BEAUTY AND THE BEAST BY JEAN COCTEAU 1946
THIS IS AN EROTIC PROSE POEM HOMAGE INSPIRED BY THE SURREALISTIC MASTERPIECE BY JEAN COCTEAU AND BY THE ORIGINAL BEAUTY AND THE BEAST STORY BY GABRIELLE-SUZANNE BARBOT DE VILLENEUVE PUBLISHED IN 1740
There is a darkness. I am in his castle. I have lost track of time. A rose brought me here and a promise keeps me here. His eyes are sad and every night I dress up for a lavish dinner.
Every night he asks me the same question.
“Will you sleep with me?”
Every night I say, “no.”
Every night he leaves quietly and I return to my room.
Every night I dream about a beautiful prince with the same sad eyes of the Beast. I love him completely but he will not let me kiss him and I cry. I wake up with tears still wet on my lashes like the morning dew.
Every morning I wake up wet between the legs with tears in my eyes from unrequited desire.
Every night the Beast asks me, “will you sleep with me?”
Every night I say, “no.”
It is the Eve before Christmas. My first Christmas without my family. I look out the window at the falling snow before I come down to dinner. I am no longer the innocent girl who asked her father for a rose. For my love of flowers I got a Beast as a reward. It has been a bitter year of laying my childhood selves on the ground, shedding them like old petticoats until all I have left is the spiked heart of an iron maiden underneath. I look at the falling snow and it looks like me; pale and weak, almost transparent.
My brain is frozen in this nightmare and my body only comes alive when I dream of my handsome sad prince who will never kiss me. A tear escapes my eye and it freezes on my cheek as I lean up against the windowpane.
If I jumped out this window I would feel alive for a minute of free falling, free from fear, free from sadness, free from desire. I punch a hole through the window and marvel at my fist covered in blood with shards sticking out of it. A shard cut into my wrist and it forms a bright river down my white lace dress. My heart leaps with excitement and I take the leap. The air whizzes past my ears. I feel free as I am free falling down and down into the soft white icy bed covering the dead rosegarden beneath my tower window.
I see the prince in my mind but I feel the coarse fur of the beast on my skin. My body is broken and I am frozen and I cannot stop smiling. My head is cracked open. My legs are broken. He loves me. I see him in my mind and I feel him on my skin and he is sobbing massive salty tears down upon my face. He lifts me up and carries me inside. My world goes black but I am in a bed by a roaring fire.
I wake up and my legs are both raised and wrapped in casts. There are bandages around my head and around my wrists. I see my Beast. He is not a prince. He is a furry creature but I know now that he is my prince. He kisses me softly and I kiss him back.
His fingers reach between my legs and he inserts two thick Beast fingers into my wet body flower. His claws draw blood and I cry out but I want more and I bite his lip till I draw blood. He growls and bites my neck and moisture floods to me. I crave to be filled by him. He gets on top of me and begins to thrust into me. He is massive and almost too much to take but I can take it and I feel alive for the first time in my entire life and I begin to sob uncontrollably. He kisses me tenderly between growls as he thrusts.
I explode and my head swims. I can die happy and I do.
Leza Cantoral is the author of Planet Mermaid and editor of Walk Hand in Hand Into Extinction: Stories Inspired by True Detective. She writes a feminist column about noir film for Luna Luna Magazine called Shades of Noir and writes about pop culture for Clash Media. Her upcoming collection of short stories, Cartoons in the Suicide Forest, will be coming out later this year through Bizarro Pulp Press.
You can find her short stories at lezacantoralblog.wordpress.com