You Want Me

April 7, 2008
By Cynthia Harre, Great Falls, VA

“You are the one with the issue here. You are the one responsible. So why did you call me?”

I realized as I listened that I didn’t wince at her voice anymore, the way its sliding, twanging quality made me feel as if she was a guitar that was slightly out of tune, so that you only noticed how off it was when you were playing something important. I still didn’t like it, not really, but I had gotten used to it. Just like everything else about her. I dug my fork into my meal with a vicious will as I answered, “Because this is your problem. You made this mess, you should at least help a little in the cleanup process!”

“No, it’s not. It’s yours, remember? What did I just say seconds ago?”

Before I could even think I had dropped my fork and seized her shoulders, shaking her like crazy because maybe that would shake the crazy out of her—and me. “It wasn’t! It wasn’t, and you know it! You know it, and you—you changed me, you made me do it, and you try to make me think it was my fault! It’s yours, and yours alone.” I shoved her away from me, and she fell against the bulkhead with a heavy thud that meant she was amused enough by my violence to pretend it was actually hurting her.

Even with my focus back to my work, I could feel her eyes considering me. “Why do you always resort to violence?” she said. “That’s the way this happened, you know. Through your violence. I don’t blame you; it’s a perfectly natural human trait.”

I paused, a long, weary moment, to shoot back, “Just because it was by my hands doesn’t mean it was me.”

“Yes it does. Your own laws say, and I quote—”

I cut her off before she could begin. “If you were to read more of the law than was convenient for your case, then you would see it also condemns you.”

“So what? Your human race doesn’t like to believe its own violent tendencies. Your species outlawed execution. Plus, how long do you think I will be held within a silly little prison cell? You and your people deny what you are: bloodthirsty, violent creatures, just like the rest of the universe. Thus, you allow me to exist.”

I could not deny that she would never stay captive, but there were other things I could and would deny. I gripped my fork with a savage will. “You’re wrong. Humans are good.”

She laughed, or rather made a mimicry of a laugh, so high that climbed into ranges I couldn’t even hear. “No? Well then, why do you have Hell? And besides, what was done is done. It wasn’t so bad as you think.”

“It was.”

Her smile reverberated around the room. “You stick to those handsome ideals of yours. All it does is make me want you more.”

“Shut up.”

“What was that? I couldn’t hear you,” she said, in her sultriest voice.

I whirled around, intending to punch her, only to find that the tines of my already-bloody fork were slicing rivets across her face. “SHUT UP!”

She just laughed, her insane smile bending and distorting the red lines I had just created. Even an idiot could tell she didn’t feel them. “Now we see your true colors. Admit it, human! As much as you try to avoid it, you are violent. Even to that which you desire, you are violent.”

I sighed. I knew it. She won. “Yes. I am violent. But that does not mean I desire you!”

“Oh, but you do.” Her eyes, both cold and full of lust, made me shiver, as they have always made me shiver. “I see it every line of your body. The way you stand, the way you hold your arms, even the way you place your arms—they tell me that you want me.” She glanced over at the porthole, where the fiery rim of the star was just sliding into view, supplanting the dull, gray planet we had just passed. “You want me as much as you have always wanted to be out here, among the bright stars and the coldness of space. Your dream. You cannot deny it, as much as you cannot deny that if you turn your back on me, you will never truly find it again, with any human woman or any human starship.”

“I do not need a woman,” I spat at her, turning once again to my plate. I felt like a glutton, but I was pressing on. For my soul’s sake, I had to finish my meal.

“Oh, but you do. And you always have; when you were a child, even. Tell me, do you still see your mother’s face in your dreams? Or has she simply become an empty-faced doll, a symbol for the horror she wrought by going away?”

“That is my business,” I snarled with finality. She may have taken me body and soul, but she could not make me think whatever she pleased me to think. That much freedom I had.

She fell silent for a while, watching me eat, making sure that each bite went into my digestive tract. She was wary, in her own eerie way. “I envy you.”


“You are able to feel things. Everything is so visceral…so material.”

For a moment, true emotion seemed to cross her features. “You are in the physical realm; the ‘here and now,’ as you would say it. You need not bother with extraneous feelings. Just this. This one moment. This one sensation.”

“Is that why you had me do it?”

Her smile went wider than its usual cheap imitation wide. “Why would you think that?”

My plate was empty. Once again, I could comprehend other things beyond what I had done and what was required to cover it up. In a flash as bright as any the sun outside the window could give, I understood. “I believe that all you have said to me applies to you. Only, you don’t want more; you want less. You want to feel, as I do. You want feeling so badly that you will do anything to feel. But it is hard for you to feel, so you must stick to the two extremes: sex, and violence.”

Her laugh was even more clipped than usual. “You believe you have me figured out, do you, my little human?”

“I’m sure I have. It doesn’t matter that you’re not human. You are still, at the end of things, a mortal. You are not perfect. You want. Just like me.”

Her face was vacant for a moment. Then, a slow, sardonic smile grew, perhaps the only genuine one to ever meet her lips. “I see we understand each other.”

I stood, just as she did. “Yes, I suppose we do.”

She chose to look at the star, now two-thirds filling the porthole, shining its light on us both in our darkness we called a ship. “I cannot disagree with that. If you so please, I can undo all that I have done to you, and your race. You shall return to your old life, with nothing but memories to show that you have been here.” Her voice went soft. “Those, I cannot change.”


Her face turned to me, practically unseeing, asking a question nonetheless.

“I want you, as you said. And you want me, as you know. We cannot deny our deepest desires.” I smiled, even as I banished from my mind the part of me that said I was insane. “We can only deny reality.”

Her eyes focused again, and the look on her face was abstract, but I understood her words, as I would understand her, from then to all eternity. “Come, then; let us not join the cold bodies in your stomach.”

I took her hand. “Yes.” I dropped my bloody fork onto the table. “Let’s go to hell.”

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