Hello, Internet! Asta Idonea joins me today for this edition of Flash Fiction Friday. In “A Study in Taste,” we meet Anna, a selfish girl who gets lost between the stacks of the library. Monsters are not only in books.
A Study in Taste
by Asta Idonea
I enter the study hall later than usual and, to my consternation, my favourite spot is occupied. I huff, earning a glare from a bespectacled student seated nearby, then stride across the room. The place is busy and I’m forced to accept a table at the rear. Far from both windows and overhead lights, it’s gloomy and unwelcoming. But I have no other choice. It’s this or return to the noisy dorm and accomplish nothing. Only one other student is seated at the table, and I settle a couple of seats down and take a moment to study my companion.
Her glossy chestnut hair hangs forward as she leans over a heavy tome which, from my upside-down viewpoint, appears to be a medical reference book. She stares at the text with such fierce concentration I doubt she has even noticed my arrival. As she reads, she scribbles notes. I only know this from the movement of her arm; she has her notebook balanced on her lap. A strange place to keep it with so much desk space available, but I figure everyone has their little quirks.
My gaze is drawn to her full, pink lips as she moves them, forming silent words I can’t make out. I notice she wears no make-up; that porcelain skin and those perfect lips are all natural. Kissable lips. I wet my own as I imagine it. My type is usually blonde and blue-eyed, but something about this young woman intrigues me. Aside from her beauty, there’s an air of mystery surrounding her. I know I’ve never seen her here before; she’s not someone I’d forget.
She must have sensed my scrutiny, because at that moment she looks up. I can’t repress a faint gasp. Her eyes are a vivid emerald, the colour more intense than anything I’ve ever seen. I know I should look away, but all I can do is stare. A wave of pure desire floods through me, and I can feel the warmth spreading across my cheeks as a corresponding fire ignites in the pit of my stomach. It takes all my willpower to stay in my seat; I’ve never wanted anyone as much as I want this goddess before me.
When she returns her gaze to her book, I am at last free to look away. I try to open my own text, but the words are a blur. Perhaps another would be better. Moving away from the table for a moment might offer me the respite I need to gather my thoughts and restore my composure, so I rise and head toward the bookshelves. The route takes me behind the young woman’s chair, and I can’t resist a glance down to see what she’s writing.
She moves her hand as if forming words, but the pen nib is retracted and the page remains a virginal white expanse.
She raises her head, meeting my eye, and once again it is as if I’m frozen in place. Then she stands and slips her hand into mine, and I shiver. Her lips twitch into a brief smile, and when she leads me from the room, I follow without question.
The lecture hall we enter is empty and dark. She guides me up the stairs to the rear of the room, far from the door, and presses me back against the wall. The brush of her body makes me moan.
“What’s your name?”
“Anna,” I croak. My mouth is dry and I struggle to form the simple syllables.
“Anna.” She runs her tongue along her lips, and the action fills me with a hunger beyond anything I’d ever dreamt. “I am Mara. I have waited days for someone like you. Do you desire me, Anna?”
I can’t speak; all I can do is give a desperate nod.
Then her lips are on mine. I groan, and the kiss deepens as she slips her tongue into my mouth, tasting me. I whimper when she pulls away, but she doesn’t cease her attentions. She trails kisses along my jaw and down my neck. I tilt my head to grant her access and feel the scrape of her teeth across my skin.
There’s a flare of pain—momentary but intense. When it’s gone, I blink, but everything’s blurred. With my sight impaired, my other senses kick in. I feel Mara’s fingers digging into my skin, holding me in a vice-like clasp. I taste something bitter and metallic at the back of my throat. I hear my blood thundering in my ears and, below it, deep gurgles, like water sloshing down a drain.
My limbs turns to jelly. The only thing keeping me upright is the weight of Mara’s body, pressing me against the wall, and her grip on my arms. The world begins to darken, and the last thing I hear before it all disappears is Mara’s voice in my head.
“Your desire tastes exquisite. Thank you, Anna.”
Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.
Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!
As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theater, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel; all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.