An excerpt from Animals Eat Each Other

By Elle Nash

 

 

I sat close to her on the bed and put my mouth to her neck. My mouth made the shape of a kiss at first and then I held her neck close, bit down. She moaned and I kept going. I pulled her shirt off. I sat on top of her and felt the round of her belly with my hands. She was soft. She laughed, and for the first time I felt unjudged. I grabbed my coffee mug of vodka and cherry Coke from her nightstand and took a deep sip, the drink dripping from my mouth and falling onto her. I licked the drink off, and her hands, grasped tight onto my thighs, gripped harder as she arched her back.

I don’t remember the rest. We woke up with matching bite-shaped bruises on our bodies: neck, thighs, one on my waist, on her lower back. Our arms were crisscrossed on top of each other, a tangled snake of blanket around us. I stared at the rafters and wondered whether last night was something I could achieve without being under the influence of alcohol. There was an inhibition in me, a fear of my own desires or perversions, that dissolved when I’d had enough to drink, or when I mixed my drinks with my mother’s pills.

The sunlight painted the white walls pink as it rose through her garden-height windows. We ate bagels with thick cream cheese and left crumbs in her bed sheets and I could hear the sounds of someone, her parents or sisters maybe, stirring milk and sugar into mugs, spoons clinking against ceramic. The smell of coffee wafted down from the kitchen. Jenny’s naked leg was slung over me, smooth. Her skin moved against the cactus pins of hair grown out on my own leg. I needed to shower.

She lay on top of the blankets on her stomach, and I noticed a small black tattoo on her lower back—some Chinese symbol. I thought about Frankie saying she’d tattooed Jenny, but was too afraid to ask. Jenny normally wore glasses, but in this moment, she wasn’t wearing any. Her eyes were the disturbing color of an afternoon storm gathering in the sky.

 

 

Elle Nash is the author of Animals Eat Each Other (Dzanc Books, 2018), a top read for June by Oprah.com and O Magazine. Named a 2018 Spring “Writer to Watch” by Publisher’s Weekly, Elle is a fiction editor at Hobart Pulp and a founding editor of Witch Craft Magazine, a literary magazine based in Denver, Colorado and Fayetteville, Arkansas. You can find her on Twitter @saderotica.

 

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