Tarotica Ch. 13

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Chapter 13: Death

A major change is about to take place. Transformation is imminent. The Death card often appears when you are facing significant life events. A situation is coming to an end and a new era is about to occur .– Anthony Louis, Tarot: Plain and Simple

A clearing of the way for new efforts. Abrupt change of the old self. Beginning of a new era. – Stuart R. Kaplan, Tarot Classic

That morning, I saw the article – a shock – and too much of one before the end of one’s first a.m. coffee.

I swallowed hard – the brew — good, strong, and gourmet — was somehow thick in my mouth. “This should not affect me,” I thought, “It’s been years.” I returned the cup to the table. My hand was shaking, and the paper rattled.

“Man, 30, Dies in Bizarre Train Accident”

that was the headline and, underneath, a picture of Paul. I had no doubt it was he – the years had dimmed some recollections, but not the familiar turn of his face, the dimpled smile, and the hair that curled tenaciously around his collar. “He used to cut that so short,” I thought to myself, numbly, “to try to fight those curls.” I read on.

“Paul Ribner, 30, the author of several best-selling novels, died yesterday in what authorities are terming an accident. Authorities state that, sometime early Tuesday morning, Ribner somehow fell onto the tracks in front of an oncoming commuter train. Though the engineer attempted to brake, it was impossible to avoid Ribner, who was declared dead at the scene.”

I took a deep breath. An accident? Paul was not the kind to fall victim – so to speak — to accidents. Paul: good-looking, self-assured –a well-known author before his 30th birthday. Paul – dying such a hideous death? That beautiful body – that beautiful face – mangled, crushed, broken by the dreadful rush of an oncoming train? It didn’t fit somehow – and the violence of his death – the thought of it —

I hadn’t ever been able to bring myself to read his work – I did not want to discover myself masked as a character in his almost-gothic, potboiler mysteries. Or perhaps that was vanity – perhaps I wasn’t important enough for such a dubious honor. Perhaps I was jealous of Paul’s success. We’d both dreamed of being writers; he had succeeded. I, on the other hand, entered the corporate world and, after a purge of “redundant” employees (which included technical writers), I had suffered, as they say, a “reversal of fortune.” Now, desperate to save my house and my car – the worn, secondhand furnishings were in no danger: the same with my three cats – I was desperately lacing together a tenuous living through unemployment checks and erratic freelance work.

I turned to the Obit’s. There he was again, smiling, cocky – and, of course, dead. “Paul Ribner, 30, of Spring Grove, died Tuesday. Ribner was a much-loved, best-selling author of several mystery novels. Ribner was known for his willingness to meet his fans and provide autographs. Ribner also read several of his own novels for the audio-taped version of his works, also best-sellers.”

“Well,” I thought to myself, “The family has to plug him even in death. I’m sure,” I thought wryly, “They inherited all his royalties . . .” “Ribner was predeceased by his father, John Ribner. He is survived by his mother, Vivienne, and two sisters, Anne Lawson of Spring Valley and Janine Hughes of Blossom. Contributions may be made to the Paul Ribner scholarship fund . ..”

I closed my eyes, put the diminishing warmth of my cup against my forehead. Paul Ribner. I could still feel the soft of his cheek against mine, and the way we used to fuck – sometimes he was rough and wild, and the two of us challenged each other with escalating foul language. Other times, the night began with a bouquet of roses and wine, and Paul would not let me touch him – he would, instead, suck my throbbing cunt and tits, then lightly tickle my stomach, my ribs, my thighs. I would shiver with goose bumps, but he was always undeterred – on those nights, he would whisper, “There’s only you, Kristen,” and, already hypersensitive, I would shudder against his lips.

I shook my head. That, though, was long ago. We were both younger – we were college lovers, never with any formal or publicly-acknowledged relationship. Only the stealthy visits to each other’s room, only the pretend-vacant glances we traded in college-hallways. . . After graduation, I had gone to work – by that time, Paul’s father had died, leaving Paul and his sisters a substantial inheritance. Though it was not to be theirs until after her own death, Paul’s mother – always a believer in her son’s genius – somehow passed Paul’s share on early so he would have only to write. Paul and I exchanged a few hot, teasing letters, and always Christmas cards, and then – you know how it goes – nothing. I hadn’t exactly forgotten Paul– hard to, when his books glared garish red liseli porno from the bookshelves at Wal-Mart. But I had other worries, a different focus – a life I was trying – in vain — to attack and control. There were times, though, when I dreamt of Paul – when I could hear his low voice and smell a wafting scent of Polo. Sometimes, these dreams were intense – intense enough to make me cum in my sleep, and I would awake, pumping and helpless, against only the sheets.

I no longer had much of a dating life. My live-in boyfriend of three years had recently left, off to marry his high school sweetheart – I didn’t know he’d re-discovered her on the Internet. “You understand, don’t you Kristen? If anyone would, you would.” Schmuck. Sure, sure, I understood – whatever. I understand I want you out of my life. Now.

Then there was the layoff – and then – well, then the daily struggle to stay afloat. I thought of Paul again – of his own realized dreams – of the cleft in his chin and the slight hitch in his walk. When others wore sweat-suits to class, Paul wore – always – dress pants and button-down shirts. Paul was — always – together: how could he have fallen into an oncoming train? I looked around, at my own threadbare furniture, at the house I just might lose – I put my head on the table and started to sob. For Paul, being dead, and for me, being alive. After a second cup of coffee, I dragged myself back to the computer. I carried the third cup of a necessary caffeine fix. I had three freelancing projects – a brochure, a newsletter, and the editing of a journal article – I had to finish by the end of the day. I rubbed my eyes and turned to the stack of information I had to condense into a sensible, readable newsletter. The computer hummed its wake-up call. I sighed and began to sort. “We are proud to announce that Lloyd Johnson has won employee of the month.” Behind me, a sudden rustle. “All right – which one of you is it?” I looked around, wondering which feline was now begging for food. No cats. “Huh,” I said, and walked back into the living-room. All were couch-cuddled, sleeping quite happily in a furry, three-cat pool. They’d taken to doing that ever since, for financial reasons, I started keeping the thermostat low. I walked back to the computer room, took a sip of lukewarm coffee, and returned to my document. But – something happened. The dry text of the municipal newsletter began to distance, somehow – I saw it, wavy and strange before me, turning almost into a surreal 60’s rock poster.

I work at home – usually, I wear only a denim shirt and fuzzy slippers as my “professional” clothing. It also makes it easier – at odd, uninspired moments – to masturbate – which I do almost mindlessly, when stuck at some strange linguistic stop. But just then – while my text was swirling into an acid-laced blur — my legs spread – there was a thought, somewhere in my mind, that I really needed to shave – and I felt a – whoosh – of something entering my cunt. I groaned and my head fell back. I felt the whooshing continue up to my womb, and I bucked against my office chair. I thought it would – Emily Dickinson-like – burst through my brain, explode the top of my head, but instead, I sat bolt upright.

Control N. In front of me, now — clearly, crisply — a clean screen. I started to type, and the words were unbidden. “Now, Kristen, it’s time to get to work – don’t you think? You’re much better than dry newsletters and brochures.” I shook my head – what the hell? – and returned to my previous document. I admonished myself, a bit ashamed at this strange interruption: “You are going quite mad, Kirsten, and you have work to do. Later, after this newsletter is done – you can reward yourself with a nice cum – your vibrator’s been idle for a bit too long, anyway.” Control N. “What the hell?” I whispered aloud, and tried to take my hands from the keys. Against my will, they kept typing, the words kept appearing. “Can’t you feel me Kristen? Don’t you know I’m here? Don’t you recognize me? Don’t you recognize the touch? Has it been that long? Am I that easily forgotten?”

“Paul,” I whispered, “Good Lord – this isn’t right – this is so – this just can’t be. .” The words continued. “Well, it is me, Sweetheart. I’m glad you haven’t forgotten. I never really forgot you, you know – remember that night – when I fucked you down by the lake? It was dark and I had you naked against the metal railing.” “Omigod.” I whispered and wondered if I was heading for the proverbial author’s crack-up. “I know this must seem awfully – well – odd. But here – just to prove it’s me. . .” There was the cunt-whoosh again, but this time, the whoosh – the wind – the whatever-it-was – somehow felt like fingers – fingers reaching deep, deep into my cunt and curling – it was a trick of Paul’s, and no one had ever been able to finger-fuck me like that. mobil porno I felt a deep tingle – the tingle of Paul’s trick – and I gasped and twisted, and, for a minute, pulled my hands from the keyboard.

“I could stop here,” I whispered, “I could walk away from the computer, I could stop, I could pretend this never happened – I need to see a therapist – What am I saying? –I have no insurance –I can’t see a therapist. I could go out – I could go – downtown – to the coffee-shop – I could go out for breakfast. . . ” I grabbed my coffee cup and walked back to the living room. I stared at the self-satisfied cat-knot. Felix reached one paw out, squinted at me, mewled, then went back to sleep. I returned to the computer. I sat in front of it, took a deep breath, and placed my fingers over the keys. My hands began to fly – the words came sputtering out quickly, more than mechanically. There were no errors, no mis-spellings.

“I thought you would come back. I know you so well – still.” “What do you know?” Was this the way to communicate? To speak to the letters madly scurrying across my screen? “I know you have the ability – and determination – to write – for me. There are things I was not able to finish before I”

My hands paused. The cursor blinked, waiting. “Before you what, Paul?” I whispered.

“Died. There are things I meant to write. But, the potboilers made money. A lot of money, actually, and I’m certain Vivienne is enjoying it now. I’m sure she’s disappointed with the chunk I left to the SPCA. But, I digress – there are things one realizes, when one is in-between – much becomes clear. I should have made time – to write – what I meant. I did not. It’s in part, I suppose, what led to my death – in some ways, I think, I died after publication of that first, damned, stupid mystery. But I think that’s why I’m here – in-between – so that maybe I can finish some business. That’s why I’m here – in your computer, so to speak. There are things I want to say – things I should have written – and the only way to do it now is through you.”

“You want to write – through me – from beyond the grave – like automatic writing?” My temples were throbbing into one major migraine.

“I wish I could chuckle, Kristin, but within this medium, there are limitations. Simply typing “ha ha ha” does not quite do it. “Beyond the grave” is really pretty cliché – and really, I would prefer that you not describe my current state that way. I am, as I said, “in-between.” And to explain it – well, I just can’t, Kristen. It doesn’t make sense when you’re mortal –”

I snorted. A ghost and still a snob. “All right, Paul – whatever you prefer. But – you know – if I buy into the fact that this is actually happening – and I’m not sure that I do — I really don’t have a lot of time. I’m nearly destitute – I have cats to feed – and a ton of work I need to do – and work I need to dig up – just to save my house.” My captured, tired hands on the keys again:

“You need to make time for this, Kristin. You have to make time for this. I promise you – if you do this – there will be no more worry for you. You will make money – much more than from beating up purple prose for newsletters no one reads. Trust me. I have – well – inside information.”

The cunt-whoosh again, and the feel of Paul’s long fingers, curling deep in my womb – only somehow so much, so much more intense than when those hands were mortal. I groaned again – my hands were off the keyboards, and reaching for my burning clit. I rubbed it fiercely, and the fingers curled, twisted again. It took, perhaps, five seconds. I came, bucking absurdly in the office chair, gasping, moaning, screaming. The waves receded – I sighed, gathered my shattered body, and placed my hands over the keyboard once more.

“There ARE other advantages.”

“Paul,” I said, “I can almost hear you chuckle.” The next few months were, in a word, strange. I spent the mornings working, writing copy for newsletters and brochures, always finishing, always making deadlines – and yet always distracted. Because after the mornings, there were the afternoons.

Noontimes, I would break for lunch. Then, at 1:00 – when, without fail, the local church bells tolled the exact hour – I would head to the computer – almost, but never really quite, in a trance. I could have broken it – I could have walked away – I could have taken a nap, or played with the cats, or watched daytime television, or done anything else – but I didn’t. After lunch, without fail, I was in front of the computer, my hands hovering – expectant – over the keyboard.

And the words poured like rain.

Sometimes, Paul would interrupt the word-tide to speak to me directly. Sometimes, Paul would visit me after dark, after I, stumbling and exhausted, tripped to a bed I never seemed to have time to make. Sometimes, during desperate öğrenci porno dreams, the room would cool, and I would awake. “Paul?” I knew he was there – and he would come to me, sometimes with the curl of his trick finger-fuck. Sometimes, I could feel his shadow-weight, and his shadow-cock deep, impossibly deep, inside me. Those nights, I would scream with pain, shame, and delight – and would cum, again and again, against the sheets – and against a weight I could not name nor hold. Sometimes, those nights, there was a waft of Polo and a faint touch on my cheek. Once, I smelled roses.

Together, Paul and I wrote two full-length collections of poems, a novel, and a series of essays. If I told you the titles – of those who allegedly wrote the poetry, the fiction, the non-fiction – you would recognize them. Together, Paul and I chose pen names for each genre. I didn’t know what was going to happen – who would publish this mountain of work – didn’t yet know the point of the (quite literal) extra-human effort it took to produce the manuscripts that piled, unread, next to my possessed computer. One day, after one last poem, I forced my hands from the keyboard, leaned my head against the cool computer screen, and sobbed.

I swear I felt hands, gently massaging my back.

With Paul’s help, I found a publisher – I could recount that tale, but the details are mostly dull. With Paul’s help, I knew what to say. With Paul’s help, I created a pitch, and somehow, somehow, the work was published and sold – and sold like proverbial hotcakes. The royalty checks – and the fan mail – began to arrive. My house was saved, my car secure, and – for just one night – the cats enjoyed a steak dinner.

That part – those days – are still rather hazy for me. But one morning I woke – after an almost-depressing deep night of velvet sleep: no dream lovers, no dream ghosts – and felt a strange touch of clarity. That afternoon, no words appeared under my expectant fingers. There was no scent of roses, no whiff of cologne, no sudden temperature changes. Both relieved and disappointed, I left the house. I had lunch, then coffee, then ventured to the local bookstore. There, in the poetry section, I found one of our collections – it was listed as an “employees’ selection.” There, in the non-fiction section, I found our essays – it was shelved at the front of the racks, “best-seller” written proudly underneath. I read some of the reviews printed on its cardboard stand: “Inspirational. Profound. A necessary voice.” There, in the fiction section, I found our novel. I picked it up, feeling the surprising weight of the text, and ran my raptured hand over the slick cover. I turned it over and read the back-cover reviews. “Destined to become a classic. An amazing new voice. Written with passion and conviction.”

“Oh, you don’t know passion and conviction,” I muttered to myself. I felt the sting of tears, and couldn’t answer the employee who asked me whether I needed help. I shook my head and scurried home.

I went to the bedroom, undressed, and lay down, enjoying the slight breeze from the open window, but also feeling the disappointment that the breeze was not Paul. I reached for my vibrator, felt the solid whir of it – intense and satisfying – against my palm – then applied it to my clit. I felt the inner spring start to uncoil, the warmth radiating from my toe-tips. I imagined Paul, tried to call him up – One last time, Paul, what do you say? I imagined him, walking into my room, dressed to the nine’s, walking with his odd slight hitch, his dimples flashing. I imagined him whirling into a Paul-vortex, a spin of colors and Polo cologne, and then I imagined sucking him into my now-pulsing cunt. Whoosh. And then – there it was – Paul’s by-now distinctive cunt-probe. His fingers – if one can call them that – were inside me – deep, deep, I swear almost to my throat. I moaned and came, bucking violently against my vibrator. There was no rest though; I could feel his ghostly cock penetrating my over-sensitive cunt and gasped, then twisted, but I could not get away. He – Paul – whatever – fucked me while my legs were somehow held high over my head, my ass almost off the covers, my head rocking back and forth in what was not quite protest. My breath was ragged, my thighs sore from the extreme position. I don’t know how long it lasted – I don’t even know if I was conscious through the entire episode – but I swear I felt something inside me I hadn’t felt in our previous, ghost-fucking encounters. This time, I felt something pulse wetly inside me, spurt into my womb, soaking, it seems, my internal organs.

This time, Paul came in me.

After, I slept – again – the deep dreamless sleep of exhaustion. I awoke to darkness and panicked mewlings for food. On the way back from the kitchen, after the cat-feast, I stopped in the computer room. A not-quite blank screen. “Thank you.”

“No, Paul,” I whispered, “Thank you.” I touched my belly. There was no losing now – there we were – together, powerful, inside me. I – and the essence of Paul that had so-soaked me internally – would keep writing.

But next time, I would use my own name.

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