In the elementary school courtyard, the flag fluttered and snapped before the blue sky. Claire waited on the bench outside for the bell to ring. Twenty minutes. But the wind made the fifty-degree day feel colder. So much for fresh air; it wasn’t relieving the rush of blood inflaming her pelvis, making her feel like all channels to her uterus were engorged, muscular, grasping.
Stranger than her fierce desire was that her mind somehow allowed this male duplication—custodian, student. It couldn’t be the same person, yet she was accepting—wanting—it to be. He was too beautiful to be anything but singular.
At another brisk breeze, the flagpole rattled and Claire gave up. She rang the buzzer and would wait in the office if need be. Security was tight these days.
“Hello, Ms. Sorel,” the intercom answered. They could see her from the window. Waving, Claire caught the door as it buzzed. Heat wrapped her immediately, the foyer bright with yellow tile and ivory walls covered in crayon drawings: Poseidon riding a dolphin, Artemis with her arrows, a chariot blazing fire across an indigo sky.
The secretary peeked her head out. “You can go on down to Jeremy’s room. They’re watching a movie.”
Ah, yes, she’d forgotten. More mythology. She glanced back at the Apollo drawing: the man on campus hadn’t been fair and blonde, yet he’d felt like fire. And like quenching water: Apollo slicing through blue oceans, slick, thick, and hard entering the wet canals. In the quiet hall, she could almost hear lead scratching across paper. And then she heard whispers.
Claire paused, pretending to view the third-grade posters. Not whispers, moans wound down the hall. Opaque grey light emitted from an empty classroom. She walked up quietly. Another whisper, and a gasp, like the intake that came with penetration. She knew it. She felt it. Him, his gold-brown eyes hazed, his full satin lips parted, dipping toward a kiss.
With a deep breath, Claire adopted a casual stride, feigning a casual glance in the room. She stopped. He had a woman up against the whiteboard, her skirt raised, nylons dangling off one leg. Those satin brown hands gripped her thighs, boosting her up. His black hair fluttered against the platinum blond of hers. He wore a white shirt, sleeves rolled, dress pants, something a teacher would wear. Ms. Callico wiggled, struggling to draw him closer. Claire felt the same urge grip her, her stomach contracting.
He turned. His full lips opened a warm white smile.
The bell shrilled, echoing through the building. Claire’s heart crashed. She hurried away. Hurried to the security of Jeremy’s class, his book bag, his small coat. His face in that customary concentration.
Patricia J. Esposito is author of the vampire novel Beside the Darker Shore and has published numerous works in anthologies and magazines, including Apparitions, Queer Fish 2, Hungur, Midnight Street, Scarlet Literary Magazine, Not One of Us, and Rose and Thorn. She has received honorable mentions in Ellen Datlow’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and is a Pushcart Prize nominee.
Featured Photo Credit: For Apollo Painting by Carl White