Here was I, the fussiest of surly gits, alone and unmolested, able to do as I pleased sexually. And I even had a girl with me to assist.
The girl of your dreams and a void to call your own — what more could a boy want?
“I’m not going to die if I have sex with you, am I?” I feel it’s always best to ask. People get turned on by different things. You don’t want to find yourself in bed with someone who keeps a Black and Decker drill under their pillow to help heighten the pleasure. Those things don’t have much variation in the lower settings — soft screw or jack hammer.
“No,” said Jenny. “Not in here.”
“But possibly? Like last time we had sex, you could have killed me?”
“I suppose, technically, yes,” said Jenny. “That’s not what I would have wanted, though.” She took my hand in hers and her eyes sparkled. This was her subtle way of telling me she was up for it.
“Okay. So, we’re going to practice safe sex from now on. Only in places where I won’t explode from contact with you. I mean, explode not in a good way.”
“Are you nervous?” said Jenny, looking a bit miffed at my hesitation.
Normally, I would be straight in there. Foreplay? Don’t waste my time — I have more important matters to see to. But Jenny had already thrown caution to the wind once already. She’d seduced me (by letting me see her naked — oldest trick in the book) when she knew full well the danger it posed to me.
How do you trust a girl who’s willing to put your life on the line just so you’ll have sex with her four or five times in a row? Where’s the consideration for others? (Yes, four or five times — I wasn’t keeping count and I always round up).
“No,” I said, “I’m not nervous. This isn’t my first rodeo.”
“Are you comparing me to a horse?”
“Only in a positive way,” I said.
“You haven’t forgotten how to do it, have you. This body still works, right?” She prodded me.
“Of course. It’s like riding a bike.”
“Are you comparing me to a bike, now?”
“I don’t slut shame,” I said. “We all have a past.”
She sighed and then hugged me, and kissed my neck. There was an air of inevitability about being with her. Like death and taxes. Although people routinely avoid paying their taxes, so I have no idea why those two get lumped together. If you have enough money, you don’t have to pay any taxes at all. Maybe if you kill enough people, you’ll end up immortal.
“I’m sorry,” she mumbled into my neck. “I was keeping you alive so I could feel everything you were going through. It made me want you very badly. When I saw you, I couldn’t help myself. It was like riding a wave, it surged through me.”
I recalled that encounter very well. There had indeed been a lot of surging going on.
“It was possible,” said Jenny, “if your body collapsed while you were inside me, it would create a feedback loop, where the only way to keep you alive would be to use the pleasure you gave me to reinforce your structural integrity. I would have become a perpetual orgasm generator, that’s what Maurice called it.” She leaned back to look me in the eyes. “If it came to that, I would have kept you going as long as I could.”
“Pogchamp,” I said, not entirely sure whose benefit she would be working towards. It’s fine for a girl, but the fluid loss would be fatal for a male. This is why you should always hydrate and drink at least eight litres of water a day. You never know when a girl is going to try to ride you dry.
“But it’s fine now,” said Jenny. “We can come in here whenever we need to. Your body is protected in this place.”
“How do you know?” I asked.
“Maurice worked out the maths.”
How do you calculate something like the deterioration of a body maintained by the emotional life force of another inside a void space unaffected by the laws of physics? It wasn’t like he had one of those calculators that do equations. Then again, what do I know? I thought it was advanced mathematics when I could turn a calculator upside down to make is say hELL0.
It was all very well being cautious but once she took off her clothes, there wasn’t really much of an argument to be had. I didn’t care if it was going to end up killing me.
We only did it once and it didn’t last that long. But it was surprisingly aggressive.
I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. I was the aggressive one. However I had convinced myself to let bygones be bygones, there was still some residual resentment inside me, apparently, and I took it out on her. She didn’t resist, just held on until it was over. I can’t say it was my finest moment, but there was nothing transgressive about it, it just felt one-sided. To be honest, she acted like she expected it to be like that, maybe even happy about it.
“Sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean to be so rough.”
“It’s fine. I’m glad.” She smiled at me as she put her clothes back on.
“Mm hm. I think it’s better you let it out than keep it bottled up. And I like it when you want me to know how you feel, whatever it is you’re feeling. You do it so rarely.”
I looked at her, trying to see if she really meant it. But she was impenetrable to me. “Hey, you don’t have a scar when you’re in here.” Staring at her face made me realise the giant scar that covered her face, her reward for saving me from dragon spit, wasn’t there.
Her face broke out into the biggest smile I’d seen in a while. “You didn’t even notice, did you?”
“Well, I’ve never been the most observant person. Don’t expect to get compliments about any new haircuts.”
“You idiot, it’s not because you’re unobservant. You’re what every girl wants.”
“Did you bang your head when I got carried away?”
“Well, not you, but the way you look at me. You see me. We want a guy to be able to see us. The real us.”
“Then why do you cover yourself in make-up and wear push-up bras and high heels to distort everything?” Seemed kind of counter to what she was saying.
“Because it’s terrifying. What if you don’t like what you see? But if someone forces their way beyond what everyone else is seeing, and he wants what he finds, that’s very addictive. It makes you greedy for more. The way you’re looking at me right now is…” She started to undress again.
I wasn’t looking at her in any particular way. If I had the ability to melt women’s panties with a look, I think I would have noticed.
“I’m not sure I can service your needs so soon after—”
“Don’t worry about it,” said Jenny. “You won’t be putty in my hands.”
This time it wasn’t aggressive at all, just urgent. I can’t say I understood what had got her all hot and bothered, but I suppose it didn’t matter. The important takeaway was that I had what women wanted, whatever that was. Me. God’s gift to the ladies. Who would have guessed?
Jenny seemed keen to prove a point. Once that was over (life is suffering) and we were dressed, it was time to decide what to do next.
Peter or Joshaya had been Jenny’s suggestions. I had a couple more ingredients for the pot. Stay here. Run away. Hide. Find someone else to take care of things.
If things ran to form, it would be more a matter of who found me first. I had a bad habit of running into people when I wasn’t in the mood to entertain. You never have any Hobnobs in the house when guests call round.
Even if I had a firm idea of where to go, I wasn’t sure how to get there. I could now see doors clearly. They were all around me, dozens of them. Some were quite high up, so how to get them wasn’t clear — I wasn’t all floaty now that I was inside my own body. I couldn’t see any invisible stairs. (Yes, I know. Shut up.)
What I did want to do was leave this place just to see how my body would feel back on terra firma. Would I have new powers? Would my old powers actually work? Was it too late to get a refund?
“Let’s try this one,” I said, pointing at the nearest door.
“You’re pointing at nothing,” said Jenny, “but okay. I’m game.” She looked at me like she’d happily follow me anywhere. It’s a weird feeling to have someone look at you like that. Makes you not want to go anywhere in case they realise you don’t have a clue what you’re doing. “Don’t worry,” she added, “I know you have no idea what you’re doing. I’m still game.”
So, not because she respected and admired me. No. She was willing to follow me down the throat of the nearest leviathan because she liked the element of surprise.
I went up to the door and put my hand against it. There was nothing there, but it felt slightly different to the nothing surrounding it.
My hand passed through it and disappeared. I followed.
The new location was dark and damp. Jenny had hold of the back of my jacket and bumped into me from behind. I made a light. That seemed to be working as usual.
“Oh, Gorgoth,” she said.
We were in the basement of the druid’s church. What I would have really liked was some sort of sticky label I could put on the door in the void so I’d know it led here. Having to remember where each door came out would never work. They must have discovered glue in this world. You just have to boil down a couple of horses, don’t you?
“How do you feel,” she asked. She began patting my body to make sure I wasn’t falling apart.
“Fine,” I said. “Let me try something.”
I tuned the light into a flame on my fingertip. A little hotter than usual? It was hard to say. I increased the intensity. The flame turned redder, then yellow to white.
“Wow,” said Jenny, holding up a hand to shield her eyes. “Seems brighter. And hotter.”
Was that because I’d become more attuned to the void, or because I was plugged into Jenny’s juice? Either way, it meant I had more firepower than before.
We went up into the church. There was no one around, which wasn’t very surprising since most of the druids had gone off with Caim. I hadn’t seen them in Fengarad, I realised. I was too busy running away from Joshaya. I wondered what had happened to them. I also wondered what had happened to Joshaya. I was sure I hadn’t seen the last of him. He still had designs on this body. Between him and Jenny, I was never going to get a good night’s sleep.
“I need to take care of Joshaya,” I said, more of a statement to myself.
“Okay,” said Jenny.
“Do you know how I could do that?” I asked.
It was great having a girl who wanted to be with me. And it was reassuring that she no longer felt the need to grab the steering wheel. But some sort of help beyond not ruining everything would be nice.
“If you want my help,” said Jenny, “just say the word.”
“What kind of help?”
She shrugged. “Back rub?”
It wasn’t a bad offer.
Outside, it was early evening. I had lost track of time, but I assumed it was still the same day.
I raised my hand and sent a flare into the sky. It exploded into the shape of a dragon. Not exactly subtle, but you can’t be when dealing with Brummies.
Flosse and Dudley turned up a few minutes later on Vikchutni. They landed outside the church and the dragon began eating flowers off the graves, bloody savage. Flossie came running over and hugged Jenny.
“You’re back together!” How she knew, I had no idea. “What did yo’ do? Promise to be his sex slave?”
Also, this assumption I only responded to people submitting to me was uncalled for, and completely unfounded. I didn’t take Jenny back because she promised to be a good girlfriend who knew her place and would provide sexual favours on demand — that was insulting (to me). I took her back to test her sincerity. Obviously, there would be downtime to fill (with sex) in between all the personal growth and mature discussions about what it means to be a couple (when I’d catch up on my sleep).
“Let’s go to Fengarad,” I said.
“Okay,” said Flossie. “It’ll take a bit of time. Do yo’ want to wait till morning?”
The trip from Gorgoth to Fengarad took about five or six hours by dragon express. It was a pretty dull journey.
“Let me try something.” I turned to face the church and held up my hands, palms out. I let rip.
The light was white. It blew the church away in a single sweep, sending stone and brick flying. The druids weren’t going to be happy. But then they lived on lentils — when were they ever happy?
The interior of the church was ripped up and the basement was exposed.
“Wait here,” I said as I made my way down through the dust and wreckage. No one rushed to join me, which meant they had either learned to follow orders or they didn’t fancy getting crushed under falling foundations.
I made my way back to the archway to the void. I could get back to Fengarad through here, but I’d rather do it via the dragon express subway. I examined the archway. My realm, my rules?
Concentrating my thoughts on a single desire, I put my hands on the edges of the archway and pushed. It expanded. Not the stone, but the space in between. It’s hard to explain. But it was big enough to fit a dragon, at a squeeze. All aboard. Last stop coming up.