Being the Sheriff of a small gold-panning town in Texas was not as exciting as he’d hoped it’d be. He swung his feet up on the wooden desk, disturbing a clan of horse-flies, and spat the cork from a bottle of whiskey. It used to burn his throat as it went down. Now it barely touched the sides.
A drunk in the cell opposite croaked as the worm of thought in is head fought through the drink. All for want of the star on his chest and the two men could swap places.
The sun scorched the earth for another fifteen minutes and then slunk beneath the desert sands. The heat didn’t leave with it but give it an hour and it’d be cold enough to freeze the piss in your bladder.
Fuck this, he thought. He went to the cell took a step back and placed the whiskey down on the sandy wooden floor. ‘Hey, shithead,’ he said, raking his gun across the bars of the cage. The drunk opened crusty eyes. ‘Want this whiskey?’
He left the run-in hut that counted as the town’s prison/law station and, after kicking out time, toilet. Inside, the drunk was screaming as he struggled desperately to reach the bottle of whiskey, a tortuous two inches out of reach. He smiled; want a bottle of liquor looked after, get a drunk to watch over it.
Coney Anne’s Saloon was starting up for the night. A man with a walrus moustache stuck to his top lip and a shotgun in his hands stood at the front doors.
‘Sheriff,’ he said.
He slipped inside and was embraced in music, dancing, and revelry. Outside the devil slid through the sands, sucking men dry, leaving them as husks in the deadly sun. In here the devil seduced, swaying on snow-white legs, and would still suck you dry if you could paid him.
He sat at a table. Carmella, the newest of Anne’s girls, toddled over, her skirt bustling through the stench of the other men.
‘What kin I getcha, Sherriff?’ she asked in that squeaky voice of hers.
‘Whiskey,’ he said. ‘The burning kind.’
She giggled, her false laughter grated against his ears. This fucking town. In a month, when she’d paid her dues, Carmella would stop the tables; then he would make her really feel something.
He could hardly tell between the whiskey she brought him and the town’s well water. Nothing good to drink here.
When the show started the other men watched Miss Treats expose her underwear in the spotlight. He didn’t watch Miss Treats, he watched Carmella. She couldn’t be more than nineteen. Less then half his age. She’d come in on the late coach a week ago and stuck herself in here. He’d feel sorry for her but that’d ruin the fun. She saw him staring and winked at him. He sneered and shook his empty whiskey glass at her.
Carmella trotted over, ducking beneath the spotlight. ‘Here, hun,’ she said. ‘Have the bottle.’ She stuck the bottle in front of him, her hand gripping down the length and back up again.
‘Why in’t you up there?’ he asked her. ‘I’d certainly watch that show.’
‘Who, me honey? I don’ like the lighting. It’s too bright for my fair skin,’ she giggled. Then she put her lips by his ear and her voice dropped to a sultry whiper. ‘I’ll be in ma room when you’re all done… you kin bring your bottle.’ And she trotted back to the bar, not a glance behind her.
For the rest of the night, through three more acts, Carmella ignored him. A fight broke out, two drunk gold panners. One slapped Carmella’s ass and the second took offence. He stopped the fighting, beat the first panner to a pulp right on the dance floor. Had to be dragged away by Coney and his men. He was spitting fury. But Carmella didn’t see, didn’t notice how he defended her honour. He hated her for that… he would make her pay tonight.
When Coney came round, shotgun in hand, and gave the men their friendly warnings, he stayed sitting. Coney never came to tell him to get out.
He couldn’t see Carmella in the saloon. She’d gone to her room already. He snatched the bottle from the table and went up, finding the room with Carmella’s name painted the scratched out name of the last forgotten resident of this room.
‘Come in,’ squeaked Carmella. He hadn’t knocked but he wasn’t quiet about his approach. He kicked open the door and swayed on his feet.
Carmella had lost the billowing petticoats and knickers. She was in only her bustier and stockings. In her hand was a second bottle of whiskey.
‘Stick that other there on the floor with your pants,’ she said, but now her voice had changed. It was deep. He felt it in his chest, striking right to his heart. Like a child, he obeyed and stood semi-naked before her, all hatred melted from him, his arousal obvious. Carmella’s grin broadened across her pretty face, not a grin of lust, but one of victory.
‘You hate this town,’ she said and he nodded. ‘I’ve seen you in here, drinking this poor excuse for a liquid.’ She tipped the bottle up and the whiskey glugged and gurgled down her legs and feet. ‘I can take you from here. I can give you everything that you crave.’
He nodded. Somewhere, perhaps in a place cut off by the years of drink, his basic animal instincts screamed, aware they in the presence of a predator, but he was oblivious to their cries.
‘I will give you the sensations you’ve craved,’ she said in that voice that twisted his heart. She dropped to her knees before him, taking his manhood with her lips. Her tongue wrapped around him, pleasure bursting from his mouth.
Then her eyes flashed green, the instincts inside his head exploded in panic, and he tried to shove her away, but it was too late. He felt her teeth scratch over his sensitive skin, and then she bit down.
He howled out; she hissed and gurgled as her laughter bubbled through his blood. When she let go, he dropped to the floor like a sack of meat. He grasped what remained of himself, rocking on the floor, crying tears through the pain and humiliation; his eyes clamped shut against this nightmare reality.
‘Are you ready to let go?’ she whispered in his ear.
He mumbled. She pressed her arm against his mouth and he felt something dribble on his lips; the liquid tingled on his skin. Every one of those instincts stopped saying ‘We told you so’ and begged him to drink. He slurped up the liquid… and it burned. It burned like the first dad’s sippin’ liquor when he was five. As he sucked more and more and more he’d would have given up the rest of himself for more of this.
‘That’s enough, baby,’ she said and she shoved him with a hand like stronger than the hind legs of a horse. ‘Don’t want to spoil you.’
‘What… have… you… done?’ he croaked, his throat blissfully on fire.
‘I’ve just gone and done given you the most cursed and depraved craving you’ll ever need,’ she said and she lit a cigarillo between lips stretched out to a wicked smile. Her laughter accompanied him to the gates of hell and right back again as he slowly died on her floor.
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