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Fiction Contemporary American

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

Bonnie Zelenak                                                          

Form vs Function

Hands touching, soothing. Minds susceptible, hopeful. Hands joining, exploring. Minds uncertain, trustful.

Legs rubbing, entwining, holding. Lips meeting, Minds wanting. Shoulders supporting. Arms grasping.

Sensory cortex firing. Breathing quickening. Skin moistening. Hips thrusting. Groins vibrating. Medial lobe playing. Cerebellum signaling. Thighs, glutes, abs tensing. Anterior circulate cortex dancing. Dopamine releasing. Decision-making control receding. Clitoris, vagina, cervix activating. Penis firing. Pleasure climaxing.

Minds blowing. Bodies calming. Mood climbing. Relaxation rising.

Napping happening.


Waking, he reflects. Wonders: What’s he done? Untangling limbs, she gazes. Her desire hums. Shocks.

She dresses … “I’m leaving.”


“It’s eight a.m.”

“Stay… Please.”

Unfolding, he stands—noiseless, cat-like. comfortable, bare-assed, beautiful—and smiles. “Coffee?”


Hands reach. Thighs touch. Glances linger. Shyness ensues. Embarrassment rises. He pours. She sips. He gazes. Flirts. Wants. Wants more. Now. And forever?

She turns. Reticent. Embarrassed. He lifts. Embraces. Kisses. She cries. Resists. Turns away. Heart pounding, he holds, inhales, awakens. “Stay.”

“I can’t.”



“I need this. You.”

“You don’t. You want an image.”

Thunder strikes. Torrents of rain. Gullies of water. Rivers of fear. And turmoil. “You’re frightened. Don’t be. I’m here.”

Battling fear, fantoms, ghosts, goblins, she shakes. His arms enfold. Protect. Support. Emotions brew, boil, burst. Nerves spark, scrape, shatter. His support: relentless, strong, unflagging, sustained. Her resistance: wild, frenzied, adamant, absolute.

 Willing wellness. Insistent, incessant. Sustained, relentless. He waits.

“Stop. Give up! Let me be.”

“No. You’re mine.”

“The price, your mind.”


Hours, days, weeks, they're alone. Testing. Hoping. Fighting. Pain, fear, fury unfurl. Exhaustion, confusion, and sadness linger. Then dissociation. And arousal. Useless. She seeks escape. Fights, scratches. “Release me!”


A prisoner. Aroused and unfulfilled. Seeking release, punishment, or satisfaction. “Give yourself to me.”

“You’re sick.”

Super-charged, florid, hot. Wanting, needing. “Give yourself to me!”


“Release me. Save yourself.”

“No. I’m here. Always here. For you.”

Desperate, despondent, hopeless. Exhausted, depressed. Silent. Sullen. “Leave!”

Flowers, fairies, make-believe. Quiet play time, puppet shows. Kissing, holding, hoping. Praying, believing. Resenting, screaming. Working, climbing, pushing wellness. Friends and candy and nutrition and silks and puzzles and paints and canvases. Anything and everything. A final push.

Or… insanity?

Crushed, despairing, he’s caught. Hopeless, huddling, he stares. Sees nothing.

She awakens. Sees. understands, empathizes. Hides.

Motionless, unfeeling, he stares.

She shrieks. Pain sears, terrifies. “Don’t leave me,” she implores, touching.

Catatonic, cold, despondent, he remains.

She punches, smacks, scorches. “Come back.”

He stares.

Heart pounding, eyelids bouncing, blood flowing. She screams horrific, loud, desolate bursts.

He blinks.

She runs, leaps. Ensnarls, squeezes, holds, caresses.

He blinks.

She hums, rubs, licks. Tastes. Remembers. “Don’t leave. Don’t you dare.”

He rouses. Shudders. “No?”

“Never. Don’t you dare.”

“You know me?”

She smiles. “Of course.”

“You want me?”

“I want you.”

“Are you well?”

She licks, bites, bleeds. Considers. “No.”

He laughs, squeezes, nuzzles, smells. Remembers. From before. Sees her. Sees more. Wants more. “Be well.”

Head down, body limp. “For you.”

“Yes. Stay well?”

She rallies, caresses, kisses. “Yes. For you.”

Troubled. Tormented… Considering, he brews. “No. For you. Stay well for you. Then me. Maybe.”

Doubtful. Contemplating. Compromising. “Okay.”

Cot by open window. Breezes, rustling. Curtains swishing. Dogs barking. Outside voices, singing, footsteps. Cars rumbling, horns honking. People living, laughing, crying. Raucous city sounds. She sleeps… Sees sun, clouds, blue water. Boats and seaweed and dunes and drifting sand. Sand castles and children. Hers? When? Gone? Real? Imagined? Turning, he’s there. Watching. Studying. Noticing. Loving?

“Stay. Be mine. Today, tomorrow, for all time.”



“Yes, maybe.”

Strength returns. Hope rises. Tomorrow exists. “You’re mine.”


“No maybes. You’re mine. Now, tomorrow, forever. And before. Always.”

Laughing, she holds, squeezes. Embraces. And wonders: “Before?”

“Absolutely. You know. You feel. No surprises. Truth, reality.”

“I don’t know. Daydreams. Fairy Tales.”

“No. Reality. Socrates is no fool. Think. I know you. Always knew you. Always will.”


“Goodness, truth, beauty. You. Always and forever. Eternal. Unchanging. Mine. Forever.”

Silence. A tilted head, folded arms. Resistance.

“The ideal form. Perfect.”

“Not me. Never. Never perfect. Flawed.”

“Perfect. The ideal form, intellectual essence.”

“Imperfection is who I am. Alive today. Rotting tomorrow. Buried or burned.”

“Your body, imperfect. Scarred. Changeable. Confused, frightened, terrified, vulnerable. Your body will die.”

She shifts. Glares. “You scared me. Left me alone.”

“You were ill. I was lost. Couldn’t connect, love, reach you. My body, sick. My soul, missing. But your soul is perfect, immortal, unchanging, seeking wisdom. Reason is power. Reason frees you. You brought me back. Your soul sought good. You persevered.”

She slouches. Resists, rejects. Too much. Expectations are too high. Never perfect. “Time to go. Call it quits.”

“No. You came back. You’re well. I’m well. I need you.”

“You need a dream. Not me. I’m real, flawed, exhausted. I’m leaving.”

“Don’t go.”

“Staying will kill me. You need, demand, assume too much.”

He weeps. Wants consoling words. Seeks physical contact. Loves her soul.

She accepts mortality, death, love, hatred, hunger, comfort, beauty, brutality, sexuality, sterility, all of it. All life’s good. All life’s flaws. Rejects talk of the mind. Too exhausting. Too esoteric. Too futile. Too… too much. “One for the road?”

He straightens, moves toward her. Breathing quickening, pulse rate jumping, skin dampening, body hardening, pupils dilating. But reason kicks in. “You’re punishing me. Proving your point.”

She laughs. “You’re too easy. Too quick to assume. You’re human. A man. A young, healthy (usually), sexual being. Admit it. You want sex. That’s what’s on your mind right now. I see it on you. Smell it. Your desire has your scent. Your taste. Which I like. I’ve inhaled and tasted you. You’re a feast. You’re unique. Your body matters. And there’s more. You want good food, and wine, and women. Many women. You want me. In bed. Not my soul, immortal or otherwise, or my brain, or my ideal self. You want me in bed. And when I’m not here, others will follow. You won’t be celibate or monogamous. You won’t, can’t fool me.”

“I want you, Bree. You.” His eyes linger. His heart pounds. The room swirls. He aches. He’s losing her. His world shrinks, joy plummets. Tears fall, he sobs.

Eyes sullen, she walks out the door.

February 22, 2023 04:38

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1 comment

Kendra Lindholm
21:35 Feb 28, 2023

Definity feels fragmented, yet the tension still shines through. Good use of prompt!


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