I received an out-pouring of birthday wishes today, which was wonderful, and always makes a girl feel special. So as thanks, I thought I’d give a little something back.
‘Intimate Kisses’ is a story I wrote a few years back for a tea zine (yep, you read that right) where they were looking for all things ‘tea’, and a friend of mine suggested to the publisher that a horror story would make for some interesting tea-time reading.
Subtle horror was the order of the day, and this is definitely one of my more tame tales, but…it’s just my cup of tea…
Dirt-covered and chipped, the antique teacup protruded from the front yard of the farmhouse ruins. Fine cracks ran through the faded porcelain like veins, crimson specks hiding its true colour. The handle was broken and partially buried. Two of the cup’s feet jutted from the ground like gold fangs.
It was content to wait. Discovery was guaranteed. Always. Two centuries of intimate kisses ensured it.
The morning breeze carried the hint of jasmine over the abandoned lot as the sun stole moisture from the ground. A field mouse scurried through the grass. Nose twitching, it shied from the cup.
A goshawk swooped, silent.
The mouse squealed once.
The wind’s next breath carried voices over the rubble. Taunting. Teasing.
“Mamma’s boy! Mamma’s boy!”
The youthful scorn washed over the ruins, and as the catcalls and laughter drifted past, the cup waited.
A curse beyond the broken fence.
A rock ricocheted off nearby sandstone.
The children’s words—“Mamma’s boy!”—hissed through the brittle grass. The ground trembled. Dirt fell from the porcelain exposing a tunnel into the belly of the cup. “Mamma’s boy! Mamma’s boy!” The curses stormed over the rim, twisting, scouring the memories of long-gone lips.
One gold-plated foot quivered; inched into the light. Caressed by the sun, it glinted.
Footsteps halted; changed direction.
Whispers churned within the teacup, its jagged handle ambush-ready.
Eclipsed by the boy’s shadow, the cup shook with the first brush of fingertips. The small, disfigured hand hesitated. The second touch showed the boy what he wanted to see. Treasure. Hidden treasure.
He began to dig, shifting dirt almost reverently.
Stubby fingers probed.
The handle curled like a scorpion tail.
The boy reached, nudged.
Dirt spewed over the rim and the tortured souls enslaved within the cup screamed in warning.
Flesh punctured. The boy flinched.
His sacrifice dripped into the cup, pumping tiny rivers of the boy’s darkest desires to its porcelain heart.
In one final push for possession, the cup clawed at the dirt with its feet, righted itself.
The boy lifted it carefully, and as he blew dirt from his treasure, he breathed life, and the promise of death, back into the cup. Cradled in stained hands, the boy’s blood, infected with thoughts of his cruel mother, pulsed through the cup’s veins.
Mamma’s boy! Mamma’s boy! The voices of the other boys snarled through him, tormenting. Always tormenting.
The chant was silenced by a small voice, sweet and corrupted. “Mamma’s boy,” it crooned, feeding the boy’s rage and vowing revenge.
It asked little in return. Devotion. Obedience. The boy’s soul for retribution.
At that promise, the blood on the handle’s jagged tip bubbled amongst the screams of those forever imprisoned inside. A single speck of blood burst free from the tip and speared into the porcelain, reforging the handle.
The cup began a new chapter in its journey. It would visit horrors on all who had wronged its new Keeper, creating nightmares they would not escape. Their suffering would restore the cup to its former glory.
It would drain the life out of the boy’s enemies. One sip at a time.
(This beautiful teacup was gifted to me from the lovely Elizabeth Wayne)