The Exploding Woman
Copyright 1990, 2002
From Seduced and Abandoned & Other Erotic Tales
The Magic Serpent is an occult bookstore in Hollywood, and when I visit L.A. I stop in to buy black candles—real
novice stuff, but then I was raised Catholic. It takes awhile to shed that last vestige of God-fearing guilt and convert me to
paganism. With me, it eroded slowly, finally breaking when I moved to New York. Living in that city convinced me there was no God.
I paid a visit to the Snake, checking the herb section for the first time. I dipped into the container of peppermint and
thyme bud, a combination allegedly used by witches to cast vengeful spells. A dark-haired man walked up to me. He
looked vaguely familiar, like I had passed him on the boulevard a few times.
"You shouldn't use that," he warned me, slinging his hand over mine. "It's not for beginners. I use it when I want to hurt
someone—why would a pretty girl like you want to hurt someone?"
"You'd be surprised," I shot back, a little too curtly.
"Revenge doesn't become you," he said, his voice raspy but understated, belying his clad in black biker looks. His
nipples were erect under his tank top, his skin slightly tan. I knew instinctively he was a creature of the night—the only
way he could have garnered that tan was from riding—sure enough, when I glanced in the parking lot there was a Harley
Davidson with a wolf's-paw hanging from one of the handlebars.
"You're not playing around," he said. "You're not like those Valley chicks who hang around here cause they think its sexy
to pretend they're witches. You're into it for deeper reasons."
His perception was shocking, considering he'd met me two minutes ago.
"Why are you into it?" I asked.
"Earthly delights just don't cut it anymore." He slipped his fingers through his black denim belt loops. His nails were
manicured to a point, thicker than mine, and sloped out over the ball of his thumb.He scanned my face with searing black eyes, pupils
coursing with an innate anger. I imagined he came out of the womb with that contempt in his eyes.
"You're from New York," he said.
"It's that obvious?"
"The black tights, the cowboy boots, the short hair—if it
was ten degrees cooler, you'd be wearing a motorcycle jacket."
"You don't look like you belong in L.A., either," I said.
"I don't belong anywhere." He walked out of the shop, and rode off on his Harley, disappearing into the hills.
I stayed at the El Patio, a motel in Studio City for a few weeks while I wrote ad copy for an agency in Westwood. I'd
sit on the beach on weekends and get an eyeful of gorgeous blond windsurfers, and I flirted with as many of them as
possible. I even enjoyed seeing attractive, feminine women again—not in a sexual way, but seeing other women who
liked to dress seductively and flirt with men reminded me that sex was possible in my lifetime. After two years in Manhattan,
I'd had my fill of celibate nights, and parties full of preoccupied, upwardly mobile show-biz types looking for connections.
It took me three days to get laid—he was a 20 year old surfer—I told him I was 23. We fucked all night, and the next
morning he brought me roses from the Ralph's across the street. Even though my reintroduction to sex was completed, I
needed something more—something beyond love, beyond sex, beyond religion. I could feel him ... I didn't know who he
was or what he looked like, but he was here in California, so close I could taste his salty skin. I hopped in my rental car
and got on the Hollywood Freeway.
The sky was its customary Valley blue as I opened my motel room door. Kids roller bladed down the Boulevard. I
pulled down the blinds, but sunlight still seeped through dimly. I grabbed the aluminum foil that covered my takeout
food and crammed it into the open sores of light. The constant sun depressed me, sapped me of my enemy. I
picked at my sweet and sour shrimp. The pain seared through me, and I dropped my chopsticks, tears flowing hot and
unrestrained, liquefying the too-thin sauce, trailing down my arms and stinging my flesh.
A knock at the door startled me out of my self-pity. His shadow glided across the blinds, unmistakably male, slightly deviant.
The warlock I'd met at the Magic Serpent. I eased the door open.
"That was a dumb thing to do," he said, "I could be a serial killer, and you're letting me in your little motel room."
He scanned the cubicle quickly. "You can do better than this."
"Well, you may think that, I may think that, but the rest of the world sure doesn't."
He stretched out on the bed, his eyes trained unwaveringly on my thighs.
"You're blood—you've got the brand—let me see it."
"I don't have a tattoo."
"I ain't talking about a tattoo. Pull down your tights."
"Oh, I've heard that one before."
"You have a crescent-shaped birthmark inside here..." He reached down and twisted my right thigh, with a grip so cold
and insistent, I feared he had ripped bone from socket. He fingered the indeterminable spot where thigh traversed to
crotch. "There it is," he slid a cool fingernail over the dark brown, slightly raised crescent hidden between my closed legs.
"Yeah, that's it," he squeezed my thigh, the muscles in his arms bulging. With his other hand, he tore open a rip in his
jeans, white threads all that remained from that piece of denim. "Right here, blood. The same mark."
I looked down, horrified. In the slant of sunlight between the windowpanes, I saw it. The same dark brown raised
crescent, in the same spot, on his right thigh. "It's just a sick coincidence," I said.
He smoothed his fingers over my birthmark. "You want me to leave right now, I'll leave." The keys to
his Harley jangled from his hip pocket. "Is that what you want?"
He squeezed my muscles and bones tight. "You gonna sit here and eat your Chinese food, maybe watch the news, then
what? Go out to a bar in Hollywood and pick up some heavy-metal kid? Masturbate over an ex-boyfriend?"
My skin turned red where he had grabbed me.
"You bastard!!" He knew everything about me. He knew how lonely I was. Had he watched me—stalked me for the
past week—or had he known me before, when I lived in Hollywood?
"Who are you?" My lips trembled, he had said, in plain English, how empty my life had become.
He sat on the bed. "You used to hang out at the Zoe, that nightclub in Hollywood. Every night you were there with a
different dude—the first summer anyhow. Then you started hanging out with that long-haired hippie loser. That fucked up
your life, lady, cause you oozed sex when I first laid eyes on you—then you hooked up with him and your eyes went dead
like baby-blue ice cubes."
I studied his face. His sensuously arched eyebrows jutted out over his eyes, tamely convincing. The long nose and
pearly red lips lent him an androgynous charm, counterbalancing a short chin with the clef of a '40s movie idol and cheeks bloated, not from fat,
but from anger or too much coke. His disheveled black hair distracted me, betraying the rest of him, softening him and making me lust for a man
who disdained hot passion.
"I didn't look like this then. I was a punk—I used to play guitar with a band called Nosferatu."
I remembered him now, wearing a T-shirt, ripped jeans and a scarf imprinted with skulls. David—David Elson. His
band had played the Zoe and other rock clubs I frequented. "You always stared at me like you were gonna slice me
up," He had bottomless black eyes that scared me, "but I couldn't take my eyes off you."
"You had platinum hair like fuckin' cotton candy. Little Angie, everyone knew your name. All the other girls looked
like greasy, anemic whores, but you sat there, tipsy on mixed drinks, a round, sweet little thing."
The image was clear now. David, leaning against the bar, fist clenched in eternal anger, an anger torched into the veins
from the first schoolyard fight, from the first defiant rebuttal of authority. He was a man capable of murder—but he did it
with a stare. He'd killed many men with those eyes—it was all he needed.
My body seethed with a lust that bordered on possession as he flexed the muscles underneath his tattoos. His lingering
stare followed the curve of my hip. He snaked his tongue towards my erect nipple, then pulled it back in his mouth, quick and subtle like a lizard.
"Don't tease me anymore. I can't stand it." I reached for his zipper. Just as I was about to pull it down, my wrist cramped, a lightning bolt rippling up my arm.
I collapsed on the bed, tears welling up in my eyes. Undaunted, he took his clothes off.
The locked muscles in my wrists slowly unknotted. Shadows accentuated his dark eyes, the lightless forms his
companions. His every move reeked of forbidden sex—even the way his fingers curled on the mattress made me want to
"Look at me," he commanded. "You haven't had a decent man in years. You need to be touched."
His hand cursed my shoulder, red-hot lava, not flesh and blood leaving its imprint on my soul. It singed, but it was a
rejuvenating pain, like an electric shock to a fading heart. I could barely see his lips move, though his voice was
strangely soothing and guttural, a seductive reverberation.
"Put your arms around me," I whispered, "Run your fingers along the curve of my waist."
The curtain of black hair that had draped his face parted, and he lowered his finger into my waist, his nail coolly
piercing my skin.
"That feels so good. Do that all over my body." I reached for his thigh. Another cramp seized my wrist. Ligament tore.
Veins puffed through translucent skin
"Oh, Christ!! You bastard, what are you doing to me?"
"Are you having trouble, Angie?" He lifted his hand in front of his face. Blood dripped down his fingers. His stony face
finally broke into a smile.
"You draw blood so easily—so thin skinned. I thought you'd be tougher."
My heart chugged like a berserk train. Blood seeped down my stomach and filled up my navel. In the cheesy motel light,
my blood was a surrealistic red, too bright to be human blood. I had ceased to be human—I was a vampire, a hissing
snake, a creature of the night.
"David, why did you do that?" I cupped his face in my hands. "Why did you hurt me like that when all I wanted to
do was touch you?" I had overstepped my boundaries; I had touched him with my novice hands.
My face dripped with sweat. I could not move my hands--they were pasted to his face.
"Its quite all right—you can move your hands now," David said. I coldly ripped them off his face, the quicker the better,
like I was tearing off a bandage.
"GOD, NO!!!" My hands were burnt, charcoal black.
"Why are you doing this? Why are you destroying me?"
"I'm not destroying you—I am preparing you for rebirth as the immortal woman you were meant to be."
"FUCK YOU! Stop playing games with my head."
"You don't get it, do you?" He grabbed my ankles, and with the skill of a surgeon prepping a patient, he spread my
legs, then he straddled me, his erection casting a shadow on my bare stomach.
He glided inside me effortlessly. I screamed, but no sound came out. When he thrust inside me, the pleasure was
indescribable, like every orgasm I'd ever had piled one on top of another. Little bubbles of ecstasy popped in every crevice,
in every vein, 'til I thought I'd pop an artery, then died down mercifully, as though he knew the ebbs and tides of my body
like a road map.David was stoic, untouchable, a vaporous god—he was every man I'd ever loved and every man I'd ever hated.
My backbone split, a lightning bolt skewering me. Each time he changed position, a new part of my body cracked, at
first, undeniable pleasure, then wetness, a coursing of liquids. His face was fascinating, a study in control and concentration.
I had been frightened of him when he first followed me, but now I drew power from him, a magnet for my own desires and strengths.
"Aaah, she is coming out of her cocoon, sweet witch," His shoulders heaved.
Then the world went blank.
Blood dripped down the window like dirty rain.
"Mother of God," I yelled.
"No such thing," David said. "Its only your body—just a receptacle for the vile lusts of men and the pollution of this dying planet. You deserve better. Say good-bye to this danklittle room. Say good-bye to the family who abandoned you and the ignorant but well-meaning friends who forced you into a life of despair. You will soon be free of your burdens, my dear."
He bent down to kiss me. As his lips moved closer to my face the air around me grew stagnant and heavy.
"Stay away from me." My voice lapsed, voided from the diaphragm up to the lungs. He pressed his lips against mine, his mouth tender as a
baby's heart, drained me of my last breath. An earthquake shattered my spine, his kiss lighting the fuse that traveled to
my incendiary core. I could not close my eyes; the muscles there had been frozen by his touch. "You must see it," he
intoned, "to know that you have been freed."
The weight of an anvil crushed my spine, my body ripped in two inside my chest. Bloodied breasts emerged as the
outer shell curled and blackened. A torn, dismembered arm slammed against the window, shattering the glass in a spider
web pattern. I smiled. My muscles relaxed and I closed my eyes. The witch inside me shed and burnt my human body.
I was free to be myself.