the kiss

For anyone who is wondering, I see The Kinter House coming to a close in the next couple of weeks. I think there will be two more installments. I have a loose idea of what I think (and hope) will happen, but until I see the prompts, I just won’t know. Oh, and if you haven’t read the other stories in this series, click here to read them before getting into this week’s installment. (Start at the bottom and read them in the order they were posted.)

This week’s prompt is brought to us by the gang over at the 500 Club:

Write the moment a character finally gets something they’ve wanted for a long time. Was it worth the wanting? Can you show emotion without going over the top or going with what’s been overdone? 

I think this short piece satisfies the prompt nicely, though you might have to be familiar with the entire series to really see it. Jessica is a simple creature. Okay, simple and twisted, but simple nevertheless. I believe this is something she’s wanted for a long, long time.

Thanks for all the comments on last week’s story. It’s encouraging to hear that folks are reading them and finding them to be scary. As I said in one of the comments, they scare me, too. Kinter and Jessica are, in many ways, my own personal fears at a very basic level. They remind me of people I know…

But enough of that. On to this week’s story. We’ve come this far–only a little further ’til the end.

the kiss

It was a beautiful kiss.

The torch hissed and the skin pulled back, crackling and turning dark the way it does. Every time James gives someone a kiss, it’s like it’s the first time. I always feel like I’m watching something magical.

When we were little and Momma took us to church, the preacher used to talk about sacred things. I remember him saying that when a thing is sacred, it’s holy, and he said that holy means “set apart”, like the good china we only use on Christmas. It’s special. It’s just for certain times.

That’s how James’ kisses are.

I used to hate that James didn’t tell me he loved me more. After he showed Momma the pain, I wanted him to hold me. I was scared. But it made him angry. I think he thought I was sad for her, but I was sad for us. I didn’t know he was planning to show other people the pain, too. I thought when Momma died, that would be it and I didn’t want it to end.

James has kissed me a few times. I have pretty marks to prove it. They are all over. James says I’m the prettiest girl he’s ever seen. He says that’s why I can’t leave the house–everyone would want to know who I was and why I was there. He says it’s like how they follow celebrities around, taking pictures and talking about everything they do. He says he’s protecting me from that, so I have to stay hidden. But I have him, and that’s all I really need. Him and his kisses.

After he kissed the boy’s cheek, he turned to me. “Would you like to…?” he asked, holding out the torch.

My heart beat so hard, then. James has never let me kiss anyone. Sometimes he lets me cut things. Small things, like fingers and toes. One time he even let me dissect one, but she was already dead. It looks like more fun when James does it. They’re still moving and screaming then.

But a kiss. I’ve never given anyone a kiss. It’s a sacred thing, a kiss. Holy. Set apart.

He handed me the torch and my hands shook.

“Be careful with it. The end is very hot. Point the flames toward his skin and only hold it there for a short bit.”

James had kissed the right cheek, so I decided to kiss the left. I leaned forward with the torch, but there was so much blood on the floor. My feet slid and I fell into the boy. The torch pushed into his face hard and he passed out or died. His body just stopped moving.

James tried to help me up, but the torch was so hot. I spun and dropped it. He caught it as it fell, but the flame was twisted toward him. It kissed his arm and lit his shirt on fire.

“I’m sorry, James!” I cried.

And then something hit my legs from behind.

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About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

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