Only in this dream is it cold. That’s how he knows he’s in that place, where there’s no wind, endless dark, and the ground is damp and sticky against his bare legs.
And like always, it starts at the back of his neck—a chill on his skin, making him shiver as invisible fingers cup his throat and feel along his jaw. He doesn’t mind this part so much; once it creeped him out, but the touch has become familiar, the way it taps against his lips, asking for entry.
He opens his mouth, enough for two fingers to slip inside. It counts each tooth, fingers splitting up as they trace along incisors, canines, molars. They rub his gums enough to make them itch.
Does it have teeth? He’s wondered often, whether it’s jealous of his or simply curious.
Both fingers reunite over his tongue, pressing down and rubbing against blank tastebuds. He doesn’t gag, fights the urge to press his tongue against the fingers.
Would it want him to?
He curls the tip of his tongue, tasting smooth instead of sweat. The fingers go still, and he licks them as much as he can in their position. They dig in, halting the reflex. There’s no sharp indention of nails but it feels like a stake against his tongue; the pain makes him whimper.
Before the fingers draw back he closes his teeth, laps at the trapped fingertips. There’s almost—something—he can taste.
Another hand grabs his jaw, forcing his lips to purse. The fingers in his mouth push back in, scraping his tongue, then pull out.
It does it again, and again, and it makes him blush, tingles erupting all over his body. He’s hard, the firm grip on his jaw reminding him how helpless he is in this place. Saliva seeps from the corners of his mouth like a roof leak.
He gags as the fingers push deeper, then he coughs and sputters and the thing finally releases him, pulls its fingers out, no longer touching any part of him. “Fuck,” he rasps, trying to catch his breath—as if this place requires his lungs to work at all.
He squints into the darkness. It’s not like he’s ever seen it but he can feel eyes, so many eyes on him like heat lamps. He’s never felt heat here before.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers. “You—you can come back.”
The air shifts, and the touch that returns to his cheeks is soft, petting him like an apology. Then the fingers trail over his bottom lip, rolling it out, tracing the residual spit along the inside.
He closes his lips, feigning a kiss. The fingertip edges inside but not—not like before, it’s hesitant, not exploring but asking. He sucks it into his mouth, tongue lashing the tip like—like he’s—
The thing makes a sound—a hum mixed with a whine, two or three pitches at once—and though every hair on his body stands up he can tell it’s a good sign; that he’s pleased it.
He gropes along the soggy floor, lying on his back with the eyes still on him. There’s only more darkness above and the cold below but something around him is moving, is alive, reaching out for him and for the first time he’s not afraid of what happens when it catches him.