The Speed of Dark – Available at http://shop.claytonbye.com/
I Will Love You To Death
John B. Rosenman
Young people in love—ah, our hearts go out to them, do they not? And when it’s a young woman, a pretty young thing with bloom in her cheeks, why, we get sympathetic goose bumps, don’t we?
In “Jesse’s Hair,” one of my two stories in Chase Enterprises’ The Speed of Dark, I tried to play with this young woman in love theme so it would fit the strangely disturbing horror theme of the collection as a whole. How could I do it? Well, for starters, I made Suanna, the love-starved Southern gal six foot one inch tall and three hundred and twenty pounds.
What’s that you say? That’s not strangely disturbing; it’s just gross. Hmm, are you really sure about that? Are the human oddities on TV’s Freakshow really that different from you and me, from what we complacently refer to as normal? Do they not have the same desires as us, feel the same need to love and be loved in return?
What happens to any of us when the need to be loved is continually denied? What happens in “Jesse’s Hair” when Suanna is publicly humiliated, and the young bucks and rednecks howl and go “Oink! Oink! Oink!” and “Su-eeee! Su-eeee! Su-eeee!”, comparing her to a fat pig in disgust?
Poor Suanna. She has so much love to give, only no one wants it. I wanted to show how any one of us, if denied love, can be twisted into a grotesque, hideous, perverted monster. In love-struck Suanna’s case, endless rejection creates a brutal female rapist and murderer who always takes something from the man she loves to remember him by even as she sets him on fire.
Let’s talk about perversion and fetishes. Suanna becomes maniacally perverted and develops a dangerous fetish. She becomes fixated on something connected with each man she develops an instant attraction to—it could be a belt buckle or a nice pair of hands—and she wants to take that item with her as a keepsake to remember him by.
How many of us are similar, only dialed down a bit? Aren’t most of us perverted or askew in our own way and have our secret fetishes? C’mon, you know what I’m talking about. It could be a pair of lady’s stockings, perhaps something we’re ashamed about and fear being made public. We know we’re a little bent inside and wish we could be normal, whatever normal is.
Suanna is far worse. As the story makes clear, she’s become one of society’s deadly predators who is “broken . . . by life” and who futilely hopes some man will see her inner beauty and capacity for love and heal the “sickness that festers in my mind.” No such luck. For Suanna, the tragic murder train rolls on.
I hope I make readers care about Suanna’s heartache and misery. While they won’t condone what she does, they may come to understand and sympathize with her. Admittedly, she’s a hard heroine and protagonist to sell, but that kind of task is the type of thing that horror does best, especially when those around her are so cruel and obtuse. Just think of the mistreated, misunderstood monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
As you read “Jesse’s Hair” and other stories in The Speed of Dark, be on the lookout for humor, for horror and humor, sometimes sick humor, often go together like love and betrayal, piety and falsehood. Why? For one thing, horror often portrays extreme, supremely sinful, strange, or abnormal acts and emotions, which tip so easily into laughter. Why again? Perhaps the best answer is that horror and humor are emotionally volatile and often attract each other, like a lit match does dry tinder. Horror and humor complement and intensify each other, fire up the blaze together—as I hope you’ll agree after reading the following perversion of a typical romantic scene:
Excerpt from “Jesse’s Hair”:
They stop on a bluff overlookin’ a lake. Mr. Moon dapples it, glistens on their bodies as they kiss and grope.
Hoarse breathing: his.
I dismount, hearin’ the sound of clothes comin’ off in a hurry. By the time I get close, she’s already mounted him. I see her tits jiggle and her face strain up at the moon like she’s prayin’ to it.
Let me tell you: pretty girls don’t look so nice when they’re grindin’ away with their little minds intent only on pleasure. Whorey Dorey even squeals a bit like a pig, and I mouth silent echos in the darkness.
Oink! Oink! Oink!
Quickly, like I’ve done five times before, I strip off my clothes and lay them in a pile. The crucifix on a chain that ma gave me for communion when I was twelve, I leave on top like a marker. Barefoot, I skirt the car, come up behind her. They’re reachin’ a crisis, so they don’t hear me open the door and climb in. Drivin’ my hand like a meat chopper into her neck, I catch Dora as she collapses and flip her over into the back seat. Then I mount Jesse.
Wet Dreams,” another of my darkest stories, is available from Muse It Up Publishing at the link below. In dreams lie our deepest, most secret selves. Do any of us ever really know what lurks in the hearts of those who lie beside us at night? Are we really ever safe?
About John B. Rosenman
John, a retired English professor, has published 300 stories in Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road, Weird Tales, Whitley Strieber’s Aliens, Galaxy, The Age of Wonders, etc. He’s also published twenty books, including SF novels such as Beyond Those Distant Stars and Speaker of the Shakk (Mundania Press), and Alien Dreams and A Senseless Act of Beauty (Crossroad Press). MuseItUp Publishing released three SF novels: Dark Wizard; Dax Rigby, War Correspondent; Inspector of the Cross. Kingdom of the Jax, a sequel to Inspector of the Cross, will be published in May 2013. MuseItUp has also published The Blue of Her Hair, the Gold of Her Eyes (winner of Preditors and Editors Annual Readers Poll), More Stately Mansions, and the dark erotic thrillers Steam Heat and Wet Dreams. Two of John’s major themes are the endless mind-stretching wonders of the universe and the limitless possibilities of transformation—sexual, cosmic, and otherwise.
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Read an interview at: http://www.milscifi.com/files/inter-JBR-BS.htm
Buy link, Muse It Up Publishing: http://tinyurl.com/83a2ezn
Buy link, Crossroad Press: http://tinyurl.com/bnxozdm