Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
Anger raged through Mark Cuthbert. It was a cold dry anger, more at the world than directed at any one thing or person. The type of anger that made him want kick a stone wall until either the wall or his foot gave way. Though the anger was not really focused at anyone, it was defiantly triggered by someone Mark’s father.
Unlike many of his generation Mark usually had a good relationship with his father, maybe that was the problem. He didn’t hate his dad and his father had never done anything that could be considered abusive. The boy just needed space sometimes. Mark’s mother had died from complications during his birth. His old man never married again, in fact in the nineteen years Mark had walked the Earth, his father probably dated less then five women, and never for very long, now with Mark away at college the man who had raised him on his own was now utterly alone.
Even though they were separated by over five hundred miles Mark’s dad called him once a day, the old man had even learned to text so he could send the boy constant updates on mundane things such as what he had eaten for dinner, what the neighbors were fighting about or how the family cat was doing. Mark’s Email was constantly full with messages from his dad Mark felt getting a message from his dad was like getting spam.
Why didn’t his dad get it? He was nineteen years old, if he wanted to he could vote, smoke even join the army and fight in some foreign war. He was an adult. It wasn’t that he didn’t love his dad, it was he just wanted some space.
He looked around his empty dorm room. He originally had a roommate, a fat kid name Ritchie, who was more concerned about playing Magic: The Gathering than midterms, he was a real momma’s boy who nearly had a nervous break down being away from his family, the kid had bailed on Scholl during the fourth week, and the campus administration hadn’t give his lodgings to anyone else. Despite not having to share his abode with anyone else the room seemed claustrophobic. The unreal presence of his father seemed to be sucking all the air out of the room.
He grabbed his keys and opened the door, he need to get out of here, he needed to show his father that he was his own man.
Mark wondered off campus, not consciously knowing where the GPS in his head would take him. His subconscious brought him to a pub a few blocks outside his college. Called The Green Tooth Jenny it had a notorious reputation for not carding students.
Nervously he walked up to the door, where a bill troll-neck bouncer stood. The man was intimidating. Big was an understatement, he wore Doc Martians, indigo jeans a 3X Sex Pistols tee-shirt that barely contained his muscular frame, toped of with a dark red logoless ball cap. The man looked Mark up and down with his steely gray eyes. Finally he jerked his thumb over his shoulder and said in a near snarl, “Go in kid.”
Outside the building it was bright and sunny, inside it was just a shade above dark. On the walls were oversized pictures of English landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. Unseen speakers belched out an eclectic mix of music everything from The Heavy to Enya.
Tentatively Mark did some reconnaissance of bar. There was maybe two dozen other patrons. Most looked like college students from the near by campus. One or two of them he had he vaguely remembered seeing, probably when he was going from class to class but he had never spoke to any of them. He was alone in a crowded bar. It wasn’t a feeling that was conducive to drowning out the anger that his dad’s constant micro-managing had generated.
Mark seemed to be the only patron here by himself. Everyone else was here as couples or clustered in groups. He looked around and saw two girls at the other end of the bar. One was red head the other a dark skinned Asian. The ginger was cute but the other girl was gorgeous and exotic. She was the type of girl his father would warn him about. In Mark’s head he heard his fathers disapproving voice saying that she would only break his heart. But Mark didn’t want a relationship just a little action and maybe a little validation.
The bartender approached Mark. “What it be luv?’ she asked. She was maybe pushing the top end of her thities, it was hard to tell in the dark, but no matter what her age was she still attractive. Dishwater blonde hair and a tee-shirt as tight as the bouncers, but this one was grey with diagonal handwritten script over her chest read WICKED JENNY.
Mark wasn’t much of a drinker or bar go-er. But he knew that this was a business, and they didn’t want him just standing their listen to their music and sucking their air with out some kind of compensation. “A…beer…” He gushed, he then noticed that the red head had left her Asian friend “And one for that girl over there.”
The bartend gave Mark a conspiratorial smile that bordered on the sexy and a nod. “Seven fifty.”
Mark gave the woman a ten and over The Smithereens Blood and Roses said “Keep the change.”
The woman still smiled, though it was different, it had morphed to resemble one you would get from a favorite aunt. “Good things come to those who bring tea for the tiller man.”
Mark didn’t understand what she meant, wasn’t that the words from a song that his dad used to listen too. Even here he couldn’t escape the ghostly arm of his father. He cursed himself, maybe buying her a beer wasn’t the best thing to try to pick up the girl, and he didn’t even know what she liked.
Wicked Jenny slid a dark ale in front of him and then took another to the dark skinned Asian girl, who looked up as the bar tender pointed Mark’s way. He thought at least he’d get a smile and a wave from the girl. She seemed to role her eyes then looked away. The girl’s red haired companion rejoined her. The object of Mark’s attention whispered something to her friend, who gave Mark a condescending look and they both broke into mocking laughter. The girl grabbed her purse and the two hurriedly left the pub. Leaving the beer Mark had bought her untouched.
Mark took a sip of his bitter tasting ale. “So much for bringing tea to the tiller man what ever the hell that means.” He said to himself putting the drink back on the bar.
He took a few more sips of his drink and decided that he probably ought to get going. He looked back where the Asian girl was and he saw a diffent girl picked up the beer and take taste it.
The first girl was gorgeous and exotic, though the new girl was not her equal in the looks department but she was more than just OK looking. Her green silk shirt was covered with a denim jacket its color was identical to the indigo 501’s that tightly clinged to her thin legs. He nearly pointed tipped years poking through brown strait hair. Soft pale skin even in the darkness of the bar he could see a playful glint in her green eyes.
Mark beckoned the bartend over. “Who is that girl?” He asked.
Jenny shrugged she looked bored now, “her, she’s the bird who you bought a drink for.” The flitted off to another patron.
The girl lifted the half full glass and walked towards Mark. Every step she took towards him she seemed to be getting more and more attractive. Half way down the bar she paused and cocked her head, as if she debated the wisdom of approaching him. For a moment she even turned around as if she was going to flee. When she did he could see a large Union Jack patch sewed on to the back of her jacket. Horrible thoughts of what could have been but never would be washed over Mark. Then she looked longingly over her shoulder back at Mark. With a sexy-shy looked she pivoted and began to walk back in his direction. The ingénue made her decision, and she chose Mark. It seemed to take an eternity to for her to reach where he sat.
Mark’s body began to fill with fear. Not fear of the girl but, what she represented, freedom, excitement, sensuality and eventually maybe something more. He was torn between running off or tightly embracing her. There was a brief pause when silence replaced the music, And in the mere seconds between the end of Melissa Ethbridge’s Angles Would Fall and the beginning of something by Imagine Dragons. The ingénue made her decision, and she chose Mark.
She took the stool next to Mark, “Thanks for buying a lady a pint.” She cooed. Her accent was English, but unlike the bar keeper and nearly every Brit on TV it wasn’t soft, a more hard guttural tone, that Mark assumed was peculiar to the working class. Her voice did not seem familiar and had an almost harsh bite to it, but it was still enticing and sexy.
Her perfume was strong but not overbearingly so. Unlike most the girls at school who wore a fragrance that was a flowery smelling, she had one that’s smell was natural and refreshing. It seemed to stir something primal in Marks soul.
Mark blushed, but he doubted the girl could see it in the low light of the pub. “My pleasure.” He said not adding that it was meant for another girl.
The girl rested on the stool rocking back and forth with the music, in a nearly hypnotic sway. She hadn’t said anything to him since her initial greeting and Mark thought that she was waiting for him to make the first move.
Mark took small sip of his beer and then a deep gulp, he was scattered brained by being so close to the girl, he had meant to ask her what her name was, but it came out. “Who are you?”
He blushed deeply as she giggled and replied. “I am My Own Self.”
Trying to regain some bit of self-confidence he quipped. “Wow what do you know that is my name too.”
The girl looked at him as if trying to figure out if Mark was mocking her or not. As she increased her scrutiny, her face became more beautifully almost to the extent of radiant. Then she smiled, signifying that Mark had passed some kind of test. “Excellent.” She replied, the words sensuously rolling of her tongue.
Mark extended his hand to hers. “Actually my name is…”
Her fingers were at his lips so quickly Mark was surprised that he didn’t bite her finger. “Sshhs.” she urged. “I like it better that we share a name.” She said playfully.
Mark’s lip’s tingled at the touch of her fingers.
Wicked Jenny brought girl another ale. “Good to see you Gen.” She said has her fingers left Mark’s lips and went to her glass.
The bartender who moments ago didn’t seem to have a problem with them together just gave a curt nod, as if the girl’s proximity to Mark angered her.
The mod seemed to be cooled down by the woman attitude, so Mark said anything to change the ambiance of the room. “You know her?”
The girl took a long swig of her beer. “Aye, not many of us from the old country.”
“She seems kind of …moody.” Mark said, wishing he could pull the words back, afraid that he had insulted the girl’s friend.
“The word you are looking for is capricious.” The girl said barely above the music.
“Wow not a lot of people know that word.” Mark said surprised.
The girl smiled a silent victory. “But enough about fickle barkeeps tell me about you my beloved, My Own Self…”
And he did. He told her mundane and superficial things as well as deep and intimate things. From his favorite TV shows to things he would normally never tell someone he had just meet, about the tragedy of his moms death. He told her about how he had come to the university to escape a loving but over bearing father. He couldn’t stop himself, he spent over a half an hour telling her about his father.
It dawned on Mark complain about the man who had sacrificed his life for Mark, was not a way to get a girl to like you. “Sorry.” He apologized. “I must seem like a real jerk bad mouthing my dad like that, I just need to let of some steam, I mean I love him, but he just can’t let go…”
The girl nodded. “I understand, my mum is like that. Where we come from, she is a very powerful. She keeps back home held together by sheer force of will, but she treats me like a subject no letting me be who what I want to be, It is like she is standing over me even when she isn’t.”
“A real helicopter parent?” Mark asked.
“I don’t know what that is…What do you mean helicopter?” The girl admitted in a melancholy tone.
She knows what the word capricious is but not what a helicopter is? Mark thought to himself. “You know always hovering over you.”
The girl thought for a moment. “Yes, I would have said like a butterfly over my shoulder, a five hundred pound metal butterfly with fangs and claws.” The girl giggled.
The girl seemed to fall in to a sober mood. “Tell me more about you.” Mark said hoping to encourage her to share more about herself.
She looked at him as if she was thinking how much to revel to him. Then the music changed to the Billy Idol’s punk rock anthem Rebel Yell.
“I love this song.” The girl squealed in delight and grabbed his wrist. “Let’s dance.”
No one else was dancing. Mark felt self-confident moving rigidly and awkwardly with the music.
Looking up he could see how the dance had transformed, the girl before him. She was pretty before now she was a goddess. Her body floating on the sea of the music. An English major usually he had ample words to describe the world around him, but Mark was at a lost for words to describe what he was seeing. It was as the definition between her body and space had been sharpened, had become more clearly defined, more clearly separated form the rest of the world.
There was something primal, proactive, alluring, and sensual in the way she moved. It was as if she was worshiping the music, or more like the notes were worshiping her body.
Mark looked around seemingly no one else in the bar had even noticed them. With the exception of Jenny the bartender who polished a glass with a look of mild bemusement. It was probably a good thing that the girl was seemingly invisible to the other patrons. If they saw her in this enrapturing form he would have to fight every last one of them for her.
The dancer’s perfume seemed to grow stronger. It became so strong that it was now like a third entity dancing with them. It entered his nostrils and stimulated his brain. It reminded of everything in the natural world that was worth a damn. Entranced Mark just stared at the beauty that was before him.
The girl seemed oblivious to the world around her, except occasionally she would reach out to Mark with her deep green eyes, pleadingly to him with looks of desires. When the music stop her skin glitter with sweat, though she stilled smelled like a forest after a cleansing rain.
The girl rushed up to Mark and hugged him, held him for what seemed to be long time then when she finally did pull back she kept her hands around his neck. She looked like a child who had been given the best possible Christmas gift. No, mark thought, she looked like a woman whose boyfriend had given her the best Christmas gift and she wanted to reward him for it. She bent in and whispered to his ear “listen, Miss My Own Self, would really like it if Mr. My Own Self might want to take her away to his place.” The tone in her voice made it seem like she was afraid that he might reject her.
There was no chance of that. “S…S…sure.” He stammered.
“Wonderful.” She giggled as she pulled a strand of hair over a tapered ear. They walked back to bar to get her purse.
“You want me to pay for your drink?” Marked asked trying to sound romantic and chivalrous.
“No need.” Replied Wicked Jenny in a dead pan monotone, “We take care of our own.” She said collecting the girl’s glass. What did she mean by that? Because they were both British? Mark had long given up trying to understand the unreadable bar tender.
The girl gave Jenny a soft hug or the bar. She seemed practically giddy at the prospect of leaving with Mark. She clasped his right hand in both of hers and nearly skipped along side him as he led her to his dorm.
It was dark when they walked outside. Mark had some how lost all sense of time. He had begun to sweet as he became aroused, he struggled to control himself form just taking her there in the bushes. He became aware that she was sinning something in a different language. The words hard and guttural which contrasted with the soft and lyrical tune. She purred the foreign words in to his ear. He was as entranced by the song as he was by her dancing.
“What was that?” He asked in awe.
She giggled into his ear. “It is a song in the language of the first inhabitants of Brittan, It is about a prince and a princess, from two different kingdoms, who fell in love, but their parents wanted them each to marry someone else, for them to be someone else than who they were. So they meet one night and the price sings his princes a song about how they should run of in to the countryside and become farmers if it meant they could be together.”
“It’s beautiful.” Mark whispered.
The girl smiled and kissed him on the cheek. “My Own Self you are so beautiful.”
Mark thought about the words. How this girl whose name he didn’t really know seemed to be his soul mate. How it was fitting that they shared the same name, even if it was just a fantasy.. “My Own Self you are so beautiful.” He repeated. And she was. When mark first saw her in the bar, he thought she was cute, but not as attractive as the dark skinned Asian girl. But as they talked, as they danced and as they now walked to his dorm, she seemed to become even more beautiful with every step. He tried to look back at a Polaroid picture he had taken in his mind of her, when he first laid eyes on her, to compare it to the girl who now snuggled up to his as they walked. It seemed her breasts were bigger and fuller, her butt tighter, her hair a lighter color and longer her eyes a deeper shade of green. He realized it could only be a matter of perception but it was as if she was becoming more and more what he thought the woman of his dreams should look like.
Also her ears seemed to be more elongated and the tapper becoming so distinct they were almost pointed. This didn’t seem to diminish her beauty in fact like the increasingly more pungent rain-clean forest smell of her perfume it made her more alluring.
As he entered his dorm he hoped the other students would see them together. To see how he could be with such a ravishing creature and how badly she seemed to want him.
He excitedly fumbled with the key he awkwardly opened door the door. After about the third try he got the door to open. He entered, as she stood on the other side of the threshold. He looked at her to see what was wrong. Her green eyes looked sad. ”Aren’t you going to invite me in?” She whispered sheepishly.
With a jerk of his head Mark said “Come on in.” The girl smiled as brilliantly as a summer sun and entered the room. She demurely looked around the humble room. Mark wished he had done more to clean it up, but there is no way that he could have expected early that day that he would bring a girl home tonight. “Sorry about the mess.” He said sheepishly.
“It is fine.” She said softly taking of her denim jacket and hung it on the back of a chair.
“You want to watch some TV?” He asked nervously.
She gave him a mischievous smile, and whispered “No.” She was on him in a flash. Her body colliding with his before he could react. Her forward momentum pushed him against the love seat, his knees buckled as he slammed into the sofa, she began kissing his neck and her body writhing on his.
Mark was taken off guard by her aggressive action at first and it took a moment for him to realize what was happening. His body responded to the stimuli before his mind. He began kissing her back, slowly at first then harder and harder.
His arms ran up and down her back. She paused momentarily and rested her head on his chest, as if she was listening to his rapidly beating heart. She looked up and whispered “Let me worship you with my body.”
He bent down to kiss her softly, lightly almost chastely at first then deeper with more urgency. He pulled the tail of her blouse out from her pants, and she began to unbutton her top. Mark could see a light green lacey bra barley contained her bosom.
Mark kissed the girl wanting her like he had never wanted anyone or anything before in his life. They shifted positions so the two of them lay across the love seat, her on top of him.
Mark kissed her deeply as they began to intertwine, he felt the momentary disappearance of gravity. They rolled over the couch this time the girl was on the bottom, both were helpless to stop the fall. Despite the small distance they hit hard, her first, Mark’s body impacting into hers.
The girl howled in pain, and cursed in a language that was not English, the same one as she had serenaded him in. Though this time it sounded anything but romantic.
He got and began Apologizing, “ I…am sorry…I am sorry…I am sorry…” he said over and over. “Are you hurt?”
“I think I broke my arse.” She said trying to get up.
Mark tried to help her to her feet, “I am sorry.” He apologized again.
The girl was about to say something when the apartment began to shake violently. “Earthquake?” Mark said grasping her tightly.
She pushed him back, a look of pure dread covered the girl’s face.
The shaking began to subside and the apartment lights began to dim but not completely go out. A loud female voice seem to becoming form everywhere and nowhere at the same time. “Who dares risk harming the heart and damaged the body of the daughter of Tatiana!”
Mark rushed to hold the girl, who pushed him away and with sorrowful eyes, she looked on more time to Mark then to the ceiling where the voice seemed to come form. “It was only My Own Self.” She said softly sobbing.
The voice sounded placated yet still demanding. “Then you should not fuss, for what is done you have done unto yourself.” A large growing had reached from the ceiling and pulled the girl by her ears through the roof. There was a bright flash and Mark fell to the floor unconscious.
He awoke sometime around noon the next day. His skin ached as if it had been out under the sun all day. The whole in the ceiling large enough to pull a girl through was gone. The only evidence that the girl had ever been there at all, was her denim jacket with the Union Jack on its back and the lingering smell of fresh pine needles.
Neatly and respectfully he folded the jacket up and placed it on the shelf in his closet. While he did though he knew that she would never some back for it. He then opened the window up to air out the smell of the freshly cleansed forest. He played with the idea of going back to The Green Toothed Jenny. But he knew he wouldn’t find her there he kind of expected that he might find it boarded up and empty, if still stood there at all.
He sank back into the loveseat and pulled out his phone, he selected who he wanted to talk to on his contacts. “Hello.” His father answered
The boy paused. “Uh…Dad….It’s me…Mark…”
“Is everything all right?” the man asked concerned.
”Yeah.” His son replied. “I just…you know…needed someone to talk to…”