Burn Mark

by Galloway

Most people thought he was crazy, wandering around the campus looking for unspent matches, partially full matchbooks, half full lighters, anything that would burn.

He could hear them mocking him in their thoughts. They didnít know. How could they? She needed these things to light her way back to him, to find him again. They would turn away, trying to avoid watching him digging through ashtrays and garbage cans, searching always for unburned sulfur, trying to avoid the blasphemy of his face. He was handsome once. Now, his face was a molten mass of scars, his scalp scorched raw with places where no hair would grow. He only recognized his face in the mirror by the look in his eyes: wistfulness and desire, lit within by his memory of her.

He saw her for the first time when he was a young man, out of the corners of his eyes when he was lighting a stick of incense to mask the sugary-ropy smell of marijuana in his room. Smoke enveloped her, writhing black garments around supple limbs, eyes like coals in her livid face. Then the match burnt out, and she was gone. At first, he wondered if he had gotten a hold of some really good stuff this time. But this was the last of what he had from his connection, and it had never hit him like this before. He remembered walking across the room to turn on the stereo and put a towel along the crack at the bottom of the door, passing through where he had seen her standing. His hair stood on end from the remaining electricity of her presence, the intense scent of sulfur in that spot. When he looked down he realized that the carpet was scorched from where she had been standing. On the ceiling was a smudge of soot. Her smoky garments had left traces in his room, a dusting of lampblack on the back of a book, the lingering tang of burnt matches on his discarded jacket.

The next night he tried to see her again. He sat on the edge of his bed and lit a match to light yet another stick of incense, eyes roving, hoping to see her shadowy presence and burning eyes once more. Laughter behind him like the crackle of fire, the popping of embers and the scent of burned sulfur. He could feel the weight of her hand, and its warmth through his shirt, his skin tightening, blistering under its intense heat. He felt the skin rupture and the dampness of the fluids soaking through the thin fabric, the smell of charred meat reaching his nostrils. The agony was exquisite, yet he never cried out. Her smoky breath on his neck, singeing the fine short hair, her kiss a tongue of fire on his neck, feeling the skin pucker and crisp where her lips touched him. He turned his head to look at her, only to gaze into empty space, a thin dribble of clear fluid from his suppurating skin. The next day he wore a turtleneck and long sleeves, even though it was mid July. His mother wondered about him.

The following night, he tried to summon her once more. His blisters had closed over with small encrustations from the fluids. He had to move carefully, or they would open up again. He prepared for her this time, setting out candles, a full book of matches at his fingertips. He lit one, and waited, watching the small flame burn down to his fingertips, watching his nails char at the edges, waiting for the smoldering scent of sulfur and the crackling sound of her laughter, the agony of her caress. Pain, as his fingertips started to burn, but still he wouldnít blow out the flame. He let it burn out, and when that small spiral of smoke rose toward the ceiling he knew she was there, ruffling his hair with her molten fingers: he could smell it burning. Why wouldnít she let him see her? He had only had two glimpses of her exquisite body clothed only in a diaphanous veil of smoke, burning eyes in her sinful face. Did she have wings, or horns? He didnít care. He wanted to be consumed by her, curious about how much he could take.

He reached back and grasped her hot hand in his, his cool flesh hissing as her body heat began to scorch him in those first instants. He licked the palm of her hand, the wetness evaporating as soon as it touched her, the tip of his tongue swelling from the burns. She was almost in his gaze, he could see her in the periphery of his vision, stroking one breast through the smoke, the nipple hardening, the pale flesh like marble with veins of fire licking along her body. The smoke parted like a gown, was it pubic hair or a flame between her thighs? He never dared to look, afraid she would disappear. Her fingers on his chest left smoking trails on his shirt, the slight bit of hair on his chest crisping. Her fingertips brushed the metal buttons of his jeans, and they heated instantly leaving a trail of blisters on his belly and groin. He moaned in rapturous pain as she undid the fly, and the buttons began to glow a dull red. He never flinched, even when the back of the steel buttons burned his erection leaving a trail of blisters down the shaft.

Her fingertips incinerated flesh as she stroked the length of him, his fingers locked in fists on the bedspread, teeth in his lip, the shriek of pain and ecstasy trapped behind his closed mouth. When he climaxed his semen smoked and dissipated as it fell on her hand. The next morning, the blisters on his penis throbbed mercilessly, bloody circles marring the tender flesh. When he came home that night and lit candles in his room, just the scent of sulfur from the matches roused him, his erection straining against the fabric of his jeans, the livid burns excruciating. He could barely withstand gliding stroke of his own hand on his member. Somehow the cool oil he had chosen left his sensations dull. He took hold of one of the candles and tilted it, the hot paraffin matting his pubic hair to his skin, raising new welts and burns at the base of his penis. When he held the open flame to the underside of the head he came so hard he nearly passed out. Smothering the flame that had adhered to his hair, he lay back, and dreamed of her burning mouth on him, flesh melting away as he dissolved into her, smoke spilling from her mouth as she sucked him into her, like diving into a volcano.

She came to him again that night, the scent of smoke and expended sulfur waking him out of a deep sleep to see her glowing coal eyes in the dark, her laugh the sound of embers shifting deep within a furnace. He could feel the trails of flame on his chest where she caressed him, his lips cracking and blistering as she pressed her mouth to his. Her long fingers caught in his hair, which began to smoke almost at that instant. He can smell the sheets beginning to scorch where her knees are pressed into the fabric as she moves astraddle his hips. He could taste copper in his throat as his lips split and began to bleed. She blew a hot breeze across his chest, and the edges of his nipple fell away in powdery ash, the only relief from the burning was the bloody fluid seeping from his scalded flesh. He felt like an overripe fruit, fluids straining underneath a too tight skin, ready to burst when brushed against.

He entered her in a hiss of steam, and his pubic hair caught fire. The small flames licked up towards his navel as he began to move, holding her hips slightly above him as he drove into her, the skin of his penis sloughing away as the heat of her opened up the old wounds and created new ones. He was beyond caring, beyond heeding the blood and ichor that flowed down the shaft, pooling under his scrotum, fever burning in the blood. His hands stuck to her body, like meat adhering to a skillet. She moaned and a trail of smoke wreathed from her lips, and he could only keep thrusting to his own heartbeat, her fluids burning him like acid, the sensation so intense that he nearly lost consciousness when his nerves caught fire and his orgasm ripped through him and left him trembling. His shredded flesh shuddered as the last of his culmination dissipated. He didnít even care that the sheets were on fire, the lamp cord melted to the table, his skin blackened and fissured, throbbing to his heartbeat. He tried to fight the paramedics and the firefighters when they broke down the door. She was just beginning to coalesce again out of the smoke: couldnít they see that they had frightened her away?

Even to this day, he wears her caresses on his chest and back, his member a gnarled mass of scars. All other women just left him cold, their skin clammy compared to his memory of her, their touch timid. Then he would see a book of matches unattended on a counter top... He would pocket them and retreat to someplace quiet. There, in whatever seclusion he could find, he would light one match after another, waiting for her to appear as they burnt down to the ends of his fingertips, scorching the nails. The scent of burnt sulfur would leave him trembling, his damaged organ erect and straining for a final immolation.


About myself: What do you really want to know about a former Catholic schoolgirl who writes stories like this? What flavor of ice cream that I like? I read de Sade and giggle, I read the paper and weep. You figure it out.

email Galloway

Burn Mark © 2002 by Galloway






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