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Rigor Mortis

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There is just one problem, Lydia Deetz often muses, with making love to a dead man.

The problem is not, as most people might assume, that the man is dead.  All it takes is a few parlor tricks here and there - a seance one night, a game of strip Ouija the next - and even the coldest of cadavers can seem vital again.  The fact that her husband is six hundred years old and six feet under is the least of her worries.

No, no, no.  The problem with making love to a dead man is that Lydia is never exactly sure when they are finished.

It is a simple matter of logistics.  When a man has been dead since the fourteenth century, he lacks certain essential fluids.  Blood, sweat, cum; sex just isn't quite sex without this trifecta, and Lydia can't help but think that for a ghost with “Juice” in his name, he's been drained awfully fucking dry.

Somehow, it works.  Somehow, he enjoys it.  Chalk it up to rigor mortis, or demonic powers, or sheer manly stubbornness.  He loves sex and he loves Lydia, and he makes it work, and work well.

She is never at a loss for pleasure.  She has been bent into every position, maneuvered into every angle, stood upright and bent backwards, folded in half and stuffed under the bed like a discarded murder victim.  She has been fingered, licked, rubbed, penetrated, even looked at or spoken to until she cums, but it is never, ever quite enough, especially as the charade wears on.

At first, their liaisons were as reliable as clockwork.  He was a little pocket watch in her palm.  Three quick words and poof, he was in her bed.

A little undead rumple in the sheets, a nice hot shower to get rid of the clammy feeling, and that was that. Three more words and poof, he was gone.  Too quick to ask questions, too bizarre to analyze.  Easy as pie.  She could pencil him in right after her Thursday night book club with the girls and no one knew she was knocking headboards with a poltergeist.  

Then it got complicated.  Then, she started to trust him.

Once in a while, she forgot to send him away.  She would fall asleep by his side and wake up staring at a lukewarm body like she had stolen him out of the county morgue.  Sometimes he would leave all on his own and come back days later when she was bending over to pick up something from the floor, and she'd curse herself for forgetting to send him back to Hell.  When she was depressed - or more often than not, just a little randy - she'd summon him and let him stay for a long weekend; no one would know, what could possibly go wrong?

Oh, what indeed.

She had gotten sloppy, there was no one to blame but herself.

Now, she could hardly keep track of him.  Had she called him or not?  Was he gone or was he watching her, silent and invisible as graveyard fog?  When he had popped in that last time and made her scream in the middle of the night, had she called his name three times or just two and a half?

To top it all off, the art of making never-finished love to a dead man was starting to wear on her nerves.  No matter how hard or how often or how desperately she climaxed, he could never, ever join her.  It was enough to make her sick, as if the decay and the mildewy smell and the frigid ice-cold skin were somehow not up to the task.

He was toying with her, she knew.  And what was infinitely worse; she was allowing it.

Oh please, who was she kidding.  She was enjoying it.

It was difficult not to.  When one's husband takes perverse delight in invisibility, all manner of ubiquitous daily activities become perilous forays into public humiliation.  She was safe nowhere.  And it made her blood run hot.

In line at the store, driving home from work, sitting in the dark of the movies, out for a quiet dinner at a nice restaurant.  Even book club with the girls; he especially liked tormenting her then.

There was even - she had to admit - a kind of semaphore code involved on her part.

Pants were a challenge; he liked challenges.  If she was stupid enough to wear pants - on her morning walk, for instance - he would find a way to rub all that fabric in all the right places.  More than once she had gone out for a stroll only to trip headlong into a thistle bush for a spot of incorporeal frottage.

Skirts were an open invitation for trouble.  Long skirts provided ample cover for his wrongdoings, and shorts skirts - as rarely as she wore them - would scarcely make it out of the house.  

He could read her panties like a secret agent reads lines of code; white signaled play nice and come back later - not that this had any effect - pink teased that a well-placed hand might remind her what she was missing, black hinted that it was time to pull on her hair hair and bite her in tender places, and red panties...

Well.  Red she saved for very special occasions.

She saved red for those rare times when she would catch him unawares, when she'd find him drifting through the shadows waiting to be summoned, or when he'd hover as a vaporous haze outside her window, stuck between worlds, moping.

Red was the color of revenge.

It was the color of look, but don't touch.  Taste, but don't savor.  Red was the color of stripteases in front of the foggy bathroom mirror while he scribbled furious notes on the glass.  Red was the flush of her own pleasure as she lorded it over his disembodied head.  And who could forget the crimson glow of the magic blindfold and bindings she'd jerry-rigged one hot mid-summer when the moon was full? 

That episode had gotten her into a whole heap of trouble, and a pit of snakes.

Except, when Lydia fell into a pit of snakes, it was not at all a euphemism. Rather, it was a twining, wringing, asphyxiating coil of cool flesh and muscle, which left her skin very red and her mind very muddled the next day.  After making love to a thirty-foot serpent, she was never able to so much as hear the word “rattlesnake” without getting overheated in strange places.

Natural to his unnaturalness, the more disturbing and unholy the scenario, the more delight he took, so he went to great lengths to extract her deepest, darkest, most demented desires. It was obvious from the get-go that she liked being scared - and that he loved making her scream.

On nights when she was feeling especially paranoid and alone in that big, empty house, he would come to her invisible, barely more detectable than a chill leaking through the window.  As she watched in violated astonishment, the breeze would pop loose her buttons one by one and let the goosebumps prickle. If she happened to be wearing something delicate and soft, he had a bad habit of tearing her nightgowns apart as his demonic laughter reverberated disembodied in the dark. She would shriek and wring her hands in the sheets while unseen forces tossed her to the mattress, her screams rising in a beguiling mix of terror and toe-curling titillation.  On those nights, she came hardest and fastest, and when he would finally materialize, she would claw at him desperately; always wanting more.

Then there was one day in the freezing cold of January, when Lydia had come home to find him floating in her bathtub like a murder victim, the steaming water trickling onto the bone-cold floor. She had peered warily over the edge, and with a reptilian death roll he dragged her down, clothes and all, to fuck her like a wet rat.  The water had made his body strangely warm.

He had a habit of hanging himself by a noose in her foyer when she had guests over, always stark naked, often with his hands busy.  Auto-erotic gallows humor, he called it.  Luckily, none of her guests were ever paranormally-minded enough to notice the naked corpse orgasming loudly from the chandelier.

Of course, it got stranger.  At the climax of an explosive and infuriating fight several summers before - one that had lasted the better part of two weeks - he had simply abandoned all pretenses of animation and just lie there like a man embalmed while Lydia did her best Karen Greenlee.  Finally, after using him for her own demented purposes, her raging, violent climax had brought him back to life, and they'd spent the rest of that night breaking various bits of furniture beneath one another, this time for pleasure.

When they weren't horizontal, (or vertical, or upside-down on the ceiling) they fought like no one's business. She'd accuse him of only popping in for a fuck, he'd accuse her of only calling him over for a fuck, they'd scream and throw tasteful early twentieth century vases at one another and end up fucking anyway.  During the rare planetary phases when he could summon a shred of human emotion, he’d convince himself that she was tired of decrepitude, and vanish for weeks, sometimes even months at a time; off to haunt some insane asylum in Jersey or to stir up trouble in a seminary in Virginia.  Once, he went all the way to India, just to watch widows throwing themselves onto their husbands’ funeral pyres. It had been cathartic, he'd said.

None of this, despite what many sane people might argue, makes Lydia want a divorce.  If anything, it makes her ache, makes her crave him with an insane, primordial savageness that surprises even him.  When he returns from his melancholy episodes, she pours over him with wild fits of need; and after these all-night binges they stay up and watch old Vincent Price movies together until the sun peeks through the window blinds.  Sometimes, they are very nearly normal.  Sometimes, but not often.

In the end, despite the endless spring of creative depravity, it is never, ever enough.  Just once, she wants to see him spill over the edge right along with her; to let their filthy necromantic trysts end with a bang, and not a slow descent until he gets frustrated and evaporates.

And so, for the very first time since this whole escapade began, Lydia allows herself to be the sicker of the two. She's done her research, and she knows all too well the dark road she is wandering down.  If she wanted to give her decaying Don Juan his first orgasm since 1388, she was going to have to kill someone.  

At least, that was what the unenthusiastic voodoo shaman had told her via E-mail.  That was how these things were done back in the day, back before there were organ donors and beating-heart cadavers and slightly less maniacal but no less disturbing alternatives to murder.  The voodoo shaman had also told her she should see a psychiatrist, but Lydia was well past the point of medical intervention.

Lydia was also no homicidal maniac, and had no desire to sneak into someone's house for a quick Burking.  Even if she had lost her mind, there was no way a casual murder was going to go unnoticed in a town as small as Winter River, especially if she dragged the body home to have her way with it.  The prospect of lugging home a brain-dead stranger in order to infuse their lifeless, foreign body with her husband's spirit was about as appealing as making love to a gallon of old cheese.

No, she was going to have to get creative.

She had wheedled out - after much rifling through the exceedingly prudish Handbook and a few secretive chats with a bored succubus via Ouija - that all she really needed were the fluids.

The Juice, if you will.

Her beloved trifecta of life force.  

She needed blood.  About six quarts of it in all; the sum total of the average human circulatory system.  Through careful negotiations with the creepy woman who worked at the blood bank - who looked as if she might know a thing about necrophilia herself - Lydia had slowly but surely collected enough bags to hydrate a corpse.

She needed sweat.  This she collected from her own pores, and it took months to acquire the six ounces demanded by the ritual.  She would sit in her shower until her heart threatened to give out, and would squeeze her towels for every last drop.  She turned up the furnace in summer and exercised, wringing out her clothes and siphoning the sweat right off her brow into a vial.  It took time and about ten pounds off her midsection, but she did it.

Lastly, and most importantly of all, she needed a nice, fertile dollop of jizz. Roughly six milliliters in all; bringing the ratio of fluids to a nice, Satanic 6:6:6.  Luckily, her sources said nothing of the potency of said seminal fluid, and once Lydia had filled out all the paperwork for a sperm donor, she made sure to nuke the swimmers in the microwave to avoid any unwanted complications down the road.

The contents of Lydia's refrigerator were disturbing, to say the least.

The complicated part was how to implement the plan.  It had to be done on All Hallows Eve, when the walls between his world and hers were perilously thin.  It had to be done at three A.M, the witching hour, when all manner of Hell was most prone to breaking loose.  And somehow, while still maintaining the all-important element of surprise, she had to mix her ridiculous cocktail together and get him to bathe in it.

Betelgeuse was one for all number of kinky, deranged activities, but bathing in blood had not yet been one of them.  Lydia wasn't entirely sure how to broach the subject without giving the whole game away.

In the end, she opts for the most elegant solution: a bucket.

This is their sixth Hallowe'en together, and Lydia is hardly ignorant of the conveniently magickal number.  She arranges it all magnificently.  She wears her signature cock-teasing red (costumed far too fittingly as the Countess of Bathory) and summons her dead husband just before midnight.  She keeps him occupied with the promise of tormenting the neighbors and their three young daughters, who prove to be remarkably susceptible to spiders.  If the preteen girls hadn't been ten kinds of spoiled and stuck-up, Lydia might have felt bad for the way Betelgeuse made them run to their parents in hysterics.

But Lydia had much more important things on her mind.

At three A.M. on the nose, just as he is finishing up with the girls - one scream for the road, he always says - Lydia springs her trap.

Her two-gallon bucket is hidden behind a hedge between the houses, and without so much as a courteous “Boo!” she dumps the entire disgusting human mess over Betelgeuse's head.

For a moment, he is too stunned to do so much as turn around and look at her; and that in and of itself is one of Lydia's more satisfying life experiences.  She has one-upped the most disgusting ghost in this or any dimension with a prank right out of “Carrie,” and Lydia knows firsthand, that takes skills.

After a tense pause, he shakes himself like a wet dog and sniffs the stained red sleeve of his favorite formal suit.

“What.  Is this?”  he says, very slowly.  It is not the first time Lydia has ever heard him sound genuinely furious; the calm quiet rage that precedes a shit storm of biblical proportions.  

She clutches her empty bucket and swallows, then spews forth the complicated Latin catchphrase that is supposed to make this whole disgusting venture worthwhile. He stares at her, dumbfounded all over again.

She can tell that he is priming some kind of violent retribution, when he suddenly stumbles and clutches his temple.

“Woah... headrush,” he moans, staggering towards her.  

In speechless awe, she watches as the human kool-aid splattered all across the neighbors' yard suddenly takes on a life of its own and soaks into Betelgeuse from the boots up.  It is all over in a few seconds, and for a moment Betel stands on the very tips of his toes, stretched from ankle to eyebrow like a tight catgut tuned by the Devil himself.  

Then, as if he is auditioning for The Exorcist, he doubles over and vomits spectacularly.

It was not the kind of vomit that any living, breathing human could hope to produce; but rather a glistening pitch-black sludge of centuries worth of death accumulated. For a horrible moment, Lydia thinks she might have made a terrible mistake. She is going to kill him!  Or worse than kill him!  Double kill him!

As abruptly as he'd bent over, he stands up, wipes his face, and bounces on his heels.

“I feel like ten million bucks!”  He chirps, his manner utterly sincere. He teeters gaily back and forth for a few more moments and then wipes his forehead.

“Man, is it hot out here or it is just the Plague acting up again?”  He pauses and then looks up into the night like a dog catching a scent.  “I need a beer,”  he says, and then he disappears into the Ether with a pop.

Lydia can see her kitchen light flash in the distance as he seeks out her stash of Conquistador lager.  With a loud hiss of frustration, she rolls her eyes and throws her skuzzy bucket back into the hedge, breaking off the top sphere of the one of the neighbors’ exquisitely geometric topiary. So much for the invigorating power of six quarts of human blood and a dash of semen.

By the time Lydia drags herself up the hill to the house, Betel is on his second drink.  It isn't until Lydia comes all the way into the fully-lit kitchen that she realizes that her potion has actually triggered an astonishing effect.

He is flushed and dewy, like someone who has just climbed several flights of stairs after years of desk work.  His cheeks are rosy, skin glowing like a peach, even his hair seems to have taken on a pale auburn stain. Lydia is immediately endeared - he’d been a ginger once.  She wonders if he'd had freckles.  The smattering of moss on his features is now a bright spring green, and he looks almost elfin.

“Feeling better?” she asks, observing him keenly.  

He slams back the last of his beer, shudders appropriately, and then meets her eye.

“Better. Best. Better n' best!”  He sticks out his chest, stretching, and pops his shoulder blades loudly.  “Aw Babes, feels like I just took a bath in fresh organic virgin blood.”  After an especially bendy cross-body tricep stretch, he looks up at her pointedly.

“Did I?”

Lydia's gaze darkens and his suspicious squinting intensifies.

“No,” she says, voice like magma.  “Something much better.”

This, he knows, is leading up to something.  He puts on his customary devil grin.

“Oh my crazy little witchy bitchy one.  What have you gotten your hands into now?”  

She crosses the room and grabs the empty bottle from his hand, throwing it over her shoulder as hard as she can, hoping it will break.  It does; with a satisfying crash.  Without a pause, she pins him up against the refrigerator, unzips his pinstriped fly and thrusts her hand down the front of his pants.  For the first time ever,  he is hot as a firebrand in her fingers.

“You tell me.” She says, looking him dead in the eye.

“Babes,” he breathes, not at all in his usual voice.  His head falls back against the freezer door and he gasps.  “Babes oh sweet undead mother of Christ don't remove that everlovin' hand or I'll kill you.”

She has done it.  With incredible satisfaction, she watches his eyes squeeze shut as her hand works around him; watching for the first time as he takes real human pleasure from his own flesh and blood.  She moves in closer, breathing in the unfamiliar heat of his neck.  The green field of moss on his jaw is rejuvenated; he smells verdant and sweet; like a wet summer morning.  The smell goes right to the core of her; a moist ache spreads between her thighs.

Hungry to taste this reborn skin, she runs her tongue along the column of his neck.  He moans deep in his chest, finally prying his hands from their grappling holds on the refrigerator so that he can fist them knuckle-deep in her hair.  He yanks her in for a kiss unlike any he has ever given her before; his tongue is hot and his mouth is wet, and he keeps breaking away to release high tenor notes of pleasure; a sound like she’s never heard.  

She knows him.  She knows he's a raging pervert who likes watching and wanking and finding new ways to reinvent the oldest act in the human experience.  But she knows, more than any of that, that it is all a display.  A greasepaint substitute for pleasure that he has made - through showmanship and brute force of will - almost as good as the real thing.

Almost is a big difference, she realizes as he thrusts into her hand and clutches her neck. Almost is everything.

He is making sounds that self-respecting adults so rarely make; the loud ramblings of pure bodily overload that turn men back into nervous teenagers fumbling in the dark.  She barely recognizes him like this, and she wants more.  He twitches in her hand, ramrod straight, and then he moans,

“Lydia...”

It makes her weak in the knees, so she forgoes standing altogether and drops to the floor, bringing his trousers along for the ride.  Groggily, his hands seek her out, but her cheek is already pressed against the length of him, and before he can so much as say “great balls of fire” she has him in her mouth.

It doesn't take long for him to reach a breaking point, and he pushes her away forcefully after only a few moments of deliberately obscene slurping. Her lips are swollen and her throat is dry, and she moans in a half-sane voice.

“Lemme taste”  She leans back in and barely flicks him with her tongue, but he whines incomprehensibly and holds her back by the hair, his head lolling on his neck as if in great pain.

“God oh God you crazy bitch let go of me.”

With a heated sigh she obeys, and collapses akimbo on the floor, her pulse raging.  He takes a moment to right himself and fan his face like a debutante at her first ball, and then he looks down at the hot and bothered woman at his feet, as if seeing her for the first time.  His face takes on its old dangerousness, and he whips off his jacket and shirt until he's just standing there in his rumpled, gaping underwear, growling all the while.

“You had better run, little Red,” he says, and Lydia feels her insides churning like hot butter.  “You had better get your sorry ass in gear.”  

He kicks his clothes out of the way and lunges, but Lydia is already off running for the foyer.  

She makes it halfway up the stairs before he gets a hand round her ankle, tripping her painfully.  Not to be outdone, she knocks him hard with the pointed heel of her free foot and bolts up the rest of the stairs, flying into her room and slamming the door.  He's upon her in seconds, beating on the poor old wood with every ounce of strength he has.  If Lydia wasn't dripping wet with anticipation she might have worried about the abuse he was inflicting on her already tortured house.

At the moment, she can’t be bothered even if the whole damn place caves in around their heads.

“I'll huff...”  he threatens on the other side of the door, using his darkest, roughest voice.

“I'll puff...”  That voice sends tremors straight through her; she leans against the door and moans in a rattling voice.

“I will blow this pieceashit door to kingdom come...”  

She can sense that he is seconds from making good on the promise, and just as he comes barreling towards the door, she whips it open and sends him careening into the dresser.  There is no place left for her to go, but she runs anyway, making it halfway to the master bath before he tackles her to the floor.

Oh, the bed can fucking wait.

Lydia's special brew has suppressed his supernatural powers, but for this task, he needs no paranormal assistance.  She fights him all the while, if only for the pleasurable friction it produces, but he finally kicks off his underwear, pins her to the floor, lifts up her skirts, wrenches apart her flailing legs... and pauses.

He has discovered the final stage of her plan.  He has never faced this panty-code before.  Under her voluminous Hallowe'en skirts, Lydia is wearing absolutely nothing but thigh-high stockings and her own musky arousal.  

“Devil woman!” he shrieks, and grabs her hips with sweaty palms.  She spreads herself at last, practically panting with the frustration of being so close yet so far, and he finally closes the distance and sinks into her.

It hits them both with equal force; the unusual weight and feel and almost suffocating heat.  His head crumples against her neck and he wraps his arms around her, delirious.

“Naked-”  She grunts, pulling furiously at her clothes.  “Get me naked!”

He doesn't need to be told twice, and with a strategic fit of pure masculine rage, her outfit is in tatters on the floor, save for her delicious stockings.  Now they are skin to skin; heat boiling over, and it is almost too much; Lydia's head rolls back and she makes a inscrutable sound quite like a sob.  He smothers her mouth with his own and that is it; they are moving full-force, her head is bumping the wooden legs of the bed; she throws up an arm to steady herself.   

There are no words, no names, no dirty sexy fuck talk like there usually is; there are only moans, and louder moans, and gasps of disbelief.  No 'yes', no 'right there,' no 'don't stop,' all of it is coming out in dark whispers and grasping hands and sloppy open mouth kisses.  

With a  demented wail, he shifts himself and strikes her right in the sweetest place, and her voice gets caught in a series of escalating yelps. They sound like two people being murdered.  The family next door is having a very disturbing night indeed.

The lines on his face draw together and his rhythm grows erratic; Lydia pulls up her knees and pulls him as close as she can, squeezing, pumping him as hard as she can.  Oh please oh please oh please...

Her childish pet name for him flies mindlessly to her lips and she begs, digging into him as tight as she can; taking it all.

“Cum for me Bug, cum oh please yes please Bug...”

“...killin' me...”  He manages, before peeling her up off the floor until they are sitting face-to-face, pressed so tightly together they could shred paper, and all it takes is a little more...  she rolls her hips just so and he is gone, his arms crushing her as close as their skeletons can allow, and he climaxes with a silent yell, his face buried in her chest.

They topple over but still he holds on; she is smashed to him so tightly it is difficult for her to breathe.  She gasps for air as she realizes that the change is already underway; he is going cold against her, his skin is taking on its usual deathly pallor.  Some kind of impromptu rigor mortis has set in, He is as immobile and lifeless as a taxidermy animal, his body has gone stiff with death.

All of his body, she notices suddenly, and she squirms, still trying to catch her breath.  In the end, she can't help it; his cold, hard cock hits her where it counts, and the lack of oxygen sends the jolt right to her head.  She cums in his lifeless arms, shuddering as wildly as his death grip will allow.

He softens, going limp against her, and she takes a deep gulp of air, her orgasm dragging out with the fresh dose of oxygen.  They lie there in silence, side-by-side, for a very long time, until Betelgeuse notices a kink in his back. With a snap they are in bed, snuggled warmly - or at in his case, warm-er under the bedclothes.

Right when she thinks he's finally gone and drifted off to sleep, he opens his mouth in awe and says,

“Do you have any more buckets of scum to throw at me?”

Lydia smiles broadly and curls against the cool skin of his chest.

At long, long last, Lydia Deetz has truly made love to a dead man.