by Ghani Blue

Orlando's been eating ice all day. Chewing thoughtfully, sometimes swallowing it whole. No, he's not been eating ice-cream, just ice. He's been peeling cube after cube out of the ice tray. Filling it with water again, putting it back in the fridge. He knows he'll need more. Later. Soon. Always.

The ice slides past his lips, freezing the smooth skin in his mouth, chilling him from the inside as it disappears down his throat. His jaw is working constantly, chewing it, breaking it apart. So cold - not nearly cold enough.

Now he's licking the ice, licking it in long, languid strokes, licking it til his tongue feels frozen. It feels funny, he thinks, like a strange animal in my mouth.

When he thinks he can't take it anymore, can't take one more cube, he holds it in his hand; on the palm of his hand in front of him. The sun sends beams of light throught the curtains and it breaks in beautiful colours on the edges of the ice. The warmth of the sun is melting the ice while he looks on, exactly like he knows he will be melting soon.

The liquid runs down his palm, his fingers; drip-drops on the table. His hand grabs another cube from the cooler in front of him. His lip catches on the jagged broken edge of it, cutting the tender skin. He doesn't feel the sting though, instead he watches with his inner eye how it slides down inside his body, adding to the cold within.

He's sitting in the middle of the kitchen, eating ice cubes, lost in this Arctic vision of himself; doesn't hear him approaching, doesn't hear the quiet footsteps on the floor; realizes he's no longer alone when it's already too late and he feels Dominic's hand on the small of his back creeping under his shirt. It's a shocking heat on his skin; taunting him, calling to him.

"So cold, Orli," he whispers. Dominic's lips brush his ear, hot breath melting the ice.

Cold, but still not cold enough.


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