Blood Bound Books



Anthology of Erotic Horror

Edited by Jack Burton


Lawrence Conquest

At 9:45pm on the 24th of September 2010, after twenty-six years of happily married life, the spark between Sally and Jim Macmillan went out. There had been no prior warning, no gradual fading of their affections for each other—it simply disappeared with all the finality of someone turning off a light. One moment it was there, the next moment it was not.

Surprised and concerned, husband and wife lay together in their suddenly too-narrow bed and tried to figure out just what had gone wrong. The last of their three children had recently grown up and left the nest. After years of feeling like guests in their own house, Sally and Jim finally had the freedom to attend to each others’ needs. This was the moment they had been waiting for. So what had gone wrong?

“Do you still love me?” asked Sally.

“Of course I still love you,” replied Jim, his tone suggesting that the very idea of doubt was absurd.

“Prove it then,” Sally responded, prodding a finger at the shrivelled lump of flesh that currently lay lifeless between his legs. Jim’s flaccid penis failed to rise to the bait. It appeared to have slipped into a coma. “You can get pills for that, you know,” said Sally, turning her back to him.

Jim assured his wife that he would visit the doctor the very next day. There was nothing to worry about, really. She’d see.

But Doctor Macready told Jim that the little blue pills weren’t available on the National Health Service, at least, not for someone of his age and condition. Of course, he could write out a prescription, but Jim would have to bear the costs himself. “That’s quite all right,” Jim replied, reaching for his credit card, but that evening’s events didn’t go as planned. When Jim tried making love, it wasn’t Sally that he saw, just a bottomless money-pit gaping open beneath him. Jim may have had the heart of a lover, but he had the soul of a miser. The moment was lost. Other measures were called for.

They tried dressing up. Role-play. Jim would don a stick-on moustache and toupee before driving out to pick his wife up from some pre-arranged seedy spot. Anything to add to the charade. A steady stream of scantily-clad policewomen, nurses, French maids and nuns were soon seen entering the Macmillan household. Neighbors raised eyebrows. Complaints were voiced. They needn’t have worried. It was all to no avail.

Husband and wife tried watching blue movies together. Pornography of every flavor that the cable company could provide. Jim would squirm in his seat like a man in the dentist’s chair, pulling at his too-tight collar and painfully aware of his dearly beloved sitting beside him. For her part, Sally seemed to be indifferent to the displays of sexual prowess before her. “Hasn’t she got lovely nail varnish?” she’d say during one obscene close-up. Or, “Do you remember my sister used to have wallpaper like that?” as bodily fluids arced across the screen. Jim wasn’t sure if she was trying to put him at ease or had some kind of roving blind spot. Either way, the very last thing the movies put him in the mind of was sex.

Catalogues were consulted. Orders for devices that buzzed, purred, tickled and teased were placed. The postman soon found himself struggling under an avalanche of plain, unmarked boxes. Multi-colored machineries of joy soon filled every spare surface in the Macmillan bedroom, their plastic noses ranged at the sky like exotic miniature rocket ships. The devices were tested and tried. But, despite the cunning of their designers and their many diverse shapes, not a single one could fill the void that lurked in Jim Macmillan’s soul.

In desperation, Sally even tried arranging a threesome with a casual acquaintance from work. After a futile five minutes, Jim just lay there and let them get on with it.

Nothing they tried seemed to make the slightest bit of difference. Jim’s libido remained indifferent, aloof.

Mr. Macmillan apologized to his wife a thousand times. He did love her, truly he did. He began to show his affection in other ways, ways that he hadn’t since their marriage was newly minted. Jim began to bring Sally flowers. He made her breakfast in bed. He wrote silly, sentimental poems and slipped them into her handbag. They went on endless dates: to the park, to town, to shows.  Jim telephoned Sally from work, on the hour, every hour, just to see how she was. He complimented her endlessly on her appearance and attire.

And it wasn’t enough. A certain coldness seemed to creep into the Macmillan household. A chill in the air that no mere words could subdue.

By day, Mr. and Mrs. Macmillan began to avoid each other in a careful ballet. Aware of the strain on their relationship, they hesitated to touch each other, each fearful that the other might break.

At night, they lay awake in the dark, their bodies close but never touching. Sometimes Sally wanted to reach out a hand, to touch her husband, for comfort if nothing else. But somehow it wouldn’t seem right. The house was empty, the doors were locked, but, when night draped its shadow over the house, the couple no longer felt alone. They felt as if they were being watched.

A silent intruder had slipped between husband and wife, some nameless presence that had crept in from the cold. They could feel its formless fingers caressing their flesh, leeching the heat from their limbs, planting the seeds of doubt in their minds.

One night, somewhere between waking and sleep, Sally half-opened one eye and looked the intruder full in the face. It was laying there in bed right alongside her, close enough to touch, its outline limned in blue-lagoon moonlight. It was the exact same shape and size as her husband, only shrouded from head to foot in white. It turned its sightless eyes upon her and let out an awful moan.

Sally stifled a gasp. The ghost of a still-born relationship lay between husband and wife, a loveless spectre that haunted the sheets.

* * *

When Sally received the phone call a week later, it took her several seconds to fully recognize the voice of her husband. She had been staying with her sister in Nuneaton, desperate to escape the chilly atmosphere that now pervaded the family home. After a tearful parting, the last thing she expected was to hear her husband sounding like this. The years appeared to have fallen away from Jim. He no longer sounded like a forty-six-year-old man grown somber from the weight of years. He sounded like a little boy. A little boy who has just re-discovered a favorite toy.

“It’s back, Sally! It’s back!” the high-pitched voice cried down the phone.

“What’s back, Jim?” Sally replied.

Her husband sounded giddy with excitement. “The spark, Sal—the spark!”

Jim went on to tell Sally how depressed he had been without her. How he had moped around the house like a ghost, with only his memories of her for company. Jim had tried to numb his brain in the wash of cathode rays night after night, watching everything, seeing nothing. Until that moment when a random news item broke through the fog. That was it! Jim thought. This was what he was waiting for. A means to recover his libido at last!

What was the answer?” asked Sally wearily.

But Jim wouldn’t tell her. Not over the phone. She’d have to see it in person. He’d already had a trial run and the results had been very impressive. Sally should come home tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. Pack her bags and come right home. He’d have a surprise to show her, alright. He’d already booked the week off work. He needed to make up for lost time.

Jim Macmillan had some serious loving to do.

* * *

Sally smiled as the taxi threaded its way through the familiar streets of Ealing. The sun was out, the birds were singing and she was going to see her husband again. She stifled a laugh as she remembered the madness of the other week. How she had awoken in the middle of the night and, in her confusion, mistaken her husband’s

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