The grief and loss sitting heavy in his chest ripened into self-pity, and Josh decided he had done enough thinking for one day. He used an old broomstick to beat the spiders and mice from the thin mattress of the tall, heavy wooden bed set off in the corner. Keeping the rifle by his side, Josh lay down, blew out the candle, and closed his eyes. He shifted position several times, trying to find a comfortable spot on the old mattress, but sleep wouldn’t relieve him of his thoughts. Finally, he sighed and rolled onto his back, his hand cupping the bulge in his trousers as he thought again about Dex.
He could picture Dex: tall, broad-shouldered, thick, dark hair, and eyes the blue of a clear autumn sky. Beyond his physical traits, however, Dex had a good heart. He had protected Josh all through their school years, and it had been no surprise to Josh when Dex had become a deputy. Dex was, above all else, a very good man, and Josh had fallen in love with him over the years. He wanted more than anything to lay with Dex, to feel the heat of the man’s body lying beside him, covering him, feel the prickling brush of Dex’s whiskered jaw as they kissed.
Josh unbuttoned his trousers and took himself in hand. He closed his eyes, and the familiar fantasy played out in his mind. Dex above him, kissing him roughly, his tongue insistent as it filled Josh’s mouth. Josh would feel drops of Dex’s sweat fall from the man’s forehead as Dex thrust the hardened length of his cock into him. Josh had never done this with a man, but he very much wanted to with Dex. He wondered what it would feel like to take Dex inside him, to feel him push past the tight ring of muscle and burrow deep inside.
Josh had experimented sometimes, pushing his fingers deep inside himself, pretending it was Dex instead, gasping as his stroke quickened. He could imagine Dex rearing up as he pushed deep into Josh, his body on the edge of climax. Dex would reach down and take Josh’s cock in his big, calloused hand and Josh would gasp and buck beneath him. Dex’s cock would pin him to the mattress, pumping into him as Dex’s hand coaxed the fluttering tingle of orgasm up from Josh’s balls. They would come together, Dex loosing his seed deep inside Josh as Josh’s semen spilled onto his chest and belly.
With a deep, lustful grunt, Josh came hard. The first shot landed on his cheek, and he gasped at the hot splash of it. When he was spent, Josh lay panting, eyes closed, anxiety melting away in the calming wake of his orgasm. He felt himself slipping into sleep and, though he knew he should clean up first, he stayed on the bed and pulled the old blanket over himself to keep back the chill night air.
Memories disguised as dreams came to him. Flickering images of Agnes as she lurched across the sitting room spun through his mind. He could feel his rifle in his hands but the lever had jammed open. He looked down at the rifle as he backed away and when he looked up again, Agnes stood right in front of him. She reached out and her fingers dug hard into his arms. He struggled to escape but she held tight. Her head pulled back, mouth dropping open wide, wider still, exposing row after row of teeth that glistened in the yellow light of the oil lamp.
Then she dropped her mouth to his neck. Josh screamed as he felt her teeth sink deep into his flesh. He could feel his skin and muscle tear, the hot splash of blood, hear the hungry moan as Agnes tore a raw, slick piece from him.
He awoke screaming, legs kicking, arms flailing. The rifle clattered to the floor beside the bed and Josh sat up, eyes wide, heart pounding. He was covered in sweat and dried semen; dust and dirt clung to his skin in a greasy paste.
As his breathing slowed, Josh looked around the room, picking out shapes and staring at them until the items revealed themselves: the chest of drawers; a trunk; the chair where he had draped his shirt.
The terror of his nightmare seeped from his system and he swallowed hard past the dry residue of it lodged in his throat like a clod of dirt. He leaned over the edge of the bed, fingers reaching for the rifle where it lay in a patch of moonlight that spilled in from the window by the bed.
Then a quiet voice spoke from the shadows: “Let me in.”