Manzano Mountain Review is an online New Mexico literary journal affiliated with UNM-Valencia.

Storm God

by Cat Reece

He knocked at midnight. It wasn’t too terribly late, just too terribly cliché.

He leaned against the door frame, and his white shirt stretched across his sinewy torso, straining against his posturing.

He had five more tattoos than he did the last time I saw him, a year ago. It only took me three seconds to count up the additions.

“Can I crash here?” He smiled and breathed stale smoke with the scent of electricity. There was the linger of ozone about his figure.

“We’re not going to sleep together,” I told him. I didn’t mean it like it sounds.

“I know,” he answered. “We’re not. I haven’t slept in two years.”

Apparently he had still not slept since the night he slumbered in the crook of my arm; that night almost destroyed both our hearts. Mine was more porcelain than his, I knew, and I would not survive a repeat.

We had both fallen asleep, our dreams got tangled in one another and we lost ourselves. Sleeping next to a slumbering god is risky at best, especially for us. His dreams drew mine with electric surge and pull and I would forget my own self.

“You sleep. I’ll just be,” he finished.

“Fine.” I led him upstairs. He stripped off his jacket and left it across the banister. The familiarity of the sight was a knife in me.

I laid down, facing away from him, and he settled beside me.

When I awoke, I felt in his gaze that his eyes had not left me once through the night. He leaned forward and pressed his nose against my cheek, breathing deeply. There was a brief static shock in the brief instant that his skin first contacted mine. Minor, compared to others we’d had, but it was enough.

He left. I briefly shed a few tears into my coffee, then dressed myself for work.

When I went to bed the next night, the sheets still smelled like linseed and lightning. I cried myself to sleep, hoping the salt would neutralize the lingering scent.
Cat Reece is a high school Humanities teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her writing has been featured in the online poetry journal Watermelon Isotope and her fiction will be featured in a forthcoming Craving anthology through Limitless Publications in November 2017.