When we met, you whispered in my ear, your breath hot, wet, and heavy with whiskey, that you wanted to know the feeling of my skin under your fingernails. There was lace around the collar of my dress, and I wanted you to take hold of it, rip it off of me, take my skin with it. Then you would see the spiders that live under my skin, the knife points of their legs splayed open like desperate women.
I turned away from you even though you couldn’t see them. I wanted you to see them, wanted you to feel them slice through you from the inside out.
“What’s your name?â€ I said.
“Doesn’t matter,â€ you said and laid a finger along my collarbone. Under my skin, the spiders traced the tips of your fingers.
“They’re memorizing you,â€ I said, but you didn’t hear me.
“You want to get out of here?â€ you said, and I nodded. The spiders pushed against my skin, an obscene blooming in the darkness, and I brought my hand to my stomach, pushed their dancing legs flat.
“None of that prude bullshit for you,â€ you said as we walked, and I let the clack, clack, clack of my heels answer you. The spiders settled against my stomach, their legs fluttering like fans.
We walked slowly, and you wound your fingers in my hair. I like to think you felt them then because as they shifted under my scalp, you pulled backward, and I let a sigh escape.
“You like it rough, huh?â€ you said and looped my hair around your fist, pulled it towards you, exposing my neck.
“Back there,â€ I said. Inside of my throat, the spiders threatened to split through my windpipe, but their sudden movement only jerked my head towards the empty alley just behind you.
You grinned, and your mouth was all wetness, your teeth covered by the slick velvet of your tongue. The spiders flooded my mouth now, clattered across my teeth.
I let you pull me into the alley, let you yank up my skirt. Your hands were rough, calloused, and they pulled at my skin. I could feel everything pulling away; skin from muscle, muscle from bone, and the spiders were singing, pushing against my broken flesh as you fumbled with your belt, your zipper.
Your fingernails pushed into my back, and I parted for you like the folds of tissue paper. If you held me up to the light, I would be translucent, a milky image of myself.
“Shit,â€ you said and pushed deeper, and I stretched around you, my insides bulging as the spiders rushed towards you, their sighs whistling out from between their fangs. A sound so slight, so lovely, that I wanted to cry.
“Do you hear them?â€ I said, but your movements had become jerky, your breathing labored.
I wanted them to make you slow down, wanted them to let you hear them singing, but they could not. They were too busy. My skin swirled with the pinprick designs of their legs searching for an opening. I had become like a piece of lace, delicate and airy.
“I feel beautiful,â€ I whispered to you as you finished, your fingers full of my skin.
“Fuck,â€ you said and you leaned your head against mine. Your sweat smelled sweet, and I brought my tongue to your cheek.
My own cheek burst open, and the spiders poured out, a beautiful glittering army in the night.
When you saw them, you smiled. For that, I think I loved you.