A man courts his love of death
|State Of Fatal Rapture|
Jack Coley loved his gun. It was a 32-caliber pistol—a lady’s gun—it had less punch, less kick, and made a great deal less noise than a .45, but he loved it just the same. You see, Jack had a lethal, sexual addiction with his gun, and he believed it helped him pave the road he drove like a happy highway to hell. Even now, sitting on the edge of his bed, Jack figured everything would be fine if he could just kill himself.
He looked down at the gun gripped in his hand. The barrel glistened in the light, not because it was well oiled and well polished, but because it was slick with spit.
He shoved the pistol back into his mouth and squeezed the trigger ever-so-gently.
He watched the hammer pull back and felt the thrill of death so close to him he could taste it: the oil, the metal, the gunpowder. He squeezed a little harder, his inner voice egging him on. Do it, ya wuss! It’s gonna feel so good. Just do it!
The thought nearly brought him to an orgasm. His body shuddered, and a spiral of dizziness spun through him. When he was almost there, he relaxed his finger, dropped his gun-laden hand feeling spent and exhausted.
He fell back onto the bed, his feet and hands icy cold. His extremities felt numb, and he shivered like an old car with an engine badly out of tune; his heart rattled and banged nearly shaking him to pieces. He knew he would remain in this state of rapture for at least a couple of hours. The power was in him, and he wouldn't hunger for satisfaction again until morning. He prayed he could endure the wait.
If ya keep this up, Jackie-boy, it’s gonna kill ya. He laughed at the thought because it was exactly what he wanted. In the end he was content knowing that his 'little death' would be intimately more intense than the physical phase that had preceded it.
But Jack didn’t start out this way. Like all good paraphiliacs, he experimented.
He thought back to its beginning. He was forever amazed and distressed by how completely the past remained alive in the present and by how the struggle to forget was an inducement to memory. And as memories go, not all of them were pleasant. When he got caught peeping, for instance, in Mrs. Berber’s bedroom window.
He had been eighteen then, off to college, and his neighbor, Cynthia Berber, loved to leave her blinds up while lying naked in bed. Jack liked to watch; in fact, he couldn’t stop himself from watching, so he jumped the fence to get a closer look.
The problem was George Berber, her jealous husband. He worked nights and came home at odd hours. George was an ugly, wall-of-a-man, with no neck and a flat, smashed-in face. Jack figured that George never got over the fact that a woman as beautiful as Cynthia could ever have married him, so it was only natural for him to think she was cheating. Jack knew being in their backyard was dangerous, but that was half the fun.
Jack was enjoying the show while he fondled himself. He was so engrossed watching what Cynthia was doing to herself on the bed, he never heard George come home. As Mr. Berber came around the corner of the house, he saw Jack and grabbed him from behind. For Jack, it had been totally unexpected, and he had an orgasm.
George saw it happen, and was so shocked and sickened by the sight that he lost control. He slammed Jack’s face against the side of the house, knocked out his front teeth, beat the boy to the ground, and then continued to hammer and kick him until he broke several of Jack’s ribs and ruptured a kidney. He would have killed him if Cynthia hadn’t come out of the house and made him stop.
Jack spent the next three weeks in the hospital, and another three months after that just recuperating. By the time he was able to get up and around he had been dropped from all his college classes, lost his job at the local sandwich shop, and was forced out of his apartment. The doctors told him he was lucky; he had almost died. The thought of that still thrilled him like the first big drop on a roller coaster ride. Thinking back on it now, he was grateful to George Berber for showing him his true addiction.
Jack embraced death, sought it out in a hundred different ways. He bought himself a small motorcycle with what was left of his student loan money. He sped through town running intersections against the lights; he even tried driving hundreds of yards with his eyes closed. When he finally ended up in a ditch, his bike bent and ruined, he tried slashing his wrists. He only cut until the blood pooled and welled, but never slashed deep enough to finish it. Once he even tied a plastic bag over his head until he swooned from lack of oxygen.
But nothing worked. Like all addictions, these acts quickly lost their luster. He needed more, always needed more, a bigger boost—something that would give him the ultimate thrill.
That’s when he got the idea to buy a gun. He knew it was a sick path, a dark, decomposing road of obsession, but he was elated with the power a loaded pistol gave him, the passion he experienced.
He read all about his fixation, studied it. The experts called it paraphilia, or better yet, autassassinophilia. It was a form of flagellation, self-depredation, but it was never done to punish himself. Jack’s goal was always sexual in nature, the maximum turn-on. He loved it, craved it.
He was ecstatic knowing that eventually he’d hear the snapping of the hammer against the cartridge rim, the explosion, the ejaculation of the bullet. It was all so sensual he couldn’t wait for the end.
Jack deteriorated. He looked like somebody back from the dead. The thought of that was a door in his head opening on to a stinking yellow place, a wallowing place, where the addiction began to take its toll.
Night after night of broken sleep drained him of strength; he found it steadily more difficult to prevent the urge that came upon him hour by hour, darkness occupied his mind, invaded the light of sanity.
Tonight was the same. Jack didn’t expect to sleep. In the cool dimness of his room he thought he would lie on his back, stare at the ceiling and visualize the nexus of his sexual being and how it connected with the mysterious power of death that ruled his soul. Jack always prided himself on pursuing deeper self-awareness. The search for enlightenment was exciting to him. Strangely, however, he fell asleep.
He dreamed of a perfect world. There was no greed or envy or despair, because everyone was identical to everyone else. There was a single sex, and human beings reproduced by killing themselves and spewing forth newborns out of their dying mouths.
The imperfect hour that followed started with Jack yawning, and then grimacing at the sour taste in his mouth. He had thrown up on himself while he napped; his T-shirt and pillow were soaked in a putrid, yellow vomit.
He sat up, peeled his shirt off and was immediately distracted by his nipples. They were erect from the chill in the room. He rubbed and pinched them so hard that tears of joy welled up in his eyes. Then he scratched at them until they bled, until pearled-rubies ran down his chest. He swung his legs off the bed, wiped his torso clean with his T-shirt, and then headed for the bathroom.
The small handgun lay on the nightstand where he had left it. He was tempted to pick it up and shove it into his mouth, but he forced himself to think of something else.
“Not yet, Jack-o,” he said. “Let’s save that little treat for later, huh? First, we’re gonna brush this god-awful taste out of our mouth.”
He staggered toward the bathroom, but his eyes strayed back to the gun. It seemed to call to him. “Oh, no-no-no, my little friend,” he said. “Not just yet.”
So it felt odd to Jack that he found himself sitting on the edge of the bed again with the gun in his hand, his teeth still unbrushed. The compulsion to pick it up and push the weapon inside his mouth had happened so completely that he never knew he was doing it.
The thought was unsettling. In fact, everything he found unnerving about it remained unnerving, because there was no room to think about anything else at the moment but the gun.
“All right, then,” he said, his voice sounding as though it emerged from somewhere deep within his chest, “you wanna play? Let’s play.”
He shoved the gun deep into his mouth, gagged when the barrel scraped against his uvula. From the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of himself in the dresser mirror. He turned his head to look.
In the corner of the mirror, he could see the moon, the color of a shark’s underbelly and still bright, as it reflected through the window. It lit the room and the skin of his face with a sickly light, making him want to scrutinize the damage he’d done to himself. He observed how thin his features had become, how gaunt, and then he couldn’t remember the last time he’d eaten. His unshaven face and oily hair showed that he had been neglecting himself, and his eyes were sunken and shone milky-white, as if he were going blind. Surely if he looked hard enough, he thought, he’d be able to see the guy he used to be, instead of the bone beneath the meat, the skull gleaming the way his teeth gleamed when he stuck the gun in his mouth.
He was distracted by the image of a sick and disgusting addict, fist stuck in his mouth, gun clenched in that fist, distracted and frightened beyond belief. The fear aroused him. He had never watched himself work with the gun before. It was new and stimulating. He loved it.
He walked over and knelt in front of the mirror as if it were a shrine, opened his mouth wider so that he could get a good close look.
The gun went off, sounding like a loud hand clap.
Jack was thrown sideways as if kicked in the head, the pistol flinging from his hand, thick black smoke curling upward from the barrel. He lay crumbled in front of the dresser, his face smashed into the dirty carpet unable to move.
The realization that he was shot came to him slowly, like a memory broken loose by the passage of the bullet. Blood pooled around his head, seeped into his hair, and then soaked into the carpet. Where his face was squashed into the rug, the blood filled his nose, flowed into his eye; he could see how red it was, how dark.
On the left side of his head, there was a chill where the air lightly kissed at the exposed part of his brain. Jack wanted to touch the hole, stick his finger in-and-out, in-and-out, hear the squishy sound. He was upset he had no feeling in his lower body. The only thing he was aware of was a strange coolness in the side of his head; an icy sensation leading him somewhere, to something he remembered but temporarily forgot. He followed the feeling until it led him to awareness, and in that awareness, hiding like a hammer-wielding goliath, was the pain.
The ache swam into his consciousness, a trickle becoming first a stream and then a flood, drowning him in a sea of agony. The pain was so brutal and ruthless, he wanted to cry-out, but the only sound he could make was a flem-filled gurgle.
This isn’t how it’s supposed to be, he screamed inside his head. Not like this. The pain soared higher, unbearably infinite. Oh, God, what have I done? Please, just let me die!
The anguish continued, peaking at heights Jack never dreamed existed. He was wrapped in a torturous blackness that had no bounds and was filled with thousands of vile voices like a million TV sets all tuned to a different channel.
The pain seemed to swell and shrink, to pulse as if it were alive, to press coldly down around him like a sheet of ice. He couldn’t take it anymore.
Mommie . . . Mommie . . .
And then it stopped.
It seemed quite possible to him then, that he felt nothing, was hollow inside. Maybe he was just asleep; and perhaps this was all just a bad dream he’d wake up from with his old habit coming to his rescue. But it didn't, and he finally realized this wasn’t a nightmare, he wasn’t dreaming at all. He was remembering, but by then nothing remained but the black, a nonexistence he wore like a heavy shroud.
(word count: 2100)