Andy Morris: On A Cold October Morning

October-Morning

Lilly stood atop the wall that ran the length of the bridge, its old grey stones mirroring the colour of the cold October sky. The bleak autumn wind whistled in her ears and mockingly flicked her dark hair around her tear stained eyes.

“Why can’t you just leave him alone” she whispered, as her finger nails dug into the palms of her hands. “He loves me, surely you must see that, he loves me and doesn’t want anything to do with you”. Lilly was struggling to control the churning emotions that threatened to boil over the cauldron of her inner being. “You’re just stringing him along” Lilly continued, “manipulating him against me”. With that last sentence Lilly felt the metaphorical knife twist in her heart a little more. “You’re always there, always following him and he’s too blind to see it. Why can’t you just go away and leave us alone”!

Through the blurred vision of her tears and the lashing tips of her hair, Lilly saw her quarry look up at her. The other woman’s expression was neutral, her sickeningly cheery smile and bright starry eyes were noticeable by their absence. She stood their silent and unmoving like a statue looking up at Lilly tauntingly. Wiping her eyes Lilly continued “you know what you’re doing don’t you, you know you’re tearing us apart! It’s your fault, it’s all your fault and I hate you. I HATE YOU” Lilly spat bending down towards the other woman. This current episode of simmering hatred had been steadily building for days within Lilly and she could bear it no more. Lilly needed this cathartic release of emotion and it made her mind whirl with the exhilaration of giving voice to the turmoil that she’d battled to keep locked away. It was as if the cauldron inside her was over flowing, flooding her world, drowning everything except this woman. Nothing else was able to penetrate the raging maelstrom that battered her mind.

An elderly couple were walking across the other side of the bridge staring at her but she didn’t care, this needed to be said, she needed to master this storm of anguish and break free from the tethers of her despair that held her tight and dragged her down at every opportunity. That couple could think what they liked, it meant nothing to Lilly, for right at this moment she didn’t care what anyone thought of her.

What Lilly felt now was liberating as if a heavy anchor was lifted from the pit of her stomach. She felt the most alive she had felt in a long time as she vented her feelings. She felt her spirit begin to rise but it was at that moment that fate seemed to notice the spark of hope shining within her and duly intervened with a cruel turn of events. The moment in her life when she felt most alive was suddenly eclipsed by an archetypal fear.

In a blur of images; the other woman jumped up and pushed Lilly hard in the stomach. The wall was only a narrow ledge and as she instinctively stepped back to steady herself, she fell backwards, and was swallowed by emptiness. Lilly was enveloped in the rushing wind that pulled her thirty feet downwards, plunging her into the icy river below. Lilly barely felt the impact on the surface or the icy squeeze of the water as the velocity of her fall pulled her down. In less than a second Lilly’s head impacted on a large stone at the bottom of the river and everything went black. Any sense of self awareness that was able to penetrate her panicked mind faded with her consciousness. The fear, the anger, and the cold all drifted away, physical and mental pain drifted away. Everything drifted away… except Lilly.

 

Ben Harris worked in the library of the university while studying for his PhD in Sociology. Lilly’s ex-boyfriend enjoyed a healthy distrust of the modern world. Refusing to see things as a passive observer, unquestioningly taking in everything at face value Ben liked nothing more than to question the norm. His ability to stand back and ask “why” led him to see manipulation and exploitation everywhere he looked. He was the antitheses of the modern consumer culture, rejecting everything that could lead to powerful groups in society gaining control over his life. Although Ben didn’t subscribe to labels such as Neo-Marxism, Anarchism and Post Modernism he read widely around these themes. That’s what had attracted Lilly to him in the first place; he was different. Ben wasn’t wrapped up in his own self-importance and the accumulation of wealth wasn’t important to him either. He was motivated by a desire for knowledge, because knowledge was power. Ben believed the best way to fight oppression and manipulation was through education, uncovering people’s eyes to the actual world around them. He had often told Lilly of how he smiled at the students wandering around the library with their Nike or Gap logo’s on their designer clothes. Ben had explained to Lilly that the symbolism of ascribing to these labels was a modern form of slavery; the label was like the brand that slave-owners in the past would burn onto their slaves marking them as their property. All these people were willingly giving themselves over to a multi-national monster, perpetuating the false consciousness that they needed to be associated with a brand. Lilly was attracted to his views and Ben would often end a discussion on culture with the same old joke “…and don’t get me started on Goths!” He stimulated her both intellectually and physically. Lilly was always eager to experiment in the bedroom and curiously this was one of the few topics Ben would just passively observe and take in at face value.

Lilly smiled at the memory. The old aching sadness was there again as she watched Ben turn over in his bed knowing that she could no longer be with him. Dim sunlight filtered into the bedroom through a gap in the beige curtains. The harsh frost covering the small garden outside reflected Lilly’s mood; cold and lonely. Behind Lilly the bedroom door quietly opened and Lilly felt her bitterness rise at once as Casey Maidment tiptoed into the room with breakfast laid out neatly on a tray. Casey Maidment Ben’s lover, Casey Maidment her murderer!

Casey and Ben had been together for a while now Lilly reflected. The Murder, as Lilly had come to refer to her, had been digging her manicured claws into Ben for some time while Lilly was still alive. She was the reason Ben and Lilly had split up in the first place. This was the first time however, Lilly had seen her sleeping over at Ben’s flat. Watching her stalk across the darkened bedroom made Lilly sick to her incorporeal stomach. Casey Maidment was a murder and it would have been so easy for her to take a knife while she was in the kitchen and slit Ben’s throat in his sleep. Was that her plan? First murder Lilly and then kill Ben like some deranged serial killer? Lilly looked away as Casey put the breakfast tray down on the old white dressing table next to the bed and bent over to kiss Ben. He stirred sleepily and reached up, pulling her down onto the bed with a smile. Lilly watched as they held each other tightly, kissed and then melted into each other as they made love, the breakfast now all but forgotten.

Afterwards Lilly followed Ben into the bathroom to run a shower while Casey stayed in bed. If only Lilly could speak to Ben, warn him or somehow get a message across to him about the mistake he was making with Casey. In books, films and TV most ghosts could write a message in the steam on a bathroom mirror Lilly recalled as hot steam filled the small bathroom like an early morning mist. Of course Lilly had tried it but it had not worked but perhaps this time it would be different she naively thought, reaching out and touching the mirror with her pale finger. Frustratingly the steam remained untouched, her finger having no effect on the cold glass. She continued to spell out words such as “Danger” “Murderer” “Lilly” but it was useless, she had no control or influence in the world anymore. She was dead, no longer part of the living world, fated to be an observer watching the twists and turns in the lives of loved ones with no way to intervene. She watched Ben towel himself, dress and leave for work before she moved on.

 

Lilly had no idea of how she moved in this state or how time worked anymore. The laws of time and space no longer seemed to apply to her. When she left Ben’s flat she felt herself moving but not physically going anywhere. She would just will herself to be somewhere and then she would be there, like travelling in a dream.

When Lilly turned round she was standing by the Enquiries Desk watching Ben walk through the doors into the university library. Lilly liked to arrive in the library before him each morning; it was her way of welcoming him to work. Of course Ben had no idea but it made Lilly feel good, helped her to feel like they were still together. It was another layer of denial that kept the reality of her situation at bay. She would follow him down the aisles as he went about his work, past rows and rows of books, some brightly coloured and new, others faded and worn.

Lilly liked to imagine that if she ever saw Casey in the library she could somehow materialise like that ghost librarian from the film Ghost Busters, and tell her to “shhhh” before throwing all the books off the shelves and chasing her out of the university and under a passing bus. It would serve her right, she was no good for Ben, he deserved better. He deserved Lilly.

 

Christmas was fast approaching and Lilly was standing by Ben watching him hard at work in his study. The pale glow of the laptop picked out his features, reflecting off his glasses and casting shadows across the pile of books and journal articles that lay scattered over the table. Casey was putting a Christmas tree up in the living room. Ben chose not to celebrate Christmas he had no time the mass consumerism that fuelled over indulgence at this time of year. People behaved very different during this season and Ben tried to avoid it so he could stand back and observe as a sociologist. It wasn’t like him to have a tree up though.

Lilly thought of previous Christmas’s she’d had with Ben and realised she would never have another one with him. The magic and glowing joy of being with loved ones was just a memory now. She was like one of Dickens’ Christmas ghosts trying to help Ben undo his mistake before it was too late. Lilly was just wondering which ghost she would most like to be when Casey’s irritatingly cheerful geordie voice called: “Oh, by the way Pet, I’ve invited some friends round on Saturday”. Lilly saw Ben’s shoulders visibly sink at the news.

“Really? I was hoping we could go out for a quiet meal on Saturday” Ben protested lamely.

Lilly had seen Casey at work; she was just a glorified hair dresser who somehow managed to get a job managing a high-end beauty salon in town. Lilly had to admit that the job did suite her as she was a very attractive woman with her wavy blonde hair framing her tanned heart shaped face and deep oval eyes. Casey was never able to find a skirt long enough to cover her shapely legs and with her outgoing gregarious nature she would never be in short supply of friends or admirers. Casey was a true social butterfly with lots of friends and she always had somewhere to go. Lilly wasn’t the jealous type but she prided herself with the knowledge that no matter how good looking Casey was, she would never be able to excite Ben as well as she had.

As the manager of the salon Casey was in a position of responsibility at work but she had little sense of responsibility outside of work. For someone in her mid-thirties she was very immature in Lilly’s opinion, always throwing or being invited to parties, drinking to excess or using other substances to have a great time. The high living and toxins that she put into her body would age any normal person but not her. She had a natural beauty that did not need any of the make-up techniques that were used in her salon. In fact, when she was out with Ben it was hard to believe that she was nearly ten years older than him. Casey was charismatic and likeable, which made her the most dangerous kind of psychopath. With her irresistible power over men, she was as deadly as a black widow spider and poor Ben was ensnared in her web.

Ben was the polar opposite to Casey; retiring and introverted, preferring a quieter more sensible life. At least he had been when he had been with Lilly but now Ben had fallen for her siren song and her influence was rubbing off on him. He was following her example more frequently as he was dragged to party after party. Casey, Lilly lamented was like Courtney Love to Ben’s Kurt Cobain.

Ben tried to protest for a while longer but Lilly could see the same familiar pattern emerging that was a feature of all their disagreements. Casey utilised her talents of evoking a sense of guilt in Ben for not wanting to go out. Then she would dance out of the flat to her Salsa class, leaving Ben to stew; torn between his irreconcilable needs of wanting a quiet night in and keeping Casey happy. By the time she returned home Ben would be only too willing to agree with her. As Lilly watched Casey leave she knew that Ben would already be trying to convince himself that he needed a night out.

“Why can’t you see the games she’s playing with you Ben” implored Lilly. But of course Ben could not hear her. She felt sorry for him, he was becoming a sad pathetic thing at the hands of this woman. Maybe she won’t slit his throat but the constant manipulation and abuse would be a death by a thousand cuts. Lilly smiled down at Ben as he stared blankly at the computer screen and placed her arm over his shoulder to try and comfort him, her own sadness swelling again.

Then something unusual happened: Ben shivered at her touch. The flat was warm but Ben shivered, as if it were freezing cold. Lilly stepped back in surprise and Ben just shifted in his seat and went back to his computer as if nothing had happened. Had she caused that Lilly wondered? She put her arm around his shoulder again but this time nothing happened. Nevertheless, a new hope was rising within her. With a certainty she could not explain, Lilly knew they had shared a moment of contact. Ben probably wasn’t aware of it on any conscious level but it had happened. Perhaps they weren’t cursed to be apart from each other after all. Sudden possibilities were born before Lilly’s eyes. Perhaps she hadn’t totally lost him after all? Lilly spent the rest of the night trying to recreate that moment. Lilly continued trying and experimenting for the weeks and months that followed with increasing success.

 

The sky outside had burned a deep passionate red as the sun dipped down below the horizon. Summer had come early this year and Casey was spending most of the long warm evenings with Ben. She was virtually living at their flat now; sitting on their sofa, cooking in their kitchen and sleeping with her boyfriend. Lilly found herself in the bedroom standing at the foot of the bed where she often watched Ben sleeping. The first rays of light were starting to banish the night heralding the start of a new day. The last person had left the party a few hours ago and Ben and Casey had immediately gone to bed leaving empty bottles and cans strewn about the living room Ben and Casey had consumed too much to even think about clearing up. The strong smell of alcohol was no doubt masking the sweet tang of cannabis and other substances clinging to the carpets and curtains. It was so out of character for Ben, another example of Casey’s corruptive influence. Was this part of her modus operandi; pushing Ben to use hard drugs? He had never taken them before and it would be too easy for him to overdose. Lilly could see it now: Casey murdering Ben and somehow making it look like an accidental overdose so no one can pin the blame on her. Lilly had seen it countless times on television. Feeling a little giddy from the conclusions her imaginative speculation was leading her, Lilly walked around the bed to Ben’s side. The little alarm clock on the old dressing table read 5:38 with its faint red glow. Smiling at her ex-lover Lilly lay down next to him as she did most nights.

Ben was lying with his mouth slightly open giving an appearance of infantile vulnerability while Casey faced away from him. Lilly reached across and wrapped her arm around Ben’s chest pretending to be careful not to wake him and imaging she could still feel the warmth of his body. He didn’t move and so she snuggled up closer to him, sniffing but failing to detect his reassuring scent. Lilly lifted her leg and hooked it over Ben’s legs affording her an echo of the absolute contentment she felt when they lay like this in the past. Ben murmured something in his sleep and Casey rolled over to face him reaching across Ben’s chest, her hand passing through the outline of Lilly’s body. Frustration and hatred rose in Lilly; Casey was literally trying to tear Ben out of her arms! As a futile act of defiance Lilly reached down and held onto Ben holding him tight, clinging to him as if she could stop Casey from taking him. Ben stirred again as Casey whispered “Come here Pet, warm me up its freezing in here”. Ben shrugged and blinked sleepily but stayed where he was. Lilly saw him turn his head and smile as she clung onto him with all her metaphysical strength.

“Get over here I want a cuddle” Casey whispered again in mock annoyance. Ben shrugged again.

“I can’t, Lilly” he mumbled. “I’m stuck”.

“What’s that Pet?”

“I can’t move. I’ve stuck” Ben groaned becoming a little more alert. Lilly blinked, was she doing this? She could feel Ben struggling next to her.

“You were just sleeping in a funny position. I’ve told you about your posture before” Casey admonished, leaning over and pulling Ben towards her out of Lilly’s grip and breaking the spell. Lilly reached out for him again but her hand passed through him, she tried again and again to turn him back over but it was no use.

“That’s better, Pet” muttered Casey and she pulled Ben closer to her. “You were dreaming about Lilly again”.

“Was I?” Ben asked in a croaky whisper as Casey buried her head in his neck and went back to sleep. Lilly drifted backwards, she had been able to touch him! In the past she had touched him from time to time and seen his reaction but whether he was aware of it or not his body language had responded to her touch, with either goose pimples, a shiver or the hairs on his arms standing up but she had never seen this before.

Lilly looked down at Ben trying to focus through the chaos of emotions suddenly swirling within her. What was that look that crossed Ben’s face, regret? sorrow? He was thinking of her again Lilly decided. Casey obviously didn’t see it but Lilly felt her heart rising with an ember of hope that she could still save Ben from Casey’s murderous clutches. He needed her, he missed her! It was only a matter of time before the murderer struck and then what? Lilly felt a new resolve stir within her as the tiny seed of a plan took root in her mind.

 

The summer passed and the leaves on the trees changed from green to yellow to red and the days grew shorter bringing a chilly autumnal freshness. It was a year since Lilly had been murdered and she had been practicing her new talents all summer and at last she felt ready. It seemed fitting, almost poetic to stop Casey on the anniversary of her death. It would all end tonight, Lilly promised herself. Tonight she would make sure Casey would never hurt him again. He was going to pick Casey up after work and take her to a restaurant somewhere out of town; only Lilly had other plans for her. Like a guardian angel, Lilly would always be there to look after him.

 

Lilly sat in the passenger seat of Ben’s car as he drove round to Casey’s flat on the other side of town. As he pulled into her road Lilly left the car and entered the murderer’s home. Lilly found her preening herself at her dressing table in the bedroom. A new outfit was laid out carefully on the bed and a pair of D&G hair straightener’s were cooling on the dressing table. Lilly sneered down at the straighteners: She remembered Ben buying them for her birthday in August. Traditionally he wouldn’t go for over-priced designer goods like that, citing some clever academic argument about celebrity culture but Casey had made him surrender his morals and ideals in her attempt to kill off the old Ben. Well, not any more: Lilly promised herself as she focused on Casey, tonight it would end. There was always an excitement when she was spying on the enemy. It wasn’t like being in Ben’s flat; she didn’t belong here which served to increase her anticipation.

Lilly took a deep breath as she prepared herself for what must be done. She silently ghosted across the room, staring at Casey’s reflection in the mirror on her dressing table. For fun, she reached out her arms menacingly and wishing that, like in films, Casey would see the ghostly form coming at her in the mirror and it would scare her to death. That would be cool, but it did not happen. Casey could not see Lilly which was probably just as well. With her newly attuned talents Lilly stood behind her while she was learning forward carefully applying her mascara. Lilly lowered her hands onto and then into her head. She had done this in the past, it was nothing new so far but then she pressed her hands together against Casey’s skull. The murderer immediately shivered and sat slightly straighter in the chair.

She had her!

Lilly closed her hands together through her skull into her brain. Throughout the summer she had been practicing touching people and objects and now she was good enough to be able to impose her will on the living. Lilly squeezed her hands together, clenching her fists and twisting them in opposing directions. Kneading her brain as if it was dough and she was baking a loaf of bread. As the pain seared, Casey took a sharp intake of breath, her hands darted to her head, the mascara clattering to the dressing table. It was working. Lilly continued to pull and wring and press her brain, imagining the most intense migraine Casey had ever felt. As if on cue she validated Lilly’s visualisations with a shrill cry and rocked back and forth rubbing her temples and squeezing her eyes closed to try and shut out the pain. She reached into a draw her hand scrambling blindly for a box of pain killers amongst the clutter. Eventually she found them and ripped out two tablets and swallowed them back without water. Lilly felt an enormous satisfaction as Casey slumped forwards resting her elbows on of the desk slowly rocking as if that would shake whatever was causing this sudden headache.

Lilly was starting to enjoy herself and with a playfully evil curiosity she wondered what would happen if she kept going indefinitely, when the doorbell rang. It took Casey some time to answer the door and Ben had to ring a second time before Casey was able to get to her feet. Lilly drifted close behind her like a puppeteer. She continued her assault on Casey’s mind as she opened the door to Ben. He stood there looking very smart, quite delicious. It reminded Lilly of the old Ben before Casey had found him. Seeing him there in the hallway made Lilly remember times when Ben had come to her home and she had opened the door, and just pulled him inside dragging him into the bedroom in a frenzy of kisses. Sometimes, Lilly smiled, they hadn’t even made it to the bedroom.

Casey welcomed Ben in and explained she was unwell; freezing cold and an agonising migraine that had come from nowhere. She apologised for having to cancel at such short notice and promised him she would phone him again in the morning. She didn’t want Ben to stay with her; she would not be any fun and would just go to sleep. So helping her into bed with a look of concern and disappointment Ben kissed her on the forehead and left her to hopefully sleep it off.

Lilly watched with satisfaction and congratulated herself; she had done it! As Ben left the flat Lilly withdrew her hands with a malicious grin spreading across her face. Feeling ever so self-conscious Lilly indulged her playful side once again and looked Casey in the eye and said “Now don’t you dare touch my boyfriend again”. Lilly laughed at the stupidity of the comment and wistfully went to join Ben in his car.

 

************

 

Ben didn’t like leaving Casey like that, he felt guilty but she had insisted. He had eventually left and got back into his car. It was a crisp clear night with the odd wispy cloud moving across the spattering of tiny shimmering stars. There were no other cars around out here on the back roads which was why Ben liked to drive this way to Casey’s flat. Overhead the moon bathed everything in a calm magical silver light, casting a quiet stillness over the narrow country road as it snaked through the forest and fields.

The chill of the night made Ben turn up the car’s heating.

As he drove Ben contemplated his girlfriend; Casey was beautiful there was no denying that; she was always fun and outgoing and helped him to realise there was a more exciting life outside of academia with the numerous parties and endless socialising they did. In fact this had opened up previously untapped resources for his hobby of people watching. Casey made him appreciate life and live in the moment. In the past when he had been all consumed in his research and studying he had felt there had always been something missing in his life. Fortuitously Casey had opened his eyes to the world, ironic really, for a sociologist! Ben smiled sardonically. Lilly had always liked his smile. It was one year ago today that she had died.

It was such a shame, he still thought her often, most days, if he was honest. They had had some great times together but her possessiveness had been a problem. No one was perfect and Lilly was essentially a nice person but she had been a little unbalanced at times; becoming jealous if he glanced at another woman in the street. Lilly was quirky and had been denied the gift of self-confidence but compensated for it by relying on her body and willingness to please men to get by. He had had lots of fun with Lilly; sharing many wild times together, but the feeling of something missing in his life would not be ignored and in the end he could not put up with Lily’s insecurities any longer and had ended the relationship.

Nearly a year later he had met Casey and they had started dating. When Lilly found out he was with someone else she became obsessed, coming into the university and spreading rumours about Casey. He later learned Lilly had stopped taking her medication, become unwell and jumped from that bridge. The police had investigated her suicide and there had been witnesses: A couple had seen her standing on the edge of the bridge. There had been no one else near her and she had been shouting and raving to herself before leaping backwards over the edge. Ben shivered at the memory as the road turned and ran parallel to the same river. “Let’s think of nicer things shall we?” He said to himself, trying to pull himself back from the maudlin pool of depression he was skating close to. As a distraction he focused on a book he was currently reading about the theory of mass society: It argued that capitalism had trained people to become consumers who no longer participated in society and were divided and estranged from one another. A thought fired in his mind; Lilly’s social class and mental health had estranged her from society… It was no good. “Why did you have to do it Lilly?” he sighed.

As the car sailed between the trees lining the narrow road, moonlight flashed off his glasses. Out of the corner of his eye the reflections stirred his imagination further at the memory of Lilly. There was no one next to him in the car, obviously, but the light occasionally and only for the briefest of moments took on the outline of a person. He turned his head to confirm there was no one there. Sometimes when he was alone his mind wandered to thoughts of Lilly; images from the times they had together. Ben found his mind going there again now to relive a time when they were driving down this same road: Lilly had been in one of her playful moods and wanted to have some ‘fun’ in public with Ben. Ben had wanted to go back to the flat but Lilly had other ideas: she had started by leaning across from the passenger seat and kissing his neck. Ben had ignored her and continued driving so she upped the stakes by reaching across and moving her hand along the inside of his thigh teasingly. The last time they had done anything ‘fun’ in public they had almost been caught by an old man walking his very friendly golden Labrador. Lilly had enjoyed the thrill of nearly getting caught in the act and wanted to experience it again but Ben did not share her enthusiasm for risk taking. Undeterred, Lilly had her own unique methods of persuasion and was determined to get her own way. Her hand found his crotch and with a liquid dexterity she had carefully flicked open his fly and her soft fingers were sending waves of pleasure through his core. “I bet I can make you stop the car” she whispered.

Ben felt himself stirring at the memory. Lilly knew exactly how to pleasure Ben and she asked again if he was going to stop the car. Ben said “no” so Lilly bet him that she could make him stop the car within the next sixty seconds and without hesitation she leaned over him and buried her head in his lap. He remembered his sharp intake of breath as the familiar warmth enveloped him with the silky wet impression of her lips, her tongue hungrily exploring his flesh. Lilly’s head was rising and falling with increasing speed, dissolving his mind into a hypnotic trance. A tightness was building his stomach and as his arousal grew, the images and sensations came flooding back with a clarity unknown in previous jaunts. As Ben emitted a shaky exhale a movement made him glance down and cold shock suddenly flooded into his throat, snapping him back to the present. His heart turned to ice and he almost jumped in his seat. An incongruous blend of hot and cold waves crashed against him at the impossible sight. Crouching between his legs was a vision of Lilly, her head nestled in his lap, her dark hair covering his legs. She looked up at him, traces of saliva on his exposed manhood glistening in the moonlight. Lilly continued to work his flesh with her sensual touch. Ben could do nothing but stare at the image of his dead ex-girlfriend for several long seconds as his head reeled, trying to make sense of what he saw. Through the jumble of thoughts swirling through his head Ben wondered whether he was experiencing a hallucination or maybe some kind of mini stroke, a result of the drugs he had taken over the last few months? He quickly dismissed the thought, his stumbling mind unable to focus. All thoughts vanished as the apparition rose upwards and sat on his lap casually dropping an arm over his shoulder. Lilly’s leg pressed down on Ben’s right leg and he barely registered the car’s speed increasing.

“It’s alright” Lilly purred. “She can’t hurt you anymore”. Stunned, Ben went to slam on the brakes, to leap out of the car but he could not move his foot. As he struggled Lilly slid around gracefully in the cramped space and pressed her body against his, pushing him into the seat. Her soft hands reached up to cup his face inches away from hers. Ben didn’t notice that both of her feet were now pressing down on the accelerator pushing the car ever faster.

“Don’t worry I’ll look after you” Lilly soothed as Ben struggled to move, shock turning to panic as he fought to raise his foot off the pedal or hit the brakes. “Shhhhh” Lilly giggled. “Just relax and I’ll take care of you”. Ben shivered, but not from the cold as Lilly reached down between his legs again, fumbling for his flesh. Time seemed to slow down and jump from one moment to the next like pictures in a comic strip. Ben could no longer see the road; Lilly’s face completely filled his vision. He didn’t see the point when the car left the road but felt the heavy shudders as it tore across the uneven ground, careening towards the steel barrier at the edge of the embankment. The next moment there was a loud crash which Ben only registered it as the safety barrier smashing, as the vehicle plummeted downwards. It crashed into the icy river at the bottom of the steep hill. The impact sent a flurry of tiny bubbles and stones rushing up to meet the car, smashing windows in their haste to welcome this new visitor to their underwater world. Lilly sat astride him, pinning him to the seat with her legs. One hand holding his head against the headrest her other hand hidden from view. “Just lay still Ben” she whispered. “Your guardian angel is here”.

The icy chill of the river snapped Ben’s sense back into action as water started pouring into the car. He struggled but Lilly held him impossibly tight while her hidden hand worked him furiously below. His flesh tingled at her touch radiating outwards and helping to mask the bite of the freezing river. The car was quickly filling with water at an alarming rate; up to his chest, his neck, his nose… Lilly leaned forwards to kiss him. Instinctively Ben opened his mouth in confused panic and felt her tongue slide out to meet his, followed by a rush of water filling his mouth, then his lungs. All around him, his vision wavered whether by drowning or climax he neither knew nor cared. The chains binding him to his physical body finally lifted and he heard Lilly’s voice in his ear “Now I can look after you properly, my love”.

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