Naarm/Melbourne/ Writer

It was the full moon of May, so bright it made sleep tumultuous—for me and everyone I spoke to after next day’s sunrise. All my dreams were fuelled by anger, my anger, the anger of others. All but one.

I was in a huge mansion. Its centre was hollow on the top floors, each landing a square balcony with rooms jutting off. I was in a room with my little brother, who was older, who was my waking cousin. He was playing video games and I told him he had to go to bed or his parents would be mad. He was angry, vitriolic, he wouldn’t go. He and his friends were facing the television, mostly other tween boys. One though was a woman in her early 30s and I wondered why she was here, why she was hanging out in a posse of these annoying boys. She was wearing baggy shirts and skirts and I clocked her as a total nerd. I resigned myself and stopped caring about my brother’s bedtime.

Eventually the nerdy woman through friendliness led me to another room in the mansion, with wooden floors and an empty centre, any furniture inside it on the room’s edges. She befriended and I was becoming endeared. Gradually she began to change form, her clothes becoming less frumpy, black and tighter. She had long, thick dark hair.

She was the Queen of Hell, going incognito as a DND player and she’d brought me here to seduce me.

The Queen of Hell was turning me on. She made me her erotic toy for hours, ending with a spanking session that left me senseless. I’m in raptures. There is a mounting tension, although I’ve been spanked unconscious: how will I manage to hide this from my lover?

In the mansion he’s running up the stairs, he’s following the trail. I’m not at the top of the stairs. The Queen of Hell is opening a portal and she’s taking me back to hell to finish the job and fuck me.

There’s a view of her house from afar, from above, it’s moving closer to her fly-screen door, there’s no one around. Her voice is narrating a picture into her inner world: I’ll be an old sovereign, she’s saying. I’ll stop fooling around, I’ll even wear make-up. She’ll capitulate. One day she won’t be adventurous anymore because she’ll make hell stable, a republic for people to live in well. She’ll be diplomatic with political power. She’s so serious, so lonely. The view stops just before going inside her house.

She arrives on her porch. It’s an old weatherboard, California bungalow the view to the left, in the background is cane-fields. It could be sunrise, it could be sunset. In front of her house are firs. She’s carrying me unconscious over one shoulder.

At the same time a man arrives on a motorbike and he’s brought another motorbike with him—hell is magical. ‘This is how she’ll get back,’ he says. How I’ll get back to the world of the living. The Queen says, ‘What, this piece of junk? It’s just a human motorbike, it runs on fuel.’ He says, annoyed, mostly seeming hurt she’s been dismissive, ‘What do you want? You want me to send her back on a hell bike?’ After a pause he says ‘You’re never here anyway.’ He’s hurt. He’s her consort and she’s never home. What kind of love is theirs?

They share a look but the Queen of Hell says, ‘Right. Leave us now.’ She’s not upset, she doesn’t want to think about how he’s feeling. She takes me through the old, flyscreen door into the dim shadows of her house. The bike waits on the porch for me to return and the cane fields sway in the gold of the horizon.

My lover can’t find me. He is my lover but now he takes the aspect of a detective from the television show I’ve been watching. He’s going to follow the clues, there is a suspense about how he’ll find me. He’s running up the wooden flight of stairs in the mansion, past the mahogany furniture. He tells the rest of the police team that he will find me.

On the top landing is a day bed parallel against the wall, between a door and a bookshelf. It’s covered in debris, like planks of wood, books, a red doona cover, making little nooks. My lover reaches in and finds a book that is a clue towards hell. A suspense drops—will I be found out?

My lover inhabits his real, waking aspect this time and he finds me on the bed. He asks me where I’ve been and I say drowsily that I’ve been up late. The bed, the wood, is smeared with sexy oil. Maybe I am too. Surely there’s some infernal mark on me, revealing what I’ve done? He is suspicious but he doesn’t say anything, he is quietly wounded, characteristically stoic and selfless.

I wonder with longing how I’ll make it back to the Queen of Hell.

© Neptune and Manisha Anjali

© Neptune and Manisha Anjali