Genres: GLBT, Horror, Lesbian
Collections: Midsummer Nights, Modified for Pleasure, Monstrous Desire, Strange Appetites
Editor(s): Lon Sarver
Cover Designer(s): Siol na Tine
Cover Art Credits: Photo by Pixattitude at Dreamstime. Public Domain Bull Shark images from Wikimedia Commons.
Production Editor(s): Erika L. Firanc
Proofreader(s): Todd Michaels
Length: Novella (18,000 Words)
Publication Date: June 1, 2015
Serialization Date: April 21, 2018
Archive(d) on June 2, 2018
Tags: alcohol, drugs, f/f, Novella, person(s) of color, sharks
Content Labels (What they are and why we use them)
One oil painting, lit by a shaft of sunlight, caught her eye through the window. She stepped inside to look closer. The painting depicted two boys swimming in a creek, their eyes wide with terror as they pointed at something outside of the viewer’s perspective. The painting was titled Wyckoff Dock, by an artist named Genesis de Jesus. Wyckoff Dock seemed somehow familiar to Jacqueline, and she searched the term on her phone. She smiled as Matawan appeared in the search results. Wyckoff Dock on Matawan Creek was the scene of several deaths during the 1916 New Jersey shark attacks.
The featured artists would be appearing at the gallery the next night. The painting reached Jacqueline deep inside, a moment of communication with someone who might at least touch upon her own world. She decided to attend the event, if only to get a look at Genesis in person.
That night at home, she found a few photos online of Genesis. She expected Genesis to be a man, but was pleased to find the artist was female. The woman’s hair was a mass of long, black curls, her skin a creamy light brown. She seemed to be of mixed race, perhaps mostly Hispanic, but with an exotic Caribbean look suggesting ancestry from many lands.
Jacqueline forcibly suppressed her excitement. She could expect no special connection with this woman; she was just an artist who painted a shark related painting. Nothing more, she told herself.
The next night, Jacqueline pulled on a snug, green dress and arranged her curly blond hair to frame her face, calling herself stupid the entire time. Who are you trying to impress? She pushed her feet into a pair of high heels, adding a few inches to her height. Really, do you think it will matter to anyone? Inside, you are still a monster to everyone else.
Her compulsion to meet the artist overrode her self-loathing and carried her to the gallery. Jacqueline spotted Genesis immediately, the artist engaged in conversation with a couple in their mid-30’s. Her hair looked every bit as wild as it did in the pictures. The woman wore a long pleated black skirt and a tight top. She was much curvier in real life, with full breasts, and a round bottom filling out the back of her skirt. She stood a few inches taller than Jacqueline. Jacqueline pretended to look at the other artwork as long her patience could bear, but when she found herself within range of Genesis, she waited for her chance.
“Wyckoff Dock,” Jacqueline blurted out as Genesis faced her. Genesis’s expression seemed different as she smiled, as though emitting light and energy. Jacqueline could look at that smile all night. But Jacqueline stumbled over herself, having nothing to say, her mind blanking.
“You like it?” Genesis asked, her voice warm and soft, a little deep and husky. She stepped closer to Jacqueline. Jacqueline nipples hardened and she clenched her fists to stop from shivering. She smelled flowers in the woman’s perfume. “I painted that last year,” Genesis said. “Are you aware of the story behind it?”
“Yes,” Jacqueline said, happy to have something to hold onto in the conversation, trying to focus as she stared into Genesis’s big brown eyes. “Matawan Creek? 1916?”
“The shark attacks?” Genesis said, her smile broadening as she put her hand on Jacqueline’s arm. Jacqueline felt light-headed, her vagina opening with excitement, becoming wet even as her mouth grew dry with anxiety.
“Yes!” Jacqueline said. “I’m convinced that it was, in fact, a white, the white caught by Schleisser in Raritan Bay. I mean, it had human remains inside of it. So if that wasn’t the shark, or one of the sharks, involved, then we’d have to be looking at multiple types, which makes a statistically rare event even more rare. It seems more parsimonious to go with the white as the likely suspect.”
Genesis looked at her with what Jacqueline knew must be amusement. She knew she was getting carried away, but still she prattled on about sharks, unable to stop, unable to anchor herself.
“This is fascinating,” Genesis eventually said, cutting her off at one point as other people waited impatiently. “Listen, I’d really like to talk more another night. Can I get your number?”
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