Collage of a blue sky overlaid by an oak leaf-shaped patch of tree bark

Oak Visions by GJ Gillespie



Cameron L. Mitchell


     With their bodies intertwined, beads of sweat drip down her face and sting her eyes, blurring the world beyond as she reaches out, desperate to catch a hold of something.  The full weight of his body presses down, hard enough to crush her.  When he pulls back, she can breathe again, but then he pushes against her, harder and harder.  One second she’s suffocating, the next she’s gulping down the rush of air, exhilarated by the fact that it can be taken away, so easily.  Drowning beneath the waves, she cries out: more, more, more.  She can never get enough, she’s reborn with every thrust, she’s alive like she’s never been.  Lips on her lips, lips moving down, teeth grazing the bare, delicate skin of her neck – her mouth opens in response, her teeth sink into that pulsing muscle across his shoulder, biting down as she wraps her arms around his back, pulling him closer, and closer still, afraid she can never get close enough.  She digs with both hands, kneading his back with fingers in search of the most tender spot.  His soft, damp skin is more malleable in her grasp than it’s ever been.  The initial puncture surprises her, but she pushes further, feeling the warm wetness soak her fingertips.  He flinches and starts to withdraw, but she pulls him closer, and so he keeps going, deeper, and deeper, and she knows he won’t stop now.  She’s won, the game is all but over.  She digs even deeper, discovering the flesh in her hands is like dirt she can open and shift aside; she hollows out a space to leave her mark – mine.  Better than dirt, it’s so warm and wet and ready to nurture the seed she’ll drop inside.  Wild and unrelenting, she tears into him – she rips his back open, pulling it apart until the skin removed hangs down like wings on both sides.  She’s revealed him at his best, an angel who can fly once she’s done.  She keeps digging, he keeps pushing, and soon they’re covered by the blood that gushes out, drenching them in its warmth.  She sees the red river rising, she feels the current taking them away, yet she can’t stop digging, he can’t stop pushing.  No matter how small, they must close any gap left between them.  Her hand works its way through meat and bone until it finds what it’s been seeking all along: his heart alive in her fingers, thumping against her palm.  She squeezes just a little at first – she squeezes as hard as she can, expending what’s left of her strength, and the warm wet pulp still alive in her hand takes her to a place she’s never been.  It is peace, it is peace at last.  Gasping, her entire body shudders beneath what is left of his.  

     She wakes drenched in sweat, not blood, exhausted and out of breath.  He wakes beside her, the first to speak.  That dream again?   

     That dream again, she whispers softly, staring up at the ceiling.  Before he turns away, she catches a glimpse of his alien blue face.    

     Trying to hold on to the last tremors of pleasure pulsating from a dream that’s already fading away, she heaves a long sigh.  Here in the sticky heat of yet another hot summer night, she knows she can never get inside, not in the way she craves.  Disappointed by the limits imposed on two bodies lying together in the dark, she gazes at his skin, daring to run a finger slowly across his back, her touch so light and hesitant he probably doesn’t feel it at all.  In the morning, everything will change, but right now, inside this lonely moment, she understands just how dangerous love can be.  




Cameron L. Mitchell is a queer writer who grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. His first novella is forthcoming from Running Wild Press; his shorter work has appeared in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Queer South Anthology, Litro Magazine, Literary Orphans, Gravel Literary Magazine, and a few other places. He lives in New York and works in archives at Columbia University. Find him on Twitter: @CamLMitchell


​​GJ Gillespie is a collage artist living in a 1928 Tudor Revival farmhouse overlooking Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island (north of Seattle). In addition to natural beauty, he is inspired by art history — especially mid century abstract expressionism. The “Northwest Mystics” who produced haunting images from this region 60 years ago are favorites. Winner of 19 awards, his art has appeared in 56 shows and numerous publications. When he is not making art, he runs his sketchbook company Leda Art Supply.