Black Petals Issue #97, Autumn, 2021

Love Letters

Editor's Page
BP Artist's Page
BP Guidelines
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
A World of Sensations-Fiction by Michael Dority
Goddess Deva-Fiction by David Starobin
Hunting Ground-Fiction by N. G. Leonetti
Love Letters-Fiction by S. J. Townend
No Content Available-Fiction by Richard Brown
Phantom Smell-Fiction by Daniel G. Snethen
Predatory Peepers-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The Visit-Fiction by B. E. Nugent
The Working Man-Fiction by Christopher Hivner
The Extermination-Fiction By Dominique K. Pierce
Win-A-Burger-Fiction by Glenn Dungan
Counting Time-Flash Fiction by Ramon F. Irizarri
Terry and the Techo-Frog-Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
The Epistolean-Flash Fiction by Harris Coverly
Labelled Rocks-Flash Fiction by Holden Zuras
Along Side of the Road-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Beneath the Weeping Willow-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Half-Life-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Liquid Darkness-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Lost-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Succubus Seductress-Poem by Carl E. Reed
The Crime of Frankenstein-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Brother's Keeper-Poem by Cassandra O'Sullivan Sachar
Razor Beak-Poem by Jessica Heron
The Fall of Vampire Hunters-Poem by Matthew Wilson

Art by Michael D. Davis 2021

Love Letters

S. J. Townend


She couldn’t resist it.

She couldn’t resist its pull, its magnificence. Such royal splendour. It had been this way for her since childhood.

Five foot two of red cylindrical sexiness it stood, outside of the village store, shouting out for her attention, unable to caress her from afar. Anchored to the concrete, she had to put in all the work, but she was happy when she was near it, even though it would never follow her home.

Monday to Friday at eight forty-five and five fifteen, she’d visit her unrequited love on her journey to and from work. She took the same route each day, the long route, just so she could brush past it.  Often, she’d linger a little longer on a Friday afternoon by joining the queue for the store counter. She’d line up with Crochet Zone magazine and her packet of humbugs in one hand, clasping the letter she had scribed to anyone who could read in the other, and she’d crank her neck and stare.

She’d happily wait, caught up in erotica, until Mr. Haddon the shopkeeper was free to serve. The longer he took with the customers in front of her, the longer she spent with her love, so she’d let others queue-barge until she was the last in line, until Mr. Haddon needed to flip the sign to closed on a busy evening, until she was asked to leave. Peeking back outside at its erect presence, at the tall, pillar silhouette popping, throbbing against the light from the low slung afternoon sun, she longed. She’d pay for her goods and leave slowly, stalling a little, knocking something from a shelf on her way out, hoping that she’d timed her visit correctly so she’d get to witness it being unlocked and opened up and emptied of its contents. This was what she loved to see the most. It made her wet with glee.

She felt the curvature and swing of its central door call out to her as the postman turned his key. The throbbing in her chest and elsewhere rose to a crescendo as she watched him shuffle the envelopes from the depths of the post box’s guts out and into a hessian bag, and she wished she could sneak in and take the place of the letters and curl up inside her Love.

Once it had been emptied, if no-one was looking, she’d ditch the magazine and sweets and leave the counter queue early to drift home—to witness such a sight was almost too much for one day. On departure, she’d brush her palms against the ring of bumpy, heavily painted protrusions cresting its neck just below its slit of an opening before grinding the warmth of her thigh against its bottom half if no-one from the shop was watching.

The lady was in love with the letterbox. For years, she watched and touched it, caressed and felt it, filled it with letters to anyone and everyone and no-one. But alas, she knew it was never to be.

Broken hearted and withering on the vine, eventually she settled for a man, Bradbury, who adored phone boxes instead. They spent their weekends cycling around the cityscape, seeing how many pieces of government infrastructure they each could spot and recorded their finds in a leather-bound book. For a while, he just about ticked her box.

Several years passed however, and she grew tired of the fakery, the sham marriage, and all was far from well and a row broke out between the two of them for not the very first time. This day however, things turned physical, as he threw a plate at the wall in their home. He hadn’t liked the dinner she had cooked. Not one bit, at all. So she stormed off into the night, up, and out without putting on shoes, keen to put distance between them both. She pounded the streets in her house dress and slippers until all that shone was the moon, and she found her feet leading her to the corner shop with the post box once more—her childhood sweetheart—and she felt she’d run far enough.

“You’ll always love me, won’t you?” she whispered as she stroked its side. Silently, it replied in agreement. Quietly, it purred like a cat on a lap. Like a ghost, she saw through its inanimate disguise. She wrapped her arms around it and thrust herself against its cold, painted body, finding herself uninhibited by the blanket of night. The corner shop was closed and had been for several hours, there were no people, no Mr. Haddon complaining about her ditching magazines without paying after she’d read them in the queue. This could only have meant one thing—it was to be now or never.

She wanted to kiss her lover. She needed more than a kiss. She pressed her ruby red lips up against its neck and licked it with her tongue. It tasted of vanilla and spice and everything her husband didn’t. She couldn’t hold back. Forty-nine years of repression. Forty-nine years of longing and lust. She slipped her fingers inside its slit and then slowly, entered her whole hand. Before her rational thoughts could stop her, her entire left arm had slid inside and down the letterbox’s throat. Ripples of pleasure rose up her body from her toes to the crown of her head. A swirling, a merry-go-round of passion spun in her solar plexus. As she tipped her head back and exclaimed joy to the world, her mouth fell open with ecstasy.

And then the post box closed its own lips—down and hard and tight on her arm. It ratcheted her in like a ticker-tape timer and seized her hard at the shoulder. Its rectangular jaw cut and sliced and started to draw her torso through too. Red blood and paint slid down its wall and also into its core. The lady let out a piercing scream, with eyes wide and rolling back into her skull, but her shriek was caught only by the wind of the night as the letter box took in her legs and her feet. It spat out the slippers which fell to the concrete, and shortly after, followed her dress. In under a minute the screaming stopped. No-one came to her rescue.

In its belly, her body and limbs were blended and chopped and mashed and pressed; her organs were peeled and folded into letters. The postman came at eight forty-five and scooped out the guts and the lady who loved the letterbox was delivered all over the world.

SJ Townend has been writing creatively for 23 months—not non-stop, there have been breaks for food and sleep. SJ won the Secret Attic short story contest (Spring 2020), has had fiction published with Sledgehammer Lit Mag, Hash Journal, Horla Horror,  Ellipsis Zine, and was long listed for the Women on Writing non-fiction contest in 2020. SJ also has work published with Ghost Orchid Press. SJ hopes that her stories are emotive and take the reader on a journey to often a dark place and only sometimes back again. 

Lurking on Twitter: @SJTownend

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