This is not the place to fully do justice to the work of Rachael Ross, or to their author. In her tragically short life Ė she died from cancer before her 30th birthday in 2012 Ė she had been a highly prolific free-spirited writer, generously sharing her work on various Internet platforms, under a number of different pen names. Wrily calling herself a pornographer, she was, of course, much more than that.
Unlike the other authors here at the Ladiesí Lounge, we had never been in contact Ė when I finally tried to write to her, not aware of her illness, I found that I was too late.
I present one of her stories here, as an example of her early texts that had made such an impression on me when I first saw them, and have been an inspiration for my own writing.
I Am Zero
Copyright 2004 Rachael Ross all right reserved. Intended for adults only. This text may be archived/reposted to free public access provided the authorís name, email firstname.lastname@example.org and this notice appear in the message body. This story may or may not be fictional in portion or entirety; any resemblance to persons and events are subject to discretionary interpretation by the reader. No fee or service has ever been provided to the author for this document, or for product placement. No animals were harmed in the making of this document.
I Am Zero by Rachael
Yeah this is it. Iím done, you might wonder why it took a month. Or, you might not. Eventually time will pass and people will say that didnít take very long, but right now itís been going on forever.
Emptiness is loneliness and Loneliness is cleanliness and Cleanliness is Godliness and God is empty just like me.
One last story huh? One more to kill the fire and put us all to sleep. Sleep is a dream, I miss it. People donít understand how nice it is to sleep even 3 hours without waking up and walking around an empty room. Iíll write a sleep story, a dream about sleep.
There is another story I would tell you first, not one of mine. I think I read it in Bernard Malamud, it matters not. This story was told in the death camps of Nazi Germany, by the prisoners whoís numbers swelled as the months went by. And yet how few of them remained throughout. It is a story to explain death and the inevitability of.
A servant was working in a field sowing grain when he saw a figure approaching. The servant watched the stranger and as he came closer the man suddenly realized it was Death. He dropped his seeds and ran to his Masterís home. The frightened servant took his Masterís horse and rode as fast and as far as possible; he would hide from Death in Jerusalem. The Master of the house heard the commotion and came outside. Seeing his servant speeding away, he approached Death and asked him ďWhy have you frightened my servant away?Ē† Death looked at the Landlord and spread his arms. ďI am as surprised as your servant,Ē said Death. ďI did not expect to meet him until tonight in Jerusalem!Ē†
A rough compound has been carved out of the jungle. A wall of rock and logs topped with razor wire encircles the dusty clearing where some dozen buildings stand. A barricade and sliding gate block the only entrance. Sand bags are stacked around a machine gun to guard the approaches and a tower has been built for a sentryís watch. Soldiers march and shout and practise their lethal art. A dozen prisoners watch, huddled in a chicken wire cage braced with logs and barbed wire. It is crude and barely adequate, but they will not be in there long.
There is a scaffold. Four thick logs making two A-frames 12 feet high and 20 feet apart. A single beam of ancient wood straddles them from apex to apex. From this beam 3 bodies are hanging by their wrists, one is dead already. A man, a foreigner. Possibly a French officer, but it is impossible to tell and Iím not sure why I think this. Heís naked and his viscera is spread beneath his gently swaying feet. The other two are a man and a woman. The man is black, he weeps softly but doesnít speak. heís in the center and he canít help looking at his comrade beside him. The woman is black also, not so old, perhaps only 18; the flies covering her body and face make it impossible to tell. She is naked as well and her breasts have been cut off. A bayonet protrudes from her sex and she will only tell us sheís alive by the occasional twitching of her leg, a sudden shake. Or is it only a death reflex? All three of them twist and slowly turn and the wood creaks softly.
Next to me is another white woman, hanging from the beam of a smaller, simpler scaffold. She is dead, having been hung by the neck and slowly strangled that way. She was raped by three men as I watched. As we all watched. She was dead by the time the second man had finished, but the third did not care. He watched me as he took her, laughing and showing me his yellow stained teeth. He spoke in a language I donít understand, but his meaning was clear. I was going to be next.
But I am not hanging. The have cut the woman down and I am tied by my wrists, hanging from the corners of the scaffold. My feet are two feet off the ground and spread, tied to stakes driven in the yellow dirt. My shoulders have been dislocated, stretched out of their sockets and I screamed when it happened; when they pulled me clear of the earth and suspended me by my arms.†
The soldiers are all black, dressed in green uniforms. One of them, the one who seems to be in charge, sits in a shaded chair under a large tree. He only watches. The men who pulled me off the ground and staked my ankles with ropes are staring at me and Iím so frightened. Shaking and shivering in the hot dry sun. One of them removes his belt and begins to whip me with it, across my breasts and belly and thighs. Heís sweating, breathing heavily as it slaps my skin over and over. It hurts, but not as bad as my arms. I bite through my lip and taste the blood. I twist and turn, but not very far, every movement is agony in my shoulders. I am begging for him to stop, for someone to let me down, to take me home. But they do not understand me, just as I do not understand them. Animal sounds come from me and I do not recognize my voice. Someone else is screaming, I am falling peacefully away.
My skin shines with persperation, it is red and the skin breaks out with welts from his efforts. I think I have passed out because it has stopped and I donít remember when the last blow fell. Or maybe itís like when the sun is coming up and one moment itís dark night and suddenly, without knowing when it happened, itís light. Living in a moment which passes unseen. I feel him in front of me, my eyes are closed, and he is in me, spreading my sex with his erection. Iím dry inside and he tears into me, a thrust lifting me and pulling the ropes tight against my feet. His breath stinks and I turn my head, groaning with the pain of being impaled over and over by his rape. His rough calloused hands are on my hips, squeezing me, digging into my soft sweaty flesh. I am being lifted by his member and the ropes are burning into me, cutting me. When I fall that tiny few inches when he withdraws, my arms are wrenched and my wrists torn. It is impossible to survive and yet I do, I feel his dirty seed suddenly inside me and he holds himself into me pumping into my bloody sex.
I hang there as he picks up his belt and steps away from me. I keep my eyes closed waiting for the next one, or the next thing. I am almost beyond feeling now. My screams and moans and sobs have faded into a dim memory. There is none left inside. I feel something against my temple and I open my eyes. It is the man who sat in the shade, he has a pistol and presses it against my skull. Itís a vivid, incredible feeling. It seems as if he should be pressing my head away from him, but I feel a pressure, pushing me towards him, against the barrel of his gun. I realize it is me, I am leaning against it, turning my head so I am pushing his hand back.
I look at him and I say ďWhy are you doing this?Ē
And he says ďIíve been down here, in the fire with you too long.Ē
He pulls the trigger and it is ended. A bright explosion and then I wake up. It is the only dream I have in which I actually die. And Iíve had it 4 times that I can remember. I donít know what he means, I donít know what it means. I donít know why I feel excited and aroused and my heart is racing when I wake up from this nightmare. If youíve come looking for answers, I have none. And now I am going to sleep, and who knows? maybe Iíll even wake up.
Thanks to Billy Corgan and Smashin Pumpkins for ďZeroĒ which I listened to about 13 times while writing this And ďBallad of Hollis BrownĒ, Bob Dylan (1964) The Times They Are AíChangin (LP) only 5 times, but itís enough Ė Try it.