New Work in Progress

A snippet from my newest WIP, Pyrokinesis, specifically a flashback scene. Hope you enjoy.

His body was pressing against her, his chest facing hers, one arm wrapped around her waist, loose enough it allowed her to move, close enough it signified that she was, at least for the moment, currently with him. 

He’d whispered something she didn’t quite understand, three months here and her French was still terrible, but she got the premise enough that she’d followed him from the bar to the dancefloor. A trickle of sweat was running down her back, his cheap cologne gluing itself to the inside of her nostrils. 

His hips moved with hers, the lights of the nightclub pulsing, switching between purples and blues and greens and reds. His head dipped, lips brushing against her throat, and she wrapped an arm around his neck, allowing him to come closer, welcoming the gesture. 

But she hadn’t been welcoming it. Not really. Kathryn’s body was functioning on autopilot. This is what you did, at clubs. 

“Tu es savoureux,”

She couldn’t really hear the words. But she could tell it was meaningless; nonsense.

“Merci,” It felt appropriate. He probably couldn’t hear her either. But he smiled at her, in that blurry way drunken people smile at other drunken people. 

He craned his neck down to kiss her, and she let him, still responding in a mechanical sort of way. 

Who he was didn’t matter. His name, what he looked like, how he felt, none of it.

It was an apathy that had settled in about two days after her arrival in Paris. She had been so excited to get here, had dreamed for years about spending time in France. Then she finally got here and…nothing. The emotions weren’t there. Daily function for the sake of function; nothing was exciting. It was like she was constantly driving through fog with headlamps that weren’t working right. Trying to see more than a foot in front of her face and being constantly exhausted with the effort. 

She had taken to wandering around the city streets, walking hours at a time without stopping. At times, she would become enamored with a building, or a view, or finally sit at a café and see something, a hat she liked or someone’s stance, and start drawing. She would have ordered a coffee that sat untouched until it was cold and ruined, or find a bench to sit on and not move until the sun had descended beyond the horizon. And then she would look up, confused at where the time had gone, and descend back into the monotone sensation of existence. 

Kathryn almost longed for the manic periods. She wished she could feel that intense focus on this boy, instead of wondering if he’d make her spill all of her drink before he broke away. 

“Tu me plais,”

No, he didn’t. He didn’t like her. He wanted to fuck her. There was a difference. 

“Tu es saoul,”

“Non, je suis juste ivre de toi,”

She laughed, she couldn’t help it. It was a terrible line. How could you be drunk on a person? Let alone one you’d met mere minutes ago. 

Kathryn turned away from him, guiding his hands to her hips as they danced, the bass from the speakers reverberating through her body, thumping like a heartbeat as his arm wound its way around her waist, feeling him against her in more ways than one. He kept trying to whisper in her ear, bending down to kiss her neck, and she wanted to scream at him to shut up. To be quiet. To let her have a moment of mindless indulgence. 

But he was, seemingly, incapable of such an act. And then, what was there to do? 

“Viens avec moi,” He said, for what must have been the second or third time. His hand traced down her arms, trying to intertwine his fingers with hers. She didn’t look at him, but she nodded against his chest. 

He pulled her back through the crowd, trying to lead her…where? The bathrooms? The bar? His place? She had a moment, just a moment, a flash in her mind envisioning it. Of his lifting her so the edge of her ass sat on a bathroom sink, or pressing her against a building on the way back to wherever he lived, the taste of a tongue that had been soaked in beer all night, whatever skill he had dampened by exhaustion and booze and impatience. She imagined him rolling over and telling her to go in a language she didn’t truly speak. Or worse, trying to make more plans so they could stare awkwardly at each other, using google translate and awkward laughs to accompany a stilted, forced conversation, in which they realized they had nothing more in common mutual enjoyment of intoxication. 

She saw the light of the front door, new people coming in, the scent of cigarettes faint from where she stood. Kathryn stopped, and when he tried to move, let his hand slip from her fingers. She walked out the door, into the night beyond. 

She could hear him calling for her, but he stayed at the club entrance, not wanting to chase her. She looked crazy, she knew it, her tangled, makeup surely melting under her eyes. Absolutely not the girl anyone would, or should, be chasing down, and she preferred it that way.

She looked to the side, to the crowd of smokers outside the club, and walked towards a girl standing by herself. 

“Puis-je en avoir un, s’il vous plaît?” 

The girl looked up, startled. 

“Kathryn?” 

“Anna? Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t-” 

“No, it’s okay, yeah sure, have one,” Anna, another exchange student from a school in Washington, offered Kathryn the pack of cigarettes she was holding, and, when Kathryn had one between her lips, flicked on the lighter. Kathryn cupped her hand around the flame, making sure it was lit, and then stood back up. 

“You weren’t at the lecture today,” Anna frowned at her.

“I…” Kathryn tried to remember. What had she done today? 

“It was boring, you didn’t miss much. But I can send you the notes, if you want,” Anna looked at her, more concerned than curious. 

“Reviens, bébé,” She could hear the voice behind her and had no desire to turn around. 

“I would really appreciate that, thanks,” Kathryn said, “I think I just lost track of time today, I was working on this sketch, this story idea I had, I didn’t mean to miss it.” 

“No sweat, I’ve done that. You just get so into it, into a project, it’s hard to pull yourself away.” 

Kathryn nodded, and took a drag of the cigarette. 

“Bébé!” The boy called again, his tone gaining a sharp edge of frustration bordering on anger. She could see him starting to make his way to her through the crowd of smokers. 

“You know him?” Anna raised an eyebrow. 

Kathryn let out a snort. “Thanks, for this, and for the notes, I’ll see you in class.” 

“You want me to walk home with you?” Anna asked, “I don’t mind,” 

“No, no, you stay! I’ll be fine, I’ll catch up with you soon,” Kathryn was already walking up the street, away from the noise and the crowd and the boy. 

“Let me know when you’re home!” Anna called to her, and Kathryn shot her a quick wave of acknowledgement.

Three blocks down, and she was met with an empty street. She looked up, towards the sky. She didn’t expect to see stars, the lights of the city were far too overpowering, but staring at the blank expanse of sky was still comforting. Her eyes took in the shades of black, the pattern of the street lamps against the night. 

She took a deep breath, in and out, and closed her eyes, letting the quiet consume her. 

Maybe, she thought, starting to walk again, she’d start designing a new tattoo. Something to commemorate the months here. 

She looked down at her skin, perpetually covered in ink stains, and thought of birds, of flying through the sky. And with her mind freshly preoccupied, she took off again, heading back towards her apartment.

A Prompt Exercise

So, was given the prompt to write a poem about ‘taking out the trash,’ and I actually kind of like it so, hope you enjoy.

I have much appreciation for the talent
Of actors playing crowded scenes
In New York city streets.
At the height of summer,
When the sidewalks trap you like night club floors.
As the liquids flow from plastic bags,
And they somehow pretend
That the sticky, sweet scent of rot
Is simply part of fantasy

On Redundancy

There is a bitterness at the tip of my tongue.
That I scrape with my teeth,
And try to remove the taste of self loathing
That comes only when I feel the butterfly wings,
Crushed beneath your silence

Waiting for that screen to light,
Allowing myself to believe
In the possibility of your presence.
Of your follow through;
Of your word.

Lying here with shivers
And a fever that won’t break.
Clutching the pillow
With white knuckled fingers. 
Gnawing at the skin around my nails

Hating myself for setting alarms 
To wake me up for your arrival 
Instead of finally sleeping 
And letting myself wake up,
To a well-rested disappointment

Willing my mind to go blank
As the TV plays something
I’ve heard 1,000 times before 
Because you, my dear,
Require nothing but my apathy.

I’m still convincing myself
Not to give you more.

Combining Identities

So, in an attempt to actually market myself properly and make my life mildly less confusing, I have finally combined the Emma & Zoe content to just be under the Zoe Dean handle. I may or may not go back through old posts to change every mention of “Emma” over to “Zoe”….

But probably not.

I’ve been working on a new book called Pyrokinesis, aiming to have that done by end of 2021/beginning 2022, and will probably post some snippets here as I work through it. Something to help me work through poetry writer’s block, because Covid severely limited my bad dating stories.

Good for my mental health, but back for the *art* and whatnot.

Thanks for bearing with me through this change, it will literally have no impact on your life but makes mine less of a headache.

Z

Then You Say Please

“Sir,

If I told you I wrote you a story
Of everything I wanted us to do,
Would you read it?

Asking for a friend.

Pet”



From the intimacy and trust of “Quicksand,” to a sprint through the trees “In the Woods,” to video game practice in “Mario Kart,” follow the depraved, wicked, amorous adventures of Sir & Pet. Tease your imagination, and come to where pleasure, emotion, and experience collide.


Contains BDSM themes.

New book under the Zoe Dean handle!!

Short stories intertwined with Prelude, Interlude, and When He Calls Your Name.

Hope you guys enjoy ❤ ❤

Prelude

Third and final preview from the new Zoe Dean short story collection, Then You Say Please.

He asks you,
“What does it feel like?”

A reasonable question;
But how do you answer?

It’s a constant, pressing need
A pilot light waiting to grow
Ignite to an inferno

How could you express that desire in words
Explain the claiming, aching hunger
That will devour you if not satiated

You pull him to you
With patience you do not have
And slowly describe
How the fire feels under your skin

Do you bite?
Do you beg?
Plead,

Or attack?

Because language is sighs and grunts,
Moans and screams
Tangles of limbs and sweat,
Fingers in hair,
Squeezing around skin,
Pinning the claws against his back.

Jaws snapping,
Thighs squeezing.
A roar that could be yours or his,
Or never have happened at all

Yet in the after,
In the quiet stillness
Where time could be measured in seconds,
minutes,
or hours,
And still all feel the same
He still wants to know.

So, you suppose,
You will have to show him
All over again

Until he finally extinguishes the flame

Interlude

Another sneak preview from the upcoming short story collection, Then You Say Please

He says,
“I don’t like how the word feels in my mouth.”
He tells you,
“I don’t like the shape of the words.
I could call you so many things, my dear,
But they don’t sound right coming from my lips.”

You look at him, confused, as his fingers trail to your chin,
Tilting your head up, oh so gently

“I want to ask the question.
I want to hear the sounds that you emit.
The words stuck in your throat,
As I drive sense from your brain.

I want to feel you around me
As I make you say you’re mine.

More than your agreement,
I want your affirmation.
I want to taste the air as you call yourself
My whore
My slut
My toy.

It sounds so much better in your voice
To hear you say, or try to say,
In every way you want me.”

When He Calls Your Name

Sneak preview from a new book of short sexy stories coming from the Zoe Dean handle, but had to give this side of my writing a bit of love too

The voice on the line
The knock at the door 
Your stomach flips over 
And you choose:
Open it, or don’t 
Slam it in his face 
Or he comes across the threshold
And you see his eyes, the corner of his mouth.
It twitches into the smile he saves for you
And you alone.

The fog clouding your brain:
Is it a hand or a claw that reaches out? 
Drawing him to you, pulling him so closely,
To press the air from his lungs or because the space is intolerable.
Anger, gone.
Hurt, gone.
Resentment, annoyance, humiliation, gone.
Because there is truth in the way his mouth forms around yours,
In his hands that can’t touch everywhere at once,
But will try their damnedest anyway.

When he calls your name
And makes you helpless to your hunger,
Do you feel the heat in your blood
Pulsing through your veins?
Does the fire make you burn brighter
Or turn you to ashes at his feet?

When he calls your name
And you scream his into the night
There is sincerity in the touch 
That tries to erase things
You will remember in a moment’s time 

When he calls your name 
And makes you wish for nothing more
Than the sweet surrender of submission,
The bitter taste of honesty, 
Whether it is love, or starvation
It does not matter.
You taste the words on his lips
And make them yours,
Owning them as completely 
As he might have once owned you.

On Cigarettes at Sunrise

(This has been sitting in my drafts for a while now. Found it again the other day, gave it a once over, and hope you like it.)

The call would come sometime between two and four am.
You, unable to sleep.
You, insomniatic, looking for the same from me. 

But you’d never actually ask me.
For an hour or so, you’d hem and haw and turn it back on me.
“Do you want to come over?” 
Of course I did, I rolled my eyes, or I wouldn’t have answered the damn phone.

It was easy to pack, in those days. My makeup bag still in my purse from the day, add a pair of leggings and a toothbrush, and I was already walking to my car when you finally said
“Okay, come over.” 

We didn’t have a greeting, per se. 

I’d open your bedroom door, and there wasn’t a hug or a kiss, it was you. Sitting on your bed. Sometimes the guitar was on your lap or your notebook on the table.
But, more often than not, it was just you, sitting there, still in jeans, watching the sky outside, smoke trailing from your cigarette.
And I’d sit down, on the folding chair across from you, and reach for your lighter. 

We’d talk, or listen to music, or sit in silence for hours 
Watching the sky grow from black to purple to pink with orange hues. The breeze drifting in and your pack emptying out. You’d brush your hair out of your face every few minutes, switch between music, look out past me, through me, shaking your head at unvoiced thoughts.

I would listen to you, focus intently on whatever you were saying, but my gaze would often drift down to your lips.
I liked the way you formed your words, the way your mouth moved as you softly sang along to parts of songs, the way you spoke about anything and everything
I liked the way you kissed.

And your head would tilt to the left, hair falling out of where you’d just placed it, and your mouth would twitch into a smile.
That 5AM smile.
A smile that felt like it was only mine. If only for a moment. It was only mine to see.
This is stupid, I know. 
Untrue, a fantasy then and now.
We tend to romanticize the past.

And then, with the sun in the sky and the birds twittering you’d look at your phone and moan.
You had to sleep. Or try.
Be at work at whatever time.
Demand I be your alarm clock and wake you up, make you move.
And at this point, you still would not have touched me. 

So, we’d crawl into bed, and you’d ask if I was sleepy.
5, 6, 7 AM. 
“Are you tired?”
Of course I was. I was exhausted. But I would stay awake and say, 
No.
Because then, and only then, would you wrap your arms around me.

And when your mouth found mine, pretense faded. And all your shouldn’t, can’t, and won’ts turned into my clothes on the floor and you on top of me, kissing me, pulling my hair back. 
I’d sometimes make my eyes meet yours, and when I did, you’d fuck me even harder. 
Because it was only in those moments, the seconds of fevered movements, that you could admit
If only for an instant, if only in that way
That you really did want me

You’d roll over, and groan, again, at the time.
And I’d say I’d wake you up as you pulled me to you, cuddling me against your chest.
In the morning, you’d have let me go, and when your alarm went off I’d press my lips to your skin, and gently tell you to get up.
You told me once it felt nice, to have me holding you.
I’d stay there until the music played two or three more times. 
And when you left, you’d kiss me goodbye.

You couldn’t tell me that you miss me
Instead, in the after, you said that you miss having an insomniac to call. That you miss “those nights.”
So now, as I can’t sleep, my mind racing and aching, I use your language
I miss watching your face under the light of the rising sun
And the cigarettes and the music and your voice
And you know, full well, that means I miss you too.

On Dog-eared Pages

You still have my book.

I remember when I was waiting for this book to be released, years ago, when I was working at a bookstore. The stock manager, or whatever her actual title was, set one copy aside specially for me. Its lived in various bags far more than it’s designated place on my shelf, with a beat up cover and water stained pages to prove it.

I was on a vacation the last time I was reading it, while we were together. And lying in the sun, studying its contents, I thought of you. We’d discussed the author before, I’d discussed the book with you before. So when I came back, I gave it to you.

Temporarily, at least in intention.

The time before the last time I saw you, you had it in your bag. You were bringing it to work with you – you were definitely reading it. And that made me happier than I could say.

Do I bring this up now? How? It feels seems petty and unnecessary. Reopening a wound that should be closed by now, and I’m still picking and re-picking at the scab. It feels both like an excuse to talk to you and an excuse to make sure we never talk again. So long as you have that book, I have an excuse to message you. Have a reason to reach out.

And again, it also feels petty and childish as all hell to ask for it back now, after so much time has passed. And I’m afraid of what would happen if I did. If I’m ready for the closure of you.

But really, honestly, I want my book back. I want it back on my shelf and the ability to carry it with me again. I want to revisit sections and reread favorite parts.

I don’t want to want to reach out to you. I don’t want to have this idea in the back of my mind. I simultaneously want you to leave it where I can grab it without seeing you, and sit down for a drink with you, and have the discussion we should have had months ago.

The discussion about more than just the book. About the things you still admit to me you don’t know, or rather, haven’t let yourself think about long enough to figure out.

I suppose, at some point, I’ll simply buy another copy. Let you be, and accept in my heart these are the things I must let go. But I’d bet it will stay pristine for far longer than the original.