Encounter with a Dorian
by Steven Mathes
***Editor's Warning: This is an adult story, for grownups***
Miles stumbled over it in a poorly lit entryway. He mistook the thing for a pile of trash, mistook a paper-wrapped foot for just paper. Miles fell. He picked himself up quickly, on guard, ready for a mugging. The monster-thing just laughed, laughed in a laugh that mixed gurgling phlegm with the dry rasp of cynical gears. A breeze picked up the cold stench of homelessness.
"Unblemished?" the Dorian shouted. "Unsullied? Kick me harder, kick me! Any stain will make a mark."
Miles gulped down his fear, forced himself toward appropriate behavior.
"I apologize," he said.
Flashing advertisements from down the street strobed over the hideous, half-buried head. Miles saw the bulbous face emerge from the debris, saw crusty lids focus.
"I know you," it said. "I carried your smirch. I carried your foul taint. Where are you now?"
It rummaged through the debris, looking itself over. It wore nothing under the loose rags and papers. It exposed bare arms and chest--sores, rashes, and festering. It flipped aside a big sheet of cardboard, exposing its full length of infection. Miles groped for the door, found it locked. His phone should have opened it automatically.
His phone? In his pocket. Did he forget to charge it?
"Ah, you gave her disease, and I took the the chancre. I remember," it said. "But where did you go? Did you try to reform?"
It pointed to what was left of its livid scrotum. It poked a finger into a small swatch of pink, perfect, synthetic skin.
"Where's your wound?" it said. "Where are you?"
Miles could sense the danger of leaving before hearing this one out. Dorians could pull you in, make you pay for disrespect, for rudeness. This one managed to get to its feet. It came at him, dripping from open sores. Besides, it was the law.
Miles backed into the metal door. It rattled against its steel latch.
"Hah! Unclean, unclean!" the Dorian said. "I see it now. Fear. Guilt. On your face. Your rictus, your dead eyes."
Its breath smelled like wet things rotting. Dry skin flaked away from its lips, and Miles thought it might kiss him. But he also felt something, felt how his lip muscles twisted, curled. He felt a pounding in his left temple.
"Smile," the Dorian said. "Smile like a pervert."
"Please let me go."
"Aren't you soiled?" it gurgled. "What? Surrender brings purity. Embrace me! Rub me."
Miles tried to edge past, but the Dorian slid sideways, grinning its swampy grin. A hot blast of corpse breath staggered Miles. Then cold wind blew his white scarf against the Dorian's shoulder, and it stuck there. Miles pulled it back, but it was stained with spots of blood and pus.