The story of an imaginary friend becoming something altogether darker.
When I was a child I had imaginary friends as many kids are want to do. Different ones would come and go but one would always remain and she was my favourite. Her name was No-mouth.
No-mouth was like a silhouette in 3D. Like a gimp, a woman dressed from head to toe in matte black so that her features were obscured like a smoothed and polished shop-keepers dummy. She had no mouth, no eyes, no features at all, just her smooth, black female shape that danced and curved pirouetted amongst the shadows. I loved her as only a little boy could, this imaginary fetishist, and she loved me back. My childlike mind saw only beauty and grace and I'd play with her at any opportunity I could.
The problems began when I started school.
No-mouth was extremely jealous and didn't like me playing with the other children. She'd trip scare them with gross things, which was funny at first, but when I got the blame I was upset.
"It wasn't me!" I'd proclaim. "It was No-mouth! She did it."
Despite my protests I'd receive a stern look and some time out on the naughty bench. At least No-mouth was there to keep me company but often I would be annoyed at her and she would sulk angrily.
When I was ten years old, I was bullied terribly. Everyone else had grown out of their imaginary friends, but not me. I heard the grown ups talking about me, a late bloomer they'd say. Other kids would pick up on this but No-mouth kept me safe. The worst of them though was Steven Park. Steven beat me up once after school and left me with a blood nose and a black eye. I'd cried all the way home while No-mouth danced and pranced and tried to raise my spirits.
The next day, Steven was gone. They found his body three weeks later, wrapped like a mummy in black electrical tape from head to toe. The schoolyard rumours flew back and forth. They said I had done it, the lonely kid that stuck to himself and played pretend, the weird kid, the outcast kid.
But it wasn't me. I think it was No-mouth, protecting me. And scaring me.
By the time I was fifteen I had almost forgotten about No-mouth. She been relegated to my sketchpad, no longer a playmate or friend but a figment of my imagination, an inspiration, my muse. She featured in all my drawings, some of which won awards around school. I had dreams of being an artist. Some of the girls at school found my macabre, fetish art intoxicating and one girl in particular caught my eye. Katy. Katy Stiles.
Even though we were underage, we managed to sneak into an underground fetish club, clad in latex and rubber. The air in the basement club smelt of rubber and sex and we danced under the thundering beat for hours. Briefly, I thought I saw No-mouth there amongst the patrons, staring at me without eyes, her face the smooth, latex ovoid I had always imagined it to be. I was high on the atmosphere and getting drunk, I told myself, when Katy pulled me into the back room of club and unzipped my trousers.
I felt dizzy, perhaps my drink had been spiked I idly thought, as my sight faded in and out in time to the beat of the music. Between flashes I saw Katy over me, pushing me to the ground and wrapping her self around me. Next, I saw No-mouth writhing on top of me, felt myself inside her, cold and empty as if I were an hourglass emptying into it's lower chamber. Next, darkness.
When I woke up, I was alone. The party was gone, all signs of the club disappeared. I was in an abandoned basement, the rusted door hanging ajar. Dizzily I had made my way home through the town in my rubber clothes, much to the amusement of passersby, to a mother worried sick. I'd been gone all night without a word. The police were waiting there.
Katy hadn't come home last night either, like I'd assumed when I woke up to find her gone. When I told them about the club, they said they'd look into it. Later on, they'd said there had been no evidence of any kind. It was obvious they suspected me of something, but they had no evidence. They let me go, but the rumours started again, whispers I was a freak that got off on latex and murder.
They were half right.
After that night I began to see No-mouth in every shadow. She'd follow me everywhere and I'd feel a thrill of excitement. I'd come to the belief that it was her, not Katy, that had taken my virginity in the back of the club. I was intoxicated, I wanted to see her again, needed to see her and when the call came in that Katy's body had been found, suffocated in a gimp suit in the woods, I didn't even care.
I knew No-mouth was jealous, so did everything I could to supplicate her. I moved out of my parents house. My drawings of other imaginings I burnt in tribute to her, to prove she was my favourite, my only, but she didn't come, only ever flittering on the corners of my vision.
I stopped going out and locked myself indoors and still she didn't come. Finally, I lay on my bed in despair, wrapped in a rubber suit from head to toe so I could barely breathe. As my breathing became laboured in the darkness of the suit I finally felt something against my thighs and heard the squeak of rubber on rubber.
She'd come, she'd finally come.
No-mouth was always my favourite.