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Waiting for the There

slipstream by Chuck Von Nordheim

This happened before there or here was, in the once before a time.

Space opened up.  The man felt his muscles unclench.  He rolled away from the woman, pleased with his new freedom.

A barrier thrummed.  The man clapped his hands over his ears to stop the shrill sound.  He rolled against it, but rebounded.  He leaped at it, but bounced off.

Cold seeped through the barrier.  The man shivered.  He rolled back to the woman.

“How long,” he asked.

“Soon,” she said.

A hand took his.  The man felt the warmth of her flesh.  He shoved the hand from him.

“I want it to happen,” he said.

“Soon,” she said.

A barrier trilled.  The man ran toward the noise.  His breath went in and out and in and out before he bounced back.  He jabbed one, two with his fists.

Ripples of light shimmered.  The man felt his fists pock the barrier with knuckle-deep dents. Twisting his torso, he threw a right cross.

A concavity deep as the curve of the woman’s breasts marked the site of impact.  The man rubbed his knuckles on his chest to warm the bones chilled by the cold beyond the barrier.  He bent his knee and lowered his shoulder.  He slammed his right fist upward with all his might.

The concavity collapsed.  The man felt the cold outside bite like a thing with teeth.  He thrashed back and forth, trying to free his arm.  He jumped up and pushed with his legs.  He screamed.

The woman stepped up to the barrier.  The man felt her arm ease past his trapped limb.  He felt the pressure relent.  He pulled loose.

The barrier thudded together when the woman stepped back.  The man looked into her eyes.

“Let it happen,” she said.

“I have to do something,” he said.  “I can’t stand here like—” He hunched his shoulders and held out his hands palm up to indicate doing nothing.  “I can’t just sit like—”  He sat and made circles in the air with his thumbs to indicate passively waiting.

“Then do this,” she said.

She knelt.  The man felt her strong hands on his shoulders.  He struggled against her to keep upright.

She turned away.  The man felt cold when she stopped touching him, colder than when his arm was trapped—a cold that bit beyond bone into his heart.

“Come back,” he begged.

“You’ll do it,” she asked.

“I will,” he said.

She straddled.  The man felt her hair brush his face.  He felt soft skin slide down his cheeks.  He grabbed the points of her shoulder blades.  He pulled down on the bony knobs to force his face into the warm haven between her breasts.

She reached down.  The man felt ripples of pleasure radiate from his groin, like the shimmers of color that throbbed across the barrier when he hit it.  His back arched.  He cried out as the ripples grew more intense, seemed to spread farther and farther through his body.  He felt himself being guided.  He felt himself enter her.

The man thought he would like to be inside the woman again, maybe many times more, although he lacked the energy to do it, or move at all, when the thought glimmered in his mind.  He felt drained of motive, as if the knotted desire to exert his will had been unclenched like a tense muscle.  He felt empty, as if his bones had been stolen.  He no longer wanted to pummel the barrier with his fists.  He no longer wanted to shove past it.  He no longer wanted things to happen.  He could wait.

She breathed.  The man felt his arm rise and fall as her belly moved in and out.  He boosted up on his other elbow.  His hand shifted down her ripe contours as he raised himself up, gliding over the pale fuzz that wreathed her navel.

“I can just lie here,” he said.  “I can wait.”  Now he filled his hand with her breast.  “Sitting or standing I can wait.”  Now he measured the width of her nipple with thumb and forefinger.  “I don’t need to do anything but hold you.”

She swiveled.  “You can do this,” she said.  He felt her lips on his.  “This is doing something,” she said.  Pleasure rippled again as her hand guided.  “Make this happen.  Do this thing.”  The man moaned as a thousand colors shimmered in his head.  And then he slept.

Red lines thin as the blue ones that pulsed under the woman’s brown skin marred the face of barrier.  Bile welled up from the man’s gut, burning the back of his throat and souring his mouth.  Since he could see, the barrier had been a wall of blackness except where he pounded against it.  The barrier had changed while he slept.

The lines widened, the red grew paler.  The man shook the woman awake.  He pointed at the barrier.  He felt her stiffen.

“It’s happening,” she said.

“I’m afraid,” he said.

The air rustled like the hair on the bodies of the man and the women when they moved against each other.  He wrapped himself around her.  The surface beneath them seemed to soften.

Shrill sound shrieked.  Cold blasted.   Up and down departed.  He held her so close there was no space between them.

The woman pushed.  The man felt her sharp elbows thud against his ribcage.  He blinked with pain as her knees rammed into his groin.  He let go.

“It must happen,” she said, “For the rest of it to happen.”

She spun away.  He reached for her, but already there was too much blackness and too many stars between them.

And the tears he wept became the first rain, because there can be no here and no there without the grief of loss between them.

Copyright July 2010 by Chuck Von Nordheim

Chuck Von Nordheim lives in Dayton, Ohio. He  spends far too much time reading Greek myth when he should be studying for his classes at Wright State University.  Waiting for the There is the result.

[Return to the Issue 5: July 2010 stories]

2 Responses

  1. […] [Read the story] […]

  2. Good stuff honey!

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