Worm

   I crave you like a worm does its dirt. With your windblown eyes and your skull-like face, I run my hand over the creases in your forehead with the tips of my fingers, breathing in your scent as I kiss you, pressing my tongue to the inside of your mouth and tracing the surface of your teeth. You’re perhaps the most divine thing I have ever touched, and the most amazing person I have ever come to experience.
   You’re beautiful, darling—so beautiful, maybe too beautiful at times.
   That doesn’t matter though.
   All that matters is that you’re mine.

   Slowly, you raise your head to look at me. Your eyes are dark—hollow, sunk into the back of your skull like the skeletal corpse you are. It used to scare me once, but not anymore, not since that night.
   We don’t think about that night.
   Not anymore.
   Lifting your hand, you start to reach back to brush a piece of thin, matted hair from your face, but stop as you notice the bony stubs protruding from the tips of your fingers.
   “No…”
   “Yes,” I say. “It’s you.”
   You say nothing. Instead, you look at your fingers, frowning, your brittle lips cracking. What used to be blood spills down your chin, soaking the table you’re seated at.
   “Darling…”
   “No.”
   Again, your voice—cracked, brittle, dry; it sounds like a tree dying in the autumn, when leaves fall and nature tramples over them. It’s a rough, yet low sound—harsh enough to hear, but low enough to mistake for nothing more than the wind.
   Sighing, I grab a wash towel and clean the grimy, coagulated liquid from the table. Your black eyes watch me with the intent of a hunter but the fear of the prey. Half of you is hawk, half of you is rabbit, but both are the same—together, as one, forever.
   “Daniel…”
   “NO!”
   You gasp. Startled, you recoil, raising a finger.
   In your haste, your arm snaps.
   You moan, not scream.
   You are incapable of such noises. I have made sure of it.
   “You are going to stay there,” I growl, heat rising from my stomach to my chest, “and you are going to read.”
   “Buh… uh…tuh.”
   “Nothing!”
   Face lit in a shocked, rotten grin, you turn your head down.
   A sliver of movement trails from your ear.
   Worm.
   Your tongue is like that worm, darling. Sometimes, when I press my cool, damp mouth to your dry, cracked lips, I feel a worm in my mouth instead of a tongue. It’s like when a man touches a little girl he’s not supposed to touch—he knows it’s wrong, but continues to do it because it feels good. That’s the way your tongue feels, my love. It feels like hands fondly stroking the folds of a little girl’s dress—not out of concern, but love; pure, unadulterated love.
   The world escapes when I feel your tongue against mine…
   But when I see the worm in your head, my world fades to black.
   “Dahn-eel,” you breathe.
   By now, you’re beginning to choke on your tongue again. It’s something I’m familiar with, something that’s become a part of the regular territory.  Usually, I panic, thus hastening my step to your side, but something is different today—something is very different.
   Something about that worm…
   “Huh-elp…”
   “You?”
   Nodding, you reach up and grasp your throat.
   Bony fingertips caress the tips of your jaw while your thumbs press into the flesh of your jugular.
   Spit your tongue out, darling. Then I will never have to pull it out of your throat again.
   Reaching forward, I take a ceramic pig that sits on the center of the table in hand.
   “Darling.”
   “No…”
   The first smack is beautiful—harsh, yet beautiful. It splits your forehead open like a fresh, virgin cherry, exploding forth the inner goodness that has been hidden since the day you were born. Like a woman’s most sacred, hidden part, your wound pulses and expands, as if begging me for more.
    Again and again, over and over, slower and slower, I continue to shatter the exterior of your existence. Your forehead goes first, then your nose, your eyes, and your lips; your jaw cracks open and one side hangs loose, speaking words that I can no longer understand. Your viscera is revealed, while your interior becomes a field; your words are then hacked, as they are desperately spat.
   Throughout this though, you do not scream.
   Instead, you moan.
   Darling…
   Moan for me, my love.
   Moan for me.
   The worm slips from your ear.
   I rear back the ceramic pig.
   I slam it into your skull.
   The worm explodes.
   My hands splatter with goo.
   Smiling, I reach forward, bring the remnants of the gooey, white worm from the side of your skull, and bring it to my lips.
   You may be dead, my love, but your worm will always be with me.

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