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The Kiss War

I was lying on the couch reading one afternoon when my wife walked by and blew me a kiss. On instinct, I dodged it. She looked affronted but kept walking. I went back to my book, but several minutes later, I looked up to see her standing over me. Quick as a bullet, she smooched twice and blew them at me. Double tap to the forehead. I didn’t have a chance.

 

lips

War has never been so schmaltzy.

 

I might have let it go at that, but the next morning I saw that she had written 2:0 on the whiteboard in the kitchen.

“Oh, that’s how you want to play, is it?” I asked.

“Bring it on, jerk,” she said. I made as if I was going back for the cereal but then turned and blew her a kiss as fast as I could. She caught it and threw it back at me.

“Hey, no kissbacks!” I said.

“Sorry, them’s the rules.” She smirked and changed the 2 to a 3.

I entered by the garage that day when I came home from work. I could hear her making dinner in the kitchen. I took off my coat and boots and then crept noiselessly into the kitchen and up behind her. She was chopping carrots at the counter.

“Kiss kiss kiss!” I shouted. “Three points for me.”

She screamed and spun around, throwing the knife at me. It shot past my ear and hit the fridge, clattering to the floor. “Don’t ever sneak up behind me! Are you crazy?”

I assured her I wasn’t. “At least I got three points.” I went and changed the tally on the whiteboard.

“Who cares? I almost killed you.” Then she relaxed. “Sorry, you just really scared me. Welcome home.” She gave me a kiss, then grinned. “One more point for me.”

“What? I kissed you back.”

“But I kissed you first, so I get the point.” She went and changed the tally to 4:3, then staunchly refused to let me kiss her until dinner was over.

“We need to make a rule,” I said when dinner was over. “Contact kisses don’t count. I don’t want to be keeping score all the time.”

“Fair enough,” she said. Then she dove behind the table and fired a kiss at my leg. I ran into the hall and for the next half hour we ran around the house like kids, firing kisses at each other. By the end of it, the score was 54:42 for her.

The next day at work was exhausting and I forgot about our little kiss war as I staggered through the door. “I’m home!” I shouted. The house was quiet. I was just wondering where she was when I saw a bunker of couch pillows built in the kitchen. There was a smacking sound and then another.

“Got you!” she shouted.

It was a bloodbath of affection. I was pinned down by the doorway, still in my boots and coat. I had to take them off before I could even get down behind the couch and take cover. I finally charged the kitchen but it cost me dearly and by the time I reached the bunker and we declared a truce, the score stood at 93:44.

I had to end things once and for all. I went down to my workroom that evening and with a box and a length of wire, I started to create my ultimate project. I brought it up as my wife was in the bathroom brushing her teeth and when she came out, I was standing there, box between us, button in my hand.

“What’s that?”

“It’s a kiss nuke,” I said. “15 million kisses at the push of a button.”

“But, but you’ll be kissing yourself too,” she protested.

“I’m willing to do that.”

“There’s no way this house can withstand 15 million kisses all at once. You’ll be kissing all the neighbors with this. I won’t have you kissing the neighbors!”

“Sorry,” I said. “This is the way it’s going to be. Now kiss this contest good-bye.”

She suddenly started laughing. She laughed and laughed until she fell on the floor. I went over and helped her up.

“Come here, you dork,” she said. She gave me a real kiss and a hug and we stood like that for a minute.

“So what now?” I asked.

She looked up at me. “I don’t know. Wanna have a hug o’ war?”

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A Night of Loss and Grief – Fantastic Travelogue #14

Sometimes you have some amazing adventures you just have to tell everyone about. Read the rest of this account here.

Synopsis: I was hiking in the mountains of Korea when I got lost at night and came out in a strange valley. I couldn’t understand anyone, but I found out they knew Chinese characters. I met a young woman name Ain-Mai, and later, her brother Sing-ga. While I was there, a creepy woman appeared. Ain-Mai and her brother told me that the creepy woman was named Hengfel and came from another world. Hengfel eventually captured all three of us and brought us back to her world. They separated us, but Sing-ga and I got out and rescued Ain-Mai, although I got quite injured in the process. We took shelter in the air vents. Sing-ga went to find water, while Ain-Mai bandaged me and took care of me. Sing-ga finally came back, bleeding badly and very injured.

Night of Great Loss

I had never seen anyone die before, but I was there, kneeling next to Sing-ga when he died. I heard his breath catch, as if he were choking on something and then it just stopped. I kept waiting for him to breath again, but he didn’t. Ain-Mai, on his other side, was starting to become frantic. She was hyperventilating and shaking him, calling his name. Finally, I reached out and touched her arm and she wilted, her arms falling down to her sides.

In the faint light of the moon and stars that was coming in through the opening, I could see that Sing-ga’s arms and face were covered with circular bites. If he had been attacked, how had he gotten away? And could there be things that were still looking for him? I wanted to get away, but I wasn’t sure where to go and I was in no shape to travel.

A light, skittering sound came from up the tunnel. Ain-Mai didn’t seem to notice. She was smoothing back her brother’s hair and crying softly.

“We should go,” I said. She paid no attention.

Something the size of a dinner plate flew out of the darkness at me. All I saw were thin, clawed legs outstretched towards me before the thing wrapped itself around my arm and I felt the sharp pain of it biting into my flesh. I shouted in terror and ripped it off, hurling it savagely out through the grating and into open space. More came leaping at me and I fought them off desperately, pure adrenaline overcoming the pain of my injuries. From what I could tell, they were like huge spiders, with clawed legs and a sharp-toothed mouth in the middle of their body. Even now, I sometimes have nightmares about those horrors jumping out of the darkness at me.

Mouth spider

One got caught in Ain-Mai’s hair. She screamed, but it roused her to action and she fought back, lashing out at the monsters when they jumped at her.

“We have to go!” I shouted, not caring that she couldn’t understand me. I started to move in the only direction that was open to us, out the opening and onto the sheer outer side of the tower. I hesitated when it came to actually stepping out of the opening and onto the rough plates of the outer wall, and it was Ain-Mai who took the lead and held out her hand for me to come out.

I had just taken her hand when one of leaping spider-mouths latched onto my shoulder and bit in deeply. I writhed to get it off and felt myself slipping. Ain-Mai pulled me back to the wall and reached down to rip the vile creature off my shoulder. It gave a thin cry as it disappeared into the darkness far below us.

I did not wait to see if more were following us but gripped Ain-Mai’s hand and followed her along the ridges of the wall. They stuck out at an angle from the wall and were easy to hold onto, but they were also irregularly shaped. My right foot was bandaged and extremely sore, so I hopped along on my left.

The spider-mouths didn’t follow us out. I thought this was strange until I remembered poor Sing-ga’s body lying just inside the tunnel. I was sick with horror, but it came out as anger. I shuffled along, swearing under my breath, spitting out profanities with every hop. I’m not even sure who I was angry at: at the spider-mouths; at Hengfel for bringing us to that terrible place; at myself for getting Sing-ga and Ain-Mai caught with me and in doing so, causing his death. I was thankful for the calming effect of Ain-Mai’s hand in mine, which kept me from doing anything stupid.

We came to a hollow in the outer wall a minute later, which was fortunate because I could not have gone on much longer in my condition. It was probably a dragon nest at one point, but it was deserted and we collapsed into it. I put my back against the stone wall and tried to regain my strength and calm my mind. Ain-Mai slumped down by my side, sobbing. I put my arm around her and she drew closer.

Night of Great Loss

Ten minutes later, she had quieted and lay still against me. I had my eyes closed when I felt her stir. The next thing I felt were her lips on mine. She was kissing me in a quick, breathless way, not romantically, but as someone desperately needing comfort in the midst of despair.

For a moment, it was as if time stopped and the Choice stood in front of me. We were alone together in an alien world. Ain-Mai had just lost her brother and was overwhelmed with grief. She needed me. As for myself, I was lonely and tired and she felt so good next to me that in that moment, I wanted nothing more than to abandon myself to her kisses and caresses.

But then I thought of my wife–by herself and worlds away from me. I imagined her going about her daily life, wondering where I was, hoping I was safe, and I realized that she was the only one I really wanted. Still, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done to pull away from Ain-Mai’s embrace. “I,” I said, and then took her hand and drew out the character for “married” on her palm. I guess she understood my meaning one way or another; she nodded and then put her head back down on my shoulder. She started crying again, very softly, and I put my arm around her again. I didn’t know what else to do.

The next thing I remember was opening my eyes to see the sun breaking over the far horizon. Ain-Mai was sleeping with her head still on my shoulder. Then I noticed with a start that a large bird-like creature was perched on a wall plate next to the hollow. It had wings folded behind it and small arms in front, each with a large golden bracelet on it. We looked at each other for a moment until it put its hands over its eyes and bowed deeply to me.

(to be continued…)


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