Featured Review on this writing by AdamCarlton


Reads: 299  | Likes: 2  | Shelves: 2  | Comments: 2

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

'How was it for you, Tess?' I asked, rather obviously.
'The sea was really warm once I got my shoulders under?' she replied, raising her voice into a question, my stunning Essex girl, 'I swam as far as the furthest buoy. There were pink jellyfish?'

Re-edited: 06.09.19

Submitted: June 28, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 28, 2019





As if the lurid colour photo and dissecting analysis of her on my msn news feed are not enough. The impassioned WhatsApp messages of condolence: ‘so sorry for your loss’. The down-turned smiley emoticons of grief that make her sound like a discarded doll. I get the cruel tweets and posts from the warped, weird, and worrying. The impolite enquiries, the intrusive, the bent and maladjusted.  

I often get asked what it felt like. How did she smell? What did her flesh feel like? How hard was it for me? Did she really enjoy the pain? How high did she get? How many times did she complain? And, most of all: why didn’t I notice the… 

As for her health, her beauty that day, her tactile touch, I can tell you, her looks, her touch, were among the most pleasurable sensations a man could enjoy. She was beautiful, amazing, loving, and gracious in death.

I still can’t believe she’s dead. Her death, that cruel, inexplicable, way of her demise, remains beyond my comprehension, without scientific explanation, an awful enigma.


I lay on the crowded black sandy beach as Tess waded in through the swell of the warm sea wearing the tiniest bikini, so tiny that her tinted hair sprouted out in ringlets. I saw the moulded shape of her well-lipped furrow in her bikini bottoms, sending me into a frenzy. Felt my thong tent-peg as I rose in silent salute.

Tess looked stunning. Her burnt sienna hair hung in a thick wet flop down one side of her brown face, a soggy swathe of dark brown waves which kissed her flaming hot cheeks, the sea salt drying in crusty circles on her sun-burnt body. She gave me a shy smile as she tiptoed up the scorching hot sand.

I felt for her, still hurt deeply down inside by those lewd questions that made her leave the UK, leave politics, for her new life of sun, sea, sustenance. And, I hoped, sex. When we reached the little hotel just up the flight of steep stone steps from the bustling, hilly, main thoroughfare. The heaving town square, brimming with tourists, overlooked by Amalfi's magnificent Duomo.

I stood on the beach mat and held out the towel for her to walk into so that I could wrap her, snug-as-a-bug in a rug: my gorgeous angel. Two nearby girls giggled and covered their mouths in shock-horror. I blushed blood-grey, realizing that Tess's sex had pushed me out of my thong.

The teenagers, tanned brown chestnuts, tittered then fell about laughing. I fawned an apology at them, then turned to face my sun-goddess, her face beaming, radiating, with happiness.

'Put him away before he fries, David,' she quipped.

This was the Tess I loved: cheeky, candid, outspoken, a love-child! I took her in my arms and towelled her from head to toe, drying her hair roughly, smoothing her face, admiring the sparkle in her shiny walnut eyes.

'How was it for you, Tess?' I asked, obviously.

'The sea was really warm once I got my shoulders under?' she replied, raising her voice into a question, my stunning Essex girl, 'I swam as far as the furthest buoy. There were pink jellyfish?'

I panicked, I always panic when we discuss colour, ‘Pink? What kind of pink? Help me, girl.’

She bit her grey-varnished fingernail, abrading the fine edge, tearing off cutin, ‘Ruddy pink?’

‘Ruddy pink?’ I repeated, quizzing her, unclear as to how to envisage that in my addled brain.

‘Mm! Like cooked lobster.’

I shook my head. Sad really, but I still didn’t see the colour, ruddy pink. I changed the subject:

‘How big were these jellyfish?’ I asked.  

Tess spreads her hands apart more than a foot. ‘Oh, these were big ones, David!'

I fussed over her. I dried her neck, her chest, the shining valley between her heaving breasts.

'You could have been stung, Tess!' I said.

'I could have!' she grinned, 'But I wasn't! The jellies were on the other side of the boom. I was never in any danger, darling.'

She let me dry her tummy button, rub the coarse towel between her smooth thighs. I felt her cleft, through the bikini, soft and pliant. We stared at each other. Knowingly. She wanted sex.

The heatwave intensified: 40C was the latest forecast. I felt my shoulders burn, skin tightening. I glimpsed my watch: 1pm, time for lunch. I heard the great bell of the duomo chime. Now the siesta begins, I thought, now the shops close, and so we go to bed.

I thanked my lucky stars that Tess wasn't stung. The beach had a lifeguard but he had gone off in search of a cool, shady, pizza bar, an ice-cold beer, no doubt. If Tess had been stung, I'd have had to take her into the toilets, strip her naked, and piss on her sting. The thought of my urine splashing all over her wound, healing her, only made me want her more.

I looked around us. The two girls had gone. Everybody was hastily donning shorts and shirts over their cozzies, decking shades and straw hats, rolling up towels, deserting the baking hot beach in droves. Staring at us as if we had leprosy.

I finished drying Tess. We threw on some skimpy clothes over our swimming gear, slipped on our flip-flops, and tripped up the dry sandy white boards to the promenade. Not bothering to shower the clingy volcanic grit off our bodies.

We crossed the crowded bus park. Amalfi is a busy transport hub. You can take the blue bus along the winding coastal road, through quaint, narrow village streets, under moss-damp arches of hewn out rock, along the precipitous clifftops. As far as the few remaining anchovy fishing harbours and Salerno in one direction. The trendy resorts of Positano and Sorrento in the other.

There were high-speed hydrofoils that whisked you off to the vertiginous Isle of Capri. I had given Tess the grand tour, worshipped her like a goddess since she flew into Naples, wined and dined her under the stars. Even caressed her sacred mound under the tablecloth as we waited to be served antipasti at the courtyard restaurant in Ravello. I wanted her so badly, I could cry.

We crossed the choked-busy coastal road, passed an ice cream bar, and entered the crowded main square. There were restaurants with clothed tables festooned around the fountain, facing the magnificent cathedral.

Tourists thronged the place, guzzling Peroni, stuffing their sunburnt faces with pasta, or simply picnicking on the steep stone steps of the duomo. We stopped at the fountain and splashed our hot faces with ice-cold spring water.

'Fancy something to eat, Tess?' I asked.

I wish you could see the look on her face! She whispered sweet temptation in my sun-grey ear. 

'Mmmn! I want to eat you, babe! I think we should go back to the hotel and siesta, don't you?'

I felt myself stretch inside my stone beach shorts, as if I had formally approved her proposal.

'Yes, I think we should...'

From the main square, it was a short climb, a push, through the endless crowds of sightseers, past the gift shop that sold rude aprons, more ice cream salons, a closed delicatessen. Until we reached the steep grey steps that led up to our hotel.

Wearily we climbed the steps in the stifling heat, turned right, and walked into the cool, dark hotel lobby. We were greeted by an elegant olive-skinned woman with curly black hair, a simple black dress, studs in her ears: an Amalfan beauty.

'Bon journo!' she said.

'Bon journo!' I replied smiling, 'Room...'

'305, 3rd Floor,' she interrupted.

Tess looked at me in a wanton way as I took our room key from her soft hand, noticing that her fingers were un-ringed. She told me, as we slowly ascended the three levels in the ancient lift,

'Her name is Maria, she's bi and would like to join us in bed tonight when her shift finishes? Do you mind, David?'

I visualized the faint black moustache over Maria's pursed brown lips, the thick black hair on her forearms, her hairy armpits.

'Don't mind at all,' I said.

'Good! She lives in. I went to her room last night with Meg?'

I was intrigued, ‘Meg?'

'Mmmn! She's staying in Amalfi with Harriet-Jacqui - just visiting?'

'Harriet-Jacqui? We should meet up, have dinner, a drink or two.’ Watch em have sex, I mused.

‘I invited them to our room tonight? With Maria? Thought we’d have an orgy? Use the sheets as togas?'

'Tess!' I scoffed, 'You're insatiable!'

The lift stopped. I slid open the cage door. There was a small walnut table with a vase of fresh flowers, grey roses, a gilt-edged mirror, facing the lift. I saw Tess's reflection in the mirror, she was blushing grey. She wanted sex. I wanted her. We stepped out of the lift, leaving the cage door open, and hurried to our room.

I turned the key in the lock and threw open the door. The maids had re-made the bed, provided extra clean sheets. They clearly knew that we fucked last night. I slammed the door behind us.

Tess seemed hungry for sex, was already pulling her damp tee-shirt off over her lovely head, unzipping her grey shorts, sliding them down her long, slender legs, stepping out of their pile. I stripped off my shirt and shorts. Conscious of the bulge jutting from my thong I slipped it off.

She was still wearing her bikini, the rounds of her breasts sticking out of her tiny top, her slick tinted hair sprouting from her crotch. I noticed her moulded vent as she sprawled on the bed in front of me.

'Help me!' she screamed.

Her hands gripped my clenched fists. Her fingers tore at my face.

‘What is it, Tess?’ I shouted, feeling her sharp fingernails rake my cheeks, ‘What’s the matter?’

Her eyes rolled up like two fruits on a one-armed bandit. She bled from her mouth. Her lips rolled and curled. Painfully slowly, she pulled a length of spine out of her throat. I felt my brain rub against my skull with fear. Her tongue, her langue, the soft palate, the gums, were covered in soft, bristly hairs, like stinging hairs on moth caterpillars that make you itch if you pick them up. Spiky hairs, catching themselves in the ridge of teeth, lining her salivating, frothing, mouth. She pulled her inflamed tongue out of her mouth. It had caked: rock-solid, hard and throbbing.

‘Hell me!’ she mouthed.

I ran to the telephone, desiring expedient room service, the pillow menu, medical assistance, reception, Maria, anyone. The phone was dead. I seized Tess’s phone: no reception. Why didn’t she reset? I catapulted myself at the bedroom door, wrenching it open. Poked my head, left, right, left, out into the corridor.

‘Help! Help! Help!’ I called.

No reply. Oh, sure, they were there alright! The French family with the young kids. The rude bastard from Bristol with the headset. The Germans who preferred not to speak English. The whole fucking EU was taking a siesta on the third floor that afternoon, but no-one came to help Tess. Bolted doors! ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs! Closed, shuttered, windows! Abject disinterest!

I heard a keening sound coming from our bedroom – Tess by any chance? Ignoring her whelps, I sprinted as far as the maid’s laundry room at the end of the corridor. The washing machine was on. Clean sheets for tomorrow morning, Tess! As if we needed them. Clean sheets were the last thing on my mind. I ran to the cage-lift. The door was closed. I heard a croaking noise. Tess! There was a tatty paper sign, hanging despondently off the brass knob on the outer door:


Oh, my God! I calculated the length of time it would take me to skip down six flights of stairs, gather Maria, the Hotel Manager, the First Aid Box, wait for them to call a private ambulance, or taxi, to the hospital on the outskirts of Amalfi, then clamber back up to the third floor with a rescue party.

And decided against.

Tess moaned, someplace at the back of my tormented mind. I went to her, went to my baby, my heart. Must be something I can do? Or so I thought. I went...

My heart fell round my ankles.  I stepped into the hell-hole and watched bug-eyed as Tess un-cupped her bikini, speculating on the number of spiky hairs growing out of her wonderful flat, round, dark caramel nipples. There were thousands of them, stiffening up, bristling out, of her.

‘Aaaargh!’ she screamed.

She untied her tiny bikini bottoms. They flapped open. Hanging off her were hundreds of hairy tendrils. Tess opened her legs as if that concession would make them drop to the grey-carpeted floor. They didn’t, sadly. The repulsive spines spread in a contagious rash down her thighs, the back of her knees. I saw two really big ones, brownish spines with grey tips, protrude then hang out of her stomach.

‘Hell me, ‘avi!’ she gasped, almost a whisper now, a softening hush.

There was this smell? Sweet? Like someone with bad breath. Tooth decay? Rotten flesh?

I watched in horror as she reclined on the bed. Her flame of bristling hairs splayed over the firm pillows, the pleasingly-woven patchwork quilt. Quivering, she drew her knees up to her breasts and curled up in the foetal position. My God, what were they doing to her?

‘Tess! What are they doing to you?’ I enquired.

'Their eating me!' she murmured.

Not one to disappoint in a crisis, I knelt on the bed, lowered my head between my thighs and threw up. Eating her? Tess smelled of dead fish. Her flesh went blood grey and membranous, stretching over her skeleton, clearly visible through the bristling folds of transparent grey skin.

I saw her heart beat in her chest. I saw Tess’s heart beat!  Give out! She reached for me. I went to her. She held my buzz-cut in her hands, drawing my face close to hers. I saw the growth spread over her cheeks, I recoiled.

She shut me out, for my sake. She shut me out, so I didn’t have to watch her body becoming a writhing mass of spiny tendrils. I pinched my nose, averted my gaze, but couldn’t shut my ears.

'Hell me!' she blew.

I knew it! Tess was going to explode. Couldn't hold out much longer. They were coming out!

I leaned forward and kissed her forehead. I closed my eyes and moved my head to her chest, lying my face against her heaving breasts, listening to her little heart pound against my cheeks. Seconds later, I heard her voice, demanding a final solution. She spoke clearly. I broke down.

'Kill me, David!' she pleaded.

Ignoring her, I rolled Tess onto her front, so that I didn’t have to see her grimace of death, her bulging eyeballs, those marbling whites, the protruding spikes, growing out of her walnut irises.

'Kill me!' she repeated, screaming louder this time.

Fuck! I lay Tess flat on her back with her head hanging over the edge of the bed so that I could break her neck expediently, then run off down the stairs and inform Maria that there’d been a tragic accident in room 305, before giving myself up to the Police.

I felt her reach behind my back, hold my bum, caress the hairy tops of my thighs. Sensed her indecency, her vulnerability, her intimacy, for the last time. She found her voice. I choked. Salt tears streamed down my face…

‘’ove you!’ she cried.

Her eyes sparkled at me. The bristles and spines retracted! I loved her! I took her in my arms. We lay on the bed, our sweaty bodies entwined, kissing, stroking each other's faces, just loving touching each other's hot, grey, blushing skin, as my beautiful woman slowly relaxed, and died.

‘How do you feel, Tess?’ I asked, crying my eyes out, ‘I love you so much. You’re my world.'


I often get asked why didn’t I notice the red sparkle in her eyes…

I couldn’t.

I’m colour blind.

© Copyright 2019 HJFURL. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:






More Science Fiction Short Stories