Cold
by Giuliana

Everyone has his or her own dark secret. For some it concerns an incident in their past, an event they hide for fear of being scorned or perceived differently. For others it concerns present activities, their current sins and transgressions; the things they do when they believe no one is watching. Of course, some things are more serious than others. The person whose vice involves the viewing of what some may call salacious material is far less serious than that of the police officer who spends his weekends in the red light district, or of the high school teacher who glares lecherously at his teenaged students. Nevertheless, despite the varying magnitudes of their sins, all human beings are flawed and have their vices. And I -- although I am sure some of my acquaintances would beg to differ -- am human, and as a result, I am one of those flawed individuals. In fact, my vices are amongst the most depraved.

I know what I do is wrong; I know it is morally, ethically unacceptable. Knowing this, however, does not stop me. Each time, like now, just before I perform this vile act, my mind tells me to stop, to simply leave the room, to push away my dark desires. Yet, each time those desires triumph over reason. Even so, it remains a losing battle that I cannot help fighting.

And here I am once again, standing in the doorway of the 27th district's morgue, mere meters from sin.

When I first began to engage in this licentious behavior, I felt as though I knew my motivations and reasons. But as time has passed, those motivations and reasons have become vague, muddy, and clumped together in a juxtaposition of mangled whys and wherefores. The act itself has become a compulsion I no longer feel I have the ability to control, and sometimes I am not sure I want to.

I breathe in the cold air deeply, welcoming it, tasting it on my tongue, taking comfort from it. The station above me is silent: everyone who was there earlier went home hours ago. I step farther into the dark room, closing the door quietly behind me. I do not know why I'm afraid of making any noise; I am alone. Well, in a way.

I reach over and easily find the light switch. The bright whiteness of the fluorescent lights fills the room, and I blink several times to adjust my eyes. I see the object of my sin in the middle of the room and feel arousal shoot through my body.

 

It happened a little before five this evening. Ray and I had just left the Consulate and were driving along the streets of Chicago in the Pontiac GTO Ray acquired from his parents yesterday, when Diefenbaker emitted a whine unquestionable in meaning. I can only assume Ray was concerned about his black leather interior, as he pulled over immediately. He was in the middle of a tirade concerning Diefenbaker's failure to urinate before leaving the Consulate, when the sound of gunfire came from the apartment structure across the street. Ray and I, with Diefenbaker on our heels, quickly made our way to the building, taking the stairs on the possibility a resident along the way might be of some assistance to us. Fortunately, on the third floor we encountered a frightened, elderly Hispanic woman. After we identified ourselves, she directed us to room 312. Ray knocked on the door, and when there was no answer to his call to open it, he tried the doorknob.

The door opened, and inside we found a young woman no more than 18 years old curled up around herself on the living room floor, clutching a gun. Ray crouched down and gently and slowly talked her into surrendering the weapon. After the girl shakily sat up and handed him the gun, she began to cry. Diefenbaker went over to her and licked the tears running down her cheeks, and because the girl's bedclothes-like attire left nothing in the way of modesty, I covered her with a patchwork quilt I found on a nearby chair. Leaving the girl with Diefenbaker and me, Ray inspected the rest of the apartment. When he walked into what appeared to be the bedroom, I heard a sharp curse and then the sound of him speaking on his cellular phone. Afterwards, Ray returned to the living room and told the girl to stand facing the wall with her hands behind her back.

While Ray handcuffed and read the girl her rights, I walked into the bedroom. On the bed lay a nude man in his twenties, eyes closed as if asleep. A deep crimson stain covered most of the white bed sheets, and I saw that he had been shot once in the chest. It appeared to be the only wound, but it had been more than enough to kill him; there's no possibility someone could have survived after losing so much blood. But what grasped my attention the fullest was the striking attractiveness of the man. I walked closer to the bed and reached out, touching the still warm forehead. My hand slid down his face, fingers tracing the lax lips that had yet to undergo the hardening effects of rigor mortis. I quickly withdrew my hand when Ray entered the room. I looked at him closely, searching for any sign that he had witnessed what had just transpired, but I found no evidence that he had. We stood there for a moment, Ray looking everywhere but the body, me looking at the body by means of my peripheral vision. Then Ray cleared his throat, cocked his head to the side, and said we should return to the suspect. After a short pause that I don't believe Ray noticed, I nodded in agreement and followed him, glancing over my shoulder as we exited the bedroom.

Less than an hour later, we had a full confession from the girl, one Julia Caldwell. With very little questioning, Ms. Caldwell admitted to killing her boyfriend, Timothy Larson. The homicide occurred shortly after the couple had made love: while Mr. Larson was sleeping, Ms. Caldwell took the victim's own .45 caliber pistol and shot him at close range. As for the motive, Ms. Caldwell said she had recently discovered that Mr. Larson had been involved sexually with one of her good friends for some time. In the end, the murder turned out to be a simple case of jealousy gone deadly.

 

Those are the events that have brought me to where I am now. At least they are the events that have brought me to the station at this late hour. The events that have brought me to the point of seeking comfort in this manner are …complicated. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment I first experienced the craving, and neither can I identify the origins of my desire. I suppose it was always there, always a part of my being, hidden deep within my psyche. And while I cannot recall the first time I felt it, I can remember clearly the first time I gave into the temptation, over fifteen years ago now.

 

I was a new officer with the RCMP then and stationed in Norman Wells, where I shared a two bedroom cabin with a friend. Steve Kakfwi. One night upon returning from an excursion, I found him there, lying on the kitchen floor, pupils dilated, mouth open. I immediately dropped to my knees and checked for a pulse. Nothing. The dark olive skin under my fingertips was already cool, almost cold. Then something inside me…snapped, and I was running my hands over his face, under his shirt, inside his pants, stripping off our clothing, lifting his legs, finding little resistance when I entered him.

After I was finished, I barely made it to the kitchen sink before I vomited the contents of my supper.

That night I cried harder than I have ever cried, before or since.

I cried for the loss of my friend.

I cried for the loss of myself.

As I cleaned and redressed him, I vowed that I would never do something so indecent again.

In the years following Steve's death and my loss of control, I held my desires in a tight grip, not allowing them to come to the surface. And I was successful...

Until I met her -- the woman whose skin was as cold as the snow that surrounded us on Fortitude Pass, the woman who inadvertently reawakened my desires. Victoria was alive, but her body felt like ice to me. Her frozen fingers were slender icicles that I was certain were going to melt in the cavity of my mouth. She didn't protest as I moved against her coldness, and it didn't bother me to be unsure if she could protest if she so chose.

It was, in a word, perfect.

Then ten years later, I found her again, and her body was no longer like ice.

But her heart still was.

I, however, was so focused on what had been that I did not completely realize this until later, until it was too late and the damage was already done -- to my friendship with Ray Vecchio, to my body, to my own heart.

The first two have healed. The third has not.

After my physical condition was restored, I found myself making regular visits to the morgue, something I had never done before. It was then when the cold became not only a means of sexual release but also a means of protection. The cold shields me from the pain of warmth -- the rejection, the betrayal, the burning.

It has become both my salvation and my damnation.

 

I walk over to the table and slowly pull back the green morgue sheet. Once again, I am transfixed by how handsome Timothy Larson is. His hair is dark, cut short. His black eyelashes stand out vividly against his fair complexion. His skin as a whole is exquisite, beautifully pale and nearly without blemish -- that is, if you ignore the almost expertly placed bullet wound over his heart. Mort has yet to do the customary autopsy due to both the late time Larson was brought in tonight and the obviousness of the cause of death. His body is completely and wonderfully intact, which will make this easier for me.

I run my hand over the smooth-sharp cheekbone, down to the full, now blue-tinted mouth, which is no longer as soft as it was just a few hours earlier; the beginning signs of rigor mortis have begun to materialize. I lean down and kiss the cold lips. Surprisingly, they open easily under my mouth. The sensation causes my mind to go back to several weeks previous when my tongue slid between a pair of similarly cold lips, lips that belonged to a person running out of air. Lips that belonged to a person who might have ended up on a metal slab similar to this one had I not opened that sweet, soft, cold mouth and breathed, filling those hungry lungs with much needed oxygen.

I shake myself mentally. This is not Ray. This body, these lips are cold not because of the frigid waters of Lake Superior, but because of death. The lungs within this body gave up their need for air when a bullet punctured the heart. I lightly finger the wound, and the temptation to duck my head and taste the dried blood is nearly uncontrollable. I long to have the sharp, iron flavor on my tongue, but I stop myself, my rational mind momentarily taking control. Instead, I lick around the hole, noting that the substance used to clean the body did little to mar the distinctive saltiness of flesh and the slight residual taste of blood.

I quickly remove my shoes, my socks, my sweater, my jeans, and finally my boxers, and gently lie down on top of the nude body, being mindful not to put too much weight on it. I moan as the ice cold flesh comes into direct contact with my own warm skin. Again, my mind flashes back involuntarily, back to the memory of snow, Victoria losing consciousness, and the euphoria and terror I felt as those desires I had struggled to contain resurfaced while I held her cold, unresisting body against mine.

I rub my erect penis against the body's flaccid one, gripping the hips. I move slowly at first, but my thrusts gradually become harder and faster. Then, as I approach orgasm, something pushes away the memories of Victoria and ice. It's not an image per se, but more a collection of phantom touches and sensations I experience mentally, yet feel physically: the lacerated heart within the still chest beating again, so fast, so strong; the muscular arms coming around me, hands rubbing my back, short nails digging into my skin; the penis firming against mine, hips beginning to thrust; the skin warming, becoming hot -- so hot it feels like I'm going to melt and meld with the flesh against mine.

I open my eyes, and I swear for a moment that I see a different body under mine, a different, yet well-known face. Bright blue eyes look at me with desire, and small beads of sweat trickle down lightly golden skin. A long neck arches back, and then a soft-looking mouth opens, my name silently spilling out.

I seize and then still, groaning softly as the warm wetness of semen seeps between Ray's -- no, not Ray's, Larson's -- body and mine. I lie motionless for a moment, and then, after a few deep breaths, I lift myself up. I grab a small towel and a pair of latex gloves from the supply rack, and I use the former to clean Larson and myself. I frown when I notice the indentations my fingers have left on his hips; I wasn't careful enough this time, and I hope Mort won't notice the marks when he performs the autopsy. I sigh and put the gloves on, depositing the towel in the medical trash bin, carefully placing it under several others. The gloves follow shortly after.

I dress myself at a slightly slower rate than I disrobed and place a soft kiss on Larson's lips before covering him up again with the sheet. I exit the room, turning the lights off as I leave. I almost expect to see Ray outside, but the corridor is empty, and I'm surprised to feel somewhat disappointed to find he's not there.

I smile, but it's not from joy. Very far from it actually. Ray would never understand this aspect of my life. I don't completely understand it myself, so how could I expect him to understand?

For over a year, the cold and only the cold was enough for me. While there were occasions where I almost sought out the company of warmth, I never crossed the line. Fear was enough to hold me back. But lately I've found myself wanting and desiring warmth more than I ever have before, and while it's so close, so close all I have to do is reach out and touch it, I cannot do it. I know I cannot have both, the cold and the warmth. I am unable to obtain the strength to relinquish my addiction, and because of this, I will remain with the cold, taking my comfort from cold flesh in cold rooms, while Ray Kowalski glows brightly with life, promise, and the warmth I cannot touch.

The hallway is hot compared to the morgue, but I still feel cold.

 

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