He bathed the grazes on her elbows and cheek with cold water from a chipped enamelled bowl. The anger in her eyes melted away and transformed into tearful relief. He wiped away the first glittering from her cheeks, his tenderness making her more tearful, his humanity allowing her to drop her guard and released the emotion her ordeal had filled her with.
He held her, a comforting warm embrace, her head on his chest, body shaken by uncontrollable sobs. Eventually her shuddering emotions subsided and she turned her head upwards to look into his kind brown eyes.
They both felt it, they both knew it was probably just the stress of what had happened earlier making them feel as they did, but they kissed. Not a tender, loving kiss, not a kiss to comfort or to thank Michael for her deliverance. This kiss had only one meaning and in its deep tongue-filled depths it gave rise to a breathless carnal desire. His hands gripped her shoulders, gripping harder as their kiss progressed.
Michael pulled off her dress, ripping it further, but this time the tugging of strong hands at the fabric was welcomed and only made her more eager to free his swollen cock from his trousers. She pushed the enamel bowl off the kitchen table, it clattered to the floor, water running across the rough tiles. She lay back on the table and pulled her red knickers to one side. Wetting a finger in her mouth she slid it across her lips to ease his entry.
He stood between her legs, stroking his cock, poised at the gateway to her deep pink interior, its entrance flanked by dark brown, swollen lips. He nuzzled inward, sweet sensations pouring from his cock, through his central nervous system and into his pleasure centres. Her eyes urged him forward against her impossible tightness. He hesitated, but the desire he felt was mirrored in her eyes.
Then he knew, he was the first. He stopped “Are you sure …”.
“Yes” was her reply. She shut her eyes and bit her bottom lip. He pressed forward, through the resistance. She cried out, with joy and pain.
He grabbed the edge of the table to steady himself and slowly, tenderly moved inside her. Eventually their passion engulfed them and the tenderness gave way to reckless passion, fucking as Michael had only ever dreamed off.
She watched Michael’s forearms, thick ropes of muscle tense under dark brown skin, criss-crossed with scars from his work in the mine. Her eyes returned to is face, to his eyes, gazing down at her. He released the table for the moment, slowing his thrusts. He pulled his shirt over his head revealing a broad, well-defined chest and abdomen beaded with sweat.
Michael reached forward and took a nipple in his mouth, sucked for a moment then took it in his teeth, biting with enough force to make her cry out. She raised her chest towards him, back arched, moaning. Michael broke away, feeling the approaching detonation as if he were watching a blasting code streak toward a charge, swift, unstoppable. At that moment there was only the thrust, the need to drive into her as he came.
In the final, climactic crescendo she screamed and the horror of the black pit of the mine called him back, dragging him from his dream. From the welcoming glow of then, to the damp despair the here and now.
Peter was screaming.
“What’s the matter?” asked a bleary Michael turning on his now dim orange helmet light and scrambling across the loose rock to Peter’s living tomb.
“Fuck! It was just a dream. I felt a rat was chewing at my foot. Just phantom pains I suppose. I can’t see me playing football again, can you?”. Peter smiled, but it was a weak smile, his face was now grey-white.
Michael dripped the last of the bottle of water they had with them into Peter’s cracked lips and watched him drift off to sleep, or was it unconsciousness. The smell from his leg was stronger now. Being trapped with a corpse until his own inevitable demise was not an appealing prospect. He returned to his pile of hessian and waited.
Hours, maybe days passed, Michael ceased to care. Peter stopped responding to Michael’s voice then even his breathing became silent. Michael didn’t turn on his light after that, he wasn’t scared of death, he’d seen too many friends die down here for that, but he did not need to be reminded of it by the white-skinned corpse only a few metres from him. The delirium of thirst numbed him to the point where in the blackness, dream and waking became one. He was thankful for that, the pure unfiltered reality would have been too much to bear.
They had split up after only those few months together. Bliss to oblivion in a dozen short weeks. Perhaps they were too different, Michael thought not, but persuading her to stay, to quit the job at the bar had proved to be impossible. He’d turned up there the night before and rowed with her. The owner’s heavies had thrown him out into the street and chased him off.
He sat, in the dark, past midnight, with a half-drunk bottle of beer in one hand. It had been ice-cold when he’d opened it but now it was warm and flat, no solace for Michael in the bottle. He stared into the darkness, watching the stars wheel past his open window.
There was a knock at the door. He ignored it.
Another knock, more insistent.
“Alright, alright …”, he rose and walked to the door. He had almost reached it when it was shoulder-charged open, the cheap lock flying across the room. Outside, silhouetted in the light from the single street lamp were shapes that he recognised from the night before.
There were no words, no explanations were necessary. He’d caused trouble in the bar and he needed to be taught a lesson, away from the premises of course, wouldn’t want to upset the customers. The five heavies didn’t get away without a scratch, Michael got in the first couple of punches, a broken nose, an eye that would swell up and leave its owner a Cyclops for a week. But five against one has only one conclusion. And as the beating went, blow upon cruel blow, on Michael realised that he was being taught a special lesson, to leave her alone. So perhaps the wild words he threw at her during the argument were not so wide of the mark? The bar owner did have his eye on her.
He felt the bones of his ribs crack, dull thuds of kicks to his arms as he shielded his head, the flesh deadened by the blows, only later would the flesh ripen into deep swollen welts and their accompanying deep biting agony. The real pain was the thought of her in his arms.
Hands pulled at him, sharp rocks in his back.
The blackness was pierced by dancing lights, the silence broken by familiar voices. Hands lifted him onto the stretcher, four men with blurred faces carried him to the foot of the top of the drift.
It was dawn, pale pink and yellow clouds were dotted across the sky. The sound of generators driving lighting rigs rang in his ears as he emerged into the new day. One of the mine’s ambulances waited, engine running. They slid him inside, a doctor followed, and a nurse. The doors were about to close when he heard a woman’s voice, beautiful, strong, insistent, a voice with an intent that could not be denied.
She crouched next to him and held his hand.
With a hard, dry tongue, through parched lips he expressed his joy for life in one word, “Elisabeth”