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Today's Story by Rory Fleming

You’re a witch doctor, or should I say “were?”


When I think of deserts, I think of scorpions, serial killers, and highway movies.  I think of depressed little border towns with dreams dashed like old cigarette butts.  Then I think of you.

I was back from my unsuccessful stint as a witch doctor in Mexico, and I was looking for a place to stay, a new profession, some way to stay put on my feet.  There I was—wandering the patchy sand of the non-lawns of El Paso, walking the perfectly flat strip with faded signs for Texaco and brand new billboard for In-N-Out Burger.  I was looking for a bar, a hole in the wall kind of place, the closest thing to a Western saloon.  And when I stumbled inside one, you were waiting for me.  Your jet black hair only the chicas could have and I felt home again.  We ended up in bed together that night.  You were about to give me your number when I confessed that I didn’t have a home or a cell phone.  Then you offered to take me in.

“Under one condition,” you said.

And I asked what the condition was.

“You have to satisfy me when I ask you to.  In the ways I ask you to.”

It sounded great at the time.  A roof over my head and all the free sex I want.  I didn’t leave the house that day.  I waited for you to come back from wherever you were, so I could ask for your name.

I watched the sun go from nonexistent to full force back to slivers on a fading night sky.

Right before the pitch black night, I heard the door creak and I turned around.  You ran for me, into my arms, and I caught you in mid-air.  Things got heavy quick.  We crawled into your room as we peeled the clothes off each other.  Our sweating naked bodies glistened under the boring light of the plastic piece overhead.  There was no fan, no air conditioning, because you couldn’t afford that.  But I wasn’t complaining, just waiting to plunge in.

Then you said something weird to me.

“You must think I’m easy, but I only picked you because I saw the ring on your left hand.  You’re a witch doctor, or should I say “were”?”

You were talking about the insignia on my ring finger.

“What was your ability, Raul?”

You probably told me your name too but I didn’t remember it.

“Shapeshifter,” I whispered, my sweat growing cold.

Your face contorted into the most grotesque smile I had ever seen, like you were trying to intimidate me with the ecstasy you were feeling.

“Use it on me.”


“Do anything.  Just destroy me.”

I turned into a lion that night and licked you with my giant tongue and ravaged you with furry hind legs.

The next day you had problems walking out the door when you were wearing your clothes.  I guessed they were work clothes.  I never knew where you worked.

When you came home it was very similar.  We got to a certain point and when you were worked up enough I could see it in your eyes and I knew you were going to ask me.

“Do it now.  Something better this time.”

So I chose a pterodactyl.  I figured it would get edginess points for being extinct, rugged, and able to fly.  You liked it a lot.  I could see based on the way you were grinding into my scales.  I dcould see you tear up when I did it while drifting off the bed with wings aflutter.

It ended all too soon with you.

The sky was bleached with oranges and reds in a blender together, swirling around the setting sun.  I was sitting around on your laptop at home, reading about sunsets and how the most beautiful ones are the product of pollution.  Then when I looked out the window again I felt like the allure was artificially cut from my mind.

You came home soaked in perspiration and with a mad look in your eye, like something went wrong.

“Did something happen to you?” I asked.

You put your finger to your lips and tackled me to the ground.  Sitting on my stomach you told me that something very bad happened today, that we may be need to move soon to be safe, but that you wanted to christen this place one more time, with me.

“So you better make it count, Raul, or I’ll leave you here and find somebody else,” you stated with this blank look that made me believe you.

I remember thinking something must have broken in there, so it must have been serious.

We went to the bedroom and when things escalated enough I stopped with your naked body shivering under me, and I focused all of my energies, both the experience and pain from my past life, into my gut until it got compacted into a heavy ball of light.

When I entered you, I exploded.

When I woke up, you were gone.  It didn’t take me long to find to find the puddle of viscera I was lying on.  It felt smooth and soothing in a peculiar way until I realized it was you.  I knew I had to find a way out.  But I went to your dresser instead, frantically pulling everything out of it, and then went to your desk and did the same thing.  I needed to find out who you were, who you were to everyone outside in the world.  There was no time though.  I took a speedy shower, threw the only men’s clothes I could find in the place, probably an ex’s, and bolted back into the streets.

It brought me relief that I would at least find your name in the obituary.  It brought me some kind of hope.  Then hopefully I would have the strength to leave this place behind.


Rory Fleming is a writer of fiction and soon-to-be law student.  He is convinced that there is a underlying fluid truth with subsets of fictitious “stable” truths.  One can or will be able to find his work in publications such as The Speculative Edge, Eunoia Review, and Thousand Shades of Gray.  One can also find his musings here:   http://mehuggingspacecarrion.wordpress.com/.


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