‘Mama,’ a Psychological Horror Novel, Chapter Two

And now that we’ve arrived in my apartment, I’ll take you over to Mama’s bedroom, where I’ll show you the proof that she was evil and, therefore, I had to kill her. Just step this way and follow me.

Here, her room. It looks pretty ordinary, doesn’t it? With all the usual things: her bed, her dresser, her closet, etc., nothing out of the ordinary, right? Well, let me show you something in one of her dresser drawers that will make your hair stand on end!

I’ll just open this drawer, and…here it is, this book. Look at the title: Bewitching Smells…er, Spells. Let me open it up and flip through the pages, so you can get a full idea.

Check out all these herbs she uses to make magic spells: lavender, rosemary, basil, thyme, sage, etc. I’ll flip past these pages and show you some more interesting, incriminating stuff…

Here, look at all these pictures of bottles of potions. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think they were bottles of perfume or something, but I know! They’re all phials of magic potions she’d been using on me and on anyone else she wanted to control!

Anyway, we can look at that later. I’ll just put it back in the drawer for now. Now–you, the man I see in the mirror of Mama’s dresser drawer, my superego, my conscience, as it were–come with me into the living room, and there I’ll tell you the whole story: how I found out she was a witch, how I plotted to kill her using a little magic of my own, and how she actually died at my hands. Let’s go.

Yes, let’s sit on either side of the living room TV, you on the sofa under the mirror where I can see you, and me in the big, comfy chair. It all started with this TV, where I was just starting to watch a horror movie on Netflix. I’d never seen any of the Friday the 13th movies, not being interested in any of them, but nothing else was on that night.

Mama was going to bed. “You keep the volume down, Roger,” she told me as she was going into her room. “I have to get up early tomorrow to do some work at the pet store.”

“OK, Mama,” I said as the movie began. There was this strange sound I’d hear from time to time in the movie: “Ch-ch-ch-ch…ha-ha-ha-ha…”

Several more minutes into the film, I heard her call to me from her bedroom: “Roger?”

I paused the film. “What is it, Mama?”

“I left my pillow on the sofa,” she said. “You know, my little pink one. Bring it in here for me, would you?”

“Yes, Mama,” I said, then took it into her room. I’d left the door wide open as I handed it to her. I looked over at the top of her dresser, where the book was sitting, all white and innocent-looking, except for its title, which I barely made out in the dim light coming from the living room: Bewitching Spells.

I shuddered as I stared at it, frozen in my tracks for several seconds.

“Roger?” she said, waking me out of my daze. “You can go now. I’d like to get some sleep, if you don’t mind.”

“Oh, yeah, uh…sorry, Mama,” I said, then went out of her room and closed the door. I went back to the TV and unpaused it. I no longer paid any attention to the movie, though I sat on the sofa in a trance, staring at the screen. I kept hearing an echoey, reverberating whisper: “Kill…Mama…”

That night happened a couple of months ago, and I kept hearing that whispering in my head, over and over again, in the days and weeks that followed: “Kill…Mama…” I also kept the vision in my mind’s eye of that white book cover, with that disturbing title: Bewitching Spells.

The day after that night–always hearing “Kill…Mama…” in my mind’s ear, again and again, at least once every two minutes, and often far more frequently than that–I waited for her to leave the apartment for the pet food store. As soon as she was gone, I went right into her room to look at that book again.

Now it was in her dresser drawer, the same one you and I just saw it in. I’m sure she was trying to hide it from me, though hiding it had slipped her mind on the night that I first saw it, surely.

Though I flipped through the pages and saw all the pictures of the herbs and phials of magic potions, as you and I just saw, I was careful not only to keep the book in its drawn-out drawer, but also to keep it in the exact same position in the drawer, so she wouldn’t suspect I’d found it and learned of her schemes. Indeed, apart from opening the book and flipping through the pages, I didn’t move the book one millimetre from where she’d left it.

Yet as I flipped through the pages and had my worst fears about Mama confirmed, I felt a tear or two run down my cheeks. Apart from the sheer terror I felt knowing what power she’d had over me, the power she’d always had, I also felt the most stinging betrayal. How could she have done this to me? I’m her son! She was supposed to love me, not hex me! What had I done to deserve such an evil mother?

Memories of my relationship with her flashed before me: all those times she’d bullied me, told me what to do in her growling voice, showed me no pity or compassion whenever I’d been hurt as a child, all of those things now took on a new meaning for me, a meaning that gave no comfort, but a meaning that at least made some sense of all of my life’s suffering. It had all been her fault!

The most significant of all of these memories, starting from my early childhood, was how I’d always felt incapable of fighting back. Oh, I had the rage inside me to fight, I oh, so wanted to, but somehow I couldn’t. It was something deeper, more fundamental, than mere cowardice…it was like a mental block, like Alex DeLarge and the Ludovico Technique used on him to stop him from committing crimes.

Now I knew what the cause had always been for my consistent inability to stand up for myself. It was her magic spells, all used to control me! That’s why not only could I never stand up to her, but I also could never stick up for myself against all the bullies at school, in the neighbourhood, even against little kids! Yes, I was that pathetic, but in my defence, Mama had been jinxing me the whole time!

Knowing my own mother had always wanted me to be weak and cowed, this hurt more than anything else ever had in my whole life. Her magic had done nothing less than ruin my whole life. By the end of this meditation, with her book open in that drawer in front of me, I was sobbing. Fortunately, none of my tears dropped on the pages, so Mama wouldn’t know I’d been looking at them.

I closed the book and the drawer, then I went out of her room, wiping my tears off my face. I kept hearing that reverberating whispering: “Kill…Mama…”

I’m sure that at least a large portion, if not almost all, of my hallucinating–visual and auditory, for the most part–has been the result of her spells. It was part of her scheme to control me, to make me doubt my senses and feel that I needed her total guidance in life.

My hallucinations cannot, however, have all been directly caused by her magic. That voice I kept hearing, the one that whispered, “Kill…Mama…”, couldn’t have been caused by her spells. Why would she have wanted me to kill her? She never showed any suicidal tendencies, and even if she’d secretly wanted to die, she could have simply killed herself–why involve me in it?

No, that voice telling me to kill her must have come from another source. Since she was surely using her magic to control other people, as well as me, there must be spirits out there, agents of good, that recognized her evil and wanted me to be their agent of justice, of retribution.

For though her spells weren’t the source of every single voice I’ve heard in my head, her spells surely altered my brain to the point where I’ve been creating my own hallucinations, my mind altering the things I see and hear to serve some kind of purpose that I’m not consciously aware of. I had to remove her from my life in the hopes that her spells might wear off soon after, and I will then be free to live a normal, happy life, at last!

Hey…wait a minute. Who is that? Just a sec. I wanna look out the window, and see who that is. Hey, that’s that man at the funeral, the one my aunt tried to introduce me to. What’s he doing there, standing across the street and looking up at my window? What does he want? He doesn’t still think he’s my father, does he? What a creep! I’ll give him the finger: there, that should get rid of him…good. He saw it, and he’s going away.

Alright, back to the comfy chair, and back to my story. Now, to kill her, I knew I had to be really careful, ’cause with her skill at using magic, she’d probably see me coming from a mile away; so I knew that using any spells from her book would be a no-go from the start. I’d have to get a magic book of my own. I wouldn’t even bring the book into the apartment, nor would I research anything online at my laptop here. I’d go to the library on the other side of town, take notes there, and proceed accordingly.

In the library, I found a book on how to make a voodoo doll. I knitted it up at home, telling Mama that it would be a gift for her great niece, my aunt’s granddaughter, five-year-old Emma. I did a convincing acting job, even if I say so myself, telling Mama the lie with a perfectly calm voice and face. She was surprised at my generosity: her only doubt was that I had any inkling towards doing something nice for anyone, let alone sweet little Emma, whom I sincerely adore. This was the kind of hurtful attitude I’d always resented in Mama.

Nonetheless, she never indicated any suspicions in what I’d been planning. I kept at work knitting up that doll, privately amused that she was seeing me there creating the instrument of her imminent death, and not knowing of that at all. Of course, as I was knitting away, I was careful never to think about the doll as anything other than a gift for Emma–just in case Mama’s magic gave her the ability to read my mind!

A month later, the doll was finished. It took so long because I have no skill whatsoever at knitting, of course. Mama laughed at me for the many mistakes I made, taunting me that I should have just given up. Those mistakes forced me to start all over again, many times–it was so frustrating, but I was determined to kill her. Her taunts only hardened me in my resolution.

I didn’t want Mama to see it during the final stages of knitting, because I’d managed to make it look like her, so that she’d, naturally, get suspicious. So during the final stages, I worked in my bedroom with the door locked, or when she was out.

According to the book I’d found in the library, I had to do some magical incantations in a ritual to ensure that the doll would be linked to her. I’d also used yarn and knitting needles she had handled, as well as material from an old shirt she used to wear, but which I’d rescued from the garbage just in time.

I did the ritual in my bedroom at night, with my door locked. I was taking an enormous risk, since she might have sensed, through her own magical powers, what I was doing; but I had no other choice than to do it there, for where else could I have done a magical ritual without anyone interfering?

I did the ritual with the lights off, and a circle of glowing candles surrounding me. I’d bought a black mat with a giant white pentacle on it. I played a recording of soft chanting on my laptop. Mama was already in bed, so I figured she wouldn’t notice the sounds.

My success at making the doll near her, without her suspecting anything, encouraged me to keep going, and to take the chance of doing the ritual there at home. Perhaps her powers were weakening with the onset of old age–who knows?

I stared at the eyes of the doll, visualizing that it was my real mother sitting across from me on that pentacle mat. I kept hearing “Kill…Mama…” over and over again; I softly whispered it, too, in time with the chanting as it reverberated in my ears.

I remembered, shortly before the night I’d watched Friday the 13th, that Mama had begun clutching at her chest and complaining of pains there. I understand that such pain is how heart attacks start to happen. So during my ritual, I visualized those pains getting worse, leading towards heart attacks.

I kept whispering “Kill…Mama…” while holding little pins I would soon stab into the chest of the doll; as I did these things, I’d visualize Mama having heart attacks.

I continued with the ritual, repeating the same actions for another twenty minutes, according to the instructions of the book. I never stuck a pin in the doll that night, for according to the book, you can’t do that until the effects of the completed ritual have fanned out and permeated the whole area, a process that would take the rest of the night. This was another reason I had to do the ritual near her: to ensure the spell would contact her and her energy as soon as possible.

The next morning was when I could finally put the magic to the test. I heard her moving around outside my bedroom: she was probably going to the kitchen. I was holding the doll in one hand, and a pin in the other.

I heard a familiar groan of pain from her; I imagined she was grabbing at her chest again. This seemed like a good cue to stab the pin in the doll’s chest…so I did.

Now I heard a huge roar of pain from her. A dish smashed on the kitchen floor: she’d obviously dropped it. I grinned. My doll worked!

Though I left the pin in the doll’s chest, I wouldn’t stick another one in for a few days. I wanted Mama’s death to be gradual, not suspiciously sudden. I also wanted her to suffer before she died.

Because I’d left the pin in the doll’s chest, I saw Mama going about her day frequently clutching at her chest and moaning in pain. She went to a doctor after three days of that pin in the doll; he just gave her pills.

Back at home, I stuck another pin in the doll’s chest.

In my bedroom, I heard her wail in pain in the kitchen, and this was just after she’d taken one of her pills. My grin grew wider.

Over the next few days, she took more of the pills, going from one at a time to two, then three, despite the doctor insisting she take only one at a time.

The following week, I stuck in a third pin.

She bellowed and fell to the living room floor with a thud.

I called an ambulance, and she was taken to the hospital. I let her rest there for several days, making visits, too, of course, and acting all concerned for her welfare. I think my acting job was convincing.

All the medication they were giving her had managed to cancel out the pain my pins in my doll were giving her. About a week later, she was released, and I took her back home.

The day after that, I stuck a fourth pin in the doll. She fell down dead.

The funeral happened a week after that.

…and here we are now.


Imagine a railroad track that ends where the bridge is out,
over a
no one
want to
fall off
to his

People on a train
are going on that railroad track, right to the end of it.
of the

Marxists, liberals, and right-wingers
are all on that train, racing toward certain doom.
of the
are all
to the
as if
to die.

The liberals are just sitting in their seats,
with a strange faith that the track will go

Only the Marxists, the Leninists in particular,
are going to the back, running to jump off,
all of
is safe.

My Short Story, ‘Family Dies,’ Published in the Western Horror Anthology, ‘Shut Up and Bleed’

My Western horror short story, ‘Family Dies,’ has been published in Shut Up and Bleed, a new Western horror short story anthology soon to be found on Amazon (June 1st, to be exact). Other great horror short stories in the anthology are by Christine Morgan, Katie Berry, Tim Curran, C. Derick Miller, Chuck Buda, BL Blankenship, Megan Stockton, and Jon Steffen.

Here is a link to the Amazon page.

Many thanks to BL Blankenship, who set this up for all of us writers included in the project! He also set up the Book Without a Name Western horror short story anthology, in which I have two stories published, namely, “Ghost Town,” and “The Lake.”

So, come June 1st, please go over to Amazon and order yourself a copy of Shut Up and Bleed! 🙂

‘Mama,’ a Psychological Horror Novel, Chapter One

I killed my mother!

Nobody knows it was I who killed her, of course: everybody thinks she simply died of a heart attack; that’s how the doctor says she died. But I know…

I’ll tell you how I did it later, for if I tell you now, you’ll never believe me. In fact, you’ll think I’m crazy for believing such a method would work.

Since you’re probably assuming I’m a terrible person for doing what I did, since matricide is considered one of the worst crimes anyone could ever commit, I should explain my reasons for doing it, in the hopes that you’ll understand me, and not judge me so harshly for my extreme act.

My name is Roger Mark Gunn, and I’m in my mid-thirties. I’ve lived with Mama in an apartment in Toronto my whole life. That’s right: we never moved, and I’ve never been able to find a job that pays enough so I could move out, find a girl, fall in love, get married, and live a normal life. Even if I could have, though, Mama wouldn’t have allowed it, anyway.

The only work I’ve ever done has been as a cashier in her pet food store. It’s been so humiliating having to call out “Mama!” to the back of the store to get her to come to the front every time I needed her to help with a customer. But that embarrassment was among the least of my problems with her.

Most people have fond, affectionate feelings for their mothers. Their mothers truly want what’s best for them; these mothers encourage their sons and daughters to chase after their dreams, and they comfort you when you’re down.

Not so with Mama.

What you have to understand about Mama is that she was not a normal person. She was insane. She was domineering, clingy, and demanding. She messed with my mind. She made me believe that I lack abilities where I really do have them. She undermined my ability to develop self-confidence, and she did this on purpose–the opposite of what a mother is supposed to do!

Worse than all of this, she would tell me that my perception of reality is distorted, that I hallucinate regularly. She started saying such things to me when I was a child, around when I was nine or ten years old. To give her lies an aura of authority, she claimed that psychiatrists had examined me thoroughly, and that I was a diagnosed psychotic. She said they recommended putting me away in an institution, but out of her ‘love’ for me, she saved me from such a fate!

She claimed that she’d done everything out of love for me, that only she knew how to take care of me. I don’t believe a word of any of this, though. I know better.

She was trying to control my life by making me believe that I couldn’t do anything without her, that I’m nothing without her. Well, I’m about to prove her wrong!

What I’ve said so far surely hasn’t convinced you that she deserved to die, as awful as she was to me, based on what I’ve just said. After all, she did leave me a lot of money to live on, so I can live comfortably on my own for the rest of my life. But she was much, much worse to me that what I’ve said so far. Again, I can’t tell you everything just now, since you’ll think I’m crazy. I have to let you know bit by bit, so you’ll be prepared for the worst. Please be patient.

I never knew my father. Mama told me he ran off as soon as he learned he’d got her pregnant, but I’m convinced she way lying. I’m sure she killed him, but in a way that no one would ever suspect her of murder, in a way I’ll explain later, when I think you’re ready to hear the shocking truth.

All through my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, I felt as though there was a terrible void in my life, a huge gap, a hole in which something vital was missing. This missing element was a father, someone to help me make the transition from childhood to adulthood, to teach me how to be a man. Mama took him from me.

All my mental health problems stem from this lack, I’m sure of it. I’ve lived in that apartment with Mama as if no one else existed in the whole world. It was only Mama and me, the two of us looking in each other’s eyes as if each of us were looking at him- or herself in a mirror reflection. It’s as though I existed as an extension of her, and her as an extension of me. It’s as if we were joined at the hip–well, I finally cut myself loose!

There was always this feeling as if we owned each other. No one else was ever allowed to share the attention of either of us. That, I believe, is why she removed my father from our lives, and that is why she always found ways to frustrate my every attempt at making friends.

The guidance of a father would have helped me make a smooth entrance into society. Mama never wanted me to achieve such an entrance; this is why I never made friends at school or in the neighbourhood, why I was always picked on and bullied by my classmates and the other kids in the neighbourhood, and why I could never hold down a job with an employer other than Mama. She ruined my life! She made me into a loser!

I’m sure that my father was really a great man, though she only spoke ill of him, to deceive me, to make me believe she was the only one who truly loved me. She wanted me to remain completely under her control. That is why I had to kill her: to free myself from her tentacles! Since my whole sense of myself was always bound up in her, now that she’s gone, I can finally be free to be my true self!

If only it didn’t feel as if my true self were a bottomless pit of infinite blackness.

I’ve always felt alone, as if there were a huge brick wall separating myself from the rest of humanity. Before, I at least had her to keep me company. Now, as I stand here, at Mama’s funeral, there are all of these people here, including my aunt, her sister, and other family and ‘friends’ whom I barely even know.

Even here, with all of these people, I still feel all alone, in a world that’s almost like a dream.

Oh, no…my aunt is coming over here to talk to me! God, give me strength!

“Roger?” she says to me with a fake smile. “Will you be OK without my sister to take care of you? I don’t like the idea of you living alone in that apartment. Also, there’s no way you can take care of that pet food store all by yourself. No offense, sweetie, but you have a rather feeble grip on reality as it is, as we all know, and you’ll need some help managing the store, so I’m willing to fill in for Anne, being with so much free time of my own these days.” She stops speaking for a moment and frowns. “Are you listening to me, Roger?”

“Yes,” I say coolly. “Do whatever you want.”

She sighs and sneers at me, then she says, “Look over there, Roger. Do you see that man standing by the minister? The one about your mother’s age? His name is Reynold, and this is amazing luck that we found him here and now, but he’s your long-lost fa–“

“Impossible,” I say, not even looking at the man. “My father died decades ago.”

“Roger,” she says. “He approached me just before the funeral started. He told me about his relationship with your mother. He told me details about her that could only have been known by a man who knew her intimately, around the time your mother was pregnant with you. He wants to meet his son.”

“Well, I’m sure his son is out there somewhere in the world,” I say, looking away from her and from the man with the iciest of faces. “Let the man seek him out, for he isn’t me. I mean, look at him.” I gesture over to the bald, frowning man, in his mid-sixties, skinny and with a gut bigger than mine, wearing a dull grey suit. “I’m sure my father was much more of a man than that.”

Now my aunt is frowning at me, then her eyes and mouth are agape, in as much of a shock at my rejection of the man as he is. “Roger, you horrify me,” she says.

I see her walk back to the man, shaking her head and apologizing to him. It makes no difference to me.

Dad is dead.

Just like Mama.

The funeral service is finally over, thank God. Now I can go home. There, I’ll show you all the proof there is to see that she was the kind of person I know her to have been. Then you’ll know why I was perfectly justified in ending her life.

Again, I can’t quite tell you why yet, not until I show you the proof and explain the background, so you won’t think I’m crazy. Come home with me.

For now, the only hint that I can give you is that I’m so justified in my killing of her, even the Bible sanctions it…not that I believe anything in the Bible, mind you, but I mention it to emphasize my freedom from guilt.

The relevant verse is Exodus 22:18, if you’re curious.


We can sweat the small stuff, enduring those tiny drops
that don’t upset too much, being so small. Yet, them being
so cold, irregular, and incessant, the irritation slowly builds





take it anymore.

It’s like Chinese water torture: sweat will drip off your chin
as the cold drops slowly fall, tapping on your scalp. Knowing
when they are coming, you’re prepared, and they’d be bearable,





know when they will hit, so the anticipation is crazy-making.

Gold was supposed to trickle down decades ago, but it
was pyrite. The decades went by, the trickling was icy cold,
& now we’re mad, getting cut off from reality more and more,





helping us, or organizing, or showing us a way out of this mess. Each drip
may just be one drop of water, but these all add up to a lake of fire over time.
Someone, please, turn off the tap, so we can all have peace.

Analysis of ‘Un Homme Qui Dort’

Un homme qui dort (“The Man Who Sleeps,” or “A Man Asleep”) is a 1974 French film directed by Bernard Queysanne and Georges Perec, based on Perec’s story of the same name. It stars Jacques Spiesser.

The film’s script is taken completely from the text of Perec’s prose, though in a condensed form. The text is in the second person singular, as though the narrator (recited by Ludmila Mikaël in the original French, and by Shelley Duvall in English translation) were speaking to Spiesser’s character.

The black-and-white film was almost lost, but it was restored on DVD in 2007. It received some critical acclaim, winning the Prix Jean Vigo in 1974.

Here is a link to quotes from the film in English translation, here is a link to an English translation of Perec’s story (or is it the script for the film?), and here is a link to the film with English subtitles. Here is a link to the English language version.

A twenty-five-year-old Parisian university student (Spiesser), whose name is not given (thus making him a kind of everyman), lives in a one-room chambre de bonne. His feelings of alienation have risen to such a pitch that he no longer wishes to participate in social life. “…you discover, without surprise, that something is wrong, that you don’t know how to live and that you never will know.”

The notion that he is “a man asleep” is metaphorical. Actually, he wanders the streets of Paris instead of going to school and hanging out with friends. He’s living the life of an automaton, devoid of human interaction; it’s an attempt at indifference as a way of alleviating suffering. Self-isolation, he hopes, is a way to nirvana.

He’s as passive as can practically be achieved: “…it’s not action at all, but an absence of action…”

He imagines that someone else, his twin, his double, will get out of bed, wash, shave, dress, go out, and attend school for him. This idea of a double is significant, for it is expressed in other forms: the narrator, addressing him as “you,” is the rambling of his own thoughts in a kind of unwritten diary; also, there’s his cracked, Lacanian mirror, the specular image of which he is alienated from, too.

Finally, there’s the reproduction of René Magritte‘s 1937 surrealist painting, La reproduction interdite, showing a man standing in front of a mirror, his back to us and facing it; but instead of seeing the man’s face reflected back to us, we see the back of his head just as we do of the actual man in front of the mirror. About fifteen minutes into the film, when the student has gone into a theatre to see a movie, we see a surreal variation of this picture, but it’s the student, and the images show him repeatedly facing away from his ‘reflection.’ More self-alienation.

All of these doublings of himself indicate his having left the social and cultural world of the Symbolic Order in order to regress into the narcissistic, dyadic world of the Imaginary. In time, the horrors of the Real will jolt him out of his isolation, and force him to reintegrate into the Symbolic.

It’s also significant that the movie is in black-and-white, when colour film was easily available, and when, by the early 70s, virtually all movies were in colour. I see the choice of black-and-white to be symbolic of black-and-white thinking, or psychological splitting, part of the cause of this young man’s psychological problems.

According to Melanie Klein, the paranoid-schizoid position causes us to split people into being perceived as all-good or all-bad, the bad ones being projected outward and split off from us. This is what the student is doing, though he seems to feel that virtually all elements of society are bad, so he splits them off, including his internal objects of them, and projects them outward, imagining himself to be safe without them.

But of course, he won’t be safe without them, because the internal objects are a part of himself; hence, towards the end of the film, when the tension is raised and he realizes he can’t just cut himself off from the world, we see the black-and-white film in negative images.

Still, for the time being, anyway, he feels a sense of peace and bliss from no longer engaging with the world. Wouldn’t we all love to break away like this?! To give up on all responsibilities, to let Freud‘s death drive kick in, and be at rest, no longer suffering with the rest of the world.

Pleasure, for Freud, consists in the relaxation of tension, which in the form of death, is the ultimate relaxation of it; hence, the death drive as being merely the other side of the same coin as that of the libido, part of Eros. We sense that the young student is aiming for just such a relaxation of tension, though, like Hamlet, he’s too chicken to go through with suicide.

So life as a passive, indifferent automaton seems a reasonable compromise. Indifference, in this regard, is like that of the Buddhist avoiding gratification of desire, or attachment to the world…but without the Buddhist’s hard discipline, of course. The non-existence of nirvana, no-thing-ness, the escape from existence as pain, dukkha, is the death-paradise the student seeks.

We’re reminded of Hamlet’s soliloquy:

“…to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep…” (III, i)

It is in this sense that we should understand the young student to be “the man who sleeps.”

Recall that the narrator, his anima mirror-double, says, “You have no desire to carry on […] the fleeting and poignant desire to hear no more, to see no more, to remain silent and motionless. Crazy dreams of solitude.”

At one point, in the middle of this solitude, he imagines he has reached this point of nirvana, for the narrator says the following to him:

“As the hours, the days, the weeks, the seasons slip by, you detach yourself from everything.
You discover, with something that sometimes almost resembles exhilaration, that you are free, that nothing is weighing you down, nothing pleases or displeases you.
You find, in this life exempt from wear and tear and with no thrill in it other than these suspended moments, an almost perfect happiness, fascinating, occasionally swollen by new emotions.
You are living in a blessed parenthesis, in a vacuum full of promise, and from which you expect nothing.
You are invisible, limpid, transparent.
You no longer exist…”

His friends have stopped over to say hello, but he ignores the knocking on his door and the paper messages slipped under it. He wants no contact with others, for he has come to understand that hell is other people; he doesn’t want to bear their judgemental gaze…yet the narrator, his internalized Other, addressing him with a judgemental “you,” ensures that he will never escape the hell of judgemental others. Therefore, there is no exit for him, not even in indifferent solitude.

(We hear, almost an hour into the film, “Il n’y a pas d’issue,” that is, “There is no way out,” or “There is no exit”; now, Sartre‘s play is named Huis clos–“Closed Door”–in the original French, but English translations of the play with titles like No Way Out and No Exit would have been well known by the time Perec began writing his story. Besides, the student, when in his chambre de bonne, typically has his door closed, anyway.)

When we see him wandering the streets of Paris, we usually see few if any other people there. This can be seen in the middle of the day, when the streets presumably would be far busier: could he be dreaming during these moments, experiencing wish-fulfillment?

Alone, in his chambre, he smokes, drinks Nescafé, looks up at the cracks on his ceiling (easily associated with the cracks in his mirror, all symbols of his fragmented self), and plays a game of cards similar to solitaire. This escape from the social world, into one of solitary play and contemplation, is not too far removed from the maladaptive daydreaming of traumatized people, or the self-isolation of sufferers of stress from Adverse Childhood Experiences.

His room–small, hot, claustrophobic, and with those cracks in the ceiling and on the mirror–is nonetheless “the centre of the world” for him. The room thus in many ways represents himself: fragmented, narcissistic, a place to hide himself in sleep, and a place to escape from when he can no longer stand himself. He’s as passive as that dripping tap, or those six socks soaking in the pink plastic bowl–sharks as indolent as he is.

With his loss of interest in social life comes also his loss of interest in time, whose passing he barely notices. Similarly, when during his wandering of the Parisian streets, two twin boys in identical clothes are running past him from behind while rattling a ruler against the palings of a fence he’s walking beside, he isn’t at all irritated by the noise. The boys’ duality parallels his duality as against his alienated self, his image in the mirror, the man twice seen in the Magritte picture with his back to us, his imaginary double replacing him in going about his normal daily routine, and his anima narrator…except that the boys are, in their energetic, enthusiastic participation in life, his dialectical opposite–what he still could be if he weren’t so alienated from everything and everyone.

In the Luxembourg Garden, he watches the pensioners playing cards, comparable to his own playing of his solitaire-esque game in his room. Such a comparison suggests a unity of self and other vis-à-vis him and the pensioners…also a dialectical unity between the elderly and his young self.

In a development of this theme of self and other, young vs. old, we see him watching an old man sitting on a bench staring into space “for hours on end,” as if mummified, “gazing into emptiness.” The young man, admiring the elder, would like to know his secrets, for the latter seems to have attained the ideal of detached indifference for which the former has been striving. (One is reminded of Prince Siddhartha seeing a holy man, and thus being inspired to find enlightenment himself.) He looks at the old man as if staring into a mirror, gazing at his ideal-I…so much better than his reflection in his cracked mirror in his room.

At one point, while reading the business news in Le Monde, he imagines himself to be some important businessman or politician smoking a cigar and getting out of a car. Ending the narcissistic fantasy of him identifying himself with important men, he is seen as his ordinary self, playing pinball.

When playing his solitaire-like card game, he removes the aces, so he has no ‘ace in the hole,’ or ‘ace up his sleeve.’ Accordingly, he rarely succeeds at the game, yet winning doesn’t matter to him, for what would winning mean to him, anyway? The card game, after all, is like life: if he’s indifferent to life, why would he care any more about winning at some card game? He goes through the motions like an automaton, all meaninglessly, just as he does through life.

We’ve noticed, by now, that he’s been biting his nails.

As I mentioned above, he reaches a point when his ‘mastery,’ as it were, of the indifferent life has allowed him to attain a kind of bliss. He seems as indifferent as the dripping tap, as the six socks soaking in the plastic pink bowl, as a fly, as a tree, as a rat.

He speaks no more than is absolutely necessary: in this disengagement with language, and therefore with society, he is leaving the Symbolic. “Indifference dissolves language and scrambles the signs.” Though he’d seem to be blissfully regressing to the narcissism of the Imaginary, before long, he’ll experience the trauma of the undifferentiated Real.

In this sense of non-differentiation, he finds himself with a series of choices of ‘you do, or you don’t do.’ These include:

You walk or you do not walk.
You sleep or you do not sleep.
You buy Le Monde or you do not buy it.
You eat or you do not eat.

A little later, the narrator says, “You play pinball or you don’t.” All of these ‘do or not do’ expressions remind us of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy. Just as Hamlet suffered from an inability to act, whether in killing his uncle Claudius or in killing himself, so does the young Parisian student feel incapable of acting, hence his automaton-like passivity and indifference. Still, in the end, like Hamlet, he must act.

Tense music can be heard playing in the background, suggesting that he is reaching the limit of how long he can continue to live the ‘indifferent’ life. Though I mentioned above the black-and-white film as representing his black-and-white psychological splitting, there’s also the preponderance of grey, for he is “a grey man with no connotation of dullness.” Indeed, his life has grown so dull that he’s forgotten what excitement is.

In his narcissism, in his imagined mastery of the indifferent life, he fancies himself “the nameless master of the world.” Buddha-like, he has seen that motionless old man the way Prince Siddhartha saw the impressive holy man (after having seen the old, sick, and dead men, as you’ll recall from his legendary life story), and now he imagines he has attained enlightenment. “All you are is all you know.” Total, narcissistic solipsism…nirvana? I think not.

So in his ‘mastery’ of the indifferent, he’s “inaccessible, like a tree, like a shop window, like a rat.” We again see a shot of him watching the motionless old man, as if he were looking in a mirror at his ideal-I, or like the Buddha seeing the holy man. We see a shot of that indifferent dripping tap, too, as well as shots of a walkway with trees, benches, and fences on either side, yet devoid of any people…the misanthropic young man’s ideal world.

But he soon comes to realize all of the ways that he is not at all like the ‘enlightened’ and ‘indifferent’ rat; for rats don’t have sleepless nights, they don’t bite their fingernails, they don’t wake up bathed in sweat, they don’t dream, against which the young man has no protection.

We come back to Hamlet: “to sleep, perchance to dream.”

Just as Hamlet couldn’t use the “sleep of death” as an escape from his problems, for he’d then have the nightmare of hell to deal with after having committed the sin of suicide, so can’t this young student use the sleep of indifference as an escape from his alienating world, for his nightmares are the return of repressed pain that he’ll never be able to project onto the world and be rid of.

Such an understanding “makes us rather bear those ills we have, than fly to others that we know not of”.

To get back to the biting of his fingernails, we learn that he bites them so violently that they bleed and are in unbearable pain. This violent biting is an example of his excessive attempts at splitting off and projecting those ‘black’ parts of himself that he doesn’t accept. The biting represents his alienation from himself, his refusal to integrate his Shadow.

Rats don’t play pinball, either, and when he plays, for hours on end, he’s in a rage…hardly indifferent. No, he isn’t much of a Buddha. But like Hamlet, he “can play or not play.” He can’t start up a conversation with the pinball machine, though, and this incidentally would seem to be his reason for preferring pinball to people. At the same time, a pinball machine cannot give him the human response, the love, that he so obviously needs.

It is in this very retreat from human company, replacing it with things that will never satisfy, that we can all relate to the young man; for don’t we all, in our own way, attempt a sleep of indifference to the world?

The narrator says repeatedly that he drifts around the streets, an odd behaviour for someone who has supposedly ‘found the answer’ to his problems. He goes back to his room and tries to go to sleep, but he can’t; instead, he would “calmly measure the sticky extent of [his] unhappiness,” and he goes out again and wanders the streets at night.

It is around this point that we start noticing a switch to negative film, back and forth between this and regular black-and-white film. We also hear the first of a series of references to “monstrous” things, or to “monsters”–in this case, “the monstrous factory gates.” We also hear of “impatient crowds,” which I believe are the “monsters” he’s been trying so hard to rid himself of.

Now, unhappiness hasn’t come to him all of a sudden: it’s gradually appeared to him, as if without his knowing until it was fully formed. Unhappiness has been in the cracks on his ceiling, and on his mirror, in the dripping tap, in those things in which he saw blissful indifference. All of his wandering has been meaningless.

As we see him biting his fingernails again, there’s a rapping, percussive sound in the background, reinforcing the sense of his agitation. He keeps playing his absurd card game, having removed the aces, but it offers no way out of his malaise…the same as with his wandering.

By now, an hour into the film, the narrator is speaking faster, with more urgency in her voice. We see negative film again, with crowds of people on the street. That rapping noise is still being heard. “The monsters have come into your life,” the narrator says, “the rats, your fellow creatures, your brothers. The monsters in their tens, their hundreds, their thousands.” These crowds of people are the ones he’s been trying to get away from…but can’t. This is also one of the first references to “rats” that is negative…interesting that this is happening now.

As we see more of the negative film, we hear the narrator say, “You follow their shadows [i.e., those of the “monsters,” the crowds of people], you are their shadow [i.e., you are the very thing you see in them that you won’t accept].” As the rapping sound continues, we also hear the narrator speaking faster, and we hear a dissonant chord played on a keyboard.

We see more shots of crowds of people walking on the streets, we hear more rapping, and the dissonant keyboard chord. Images of condemned, torn-down buildings, too. More references to “monsters,” all those people he hates. The juxtaposition of all these jarring images, sounds, and words is, of course, deliberate. The narrator’s voice is getting more and more agitated. The film alternates between normal black and white and negative film during this climactic moment.

The narrator mentions “…all the others who are even worse, the smug, the smart-Alecs, the self-satisfied…” These people seem suspiciously like projections of himself as the would-be indifferent Buddha. Again, he’s trying to split off and throw away what it is inside himself that he doesn’t like–the Shadow he needs to integrate.

After more repetitions of “monster,” the wanderer in his ongoing bitter meditation starts tossing around the word “sad” through his narrator mouthpiece: “sad city, sad lights in the sad streets, sad clowns in sad music-halls, sad queues outside the sad cinemas, sad furniture in the sad stores.”

His heavenly bliss of indifference has become the hell of a most non-gay Paris.

He feels like a prisoner in his cell, like a rat trying to escape its maze. Again, how odd it is that only now is a rat being used as a simile for something negative. He’s starting to realize that his retreat from the world has never been anything good.

The narrator has finally calmed down. Among the shots of rubble, we see a surrealist image of a sink standing alone; instead of containing water, though, we see a flame on it. Should we interpret this rubble of torn-down buildings, and his flaming sink, as representative of his chambre de bonne, in turn representative of himself, torn apart, fragmented, burning, in a psychotic break with reality, in the traumatic agony of Lacan’s Real Order?

“You are afraid,” the narrator says as he looks at all of the rubble, the home he meant to return to. We see a shot of his cracked mirror again, in between the shots of him looking at the rubble. He runs away, another attempt to run away from himself and his problems. We see the burning sink collapse.

Next is a shot of him calmly walking down a street between parked cars. He is calm, and it seems that he has come to accept the necessity of returning to a life in the real world. We hear an eerie tune played on an organ: a repetition of D to G on the right hand (and variations thereof), a descent in the bass from G to F, then to E-flat and to D-flat. A female voice accompanies the organ by singing a high G.

The young man is no wiser from his detachment from the world. “Indifference has not made you any different.” The nirvana of indifference has led back to the samsara of involvement with the world. Still, he won’t be judged for his failed experiment, for he has done nothing wrong. “No, [he is] not the nameless master of the world.” He’s no Buddha. He is afraid, waiting for the rain to stop…as we all are.

The film ends with the same shot of the buildings of the city that we saw at the beginning. The film has come full circle; he’s back where he began. He’s woken up from his metaphorical sleep, ready to go back into the world with the rest of us. We must all wake from our sleep of death, of indifference, and be involved in life again.

‘Slashers,’ a Sci-Fi Short Story

Two small spherical objects, one red, the other blue, were flying through space in search of life. They entered the Milky Way, then our solar system, having already sensed life on Earth.

They had a kind of cloaking device, ensuring that we would not detect their imminent arrival. By the time they had passed Jupiter in their approach to Earth, they had already absorbed volumes of information about us, including our warlike nature.

The red and blue balls were not spaceships. They were intelligent, technologically-advanced life forms who communicated with each other in a kind of mental telepathy. This is what they said to each other about humanity.

RED: What a hateful, hostile, and cruel life form!
BLUE: Yes. They maim and kill each other, and they do the same to all the subordinate life forms.
RED: If they are allowed to keep living, they will only prolong their own suffering and that of every other life form on the planet.
BLUE: Yes. Ending all their lives quickly, rather than letting them slowly kill themselves, would be kindness to them. Any potential for good in them is far too scanted to compensate for all the evil. We must destroy them.

The balls descended on the Earth, passing through our atmosphere as undetected as before. Only when they hit the ground, with crashing thuds that caused dirt to fly in the air, did we become aware of their presence.

…and even then, instead of being alarmed by this new, alien intervention in our lives, we found ourselves mesmerized by them, too fascinated to be afraid. This hypnotic state was caused by the balls’ technology.

The balls had landed on a flat field about fifty yards apart from each other. They began rolling towards each other on the bumpy ground, slashing through the grass and cutting into the dirt, for as soon as they’d landed, sharp, bonelike spikes came out of the balls, each about ten centimeters in length.

A family having a picnic saw them rolling at each other and causing the sliced-up earth to fly in the air in jumping spots of brown. The father and his two sons of six and eight ran closer to get a better look.

“What are those things, Dad?” the eight-year-old asked.

“I have no idea, Ian,” his dad said.

The balls smashed into each other with a loud, metallic, clanging noise, making them bounce back the way they came. A strange odour emanated through the air beyond the man and his two boys, so that the mother, having remained back at the picnic layout of food on a quilt, also smelled it.

The entire family felt a little dizzy for a few seconds on inhaling the smell.

After that, the man and two boys came closer. The mother left the picnic area and joined them.

Rapt, all four of them watched the spiked red and blue balls roll at each other again.

“Dad,” Ian asked, “did they just get a bit bigger?”

“Yeah, it looks that way,” the father said. “First, they were about the size of basketballs. Now, they’re a bit bigger than the size of medicine balls. The spikes are proportionately longer, too.”

“They’re fighting, aren’t they, Daddy?” the six-year-old asked.

“It looks that way, Jimmy,” Dad said.

“I hope the red one wins,” said Ian.

“So do I,” Dad said.

“Yeah, well, I’m rooting for the blue one,” Mom said.

“Me, too, Mommy,” Jimmy said.

The balls smashed into each other again, making another terrible, deafening metallic sound. All four family members winced and covered their ears. Nonetheless, they were enjoying the show…especially after breathing in more of that alien smell, which wafted in the air in a light pink smoke.

“Could they be aliens?” Ian asked. “Y’know, like Transformers?”

“Could be,” Dad said. “They got bigger again.”

Indeed, the diameter of the balls was the length of the man’s torso, from his waist to his neck. Each time they raced at each other, it was from a distance in between that grew in proportion to the growth in their size. As they accelerated at each other, the family anticipated the noise of the coming crash by covering their ears.

Some other people, coming by car, stopped and got out, then ran in the tall grass to get a closer look at the growing, clashing balls. They smelled the pink fumes and quickly chose sides to root for.

The dirt being dug up and flying in the air looked like swarms of insects. The balls smashed together again, causing a painful ringing in everyone’s ears.

Still, the people couldn’t take their eyes off the spectacle.

They breathed in more of the pink fumes, and felt themselves, after a brief dizziness, more and more hypnotized, transfixed by the battling balls.

“Come on, Blue!” the mother called out.

“Yeah, go, Blue, go!” Jimmy shouted.

“No way!” Ian said. “Red is better! Go, Red!”

Blue is better!” Jimmy shouted, snarling at his older brother. “Red sucks!”

“It does not!” Ian said, frowning hatefully down at Jimmy. “Blue is the one that sucks!”

Red sucks! Blue’s the best!”

Red is the best! Blue sucks!”

Red sucks!” Jimmy kicked Ian in the knee.

“You little bastard!” Ian gave Jimmy a hard shove, throwing the little boy down in the grass and banging his back against a sharp rock.

Jimmy’s bawling was completely ignored by his older brother and parents, who continued watching the clashing balls, which were now of the diameter of the father’s height. Since with every bouncing back after a collision, the ever-growing balls were proportionately widening their distance from each other, now they were slashing more than just the grass and dirt of the field. Groves of trees on both extreme ends of the field were being mown down by the balls.

The fascinated spectators, breathing more and more of the increasingly potent pink fumes, were now stepping forward, closer and closer to the action, utterly oblivious to the danger they were subjecting themselves to. That family was closest to those spiked balls, but the people who’d arrived later in their cars weren’t far behind.

All of them were chanting “Red! Red! Red!” or “Blue! Blue! Blue!” as they got perilously closer.

The supporters of the red ball came together in a group, as did the supporters of the blue ball. None of them gave a second’s thought to being crushed under the weight of the balls, or of being slashed by the spikes.

They all just kept chanting their colour and walking closer.

By now, those groves of trees were completely torn into fragments and shards of brown and green, lying in a mess on the ground. The balls were three times the size of the tallest of their watchers.

Jimmy was the first to be killed, crushed under the blue ball that he’d been rooting for. He’d shown no fear at all as he, ever-mesmerized, walked under it. His mother, equally unafraid and in a daze, would die next, her body sliced in two by a spike from her beloved blue ball.

Ian would then get crushed under the red ball, one of whose spikes would stab his father through his chest, the bloody point going far out of his back.

Indeed, the balls deliberately calculated their moves, as well as the moves of the people, to ensure every one, without exception, was killed by the very ball they were cheering for, as a kind of cruel irony.

In the end, the entire field was turned into a mash-up of brown, green, and red.

And the balls just continued rolling at each other from farther and farther away from each other, then clashing, then growing again.

By the time they were three times the size of a barn, they’d both crashed into and destroyed several barns and houses. The occupants of these, as mesmerized by the pink gas as the first group of people were, all were crushed, stabbed into, or bisected…all without even one scream of terror.

No police or army made the slightest attempt to stop the red and blue balls. Nobody in the news media, mainstream or alternative, uttered a word of warning, though all media reported on the phenomenon as if it were the most riveting of entertainment. Indeed, all anyone did in response to the balls’ presence was to go over and look with fascination, or if too far away, to watch it on TV, read about it online or in newspapers or magazines, or hear about it on the radio.

All of those who watched the clashing in person, of course, breathed in the pink fumes and became all the more enthralled with the spectacle.

Within an hour of the entire event, the balls had grown to the point of their diameters equalling the height of apartment buildings. By this time, they were rolling through cities on either side of that field, crushing and destroying houses and skyscrapers far faster than any wrecking balls could.

Still, there was no hope of any resistance from the people, who just stared at the rolling, slashing, and crushing like mindless zombies. A mass chanting of “Red! Red! Red!” and “Blue! Blue! Blue!” could be heard throughout both cities.

Any words or actions other than these were those of people fighting with each other for cheering on the ‘wrong’ colour. This fighting would end when the supporters of either ball wandered into their respective groups, always chanting the colour of their choice.

…until that colour crushed, slashed, or stabbed into them.

And with all that clashing into each other, neither ball had even one, ever-so-tiny, scratch on its red or blue surface.

Still, the supporters of each side imagined the other ball to be losing. With each clash, the supporters of Red would watch Blue bounce back as if badly damaged, and would pay no mind to how Red would bounce back with equal force, though Blue’s supporters would watch Red’s bouncing back and ignore Blue’s.

The people would argue these absurdities:

“Ooh! Red took a real beating that time.”

“You mean Blue took the beating.”

“No, Red did! Blue doesn’t even have a scratch.”

Red doesn’t have even a scratch! Are you blind?”

“Are you blind?”

Then the two would have a fistfight.

…yet, as I said, neither ball had even one scratch.

By the time the spiked balls’ diameters had equalled the height of the tallest buildings in the world, they were now rolling back and forth way beyond the widths of fields or cities, but now back along the entire width of the North American continent, from the east coast to the west, destroying everything and killing everyone, man, woman, and child, in their path.

Nobody felt any fear when coming dangerously close to the paths rolled on; all anyone ever did was watch, on TV or in person, and cheer for his or her colour.

When the red ball went back beyond the west coast and across the Pacific Ocean, as when the blue ball went past the east coast and across The Atlantic Ocean, both balls flew across the surfaces of the water, not sinking down into it…though their spikes managed to slash into or stab much of the marine life.

By the time the balls, in their rolling back from clashes, had reached the shores of northern Asia and Europe, they’d grown monstrously huge, easily visible from space. Blue rolled through Paris, killing everyone to a man and destroying every piece of architecture there; one would never see the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe again. Red went through the Great Wall of China, smashing a huge section of it to pieces.

The pink fumes by now had spread around the world, ensuring that not one person could resist being enthralled by the spectacle. No one even flinched at the sight of crushed cities or massacred people from the ceaseless rolling and clashing of those two ever-growing juggernauts. People imagined they saw damage only on the ball they were opposed to.

Once the balls had been rolling so wide apart that they were clashing twice at a time, that is, rolling so far back that they’d roll all the way around the world, to clash once in North America, then in Kazakhstan, they’d grown to be each about a sixth of the size of the Earth, excluding their proportionally lengthening spikes, which were digging deep into the ground and ripping it up.

Now that they were rolling along the entire diameter of the Earth, the balls changed the direction of the rolling, to destroy the rest of the planet. No longer tearing up just the north, they shifted more and more southward, slashing into southern Europe and Asia, ripping through all of the US, mutilating Africa, and destroying Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean islands.

…and all the (momentary) survivors did was continue watching in awe, never budging from their TVs, computer screens, tablets, or–so to speak–front-row seats.

When nuclear arsenals got smashed into, the destruction their explosions caused was insignificant compared to what the balls were doing.

By the time the balls were starting to roll across the southern hemisphere, slashing into the northern countries of South America, central Africa, Indonesia, and the northernmost tip of Australia, the balls and their spikes had grown so much that they were tearing the Earth up into chunks of rock that broke away. The planet no longer even remotely resembled a sphere; instead, it was looking more and more like an asteroid field with a huge chunk of jagged rock in the middle.

…and the ever-so-few survivors, the remainder of their lives now so pitifully brief, only continued staring at the giant balls…if their electricity and Wi-Fi were still working. If not, they just stared mindlessly at black screens, unmoving.

Once everything was essentially destroyed, the balls pulled in their spikes, floated away from the chunks of Earth–smashing into a number of now-useless satellites–and shrank back to their original sizes.

As they flew out of the solar system, they reflected on what they’d just done.

RED: Now the people of Earth know true happiness, as they could ever have it.
BLUE: Yes. They have death to enjoy.


There have always been
a concentrated group
of people who
will know

the wise way to go, but
how do we get all
the others out
there to

of our current trap?
There are those
to the right,
they who

thing amiss about
class conflict,
but believe
to be

Then, there are those
on the ultra-left
who are not

without any faults.
how can one

thin a space to get
us all out of
this mess

‘Sister Sorceress,’ an Erotic Short Story

Mary MacDillon, 22, thought nothing of her being moved to a new convent in a new city. She assumed most of the nuns here, just as they were in the one she’d just left, would be almost all plain-looking or much older than she.

As soon as she came in, however, she noted a peculiar thing about the place. Not only were there, as she first started looking around at all the nuns, more…and more…young, slim nuns with pretty faces, but all of them were young, slim, and pretty…without exception!

What a strangely fortuitous occurrence, she thought…with a bit of a shudder. It was paradoxically good and bad luck for her. Secretly, she had lesbian desires that her strict Catholic upbringing would never accept, so being surrounded by unattractive women would keep her safe from temptation. But now,…

The bad luck was precisely that this was also good luck.

She whispered a “Hail, Mary” prayer over and over again as she approached the cell where she was to sleep. As she looked over the sea of faces of nuns walking by, hoping to see at least one wrinkled face or one obese body, yet being disappointed (and secretly thrilled) to see only beauties, she noticed one nun from a distance who lifted up her tunic to reveal a creamy-smooth white leg with a…tattoo?…up towards her left thigh.

No, it couldn’t be a tattoo! Mary thought. What self-respecting nun would have one of those on her body? My eyes must have been deceiving me! It was a large birthmark of some kind, surely.

Finally, she reached her cell. “Here you are, Sister Mary,” said Father Funn, the only male (also young and handsome, not that she was interested) who lived in this convent…alone in his own cell, surely! He put down her two bags of luggage by the door. “In you go now, and meet your cellmate. If you need anything, you know where to find my cell.”

“Thank you, Father,” she said as he turned around to leave. “Goodbye.” She faced the door. Before opening it, she took a deep breath and said another “Hail, Mary.” Lord, don’t put me to the test, she thought as she slowly turned the doorknob. Please, cellmate, be fat, old, and ugly.

She opened the door wide. Not only was her cellmate not fat, old, or ugly, she was also…not…dressed.

Mary stared at the naked loveliness of her new cellmate with her eyes and mouth at their widest. The young woman had her back to Mary, who in a daze was admiring her coffee-coloured skin, her curves, and her round buttocks. Her hair was a wavy cascade of brown that draped down to just below her shoulders.

She turned her head around to see Mary. She grinned from ear to ear. “Oh!” she said in high-pitched delight. “You must be Sister Mary MacDillon, my new cellmate. So nice to meet you finally. I’m Sister Jessica Bell, but everyone calls me Jessie.”

She turned around and walked towards Mary to shake her hand, displaying her frontal nudity–firm, medium-sized breasts with erect, brown nipples, and all her pubic hair removed!–in all insouciance.

Mary, in her amazement, had forgotten that the door was still open.

“Mary,” Jessie asked with a smirk, “do you want to display my body to all passersby, or do you want to close the door?”

“Oh! I’m sorry,” Mary said, snapping out of it and immediately turning around to close the door.

As the door clicked shut, Jessie began to say, “Father Funn just passed by before I reminded you of the door. I’m sure he just got the best thrill he’s had in a long time.” She giggled lewdly at this.

“I’m sorry,” Mary said again, trying to look Jessie straight in the eyes and not look any lower. Why does she have to be so immodest?

“That’s alright,” Jessie said. “It’s my fault. I just returned from the shower and took off my bathrobe. It’s been such a hot day that I didn’t want to put anything on at the moment. Instead, I was making some tea, which just heated up the cell even more. Would you like some? It’s really tasty.”

“Oh, yes, please, Jessie, I’d love some.” Why won’t she put some clothes on? God, why are you putting me to the test?

“Have you eaten dinner? They just finished serving it, and we all just ate in the dining hall, so I think you’ll be too late to have some.”

“Oh, I’ve eaten already. I’m quite tired actually, and ready for bed.”

“Oh, good,” Jessie said, handing Mary a fresh cup of hot tea.

Mary brought it up to her nose. “That’s quite a unique aroma.”

“Yes, I combine a lot of special ingredients–herbs, spices, mushrooms, and other things–to get a unique flavour. Try it. It’s also very healthy.”

“Yes, of course,” Mary said, then took a sip. “Mmm. As you said, it’s really tasty.” She turned away from Jessie for obvious reasons, put the cup on the bedside table, and looked with alarm at the one bed she was to share with Jessie every night, Jessie who was as unashamed as Eve was before eating the forbidden fruit. Trying to take her mind off her temptation, Mary reached down to her bags to begin unpacking, and said, “I always thought cells were supposed to be lived in by only one person at a time. In my previous convent, we all slept together in a dormitory, but I thought I’d be alone in my cell here.”

“Well, there are budget constraints in our convent, so we nuns are paired up in our cells,” Jessie explained, still not bothering to put anything on. “Often, new nuns like you are paired up with nuns like me, who have been here for quite a while, to show the new girls the ropes. Only Father Funn sleeps alone in his own cell, and I hardly need to explain to you why that is.” She giggled lewdly again.

“I see,” Mary said with a sigh of annoyance at Jessie’s flippant attitude. Mary took some clothes out of her bag and put them in a drawer by the bedside table.

“Drink your tea,” Jessie said. “Don’t let it get cold.”

“Oh, I won’t.” Mary picked up the cup and had another, larger sip, then went back to unpacking. She looked out the window for a moment: the sun was setting. She noticed, while still trying to resist the temptation to look at Jessie’s body, that her nude companion wasn’t having any tea for herself. “Aren’t you going to drink some?”

“Oh, I’ll have some a little later. You just enjoy yours for now.” After that, Mary noticed that Jessie was whispering something to herself…was it in Latin?

Once Mary finished unpacking, she began taking off her habit. It would feel good to take it off, for as Jessie had observed, it was a really hot day; though Mary had her own reasons for sweating so profusely–her nervousness, for the eyes of ever-naked Jessie had lit up to note her undressing. Mary had another gulp of her tea and tried not to think about that naughty nun.

She made sure that she had her nightgown ready to throw on as soon as she was stripped down to her bra and panties, for Jessie was still looking at her. Jessie also hadn’t drunk any of the tea she’d made, though Mary finished her cup and gave it back to Jessie with a “Thank you,” naïvely not even considering the possibility–with all of her worries of her naked cellmate watching her undress–that there might have been something…unusual…in that tea.

Mary got into bed and closed her eyes, now feeling remarkably relaxed. “Good night, Sister Jessie,” she said, then let out a big sigh and let herself go.

After turning off the light, ever-nude Jessie climbed into bed beside Mary, using the dim night light from the opened window to watch her silhouette drift into…what Mary would assume to be…unconsciousness.

Jessie continued chanting in Latin, but no longer in whispers. Mary was able to make out fragments of what Jessie was saying, the first fragment being, “Blessed art thou among women…” Was Jessie chanting the ‘Hail, Mary’ prayer? Mary wondered. Whatever she was chanting, it suggested that Jessie was a good nun after all, if a little eccentric.

Next, Mary heard, in Latin, “He who loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love,” emphasizing the word love. Again, Mary felt reassured of Jessie’s commitment to her faith. Her nudity must have been an anomalous occurrence, nothing more. Mary was able to relax even more, though something in her was making relaxing surprisingly easy.

Then she felt a light, brief kiss on her lips.

Instead of rising from her bed in wide-eyed shock, though, Mary just enjoyed the sensuous touch of Jessie’s lips. She opened her eyes slowly and saw…her young mother’s face? No, that couldn’t have been: her mother was now fifty-five and living in a city on the other side of the country. Mary must have been having a dream.

The dark room was moving left to right in slow waves, as Mary saw it. A spot of moonlight from outside, coming in the window from Mary’s far right, was trailing in a wavy line when her eyes moved to the left, away from it. She felt her body undulating with the waves in the air all around her. She felt as if she were merging with her surroundings.

She felt another kiss on her lips. Her eyes, having adjusted to the dark, met those of her kisser, and she could make out Jessie’s face this time. Again, though, instead of being shocked, she welcomed the kiss. Something in her body was telling her there was nothing sinful about what she and Jessie were doing.

She felt more soft kisses on her lips, cheeks, nose, and forehead. She fell Jessie’s hands stroking her hair and caressing her cheeks. Jessie said in Latin, “These three last forever: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love,” this last word being stressed, as before.

Now Mary felt Jessie moving up on the bed to bring her breasts level with Mary’s face. She felt the raspberry nipples of those sugary breasts brushing gently against her face. Mary opened her mouth and took Jessie’s left nipple inside. She sucked on it for several seconds, then looked up at the face of her naked lover.

The face shifted back and forth between being Jessie’s and being her mother’s. Still, Mary wasn’t shocked: she just enjoyed her ‘dream.’

Jessie moved back down to bring her face level with Mary’s again; as she moved down, she brushed her breasts against Mary’s chin, neck, and chest.

They resumed kissing, but this time with Jessie sliding her tongue deep inside Mary’s mouth. Jessie put Mary’s right hand between her legs, soaking her fingers. She also put her hand under Mary’s nightgown and slid her fingers under her panties to touch her in the same, wet place. As she stroked Mary’s vaginal opening and hymen, Jessie did more Latin chanting, but this time it was nothing from the Vulgate Bible or anything Mary recognized as being even remotely Catholic. In fact, Mary felt herself to be in such a dream-state that she couldn’t make out the meaning of this Latin at all; she only knew that it was Latin.

She didn’t want to listen to or interpret any Latin, anyway. These were the best sensations she’d ever felt in her entire life! After another minute or so of this delectable touching, she let out a high-pitched sigh with Jessie, and they both climaxed. In Mary’s dream-state, she had a vision of a river flowing from between her legs.


She woke up just as the sun was beginning to peek through the window. She saw Jessie in an almost unrecognizable form: she was fully dressed, in a nun habit!

Jessie looked over at her with an unexpectedly innocent smile. “Oh, you’re awake!” she said. “Good morning, Sister Mary. You must be hungry. Hurry up and get dressed if you don’t want to miss breakfast in the dining hall.”

“Oh, yes,” Mary said as she got out of bed. Nowhere on her body did she feel any traces of the sensations she’d felt the night before, though she remembered them all vividly. It was just a dream, she thought.

As she changed into her habit, Mary found herself always wanting to look at Jessie’s pretty face. Oddly, now that her cellmate was finally decent, this was when Mary found she couldn’t stop staring at her.

Jessie didn’t exactly look like Mary’s pretty mother, though her eyes and voice bore an uncanny resemblance to those of her mother. The humble, pious attitude that Jessie was demonstrating now, in radical contrast to her vampish ways the night before, also reminded Mary of her beloved, almost saintlike mother.

The fact that Mary had…dreamed?…of receiving such sensual pleasure from naked Jessie only cemented her feelings for her cellmate all the more.

Was she falling in love with Jessie?

Oh, nonsense!

That couldn’t be!

Mary was wedded to Christ!

Jessie took Mary to the dining hall, where they sat across from each other and ate breakfast together. As they talked about the daily routine of the convent, Mary couldn’t stop looking deep in Jessie’s eyes, sighing at the sound of her voice, and grinning at her beauty, knowing what anatomical delicacies were hiding underneath her habit.

She imagined the bread she was biting into was Jessie’s flesh.

“After breakfast, I’ll need to take a shower,” Mary said.

“Be quick about it,” Jessie said. “We have to go to deliver crates of food to an orphanage on the other side of town.”

“Oh, yes, of course,” Mary said, then drank from a glass of milk while looking down at Jessie’s chest, and remembering the relevant part of her…dream?


She hurried over to the shower, went in, got naked, and ran the water over her body as she lathered the soap in her hands. As she rubbed the lather on her upper body, she looked at herself in a tall mirror on the other side of the room. She frowned at what she saw.

Small breasts, pale skin, a bit of flab on my belly, and an excess of pubic hair, she thought. I wish my body could be as attractive as Jessie’s is. I’m sure that would please her more.

After rinsing off her upper body, she rubbed some lather between her legs. She yelped in shock at what she felt down there…or rather, what she didn’t feel down there.

My hymen is gone! she thought with a gasp. My virtue! My virginity…is gone? That can’t be!

How could she have lost it? How could it have disappeared? Nothing happened the night before. She’d only had an erotic dream…didn’t she?

And even if Jessie had really seduced her, if she had punctured her hymen, why wasn’t Mary at all sore?


After her shower, she quickly rejoined Jessie to help with delivering the food to the orphanage, always trying to stop herself from staring at her beautiful cellmate…but rarely succeeding. The bright, hot sun reminded Mary of God looking down on her from heaven. At least the act of charity to the orphans had a somewhat mitigating effect on her guilt.

She was touched by the devotion she saw in Jessie as she gave to the orphans, working so hard to be of help to them in all ways possible. Jessie’s actions so reminded Mary of her mother’s charity. The love was swelling in Mary’s heart.

When they returned to the convent, Mary went into the church to pray at a pew.

When she bowed and did the Sign of the Cross before the altar, she looked over at an icon of the Virgin Mary. On the face of the Blessed Virgin, she imagined she saw the face of her mother, what seemed a disapproving face, and Mary felt a pang of shame.

She hurried over to a pew, knelt there, and put her hands together. She remembered St. Paul’s words in his Epistle to the Romans: “God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.” She shuddered at the memory of that verse, one she’d always successfully used before to control herself.

God, help me, she prayed in her thoughts. Deliver me from the Evil One. Help me to love Jessie in an honourable, decent, Christian way. A tear ran down her cheek.

She looked up from hearing the sound of shoes tapping on the floor of the aisle to her immediate right. Father Funn was walking by. She got up and went over to him.

“Father?” she said from just behind his left shoulder.

He looked behind himself. “Yes, Sister Mary?”

“I know this is abrupt, but do you have time to receive my confession?”

“Why, yes, I have a few minutes,” he said. “Come this way.” He gestured to an exit leading to the confessional booths.

They went over and got in.

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” Mary said with a trembling voice.

“Be at peace, Mary,” he said soothingly. “The Lord is always willing to take back any lost sheep who have strayed from the flock.”

“I have had…,” she began, “…impure thoughts.”

“What kind of impure thoughts?” he asked with…a smirk on his face?

“Lewd ones. Lustful ones. Unnatural ones. Shameful ones.” She began sobbing. “And I don’t think I’ll be able to stop myself from thinking them again.”

“With God, all things are possible,” he reassured her. “Remember that the Lord helps those who help themselves.”

“Yes, Father! Thank you!”

“I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” he said, doing the Sign of the Cross with her.

She left the confessional so determined not to have sexual feelings about Jessie, that she would prove it every time she was around her, as a test of that determination. She went back to the pews to pray.


That evening, after hours of prayer at the pew, she returned to her cell.

I will not have romantic thoughts about Jessie, she insisted in her thoughts as she approached Jessie, who was outside, tending a garden just beside the cell. Among the flowers and herbs she grew there to make her tea were a number of rather large mushrooms. The sun was sinking low, leaving darkness all over the convent.

Mary came up beside her cellmate. “Good evening, Sister Jessie.”

Jessie looked over at her and gave her such a disarming smile that Mary, shivering with pleasure, already lost half of her resolve not to think of Jessie in a sexual way. “Good evening, Sister Mary. I’m about to make us some tea. Would you like to watch how I make it?”

“Oh, yes, very much!” Mary sighed, then thought, Now, I can see if she is drugging the tea…which, surely, she isn’t! “You said last night that you mix mushrooms in the tea. What kind of mushrooms are they? I had such a wild dream last night, not the kind of thing I would ever describe, for modestly’s sake!” She tittered a little. “Those aren’t those ‘magic mushrooms,’ are they?”

Jessie let out a loud laugh. “Oh, no! Of course not! That must have been a wild dream that you had! No, these mushrooms only have a medicinal effect on the consumer. Whatever ‘wildness’ you experienced in your dream was something already inside you, I assure you.”

Though Mary felt reassured that there was nothing psychedelic about those mushrooms (and, surely, Jessie was telling her the truth about that!), she found it disturbing to think that that whole dream’s contents were just ‘something already inside her.’ Mary had always hated the unbridled sin of her unconscious mind, something she could never control.

Jessie finished collecting the ingredients for the tea, and she took them into the cell, Mary following closely behind her.

“Oh, I’m so glad it isn’t as hot today as it was yesterday,” Jessie said as she stood in front of the kettle, getting the tea ready. “These summer days have been killer. But I can tolerate keeping this habit on, at least for the moment.”

Mary let out a sigh of relief…yet of disappointment, too.

“I must say, Sister Jessie, that I admire how loving and caring you were to the orphans today,” she said. “The smiles you put on all the kids’ faces as you talked to them. Your charity is truly an inspiration.”

“Oh, it’s nothing,” Jessie said. “I’m just doing the Lord’s work. It isn’t me; it’s the Holy Spirit working through me.”

“Your humility and charity remind me of those of my mother, as I saw in her when I was a child,” Mary said, looking over at Jessie with such yearning.

“Your mother must be a remarkable woman. I’m flattered to be thought so similar to her.”

“You are, Sister Jessie, in so many ways,” Mary sighed.

“That’s very sweet of you to say–thank you.” Jessie, having finished making the tea, brought two small cups over. “Here you are, honey.” She handed Mary a pink china cup, while keeping a yellow one for herself.

“Thank you.” Mary was relieved to see that yellow cup this time, to see Jessie sipping from it. Mary thus felt encouraged to drink from hers.

(What she didn’t realize was that Jessie had made mushrooms for Mary’s tea, and no mushrooms–and different herbs–for her own.)

“OK, I’m getting little too hot now,” Jessie said, and she undid her guimpe and tunic, which for her, unusually, had front zippers. When unzipping and pulling them wide apart, she revealed a black, lace brassiere holding those creamy breasts in shape, the sight of which made Mary salivate and pant audibly. Jessie looked over at Mary, whose eyes immediately looked away. Jessie smirked.

Mary drank a gulp of tea. She looked out the window to see the growing darkness and the sun almost fully set. She yawned. “I don’t know why I feel so sleepy. Apart from moving the crates of food, I didn’t do much–just a lot of praying.”

“That’s fine,” Jessie said, continuing to undress and now just in her bra and panties. “Let’s just go to bed.”

Mary took no more than split-second, furtive looks at Jessie, who was now removing her bra. “Yes,” she yawned, “I suppose I should…take this…hot thing…off, too.”

Smiling Jessie removed her panties, turned off the light, and got into bed. Mary, too tired to reach for her nightgown, just stripped down to her underwear and got into bed. She lay on her back, closed her eyes, and let out a long sigh.

“Good night, Sister Jessie.”

“Good night, honey.”

Mama used to call me ‘honey,’ Mary thought.

That soothing, undulating feeling was beginning to flow all through Mary’s body again. She could hear Jessie whispering something in Latin again, though again, she felt too drowsy to make out the meaning of the words; she could only distinguish the pronunciation as distinctly Latin.

She felt Jessie’s hand on her right thigh.

A shiver of pleasure…and fear…rode up and down all those waves she felt permeating her body.

Still, Mary felt too much in a stupor to resist.

Jessie’s hand was playing with the elastic on Mary’s panties.

“Jessie,” Mary said in a slurred voice. “When I…showered today, I noticed…that my hymen…was missing.”

“Really?” Jessie whispered, then kissed Mary on her right cheek.

“Did you have…anything to do…with that?”

Jessie’s finger slid under the panties and began playing with Mary’s pubic hair. “I’m liberating you…from your theological prison cell.” She gave Mary a peck on the lips.

“Are you?” Mary sighed. “Ooh!”

“Purity and innocence…are lies…Not even Adam and Eve…were innocent…in the beginning.” Jessie was giving Mary kisses on her lips, cheeks, and neck as she continued whispering.

“That can’t…be true. Ah!

“Oh, it must have been. If they were truly, utterly good, neither would have…given in…to temptation…and eaten…the forbidden fruit…There was never…a Fall, so Christ’s death…as redemption…was meaningless. There was never…primordial grace, and so there’s no grace…for us to return to…through Christ’s death. Let’s sin bravely.”

Mary opened her eyes and, her eyes adjusted to the dark and with plenty of moonlight and starlight shining through the open window, she could make out the silhouette of Jessie standing up on the bed, with her back and ass to her, her legs spread apart on either side of Mary. She wasn’t nude, though: Mary looked up and saw Jessie wearing a white coif and black veil on her head, but a tight-fitting, shiny black leather outfit was covering her from her neck to her feet, which were in black high heels. The outfit showed off Jessie’s curvy figure and round buttocks most flatteringly.

Jessie looked down at Mary over her left shoulder and asked, “Do you like it, Mary?”

“Sister Jessie,” Mary said in sighs, trying to regain at least some self-control, in spite of how stoned and turned on she was, “dressing like that…is so disrespectful…to your vows…as a nun. Remove the coif…and veil…at least.”

“Mary, what coif? What veil? I’m naked, head to toe.”

“But,…that skin-tight…black outfit…you have on.”

“I’m not wearing any outfit, Mary. I’m displaying my body, for your viewing pleasure. I know your secret desires, Mary. Don’t be afraid to express them.”

“How do you know them?”

“I have my ways. Let me help you liberate yourself, Mary.” Jessie bent down, bending her knees and lowering her back, so Mary could see what she had hiding between her legs and buttocks. Now Mary no longer saw the black clothing or the nun’s headdress. She saw naked Jessie’s delectable secrets, which were coming closer and closer to her face.

Jessie, on all fours now and facing Mary’s feet, pulled off her panties and spread her legs out wide. Both of them began tasting each other. Though Jessie was pure of any urinary or fecal smell–in fact, her vulva and anus smelled fragrant from a fresh shower–Mary was worried, after having used the toilet just before returning to their cell, that her own body odour would be most unflattering.

Yet Jessie was licking, kissing, and sucking without complaint.

(Actually, her magical, Latin incantations, herbs, and mushrooms all served to obliterate any and all unpleasant smells. Mary would learn the next day that Jessie’s magic would make even more, shocking changes to her body.)

In any case, Mary soon forgot her worries about her body odour, for she was too busy enjoying giving and receiving physical love. She no longer regretted the loss of her hymen, for Jessie’s long tongue was now free to probe deep, deep inside, tickling Mary’s vaginal walls with its tireless flickering.

It felt so good, so physically good, that she realized something.

This is no dream! she thought. This is really happening!

Both women’s sighs were rising in pitch and volume as they approached climax. Mary had a vision of two dams bursting, with rushing water coursing out between two pairs of legs. Mary’s was a river; Jessie’s, a waterfall.

…and Father Funn just happened to be passing by their cell window at that very moment.


The next morning, Mary woke up with her panties back on, as if never taken off. There were no vaginal secretions as she had felt the night before, which she found inexplicable. With the sun peeking through the window, Jessie was fully dressed in her habit.

Mary saw her smiling face…O, that lovely face!

The two exchanged good morning wishes.

“Sister Jessie,” Mary asked. “What…did we…do last night?”

“We’ll discuss it tonight, Sister Mary,” Jessie said, moving about the cell in a hurry to get ready to go. “Get dressed. We have a busy morning. There’s a soup kitchen downtown where we volunteer every week on this day, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the homeless. We’ll be leaving about a half hour after breakfast. You’ll want to hurry if you hope to squeeze in a shower before we go.”


Though they ate facing each other in the dining hall, they said little to each other, Mary fearing that the other nuns would overhear their conversation and pick up hints as to what they were doing every night. She saw Father Funn walk by their table with a smirk that made her even more paranoid.


After breakfast, she hurried over to the shower with a change of underwear. She had put on her habit so quickly after getting out of bed that she didn’t take a minute to notice anything different about her body. But now that she was naked and in the shower, she saw herself in that mirror; the changes couldn’t be ignored.

Larger, firmer breasts.

No flab.

No pubic hair.

No paleness of her skin.

Perfect curves.

There was no other way to explain these changes.

Jessie was a witch.

Her tea and incantations were part of her spells.

Any pleasure Mary took in the changes in her body were overridden by the horror she felt in knowing what Jessie really was.

She’d bewitched Mary.

She’d defiled her.

She’d debauched her.

She’d led her astray.

She’d made her break her vows of chastity.

Mary remembered, with a shudder, Exodus 22:18.


After her shower, she joined Jessie and the other nuns to go to the soup kitchen to serve meals to the homeless there. Again, these acts of charity helped to soothe and ease her guilt…to an extent. That blazing, blindingly bright, hot sun outside reminded her of God’s judgement.

As she served the homeless with a smile, she saw the same loving smile on Jessie’s mesmerizingly pretty face. Mary saw no trace of phoniness in the sorceress’s smile: it looked perfectly sincere, like that of a genuine servant of Christ.

She recalled Paul’s words: “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

Still, Mary couldn’t understand how Jessie could fake being a Christian so skillfully. Her charity looked so authentic, and it made Mary feel all the more in love with her.

It was also challenging her faith in God; for how could He allow this to happen?

Inwardly, she shook with shame at her sinful love. She remembered Paul’s words: “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”

Speaking of doing what she hated, she slipped a knife under the sleeve of her habit just before the nuns all finished and left the soup kitchen to return to the convent.


That evening, as the sun was setting and darkness was about the envelope the convent, as soon as they’d returned, she went to Father Funn to give her confession again. In the booth, she was weeping; he had that enigmatic smirk on his face again.

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” she sobbed.

“Be at peace, Mary,” he said calmly. “The Lord is always willing to take back any sheep who have strayed from the flock.”

Mary remembered that these had been his exact words from last time: they sounded like a meaningless formula now!

“I have had…more impure thoughts,” she sobbed.

She couldn’t bring herself to complete her confession and admit to the sexual contact with Jessie…not only out of her personal shame, but also because she didn’t want to expose the shame of the woman she loved.

“Have you any more confessions to make?” he asked after noting her awkward several seconds of silence.

“N-no,” she said, bowing her head in shame over her cowardice in not fully confessing.

“Very well,” he said in a voice that sounded almost bored. “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Both of them did the Sign of the Cross–so formulaic.

She stepped out of the booth and slowly walked back to her cell, frowning. I feel no peace from that at all, she thought. Surely Father Funn suspected that my confession wasn’t complete. God wouldn’t have…couldn’t have allowed such absolution…if He truly existed.

It was getting darker and darker outside.

She fondled that knife in her sleeve.


She walked into her cell and saw Jessie standing naked by the window, outside of which was the black of night. Jessie was facing Mary, with her usual insouciant display.

Mary began shaking, and clasped the knife, keeping it hidden in her sleeve. “Are you making more tea?” she asked with a frown.

“I don’t think I need to,” Jessie said with a smile. “Not the kind I was making for you before, to free your mind.”

“Those mushrooms really are magic mushrooms, aren’t they? You literally do magic with them, don’t you?”

“They, as well as my other herbs and my incantations, don’t do anything more than bring out what’s already inside you, Mary.”

“You’re a witch masquerading as a nun.” Her eyes tearing up, Mary let the knife slip down so Jessie could see the blade pointing at her chest.

“You aren’t going to stab me, Mary.” Jessie took a step toward Mary.

“‘Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,’ from Exodus.”

“‘Thou shalt not kill,’ also from Exodus.”

“‘The devil can cite scripture for his purpose,’ from The Merchant of Venice,” Mary said with a shaky voice, the hand holding the knife shaking even more.

“I’m not a witch, Mary,” Jessie said, taking another step closer to Mary. “I’m a sorceress.”

“What’s the difference? the Bible makes no distinction.”

“A witch uses her magic to harm. A sorceress uses it for good.” Jessie came closer to Mary. “My spells are liberating you.”

“Liberating me from what? I love my religion.”

“You didn’t become a nun out of love for Christ or the Virgin Mary. You became one to please your mother.”

“Your witchcraft makes you read people’s minds,” Mary said, weeping.

“So, you admit it’s true?” Jessie asked, stepping forward and now with Mary’s knife mere millimetres from her breast.

“You read my mind…when I saw myself…in the bathroom mirror yesterday,…and you know…that I didn’t like…how my body looked,…and you used your magic…to change my appearance,” Mary said in sobs.

“Don’t you like how it looks now? You wanted your body to please me more. It didn’t have to be changed. I liked your body as it was, with all of its supposed imperfections. I can change it back, if you wish.”

“N-no.” Mary kept sobbing. “But you seduced me…made me fornicate with you. You robbed me…of my faith in God.”

“Is that a bad thing?”

Her face contorting with rage, Mary brought up the knife, ready to stab Jessie in the chest.

“You won’t kill me, Mary. You’re in love with me.”

Mary stood dazed for several seconds.

“Y-yes, I am.” Mary lowered her head, brought her arm down, and let the knife fall to the floor. Now she was sobbing loudly. Jessie put her arms around her.

“No!” Mary said. “Let me take this off first. If I’m going to sin with you, at least let me not dishonour the habit.”

Jessie helped her remove the tunic and guimpe, revealing–to Mary’s shock–a black corset with red lacing, and knee-high black boots with high heels, with red crosses on the knees.

“How did these get here?” Mary asked with a gasp, then she looked at Jessie, realizing how foolish her question was.

Jessie smirked lewdly as she looked at Mary. “I like it.”

“Well, I don’t. It’s tasteless. Help me take it all off. I’d rather be as nude as you; it would feel less indecent.”

“Very well; as you wish,” Jessie said, still smiling at the sight.

Mary, now nude, turned off the light, and they got into bed.

Jessie lay on her back, and Mary got on top of her. They exchanged kisses on each other’s lips, cheeks, and necks. Mary cupped Jessie’s breasts in her hands, giving them slight, gentle squeezes. Jessie fondled Mary’s bottom, giving the cheeks stronger squeezes.

They were rubbing their crotches against each other, then they put their legs in a scissor-position, rubbing their vulvas against each other and feeling their clits getting harder, and their labia swelling, moistening all over.

They were so focused on their pleasure that they paid no attention to how voices can carry. Their sighs, moans, and squeals were getting higher and higher-pitched, and louder and louder. The squeaking of the bed was getting louder and faster in rhythm, too. The wide-open window was no help in keeping the crescendo of their sin a secret.

A few members of the convent passed by their cell and heard the approaching climax. One nun peeked in the window, but saw only grinding silhouettes in the dark. The other passers-by were on the other side, listening at the door.

Finally, Father Funn rammed into the door, breaking it open. The other nuns came in after, one of them turning on the light and exposing the nakedness of the lovers, who never bothered pulling the blankets on themselves, it being such a hot summer night.

Their viewers were in bathrobes and slippers. Mary tried to pull the blanket over her body, but Funn stopped her.

“Oh, no, you don’t,” he said. “Both of you will come with us as you are. There will be no hiding of the truth.”

Mary walked out of the cell in tears, her hands covering her breasts and crotch. Jessie, walking beside her with her arms at her sides, made no attempt to cover her nakedness; she kept a lewd smirk on her face that Mary couldn’t understand. Funn walked behind both of them, his eyes never straying away from the sight of their tasty buttocks.

Mary and Jessie were taken to the open-air court area in the middle of the convent. All the other nuns were assembled there, in their bathrobes and slippers. All were looking at the naked duo with expressionless faces that weeping Mary could barely make out in the dark, with only moonlight and starlight to keep the black from being absolute. Not knowing what they were thinking, while imagining they could only be judging and condemning her sin with Jessie, was torturing Mary. Jessie, on the other hand, just kept smirking.

A bench was in the middle of the large courtyard, with two paddles lying at its sides. Mary and Jessie were taken there.

“Kneel before the bench,” Funn said. “Put your heads on the seat. Don’t move.” He picked up the paddles and gave one to one of the nuns. “Cooperate, you two, and this will be over with in a few minutes.”

He and the nun called out numbers with every whack they gave Mary’s and Jessie’s buttocks. Both girls screamed with each strike: Mary, bawling; Jessie, grinning.

“Jesus, help me!” Mary wept between screams. “Beat the sin…Oww!…out of me!…Oww!

Oww!” Jessie screamed. “You’re making my…Oww!…bum all red!…Oww!

Out of the corner of Mary’s teary eye, she saw something odd.

The nuns all removed their bathrobes and kicked off their slippers. They were now as naked as she and Jessie were.

“Twenty!” Funn and the other paddler called out.

“We’re finished,” he said. He and the nun put down their paddles, then removed their bathrobes and slippers, too.

Mary and Jessie looked behind them, and all around the courtyard. Mary’s eyes and mouth were agape. Jessie was still grinning lewdly.

Everyone there was naked.

Funn was fully erect. Mary looked away with a blush, and back at Jessie.

“They’re all the same as you, Jessie?” Mary asked.

“…and you, now, Mary,” Jessie answered.

“Nuns by day, nudists by night?” Mary asked.

“Think of it as a dialectic of asceticism and eroticism,” Jessie explained. “We worship the Lord by day, and the Lady by night.”

Lady? This indecency is worshipping the Blessed Virgin?”

“Look up in the night sky and see the Lady in her half-moon phase,” Jessie explained. “Half lit up, half dark. There is the Goddess, known by many names: Luna, Selena, Mary, Nut, Ishtar, Inanna, and so on. And in the daytime, there is the Lord, also known by many names: Sol Invictus, Helios, Jesus, Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, etc.”

“You’re all pagans? This is blasphemy!”

“Is the largely unpunished sexual abuse of children by priests, of nuns, any less blasphemous to the Church?” Jessie challenged. “At least we’re honest with our sexuality here.”

“As for your question of paganism, I think I can explain, Mary,” Father Funn said. “We here are a dialectical mix of pagan and Christian, to be exact. When we do our daily charity, we are sincerely Christian, but also because the world–being as prejudiced as it is against paganism–would only accept charity from the Church. But enough of this! Let’s get on with tonight’s ritual! Our weekly orgy must be done, to raise power and spread the energy of real love, grounded in the body, throughout the world, to save it from war, greed, and hate!”

“But people outside will hear, and suspect us,” Mary said.

“Not with our magic, which has, if you will, soundproofed the area,” said the nun next to the priest (Mary noticed a genuine tattoo on her upper leg; it said…Motorhead? She must have been the nun Mary saw on her first day here!). “Nobody outside will hear a thing; don’t worry.”

“But an orgy?” Mary said. “I don’t want to be involved in an orgy.” She looked over at Jessie. “I love you, and you alone. I don’t want to make love with anyone else. What I’m doing with you is fornication enough!”

“Very well,” Jessie said with a smile as she got on top of Mary. “You and I will have only each other.”

They resumed their tribadism there on the grass. Funn entered the tattooed nun. Though Mary and Jessie looked only in each other’s eyes, they heard a surrounding sea of moans and sighs. All the other nuns paired up, engaging in the licking, kissing, and fingering of vulvas, or with lips wrapped around nipples.

The group sex had a ritualized rhythm, with synchronized grinding and groaning. Everyone’s sighs and squeals rose together in pitch and volume, getting faster and faster, and resulting in a collective orgasmic scream.

As everyone lay back on the grass, panting with satisfaction, Mary looked up at the stars with a grin.

Whether the Queen of Heaven was Mary or the moon-goddess no longer mattered to her.

Jessie was right.

Mary was now free.


The next morning, the nuns arrived in a van at a homeless shelter near downtown, delivering used clothes there. As they all cheerfully took the boxes of clothes off the van and gave them to the volunteer workers at the shelter, Mary found herself looking at Jessie’s pretty face as often as she could.

That mix of the sensual and the saintly that she saw in Jessie, knowing what delights her habit was hiding, made Mary all the more in love with her. She looked up at the shining, hot sun–the Lord, the Son, Helios, Tammuz, whichever–and smiled, waiting for the glowing Lady to peek out of the darkness that night.

She licked her lips, wanting more of that tea.