The room is freezing cold, and reeks of testosterone. There’s loud techno thumping away, in a rhythm that makes me feel even more restless than I felt before I entered. No furniture, except for one block of wood. He’s sitting on it, half-naked, in ripped pale-purple corduroy trousers. Behind me the door shuts with a metallic click, and I exhale abruptly. In my hand is a plastic bag that’s almost too heavy to carry. Blood is slowly dripping out of it. I can hear him sniffing.
Eye contact – I’d been warned about it, but I can’t help it. I stare at him, have to see who – or what – I’m dealing with. The eyes are inhuman: small black buttons glittering in the neon light in the cage. There’s no emotion to be seen there, no anger, no revulsion, no passion. Just two black pips moving down my body and back up again.
I try to break the ice by taking the steak I’ve brought with me out of my bag – a bloody, quivering lump of meat. I put it down in front of him with a squashy thud. He turns up his nose, and for the first time I see his shining teeth. A shock runs through my abdomen – pure, raw and completely sensual. Round his neck is a leather collar, linked to the wall by a chain – my only security.
‘Hi’, I say stupidly, my voice cracking. Maybe it isn’t such a good idea to talk in a situation like this, but I’ve never been a situation like this before. My trust in words has often been misplaced, but never so much as now. He doesn’t respond to my greeting. I raise my hand and briefly wave. A silly, useless gesture.
He moves, as supple and swift as a snake. In a fraction of a second he’s at my side, the chain stretched to breaking point. I know that this moment, this one instant, will determine whether I live or die. I was told this when I requested permission: ‘Either he will accept you, or immediately devour you – nothing in between.’
During the briefing I was pumped full of information that’s of no use to me now. That was theory, this is reality – even though I had to sign a disclaimer. Whatever happens to me here is my own fault. Well, fine.
Silence. Cold. He seems to be hesitating between me and the bloody steak. Breathing heavily, he places a hairy, heavy hand on my thigh. I can feel my skin ripping under my red dress; his nails are too sharp. I prepare myself for a terrible, and hopefully rapid, end.
Then he puts the steak into his mouth with a delicate movement and quickly withdraws to the corner of the room. Turning away from me, he begins to devour the meat. I carefully touch my leg – the skin is hanging off it – but I feel no pain. If anything, it’s excitement. About the creature that is so close to me. About what may happen. And I decide to take matters into my own hands.
I drag myself towards him. Wait until he has consumed the meat – slobbering, chewing, hardly swallowing. My offering has been accepted. He seems to have forgotten me. I briefly cough into my hand. The button eyes instantly turn towards me, like onyx searchlights.
‘This is gross,’ he growls. It sounds like encouragement.
‘Yes it is,’ I say hoarsely. ‘Just like you.’
The music stops, because he’s smashed the equipment with his hand – or rather his claw. His brute force leaves me defenceless. As if something is oozing out of me, a switch has been turned. No more resistance, no inhibitions. This is what I want. I don’t know what he wants – no-one does. I drop to my knees and place my hands on his broad hips. He stands motionless. I look up at his form. My own breath condenses in small clouds before my mouth; he emits heat, a live radiator.
‘You smell.’ The unearthly voice, the words he has learned.
‘So do you,’ I say, returning the compliment.
In his world, smell has nothing to do with scent, only with musk. In my world, everything is fake, synthetic, designed. With difficulty I work his trousers down, past the brown, curly hair. He growls. My soft, warm hand worms its way through his curly fur. Was any creature ever so hairy? He rips the dress from my body. Naked, shuddering, I sit before him. My nipples are instantly erect. ‘Can I…?’
He throws me on my back, and we couple. It’s worse and better than I could have imagined. It’s all-fulfilling, I’m enveloped by a deadly force, my body gives way, begins to tear, to creak, is no longer a solid entity. A bag of bones, in a thin, pallid membrane.
Hours, or days, or minutes later, he withdraws. Pulls out of me. The part of his body that is his sexual organ continues to jerk, purple and fleshy. He yawns, as uninterested as he was before it all happened.
A window of light opens high up in the wall. People in white coats are staring at me. On their faces I see horror, admiration, maybe revulsion. I don’t care. I’ve encountered the beast – and survived.
‘Thank you…,’ I say over my shoulder.
‘What?’ he growls.
Then his jaws close massively on the back of my head. Slowly but unmistakably I feel the biting force increase. So yes, here we are. He doesn’t want me to take the evidence of his weakness away with me. What has happened has happened – and will remain here. I accept it and abandon myself to the destructive force of his bestiality, his love.
Slowly the window darkens.