Coastal, by Quiet Riot Girl
The cliffs are falling into the sea. Nobody lives there anymore, except for the foolhardy, the suicidal, and the romantic (though suicides are the most romantic of all). Everyone else has moved inland. So if tourists insist on walking there, and do so at their peril, they stumble across abandoned cottages along the way. Some look like they have been left suddenly, as if the occupant woke up one morning and sensed something ominous, and just packed some belongings into a bag and walked out, forever. One of the cottages near Mariners’ Head still has the table set for breakfast. The edge of the cliff is approaching fast and soon the teapot, the plates and the butterdish will tumble to their end.
The village is still intact, but people are making plans already. The coast road is blocked off and the area has been put on the urgent rehousing list. Residents have always been resilient, and stubborn too. They won’t leave without a fight. But how can you fight the ocean?
Life is mundane, apart from the overhanging threat of destruction. People mind their own business, do what has to be done. That kaleidoscope of colour that briefly appeared, even here right at the very edge of the world, full of MTV and Internet Porn and Kinky Sex Stories and Anne Summers parties, came and went and disappeared without a trace, like the houses that fell into the sea. Sex is for procreation now, and occasionally to keep warm on winters’ nights. The ‘modern’ seems like a distant memory.
But the men of the village are haunted. They do not speak about her, but they know about the girl that wanders the clifftops, who occupies one of the abandoned cottages. They know she can take them back there, without warning, back to that era of debauchery, of pleasure and pain, of instant gratification, extremity of feeling. Sometimes, against their better judgements, some of them even go looking for her. One man went onto the cliffs at night and never returned. The official story is that he drowned, but the men of the village are not so sure.
In the pub, the only place where the air is still full of hope and possibilities, conversations can be stopped dead, just by mention of the cliffs. A stranger might think it is because of the situation everyone is in, and the women assume that too. But the men know different. They will look down, into their pint glass, fall into silence, laugh nervously and change the subject. It is almost as if she has visited them right there.
This is where ‘rumours’ would come in useful. Many ghost stories include the line ‘rumour has it’ somewhere or other. But there are no rumours this time. Just shadows under some men’s eyes, a sudden flash of life in someone’s expression. A sigh. It is not much in the way of evidence. But it all adds up.
When she walks in her long white cotton gown her blonde hair blowing behind her in the breeze, her mind is empty. When a figure approaches her along the path, coming towards her, not seeing her at first, she does not know what will happen next. When he sees her and stops, hesitant, maybe even fearful, she just turns her back on him and starts to retrace her steps. Sometimes he follows her, sometimes he turns back himself. Not all men are curious.
When they arrive at the cottage she walks in through the door silent. When he follows her in the atmosphere changes. There is no turning back now. When she hears him gasp, at the sight before him, the game has begun. But still, she doesn’t know how it will turn out. The room is bare except for a heavy wooden table and two chairs. On the table is a pile of equipment, laid out neatly. Whips, canes, rope, blindfold, handcuffs, hoods, chains. And a knife. On the wall of the room there are various hooks. He takes it all in.
She removes her nightdress to reveal a pale naked form. She looks at him with such intent, that he is infected with it. Suddenly he knows what to do. Anything could happen, but now it is up to him what that anything is. All those years of abstinence, or worse, of boring married missionary sex, are enough to bring the animal to the surface of any man. This one is roaring and growling already. He handcuffs her hands behind her back in one deft move. He pushes her towards the wall and holds her there. She feels his breath on her neck. She feels the coldness of the stone against her skin. She feels him pull her hair and whisper, ‘bitch’. It has been such a long time but he hasn’t forgotten. He is angry about what he missed. He is going to make her pay.
Fucking a ghost is like fucking a woman, but quieter, and more exciting. She is a blank canvas. He knows he can do what he wants with no comeback. That’s what turns him on. Imagine if there were never any consequences to anybody’s actions? This is how he approaches the situation. On the table the knife glistens temptingly. His conscience is a clean slate. And he always wanted to know if ghosts bleed.
It turns out they do.
By the time he has finished with her, there is nothing much left but blood. It only takes one cut, horizontal across her perfect belly, to open the floodgates. It cascades in crimson rivers out of her over her skin and onto the knife, his hands, his naked body. She does not make a sound, but her expression freezes in terror and pain. Good.
He doesn’t know quite why but he bends over her then and licks the blood pouring out from her body. He swallows the thick, metallic liquid as if it were some kind of elixir. It is giving him new life, restoring his sense of being a man. He almost laughs. To think he’d forgotten he was a man at all. He won’t forget now. He licks and drinks and swallows. He cannot get enough.
It all happened gradually, so most people didn’t see it coming. Bit by bit, sex became sanitised, criminalised, censored, stolen. The newspapers and internet were full of phrases like ‘pornification’ and ‘sexualisation’. Once there is a word for something it tends to be closely followed by action. Far away from this coastal village, in suburbs of cities, in boardrooms and courtrooms, men, the dirty dogs, were being castrated, figuratively speaking. Laws were being made. Women were crying ‘rape’ and ‘harassment’ with no provocation. A man only needed to look at a woman a certain way and he could be locked up. So men started to keep their desire to themselves. Pornography became a pleasure of the past. Even wanking seemed dangerous, subversive.
He didn’t pay much attention then, he was too worried about his livelihood, about the oncoming disaster, but now he knows. His manhood has been eroded. He wants it back before it falls into the sea forever.
When he has taken his fill he fucks her one last time. He finds her cunt, drenched in blood and shoves himself in. His mind is empty except for an overpowering feeling of victory. He feels like some kind of hero. He pounds her corpse-like body and empties his sperm into her. He feels so potent he thinks this alone might bring her back to life.
But the ghost remains limp and sodden on the floor. He pulls out his cock and goes over to the washbasin in the corner of the room. He washes himself as best he can. The water is freezing. The blood is starting to congeal and dry. He dresses quickly. A flicker of doubt wanders over him, but he brushes it aside. This is a ghost story. They always turn out the same.
As he leaves the cottage, he glances back and regrets it immediately. The carnage is horrific and it makes him retch. It might be a slasher movie. The final girl is not looking too clever. But still, intoxicated with his own power, he strides back up the coast path confidently. She had it coming. They had it coming. He is a man again at last.
When the police knock on his door the next morning, he is surprised to see them. It’s not that he thinks it was a dream. He can still taste her blood in his mouth. He can still feel the tension in her flesh, as it resisted then yielded to the pressure from the knife.
He knows it happened. But he can’t see how he’s done anything wrong. She was a ghost. He was helping his fellow man. He was saving them from crumbling and falling into the sea. He explains all this but they don’t believe him. The police are all women these days. They never believe a man. He must have forgotten the rules.
After it is all over, after he has been taken to the city, to ‘justice’ (capital punishment has made a comeback and this is an open-and-shut case), after the remains of her body have been removed, and the equipment taken as evidence. Everything goes back to how it was before. The cliffs keep on eroding, the villagers remain anxious and cautious. More cottages are abandoned. The ocean is making its inexorable way towards them.
But something has changed. Men start to talk to each other. Instead of staring into the bottoms of their pint glasses, they share a glance, they ask each other questions. They tell each other what’s on their minds. And when they go home to their wives, to their girlfriends, they look them straight in the eye. They take what’s theirs. The land has shifted slightly. The terrain is different.
Rumour has it, (for rumours are allowed to flourish now) that his ghost walks the cliffs at night. The men call him ‘hero’ under their breaths. But they don’t approach him if they see him. Unless they are foolhardy, suicidal, or romantic. That is another story.
By Quiet Riot Girl
Editor, Games Perverts Play: www.gamespervertsplay.wordpress.com