Edited by Robin Wolfe
For Bad Romance, I succumbed to my fascination with dysfunctional relationships. I never tire of exploring dysfunction, of dissecting the ways that two or more people can bring out the worst in each other. Adding elements of lust and love to a dysfunctional relationships ratchets up the intensity; people continue to pull each other down, and yet they can't seem to break away...and oftentimes they don't want to break away. During the months we spent preparing for and then working on this anthology, songs like Eminem feat. Rihanna’s “Love The Way You Lie” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” dominated the airwaves. The former covers the dynamics of abuse; the latter explores the overwhelming desire for self-destruction. Were they bits of erotic fiction rather than songs, both would be perfect fits in this anthology.
There can be so many reasons for staying in a bad relationship: the fear of being alone, feeling addicted to the one we love, the intensity of volatile emotion that makes us feel alive. We know they will hurt us; we know they will leave us wounded and lost. And yet we don’t walk away… because when the pain is this irresistibly pleasurable, how can we?
Excerpt from “Bleeding Red” by Jeanette Grey:
I want to ask about the show he is leaving behind -- about the paintings and the people. His precious dealer and his pretty, pretty fucks. There are so many girls who are sticky and wet for his art and for his sneer, and I want to make him tell me why he's hurting me instead of them.
But I know.
None of the others will let him do to them what I will.
None of the others will let him break them.
Pushing open the door to his studio, I am assaulted by the stinging scent of turpentine and bleach. It almost makes me retch, it's a scent I know so well. Without letting go of me, Red reaches up to turn on a single spotlight, a warm glow filling crevices even though everything is cold. I let my gaze move around, catching three easels and countless canvasses and palettes, brushes and knives and tubes of paint. I remember the feeling of the oils as he spread them slickly across my body, his hands making art of the ugliest of skin.
But there's still no way to paint beauty within.
I close my eyes against everything, only to feel a thumb at the hinge of my jaw, his fingers curling hard around my neck. "No hiding, Spyder. Open those pretty little eyes," he says. "Show me all the sick shit running around inside that head of yours. Show me what you want."
I shake my head and squeeze my eyes, chanting in my head that he knows. Of course he knows.
I can't bear to hear him tell me 'no.' Not again.
At my wince, he chuckles and lets his other hand slide up my thigh, knuckles pushing roughly against the place where my stockings are soaked. When he speaks, his voice is loud and firm. "Open up, sweet thing. Don't make Daddy pry you apart." My body begins to shake as he rubs me harder, his movements harsh and the scrape of his teeth across my cheek too familiar.
Giving another shred of myself away, I let my eyes and legs drift open. "Good girl," he murmurs. But I'm not. A good girl would be anywhere but here.
For a moment, I meet his gaze. There's no remnant of the Red that I remember in the near-black of his irises. There's none of the tenderness he used to use as he stripped and fucked and destroyed me.
There's no promise that he'll put me back together when he's done.
"Take off your clothes."
Everything in my body is shaking as he steps away, and the contrast between us couldn't possibly be clearer. Settling on a stool beside an easel, Red's movements are fluid and easy as he peels his shirt off, leaving me to stare at lean muscle and ink and skin. Dressed only in black leather pants and the boots I can still almost taste, he moves his hand to run along the hard line of his cock, stroking his thumb over the head.
"Naked, Spyder," he reminds me. The hand that isn't pressed against his cock rests on a little table, picking at brushes and palette knives as if he has nothing better to do, his eyes moving from the paints to me and back again. "I want you naked."
Bio: Robin Wolfe spends her days attempting to civilize a couple primates, and her nights reading or writing. She’d prefer to do both simultaneously, since there’s so many ideas that need to be written and so many good books that still need to be read. Unfortunately, she hasn’t yet figured out how. Perhaps it’ll happen one of these days. She’s a queer kinky freak with a lust for dancers, and she’s quite happy that way.
This Is The Way The World Ends
Edited by Catherine Leary
Buy Now! For as long as I can remember, I have held a special love for dystopias of all kinds. I devoured them in my growing-up years and they filled my imagination with images of human struggle set on a sparse stage---early in my life, I saw the apocalyptic story as a device to peel back the layers of human existence, plunging deep, searching for a way to lay bare the core. Then one day it occurred to me: where, in all of these humanity-driven dystopias, is the sex? Not the familiar we-must-save-the-world sex, but the real sex, the raw stuff triggered by the gritty unpleasantness of day-to-day survival, the desperation, the rage, the primal love, the defiance? When it came time for me to choose the theme for this anthology, apocalyptic sex was a natural choice.
Sex at the end of the world.
A taste of apple on your starving tongue. You shiver. Will you fuck for it?
Transcendence or death? Angel or demon? Will you flee the immolation or will you embrace it?
Here, in the ruins, it’s all the same.
These are the last days.
Come with us.
Excerpt from “Sparks” by M. Birds
They eat protein bars, tightly packaged in plastic, and Colby stretches out on hardwood flooring, hair clean and reeking of lavender. She feels strangely attractive, the kind of person that might be kissed on balconies. It is a sensation she is not used to, and it makes her dizzy.
Vina sits on the couch, watching.
“They’re called fire climax pines, you know,” she says after a moment. “The trees you were talking about.”
Colby did not know that, but she feels Vina’s gaze all down her neck and arms to the tips of her bitten fingers.
Colby forgets how her mouth works, which Vina obviously takes as an affirmative.
“You can have the bed. I’ll take the couch. You’re the guest.”
“Of course,” Colby says back, but it isn’t what she means to say. Her tongue feels huge, swollen in her mouth. She wants to tell Vina that once the people are all dead, the world will be silent and green and covered in fire climax pines, and it will be beautiful, even in the silence.
“And I’m an excellent hostess.” Vina’s stomach hangs over the copper button on her jeans, a small fold of brown flesh. Colby tries not to stare, but she can’t stop.
“Of course,” she says again.
In the strange bed, her dreams are hot and red and wet, like petals.
Vina wakes her up by biting into her throat. Vina wakes her up bound and gagged, bent in half and dripping wet and wide and ready. Vina pins her hands over her head, even though Colby says no, begs her no, she’s not like that, she doesn’t like that and oh god don’t –
Colby wakes up and there are things inside her, round and warm and pulsing, and Vina is knelt between her legs, fist twisting, hands clenching, “you love it, don’t you, you fucking –”
Vina holds Colby’s face between her hands, bodies slick with sweat and liquid against each other. Vina holds Colby’s face between her hands, and whispers against her mouth, “you beauty–”
Vina wakes her up and they are on an island.
Colby has never been on an island. There is water for days around them, blue at every angle, every side. The sand under her body is wet and cold, and there are seashells and sky and so much water.
“I wish I’d met you years ago,” Vina leans over her, and the sky is so bright it hurts Colby’s eyes and she has to look away.
“You did meet me years ago.”
Vina laughs, her mouth small and shaped like a heart, and Colby leans up to taste her smile (and there is water on all sides, moving like hips move, like bodies move, up against skin that is more than skin, that is also home).
“Wake up now,” Vina whispers, and Colby wants to and doesn’t want to at the same time (she is an island and Vina is the ocean).
“Wake up,” Vina says again, and Colby opens her eyes, emerging weightless and salt-covered and wet…
Bio: Catherine Leary lives in New England with her two cats, her aging parents, and a whole mess of books. She is fat, feminist, kinky, and queer. She once traveled all the way to Oxford, Mississippi, to stand on Faulkner’s grave, because deep in her secret heart she longs to be Cormac McCarthy and William Faulkner’s love child—the one that ran wild in the bohemian streets of Eros with a typewriter, a mercurial imagination, the vague memory of a tryst with Hemingway, and the taste of chocolate-coated chili peppers burning on her tongue. She likes to sleep and she loves to dream. She puts on her Pink Siamese mask and prowls through the forgotten halls of fandom.