When Criselda awoke at 3:35 a.m., she became aware of a remnant from the previous night’s activities. She savored the delicate taste of blood in her mouth. This flavor lay on top of her tongue like a wilted iris, soft, cloying and sinister. How this happened, she couldn’t recall, but her taste buds tingled. She really wasn’t concerned.
Hot channels were throbbing in the back of her throat, slightly burning as the sensations snaked their way to her stomach. It always happened this way, so early in the morning, in that dead time they call the Hour of the Wolf. Luminous fluid was refracting the light off her own skin. For a moment the sound of blood rushing though her veins startled her, then she grew accustomed to it. Multiple exposures made her unhappy. Her thoughts came quickly. Now she tasted iron in her mouth. That thing was happening again. Another life arrived as tortured bones and dust. She whipped every part of her mind until the sounds became sobs.
Each glazed look she received punctured the cat’s eyes. Criselda was in pain. The pain was behind the eyes, needles piercing light. She killed the sounds for her own sake. The removal of its heart last night had turned into a sexual conflict.
The suspended embryo watched us all through the cage of crimson glass.
[She spoke to the Neon last evening. “As one of my lost lovers used to say, ‘I wish things were like they once were.’ So, we can erase the inappropriate circumstances. If that makes you happier, I need to do it.”]
She was puzzled when he said last night, “I remember dominance–a terrifying experience—and I remember a typical eye-brain loop… Abstract to the eye. Kiss me. Unh! What did you do? This hurts so much. I loved you. Why? I know someone is there. I know someone is here. The steel hurts.”
Sounds of metal slicing flesh, getting her revenge, she couldn’t control her giggling, bloodstained fingers trying to hide her mouth. they mustn’t see this.
Criselda smirked at the memory of him twitching in a red pool on the floor of his luxurious apartment and the satisfaction she felt when she pulled the blade out. Low moans of pleasure. The click of the switchblade closing and the way it felt, the heft of it in her black leather gloved hands made all the aggravation of stalking and executing him special. Worthwhile.
Rapid repeated strokes of throbbing stiletto switchblades. Repeat as necessary until all used up. Prescription for lust. She thrived on these sounds. She lived for the found effects. As Her eyes glowed in the purple evening through her veiled face, we could see a glistening tear. She frequently indulged in special effects in the Cinerama of shattered desires. Inside the dark factory, personalities were dumped to make room for more pain. She craved the immediacy of the defoliated scenes.
In the next street she saw broken woman parts in the shop window, fragments of a prior personality never to be pieced together again. Parts shared to generate new personalities. Mama mama please birth me a new identity. Papa papa please hide me in the basement; my hobby will be the defenestration of Daddy. Then, bodies will kiss the random faces as they float gently downwards, just like leaves in autumn.
She thought in images variously vacillating from torture to serenity to lust. Vibrant blue eyes watched her intently. Blue Eyes turned to ebony when the entry had been made. What do you want from me? They ran into the womb of the black leather evening. They fucked for three days in pools of warmth that mutated to red. Cold concrete cool stone for inspiration She hid in between the holes in the darkness.
She was aware of two ongoing incidents: the soil shivered slightly under her bare feet and the flesh had become soft.
Example 1: she used her tongue to trace infinite semicircles under the eyelids and paused to flick lightly over the lips protruding through leather. These lips trembled ever so slowly. A sound of wincing caused a shiver [right there]. This thing: the removal of auditory impulses and satisfactions. Razor dreams and deleted scenes: the metropolis was heaving, but no one else noticed. The tone was upsetting, the images were always black and white. It’s bleak, but it should move faster. It was her impressive signature example of intrigues and deceits. She marked her territory with a switchblade and blood. Carving sigils here and there. Example 2: she was setting a strong rhythm now. “What do you see, when you see yourself?”
She was sensing a stronger rhythm now. She sensed the Black Glove again, twisting inside her. It was numbing her nervous system so she would not feel guilty about performing depraved acts. These rapid-fire images slid off her brain and were tacked to the wall. The nude state of her neglected ego caused many distractions. It was the christening of her open heart. Sequestered emotions.
“To please me, the camera eyes will weep,” she said.
She saw the burning women pleasuring themselves. They were echoing faint sighs of the lost animals on the beach that was near to the city. A conversion from dull to sexy was repeating itself. She fought the grip of the traveling vines of morality. Now she saw its eyes. Her eyes. There was a body being laid out on the kitchen table. It was surrounded by white napkins cradling razors and scalpels. She signaled for the beginning of the dissection. Her lips were dry – she licked them. Her labia were wet – she caressed them. She had indulged chronic self-fondling all day long, just to get herself in the mood.
Back and forth feeding frenzy. Her exorcist lived in a dark factory, pumping blood and political views; she knelt on the floor and created images of pain. This tasted lovely. The air was bitter with smoke and iron. Beneath the foundation of influence was discovered a wayward woman. Her hobbies consisted of instigating crucifixions and attending public humiliations. Mama. Mama, please take me to Confession.
Papa. Papa please believe me, they lied. I didn’t do all those things. They lied. Pain for the second father figure complex. Drums were slashed behind the curtain behind her. Behind them, secret rituals of flesh were conducted. In between the cobblestones appeared rivulets of urine speckled with blood. Yellow canvas red dots. Sooner or later the forensic team would be called in. Love is the basis of all nature; love is the basis of all snares. The women kept their slaves in the cellar where they served as healing nourishment for their mistresses. The clock that hung upside down spun backwards every 13 hours. It made no noise. Inside the frame was an action portrait of a woman pleasuring herself. She was turned on by the tortures of the forgotten. Memories of regrets ate the souls of the wanton figures. Tales of lustful deceit made her whole again.
“What have you done to her?”
“It’s an indication that the saints should always kill, my sweet-baby…my sweet-baby!”
Take that life and screw it up. Jet black magick. Feed it to her…the fossilized remnants of porno loops projected always in the back of her brain. She told us everything, she just spilled her guts.
“And then I emasculated them, there were throbbing cocks in the curb by the basilica,” she continued, swallowing saliva with great difficulty, “you know, they were remnants of past transgressions. A handful of experiments that went wrong.”
She decided to practice witchcraft in the dyed yellow dying evening. They told her she felt sexy. She gazed. She gazed. She was being displayed for gratification. Descendant character self-description as the second-born claimed new victims. It had become a Black Sunday for her laughing children. Tight and throbbing Thanatos had infected her. On the steps [at 11 pm] she was sitting in front of Basilica Sant Agostino. The struggles of the deceived made her smile. It was 84 degrees Fahrenheit outside. She drank from a paper cup that had been re-used several times. It was always filled but she never discovered what the liquid was – the mysteries of transubstantiation bored her.
Exactly 100 feet away, in front of her, the musicians spasmed and passed on. It was an alchemist’s fuck, it was a witch’s feast. There was a death in the convent that she had heard about. This interested her. She lay back on the steps and gazed at the blank black sky. Optically aging and arguing, oozing through a labyrinth, doubling once more upon itself, consummating the unseen sexuality riding the night’s ashes. The reflection was primordially sexual in nature She stalked her prey and made plans. An archetypal Jeanne d’Arc, a re-born Beatrice Cenci. She attended the opening drama of the well-bred housewives who were boring in their simplicity. Dresses pulled tight and ripped off. Rubbing their skin with a new batch of Flying Ointment, communing with the nature that detested all of them. She knew they were lubricating their cunts so the drug would enter the bloodstream quickly. Fast tract to salvation. The misfortunes of leading a virtuous life dogged them. Scientific twisted faces of destruction had become the norm. Obverse of the temple, ritualistic slayings, wilted red roses in abandoned pale churches. Fleeing fingers ran from disembodied faces. Beneath the Pantheon female silhouettes grasped at cool marble and clung to cold mouths moistening their eyes at the realization of a lack of love. So much guilt and so much pleasure. Their hair was ebony with faint traces of crimson. Long strands flew away in the recent nuclear breeze, collapsing walls of wide-open eyes. She listened intently to exquisite songs of loss. These symptoms eviscerated her attraction and betrayed her denials. Seeing their pain made it easier.
The restless desperation of her cunt destroyed the timepieces she had collected because
an absent timeline always appeared to her. Since she was trapped in a room she decided to make the best of it. Black leather hands fondled an open razor. After confirming that her victim was gagged, she slashed where appropriate, making sure the blood was histrionic.
She shivered, she moaned, mimicking her victim’s orgasmic death throes. When the spirit had left the body, she repeated her aktions and reaped the rewards. The figure twisted off the crucifix. Later, she exited and gingerly navigated cobblestone streets balancing precariously on 4” stilettos. Turning right into an alley, she paused and studied her clothes under a streetlight: a few red streaks on her clear vinyl raincoat. She studied her face in a compact mirror she had withdrawn from her purse. An additional two streaks of gore on her left cheek. She wiped herself down and exited the alley.
Tomorrow morning the corpses would be discovered. Maybe. Or maybe when the flies started to murmur. Back at home, in her small studio, she inserted a dead mourning dove into her cunt. Tears streaked the dirty window. The sacrament had been completed. As soon as 3 a.m. arrived, she searched through her bookshelf and located a school yearbook. She drew targets on the faces of the nuns who had taught her in parochial school.
A murdered time. Struggling with her. Police suspect in her mouth, she had covered up, but now she stripped under black planets. Call of a rare victim. Wielding a knife while wearing the raincoat. Deep in the background landscape. Sliding into the foreground landscape. Visiting the locked door. Short moans caused shame. She usually moaned loudly in the presence of a stabbing. A vulva descended from a sky that was devoid of color. A teardrop of crystal, razor-sharp in its deception. Duplicity excited her.
She perused the morgue photos that she had stolen last night and tossed on the bed. Revenge cleansed her. Hide and seek. Detect a human order of things.
“I felt a strange calm as if some enjoyment was near.”
Was it the result of excessive hallucinations at the hands of the goddesses? The blood crept slowly up the crumbling political monuments. Eyes glinted at the monks that were licking the marble fingers in the garden. A sound of a whip for the scream of feminine loss.
“I’ll be waiting for you once it’s over,” she had said.
A bloody veil drifted to the floor. Forgotten models of civilization. Teeth will protect her as she wanders. The tribades will devour the gifts.
She confided, “I used to fuck ‘em in the abandoned nuclear bunker. It was a few years ago. Crappy distant memory of exquisite pleasures truncated by religion. They were always watching us, but they paid us. It’s ok I guess.”
La Maison Dieu card tossed on a pile, she grabbed it and held it between her breasts and smiled.
Mostly populated with indecent strippers coated with paint, International Klein Blue 79 (IKB 79).
“I couldn’t wash it off. I watched as the wife licked Salome’s legs, working upwards to the sweet spot. Later to enter the cervix. It’s a state of addiction. One upon a time there was a happy couple pounded with nails hanging by the clocks that throbbed with blood. Incessant ticking. Spastic licks and nibbles. Dripped right onto the faces below. They were so loved. So wistful and penetrated.”
The fake priest unexpectedly reached out and grabbed her ass. It was the last lascivious act he would perform. The sound of a saw cutting though live bone always aroused her. A new wetness dripped down from his cuts and from her crotch, puddling onto the black marble floor. She adored the sounds of stiletto heels on stone.
Excerpt from “A Naked Kiss from a Broken Doll” the new giallo from Peter Marra. Published by Hammer and Anvil Books in November 2019.
A Naked Kiss from a Broken Doll – a savage and surreal journey into love, addiction and murder.
Giallo, meaning ‘yellow’, is the Italian term for crime fiction, named after the bright yellow colours of early mystery paperbacks. In Italy, ‘un giallo’ (plural ‘gialli’) can be of any nationality. But film audiences abroad adopted it as the name for a peculiarly Italian sub-genre of thriller cinema that had its heyday in the 1970s.
Although definitions vary, the giallo is most often characterised as an Italian crime film with murder-mystery elements. It often draws on a pool of common conventions: stylised murders, amateur sleuths, black gloves, repressed memories, enigmatic titles and creepy Ennio Morricone music scores.
Its parameters are vague, leaving plenty of examples sitting ambiguously on the fence between this and other genres. And it’s a tradition that gleefully mixes high and low culture, where you’ll find flashes of artistic brilliance sharing the screen with moments of jaw-dropping squalor.
—The British Film Institute
Peter Marra has been a Poetry Editor of Literary Orphans since its first year in 2012.
–Background art by Dom Crossley — Artist Profile