a moment, he says, “I’m not sure it’s working out.”

“Why’s that?” Again, an innocent, supportive friend-type question, but I can barely suppress the joy that is coursing through every fiber of my being.

“I don’t know.”

“Hmmm…” I say, with that same flair as before. “Well what do you have in common?”

This is another barb hidden as a question. Jake is a boy who loves video games, eclectic cinema, and underground, vaguely hipster indie artists. He enjoys trying new craft beers when he goes to a restaurant, and always talking about politics even when it pisses people off. He has nothing in common with a girl like Jen.

“We both like to run and the beach, I guess.” Jake seems like he’s reaching.

“So, not much is what you’re telling me.”


I’m getting impatient with all this circuitous dancing around the issue, so I cut the bullshit and just go for the throat.

“Why don’t you break up with her, then?” I shift ever so slightly inside the six-inch bubble.

That certainly gets a reaction from Jake. His eyes light up with alarm as the realization dawns on him exactly what is going on, and what I’m doing.

“Lynn,” he says, trying to adopt that authoritative, fatherly tone but sounding more flustered instead. He starts to slide away from me back to the safe six-inch distance. “I have a girlfriend.”

He doesn’t sound convinced.

I pursue him across the couch on my hands and knees, back arched in a seductive gait, and lock eyes with him. I run one hand along the interior of his thigh.

“Do you?”

Looking at his shorts, I can tell I’m having an effect on him. He takes a deep, quick breath as I bring my hand in closer.

“Wait…” he manages to gasp out.

“What?” I don’t stop. Our faces are practically touching, my eyes staring longingly into his.

He stares back, a million thoughts seeming to run through his mind.

Touch me. I feel so hot, like there’s a fire brewing inside me. I can’t think straight anymore. I have to have him right this second.

“Fuck it…” Jake mutters.

And that’s when it happens. The moment I’ve been waiting for, the moment I’ve been dreaming about: Jake closes his eyes and leans in.

I do the same and our lips meet. I can feel the electricity coursing through my body as we kiss. I straddle him and feel the heat of him pressing into me through his clothes. There’s a warm comfort as Jake wraps his arm around the small of my back, bringing me in closer and pressing my breasts up against his chest.

It feels so right.

Oh fuck does it feel so right. Just when I think the heat in me has subsided, the sweltering heat returns even stronger. I need fuel for this fire. I need more.

We take a pause from kissing, and Jake looks at me. There’s a smile on his face. He slowly works his hand up the length of my back and begins tugging at the knot on my bikini top. He’s just gotten the knot loosened when we hear the turning of a knob coming from the front door. Thankfully, it’s locked.

Jake immediately stops, eyes wide.

The door knob twisting is followed up with a series of loud knocks.

“Jake? Let me in!” It’s Jen’s voice.

I feel like a bucket of ice water has just been poured over my body. Jake and I both freeze, unsure of what to do with each other for a couple seconds. My top is dropping down the side of my body, and I’m not certain of it, but I’m pretty sure my nips are out.

He mouths “Oh shit” silently to me. He gets up and slowly moves over to the door as I fumble with my top.

The room suddenly is very cold without Jake holding me. I want to shiver, but I’m too busy trying to fix my knot.

“One second,” he says, throwing his voice as if he were in another room. He desperately looks to me in hopes that I’ve finished adjusting my top.

I give him the thumbs up, and he opens the door.

“Oh hey baby, I didn’t know you were coming by,” Jake says as if nothing is amiss. “Lynn and I were just watching some Netflix.”

The television isn’t on, but Jen doesn’t appear to notice. She seems a bit more homely, like she gained some weight since I last saw her. Her complexion is pale as well. I guess that’s just what she looks like without makeup.

“Sorry, I just was feeling sick to my stomach and want to see if you had any medicine.” She leans in and steals a kiss.

I’m subjected to the same ten seconds of awful PDA like always, but it doesn’t seem to bother me as much as before. I beat her, after all. Jake is mine. All I have to do is bide my time.

“Hmm. I feel a bit better now,” she teases playfully. “But better get some Alka-Seltzer to be sure.”

“I’m sure we have some lying around somewhere,” Jake says, awkwardly stumbling over his words.

“You look tired, Jen. Maybe you should get some rest.” I try to be as smug as possible with this comment while not actually being noticeably smug.

Shots fired. The whole room goes silent as both Jake and Jen stare at me. Jake, clearly disapproving and Jen with billowing rage.

But she doesn’t let that translate to speech. “Yeah, I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. I figured I’d crash over here since my roomies are loud as fuck.”

She’s trying to press my buttons, but she can’t hurt me anymore. “No problem, I was just on my way out anyways. Wouldn’t want our ‘movie’ to disturb you.”

Jake shoots me a look of pure frustration because of those air quotes.

She swings her attention over to Jake as I brush past her and go out the door.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing, babe, just let it go,” I can hear Jake mutter before the door shuts behind me.

I’m pondering how to answer this text message from Jake as I walk home. It reads: “Lynn why the hell did you say that?!?”

So many options, but as my mother always says, honesty is the best policy.

“Because I hate that stupid bitch, and you should be with me.” Short, sweet, and to the point: all components of a good response. Brevity is the soul of wit, after all.

The streets are busy, but there’s no sign of the old woman as I walk back. Thank God. Even though I got interrupted, I would call today a resounding success. Even now, I’m turning heads as a strut my stuff. My foot is in the door, and it’s only a matter of time before I win Jake back.

My phone vibrates as I get another text message from Jake. It’s a long one.

“Lynn, I value our friendship, but I don’t like you that way. I want to be with Jen. Please respect my decisions if you value our friendship. If you keep pushing me, I’m going to have to stop talking to you.”

Reading it knocks the wind out of my chest, like a sledgehammer to the ribcage. Goddammit. It felt so right. I know it felt right for him too. I can’t understand why he just won’t admit it. I’m shaking a little, but I’m trying to keep my emotional state under wraps until I can get back to my apartment, where it’s safe to cry.

I consider responding, but before I can, a hand lightly taps on my shoulder. I turn around, and find myself staring at a smiling middle-aged woman whom I’ve never seen before.

“Don’t cry,” she says. “It’s going to be okay. You’ll see.”

“I wasn’t about to cry!” I yell indignantly, face flushed red.

Some bystanders stop to turn their heads at me before moving on.

“Sure thing, dearie.” She daintily sniffs the air as she walks past me. “Don’t believe his lies, he is the one.”

Had she been reading my messages?

I take another moment carefully repeating exactly what she had said over in my mind. Was that just a fucking Memento reference?

“What?” I turn and call after her. But she’s already gone. Christ people in L.A. are so weird.

I stand in place there a moment, looking like a dumbass, before I figure out what I want to text Jake.


It’s been a week since I’ve talked to Jake, but on the bright side, I have new clothes that actually fit. I’m sure he’s still in the doghouse with Jen after what I said, and as a result, pissed with me. You win some, you lose some. I’m certain he’s going to change his mind once I give him space though. Jen just needs some time to get enough rope to hang herself with.

I hope he texts soon, though.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on my appearance. Bought some Better Than Sex mascara along with some other odds and ends. “Better Than Sex” is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is some damn good mascara, and my eyes look sexy as hell with it.

They seem to glow green. People ask me if I’m wearing colored lenses, but nope! That’s my natural color. It’s so nice to be noticed, though.

I find my tastes in outfits have been changing as of late. I’m not sure what’s gotten into me, but I’ve been switching up my more conservative and dull outfits for colorful skimpy things. Maybe I’m just becoming more of a Californian. It does seem to be the style around here.

My phone buzzes. I hold my breath in anticipation as I run over to my phone. It’s Mom. I exhale in disappointment. Goddammit.

“How’s classes? Hope u r doing well! Love Mom.”

I wish parents wouldn’t treat text messages like letters. “Doing fine. Not much going on. How are you?”

Fine was the right word for it. Not good, not bad. Just fine.

My phone buzzes again. It’s Jake! “Come over?”

In my response, I play it cool. “Yeah, give me 10 minutes.”

But in real life I’m squealing like a little girl. Finally!

I double-text Mom. “Actually I’m doing great, and I have a date with Jake tonight, hope you are doing just as well!”

Jake’s wearing cologne. He never wears cologne. Not that I’m complaining, it smells yummy, but it does seem a little odd.

“How’ve you been?” he says, greeting me with a hug that’s just a little too tight and little too long for it to be purely platonic.

“Great, actually! As you can see, I’ve been doing a lot of shopping.” I do a quick twirl as I show off my outfit.

“Looking good! I bet you’re killing it out there with the guys.”

“Pow-pow.” I make two guns with my hands and fire at him.

“Ugh, you got me!” He grabs his chest and pretends to fall over, laughing.

He’s so goofy it’s adorable.

There’s a long awkward silence after the laughter peters out where we both don’t quite know what to do or say. I’m waiting for a lecture, but it doesn’t come.

“I, uh,” Jake trails off. “It’s good to see you again. I missed you.”

“I missed you too,” I whisper as I hug him again.

He places his hands on the small of my back as we embrace, and I feel that same hotness from before. We both close our eyes share a long kiss.

Jake breaks it after pulling me in tight. I look into his eyes wondering why he’s stopping.

There’s something’s wrong. For the first time in what seems like forever, I can’t read Jake’s face.

All of a sudden he starts sobbing. “Lynn… I-I’m, not a bad person, am I?”

“No, of course not,” I coo softly, running my hand through his hair. I stare him straight in the face. “I love you. This is right. This how things should be.”

I give him a light kiss and pull back to make sure everything is all right.

He stops crying and returns the kiss. “I love you too.”

We’re lying naked next to each other in his bed. I wish Jen could see us now. I wish she would walk in right at this moment and see me cuddled up all nice and warm with her now ex-boyfriend. The thought of it gets me horny.

Where are you, Jen? You always serendipitously show up when I least expect it and fuck up my plans, so why can’t you show up this time? Just this once.

I’m willing it as hard as I can that she shows up. Let her knock at the door, so I can walk up and answer it buck ass naked, my bra and panties strewn on the couch, filled condom in the wastebasket, all in plain view.

I’m getting fired up just picturing it. I want to see her face as the realization slowly dawns on her, and she realizes I’ve won. Maybe she’ll catch me fucking him. That’d be a treat. I’m all but licking my lips at this point.

I poke Jake. “Round two?”

“I’d love to, but I’m out of rubbers.”

“Fuck it, just do it raw.” I’m not on the pill, but I don’t care. I want it so badly I can’t stand it. There’s a hunger inside me that I need to fill right this second.

“What?” Jake looks at me, concerned.

“I said, just do it raw.” I’m growing impatient. The hunger is eating me alive and driving me crazy. I have to have him right now.

“And I said, ‘What?’ Are you insane?” That stings, but it’s probably true.

“Just pull out, it’ll be okay.” That’s a lie. I want all of him inside me. Right now. The hunger is gnawing at my insides. I must eat. I need his love.

What am I saying?

“No!” He pulls away from me. He seems scared, like a spooked doe.

I pull him back in. He struggles to resist me, but I have an iron grip on him. He feels so weak for a grown man. I pin him to the bed and straddle him. My eyes stare into his expectantly.

“Are you going to fuck me or what?”


My stare intensifies to the point where I swear I could bore a hole clean through a wood block with it.

“…Yes of course.”

“Good boy.”

I am filled with Jake’s love, and it is delicious, but I still crave more. I have to be patient, however. He is just one man after all. So I wait, sitting naked on his couch, legs crossed, browsing through the collection of films on Netflix. The hunger still eats at me, but it’s manageable now. I’m not sure what came over me then, but it was sort of scary.

Being naked in Jake’s house is strangely liberating. I feel so unconstrained and oddly comfortable. I used to feel shame about these sorts of things, but the new me is a free spirit. I could walk into the streets like this and feel great.

It occurs to me that Jake and I never finished watching It Follows, so I decide to fire it up while I wait for him to get up. I don’t suspect we’ll do much movie watching, but maybe he’ll absorb it through osmosis.

I get a response from Mom. “I thought Jake was your friend?”

“Jake is my boyfriend, Mom.” It’s good to say that, even if it wasn’t exactly true. Not yet, at least.

Jake comes out from his room, fully dressed. I can safely say I’m a bit disappointed.

“Hey, see anything you like?” I uncross my legs and press my back against the couch, giving him a full display.

“Yes, but I have to go.” Jake is uncharacteristically somber. He’s avoiding eye contact.

“Go where?” The disappointment in my voice is palpable.

“I just got off the phone with Jen’s mother. Jen’s in the hospital. The doctors don’t know what’s wrong, but it sounds pretty serious. I’m going to go visit her.”

Something snaps inside me. Suddenly, I’m ravenously hungry. More hungry than I’ve ever been in my life.I can feel my blood boiling again. I won’t let her take him. He’s mine.

“Fuck Jen!”

What am I saying?

“What the hell is wrong with you, Lynn? She’s in the hospital!” Jake snarls.

I don’t like it how he snarls at me. There's a unfamiliar sensation overcoming my body as he bludgeons me with his contempt. It hurts. Not just emotionally either, physically as well.

I feel like I’ve just swallowed a box of nails, and they’re scratching themselves down the length of my esophagus to the interior of my stomach. I gag to try and vomit out whatever it is inside me, but nothing comes. I fall to the floor and begin crawling towards Jake. I desperately try to look him in eyes, but he’s avoiding my gaze.

What is happening to me?

“Stop it! You’re acting crazy!” Jake shouts. His rage cuts me down again.

“Don’t leave me. Please!” I’m begging at this point. The pangs are becoming unbearable. It takes all of my might not to scream out in agony. My gut ties itself into a knot, and I can’t move any further.

Jake walks out the door without another word.

I begin screaming. I can’t stand the pain. The realization dawns on me after a few minutes of straight howling that Jake is not coming back, and I howl louder. I can’t help it. It feels like someone is carving out all my organs individually with a knife. A frothy, warm foam begins to build in my mouth.

I can’t stop screaming. I keep expecting my lungs to give out, and that I’ll finally suffocate but they never do. I don’t know how long I’ve been at it anymore. I’ve lost the perception of time. There’s nothing but the pain.

After what seems like an eternity, there’s a knock on the door. A gruff man yells from the other side, “Police! Is everything okay?”

I can’t stop myself long enough to talk to the officer.

“I’m knocking down the door!” There’s a series of loud thumps as the police officer kicks at the door frame several times before it finally gives. He enters the apartment. He’s surprisingly handsome.

“What the fuck?” he says as he spots me.

I can no longer think consciously. The pain is too great. All that I have left are my primitive animal instincts. He smells so delicious. He smells like prey. Just being in his presence causes me to salivate. I’m drooling so heavily that it collects in a pool on the floor.

Food. I have to have him. He can make me full again.

He cautiously approaches me, carefully scanning the room for potential threats. “Miss, are you okay?”

My predator’s sense tells me I have to make eye contact with him. As long as I maintain eye contact, he’ll do as I say.

I let out another wail, even louder than before, to grab his attention. He turns his eyes towards me, and as soon as his eyes meet mine, I know I’ve captured my prey. The knowledge that food is near allows the hunger subside long enough that I can speak.

“Love. Me.” I can barely choke out the words.

“Yes, Mistress.” He obeys without a thought.

I clean myself up and try to make sense of what just happened. Obviously I’m some kind of monster now. Or maybe a demon. Who knows. I certainly don't. But I do know one thing: something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.

I turn to Mark, the police officer. He’s still in a bit of a stupor after whatever it is I did to him. Can't say I blame him. He’s definitely cute and in good shape, but he’s not Jake.

“Mark? I need a favor.” I candy my voice with sugar and honey.

“What are your orders, Mistress?” he asks with a certain dullness to his voice, as if he was still half-asleep.

I didn’t ask him to refer to me as Mistress. I consider asking him to call me by my name, but I find it oddly endearing, like he thinks I am some old-timey vampire or something. I scroll through my phone and find a picture of Jake.

“Find this boy and bring him back to me.”

“Yes, Mistress!” He salutes me as if I’m his commanding officer and strides outside all prim and proper. Adorable. Mark is starting to grow on me. But he’s still not Jake.

For my part, I take to the streets. I have to find that old woman and figure out what she’s done to me. I scope out the place where she usually is, but of course she isn’t there.

I’m debating what my next move is, when out of the corner of my eye I see a familiar face. It’s Jen! What the hell? Am I hallucinating? I rub my eyes and look again to be absolutely sure.

It’s definitely her.

“Jen!” I call out, running after her.

She doesn’t turn around. She doesn’t even react like she’s ignoring me. She just keeps walking.

“Jen!” I grab her arm, and turn her to face me. “I thought you were in the hospital?”

“We do not know this ‘Jen,’” Jen says. Her valley girl accent is gone.


Jen softly sniffs at me. “You’re out of food, dearie.”

The realization of whom I’m talking to finally dawns on me.

“What did you do to me?” I screech.

Jen tries to walk away, but I don’t let go of her wrist. I can hear the bones pop as she attempts in vain to escape my grip. But she doesn’t seem to be in any pain. If anything, she treats it as a minor inconvenience.

“You made me a monster,” I say as I tighten my grip even further. Jen’s hand begins turning purple from the lack of circulation.

Jen laughs, both at the comment itself and at my attempt at intimidating her.

“Ungrateful slut. We did nothing to you other than than give you the power to take what you wanted in return for a meal. Those were our terms.”

She hawks a mucus-filled ball of spit to the ground. Very not-Jen of her.

“I didn’t ask for this!” I yell.

“We have honored our agreement. Leave us, whore of Babylon.” There’s that special emphasis on the word “whore”, as if she’s spitting out the word. She uses her free hand and easily pries my fingers off her arm. She starts to walk away.

“Am I like you now?” I call after her. “Please, I need answers!”

She stops and chortles at my apparent ignorance. “Don’t be stupid. You are not of us. We are many. You are one. You cannot become us.”

“I-I don’t understand.”

“We owe you no answers, harlot. Our pact has ended. But we thank you for the meal. She was delicious.” She turns to face me for a moment, her face beaming with Jen’s bright smile.

“Goodbye, Lynn!” she calls mockingly in Jen’s trademark valley-girl accent.

I can't help but gag.

Days later, I learn that Jen is dead. “Sudden cardiac arrest” is what they call it on the paperwork. The doctor’s can’t explain it: a perfectly healthy girl in the best shape of her life just dropping dead for no observable reason.

I remember how her body looked at her wake. The mortician obviously did the best he could, but it was obvious that the girl in the casket barely resembled Jen. She looked shriveled up, like a mummified corpse.

Or like a certain old lady.

But on the bright side, Mark managed to bring me back Jake. He’s such a good boy. If I didn’t have Jake already, I’d consider making him my boyfriend. I keep him close just in case my feelings change. But que será, será.

Jake, of course, feels guilty about the whole ordeal, but he gets over it after I talk to him. It’s not his fault, of course. How could he have known? He didn’t do anything wrong. But I gave him a little tweaking so he’d forget all about what happened with Jen, just in case.

He doesn’t even remember who she is.

“Want to watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?” I ask him as we cuddle next to one another on the couch. We’re both, of course, completely nude, just more natural that way. He feels so warm against my skin.

I can feel the rumbling in my stomach, and I know I’m going to have to feed again soon, but for now, I just want to enjoy his company. I do love the man after all. It’s the small things in life that keep it worthwhile.

“Yes.” His voice is devoid of all inflection.

Jake doesn’t do much thinking on his own these days. He’s a little less “Jake” now after all I’ve meddling I’ve done with his mind, but he could still stand to be a little less “Jake.” Little less argumentative here, little less prudish there. Nothing wrong with helping someone improve themselves.

Still, I sort of miss the rugged edges of the old Jake. He seems just a bit empty this way. Oh well.

At least I can hold his hand.

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#1 ·
At least I can hold his hand.

Something tells me that it won't be the last thing she will hold tonight. *mic drop*

Enough of dirty jokes; this is a struggle to review. It's a struggle because there are a lot of tropes or writing shortcuts that I'm willing to forgive if I liked the story, but this one is unfortunately a bit far from my taste.
It's also a struggle because I can see some writing skills, alongside some beaten to death tropes (love triangle for instance).
It's a struggle because Lynn's character arc, even if complete, is vague. I mean, at the end, she doesn't seem afraid of what she has become, nor she is fully embracing her new condition. She wanted something, an outside powerful force gave her the power to get that thing, she gets it, and she feels satisfied.
Unfortunately I'm not, because I can't really empathise with characters who didn't work to accomplish their goal and instead waited for someone else to help them.

All in all, I think I'm gonna abstain for now. If I ever change my mind, I'm sorry to say that I'm not sure it would be ranked high.
#2 · 2
I'm sleepy. I talked a great deal about this story with Monokeras, the French man. Mostly it was me trying to figure out and then explain what we read.

This is an uncomfortable read. Part of that is due to intention, of course, it is a horror story with lots of sex, but part of it is just that there is a complete lack of goodness to everyone in the story. Lynn is our villain protagonist, an envious and completely manipulative female version of a "nice-guy", Jen is basically a bimbo, the old witch is obviously bad, and Jake is implied several times to be pretty dickish (a fact which Lynn seems to willfully ignore). Everyone is sort of horrible, which was obviously the intention, but regardless if it that was the story's design decision, one must ask, "Was that a good choice?"

This is a question that I'm going to be repeating throughout this review. Everything in this story seems to written with a certain intention behind it. The nature of how the powers work being almost completely left to imagination, for instance, or never really explaining what exactly happened to Lynn. It's not due to lack of time or wordcount constraints that these details are omitted. But one must ask, "Was that a good choice to tell the story in that manner?"

In this case, I think the author plays his hand a little too close to chest. I had to read this twice in order to get a solid grasp on how everything works. There's piecemeal hints in the background of most scenes informing that all tie together rather nicely if you're looking for them, but the story doesn't explain itself quite enough to avoid confusing people. It's the sort of experience where I felt like I was missing necessary information the first time through.

This story is very "filmic." Along with name-dropping a fuckton of movies (okay it's only three, but they're sort of written into the fabric of the story) it's also written and paced as if it were horror movie, complete with book-end stinger. It's sort of like this writer decided to give himself as many handicaps as possible when writing this story.

"Not only am I going to write a story where the supernatural element is completely vague, I am also going to: use a villain protagonist, try to write it like it's a different medium, have a dark ending, and also write lurid, intense sexual encounters."

There's a line in story itself I feel perfectly summarizes what the author probably thought:

"We owe you no answers, harlot."

Calm down. You're making thing unnecessarily difficult for yourself. The whole story is built on a really solid and interesting metaphor, but because you leave everything so intentionally vague, I doubt anyone is going to spot it. Your reader is not a detective. Sometimes you need to point things out to them and link things, instead of expecting them all to connect the dots on their own.

I'm going to spoil the metaphor now. If you read this review before reading the story, you're cheating and should be ashamed. The whole story is a metaphor for infidelity and obsession. As the story progresses, as Lynn becomes progressively indulges her desires, she becomes more powerful, more shameless, and manipulative to the point that her obsession with getting Jake's affection literally becomes her power source, whereas Jen (i.e. the person being harmed by the infidelity) becomes sicker until she eventually dies. In the end, Lynn turns Jake into basically a lobotomized version of himself (highlighted by a helpful One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest reference), because she was never in love with him, she was in love with the idea of him.

Again, author, you get a cute little asterisk next to your entry for making a story with some sort of commentary in it. But what use is it if 70% of your audience won't bother to dig it up out the ground where you buried it? It's like I'm at a restaurant, and I ordered a nice salmon, but the waiter serves me a block of ice with a nice salmon in it, telling me to "Pick it out, and I'll cook it for you." Like dude, I came here to get a meal, not to pick a fucking salmon out of an ice block.

This metaphor is getting carried away.

There's a lot I like about this story, ragging aside. The prose is strong, voicing good, it flows and transitions well. For a 7K story, this reads much faster. The shortened paragraph style I think is really to its benefit, and it keeps the narrative from being too bogged down from the prose itself. I'm pretty sure everyone at this point can tell who wrote it.

The ending could use a bit more polish. It's basically trying to skip a scene (i.e. seeing Jen's dead body) that really should be its own scene. I like the reincorporation of all the elements of the beginning with a darker tone, but again, nobody gives a flying fuck because they're too busy wondering what the hell just happened. The final notes do legitimately sort of creep me out, so points there, I guess.

Everything about Lynn is sort of unsettling to be honest. She's pathetic, and to some extent, I think the author wants me to feel sorry for her (which I do, kinda), but she's also just completely remorseless in how she manipulates people.

So in preparation for this review, I tried to figure out how everything in the story "works" so I could explain it to Monokeras since he thought it didn't make a lick of sense. To which I said, "It kind of makes sense, let me try and break it down." I'm going to repost what I figured out here because I'm lazy and don't want to do any more work.

Again, if you read this before you read the story, you shouldn't and God will kill you if you do. You wouldn't want to upset God would you?

like whenever guy is asked to do something involves cheating, girl is always making eye contact
the pain associated with rejection is established when she first gets the text message saying they should just be friends(edited)
the curse becomes more powerful the more she pushes things and the more plainly obsessive she gets
so Mono, okay, rereading this I think I can spell out the "rules of the game" so to speak here
There's a three-pronged relationship between old woman, main character, and other girl.
Main character given power or maybe transformed by old woman
could be a curse, she could be a succubus, or some sort of emotional vampire, I don't know
Main character's "curse" becomes more powerful the more she tries to sleep with guy, which causes other girl to get sicker, and old woman to "de-age"
The day main character accepts the deal, girl gets sick at dinner and main character gets an appearance boost.
Next day, main character tries to get guy to cheat with her. Girl interrupts scene, even sicker. Old woman appears as middle-aged woman.(edited)
Week passes. Main character has gotten more "corrupted." Sleeps with guy, and then rapes him. Girl in hospital.(edited)
Main character further corrupted to the point she begins to crave love. Tries to force guy to be with her even visiting girl. Girl dies. Old woman takes the form of young girl either to fuck with main character or there's something sort of "de-aging" process going on.(edited)
Epilogue: main character completely corrupted. Guy is now her thrall. Bad End.
girls eyes are green because envy
eye contact is her way of manipulating people
every time she asks guy to do something naughty she has to make eye contact
old women definitely demon of some kind. directly quotes Legion with "We Are Many"
I should just write a review on it at this rate

This story is not on my slate, but I'd rank it pretty highly, close to the top, but not quite at the top. But I'm like one of three people who enjoy stories like this.
#3 · 2
Enjoyable, if a little surprising to find on my work break.

The story works well to me, and it has that bit of weirdness I am all in favor of. It's curious, it seems like 'good person falls hard' is a running theme in the stories I've been reading lately. This one compares well. I saw where it was going from the moment Lynn woke up 'refreshed' after the 'handshake' and tried on a different outfit. Perhaps that's why I was perfectly okay with the vagueness of the situation. I knew, so it didn't seem so vague at all. The whole thing struck me as carefully constructed and smartly directed, letting us know everything without telling us anything.

On the whole, I enjoyed it. A lot.
#4 ·
Spoilers ahead!

First of all, I sense that the writer has enjoyed toying here with the T/M line. Some scenes, while not explicit, are dangerously close to, and since that explicitness is not really indispensable to the plot, I conclude the author has indulged in it.

This story has some good points, but fails to deliver. The beginning is fair, though frankly I don’t really imagine the two “friends” watching a crazy sex movie. Does the girl hope the guy will be turned on and come on to her? In any case, that’s not the kind of movie I’d watch with a friend, unless I had clear intentions.

But never mind. The we-go-at-the-restaurant scene is alright. Then we get to the hag scene, and yeah, as I explained to Cassius, it reminded me of that famous scene in Silence of the Lambs. Strange again, but I think here hugging to reality is not your main goal, so fair enough.

Next scenes are okay. We get that the more the girl approaches her goal to sleep with the guy, the more the other girl gets sick.

Then we have the main sex scene, which, as I mentioned before, straddles the T/M line but okay, it’s nice to read. Then, then everything starts to go south. First the girl begging the boy to stay is pathetic; then the cop comes (why?) and suddenly she finds she has the power to mesmerize him (where and how did she discover that?).

The end feels rushed and leave, at least to me, many open questions: other girl dies (OK, in a pinch) but then her dead body transforms into the crone’s body. Why? How? Everyone thinks this is normal, it seems, and that she only died of an unexplained cardiac arrest. Crone becomes the other girl, but what exactly is that morphing character? A demon? Can’t a demon morph their apparence at will already? What’s the point of this very complicated plot?

Biggest problem is girl. Girl has not become a demon, yet possesses an evil power and boy has become her living dildo. Yet she seems to have retained their former personality, at least in part, so what? She’s not tied by a pact anymore, yet remains sort of cursed.

All of that is very unclear to me. The story doesn’t really explain why the whole shebang took place in the first place, and so I felt I was robbed of a resolution. The transfer process kind of make sense, but the way the two subplots are intertwine sorta doesn’t make really sense.

Sorry author. But I’ll be eager to hear your explanations once the round is over.
#5 · 1
This story was difficult for me to enjoy for a few reasons, but the biggest one has already been stated by other reviewers: everyone in this story is a terrible person.

Seriously, everyone. The protagonist is worst of all (being outright evil), but everyone else is either selfish, petty, or both. Combined with how little characterization all the characters get, it makes it really hard to root for or care about any of them.

Without characters to care about, the appeal of the story falls back to worldbuilding, and as others have said the worldbuilding is super vague. We end up with very little idea of what it's all about, beyond that the old woman may or may not be Satan.
#6 · 3
I like the opening. It's pretty clear what's happening, how the narrator feels, and there's some tension in the awkward "date" to wonder what happens next.

I'm running out of ways to say why good hooks are good.
#7 ·
I agree with the all the above points (positive and negative) except one: I don't think it's fair to say that Lynn is a terrible person. She sure looks that way until she starts going nutso, but this just reveals that everything after her fated handshake with the old lady hasn't truly been her—she's being slowly turned into a demon whose regular values are slowly being replaced by an insatiable libido. Before then, she's just a girl with a crush on a boy who's dating someone else. Yeah, that makes people think shitty things sometimes, but I don't think it destroys their entire likability.

But that leads me to something that really miffed me about this story: Lynn's punishment doesn't fit the crime. The old lady was super vague about what she would do to her, and even in the parts she was specific about (e.g., taking Jen out of the picture), Lynn doesn't for a second believe her. No part of her internal monologue hears the old lady's oddly informed rant and then says "sure, I am going to shake this woman's hand, even if something awful happens to Jen, which it won't, haha, but hopefully it does". She explicitly says she'll just shake her hand to get the lady to fuck off. She never agreed to all this horrible stuff happening those around her, so it's not really fair when the horrible stuff starts to happen to her, too. It's almost like she's been turned into a scapegoat to shame people who get upset at not getting what they want—a frankly very human reaction if you ask me.

But this was still a very fun read! It flowed remarkably well, and the characters played off each other wonderfully, at least until things started going tits-up. Lynn's internal monologue, too, added a nice pinch of spice to the story.

Oh, and one more thing:

Jake’s apartment is on the fifth floor, and there’s only one stairwell leading to the exit.

I hope after the events of this story that they moved out of that death trap of an apartment building.
#8 ·
tl;dr: Cass knows what he did.