“What’re you looking at?” Luc embraces me from the back.
I want to tell him. Tell him and drink the shock from his eyes.
“Fort. I saw a monkey on its wall yesterday.”
“Un singe? Pas possible! There’re no monkeys here, ma chérie!”
He plants hot, half-sucking kisses on the nape of my neck, enveloping me in a cloud of Chanel Egoiste. The perfume resists weekly dry-cleanings. Luc’s skin succumbed to it, as though his mother fed it to him through umbilical cord in her womb.
I crave another smell altogether, not the one suckled with my mother’s milk. It’s the kind that takes root and sprawls inside of a corrupted mind. It’s the kind that lies atop your chest when you sleep at night.
My eyes glued to the rock structure jutting into the water, I reach for his groin.
The Tower. He must be there.
Luc peels himself away from me and stands before the mirror above the cluttered desk. He ruffles his blonde hair and grins to his reflection as the creature grins to me in my dreams.
“What’re you doing today? Shopping?”
It’s my turn to wrap myself on his back and reach for him.
“I’m more interested in that monkey.”
He grabs my wrists and says, “Main non! I’ll be late for the conference!”
“To hell with the conference!” I bite his earlobe.
He frees himself, adorns my forehead with a peck, and leaves before I manage to delay him further.
I go back to the window and place my hands on the glass. Palms up. Surrender.
The spot, where I glimpsed the monkey yesterday, calls for me. His eyes are probing my existence from down there, among the walls. Waiting.
I shower, dress, and after a quick cup of a dark roast in the lobby dissolve into the noise-filled city. Crowds carry me to the fort’s walls like little creeks destined for the seas. I cannot fight it. I’m at the edge of the Earth, the beginning and the end of my journey.
The spring sun scalds my skin through the thin fabric of my dress. Playful wind rubs it against my aching nipples, tormented by Luc’s mouth last night. Longing circulates through my body and pools at the base of my belly. It pulls me forward, to the point of no return.
In a sea of faces, I’m utterly alone. They speak loud. They laugh without worries. They photograph the moments to carry back as shards of memories soon to forget. Back home everyday lives will swell with pained recollections of the distant places. Until present superimposes the past like layers of dust conceal vivid colors.
My memories end here. I’ve walked half of my life searching for him.
I linger at the gate and lifting my head probe the walls for him perched on the grey limestone. Un singe is not in sight. Perhaps, Luc was right, and there are no monkeys here. Perhaps, I chose a wrong place to look for him. Perhaps, what I glimpsed wasn’t the monkey at all.
Main non! The gate is wide open, and I go in.
Hordes of people rush by, eager to ingest history’s winners and losers. I walk on the cobbled road, my fingers tracing impurities of the walls. I do not care about its succulent heritage, scandalous betrayals, victories, and battles. I need the living thing it harbors in its folds.
The road curves up toward the third inner wall. The tourists flood the quarters and chambers, and I walk on searching for the clues.
Another bend on the road and the smooth cylindrical Tower halts me to a full stop. The flag atop of it sways in the afternoon breeze like languid hips of belly dancer at the late night feast.
A shadow grows at the base of the tower. It’s him. My monkey. He sits with his back to me and twists to face me. He bares his teeth and slithers into an opening of the Tower’s darkness.
I follow him through the dark tunnel. Light shimmers ahead, and space grows into a vast circular room. Sunlight streams down from an opening in the dome and gathers in the middle. There, on a raised golden pedestal my monkey sits on a red throne and watches my every move.
Black fur covers the tall creature from head to toe. Under the rays, he scintillates dark-blue as if bleeding ink. I try to keep my eyes on his face. I fail. His tar-black erected penis pokes his flat stomach. The monkey spreads his hips wider and appraises me with liquid gold eyes.
“I’ve been looking for you,” I whisper.
“I know,” He speaks in a voice from the dreams.
“I’m sick without you.”
“I know,” he replies, stretching his black lips into a grin.
“Come!” He extends his palm to me.
I go and kneel before him. He stands up and pulls me into his embrace. He wraps himself into my mind, liquidating my restraint. The dreams had led me to the master of my universe.
That night I’m shivering in the air-conditioned room. Luc lies next to me on his back. Beyond his listless body, partly-illuminated fort keeps a watch over the city. Shadows gather on its top where lights fail to reach. My monkey lurks among the walls, waiting. Waiting for me to do what I have to do.
Luc is unconscious having emptied a carafe of wine and his sacks earlier. The seed quickens inside me, demanding to eat. I kiss and suck Luc’s parted lips until blood sprays the back of my throat and his last breath departs into me.
I get up and place my hands on the glass. Palms up. Surrender.
The hunger inside is quenched. For now.
About the Author:
Aliya can make complex charts and crunch numbers like a nut-crazed squirrel in summer. She is 25% data analyst, 25% photographer, 25% writer, 25% jogger, and 100% Mother. When not doing one of the above, Aliya likes to gaze at the clouds and plot stories about people and places she has met and got acquainted with on her journey from Azerbaijan, through Europe and Asia, to USA. She loves ghost stories, and has a soft spot for legends and folktales.
Find her on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aliya.jabrailova
See her photos on flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/147390995@N06/