Grigory stared directly into the lens, his face framed by chin length hair, slick-looking and dark as crude oil. The wet, pink tip of his tongue protruded slightly from between his full lips, and a suggestion of a smile played at the corners of his mouth. The gap between his two front teeth was just visible. Zach forced himself to meet the singer’s unseeing gaze. Grigory’seyes compelled everyone who looked into them to delve into their hypnotic darkness. Their inky black colour made it impossible to see where the pupils ended and the irises began, marking them as both exquisitely beautiful and somehow terrible. In this photo they had a glassy look, like the intense expression masked some inner turmoil, which might have been pleasure or pain. Zach could almost hear the quickening of Grigory's breath, the raggedness caused by the stress of his exacting pose.
Zach tore his gaze away from the singer's eyes and let it drift upwards, following his lithe and luminously pale arms with their tracery of veins, pinioned above his head and bound together at the wrists with something black and rubbery, perhaps electrical tape. He took inGrigory’s bare, hairless chest and the clearly defined slats of his ribs. His flat stomach muscles pulled taut across his frame. His low-slung trousers revealed jutting hip bones and a trail of wiry hair from below his navel, leading to a thicker, crisp tangle beneath his waistband.
Lost in the image, Zach felt every cell in his body resonate, like he was magnetic, andGrigory was a lodestone. Zach’s skin crawled with myriad phantom insect legs swarming across it. Grigory’s voice filled his head, eerie and fragile, like the ringing of glass. Zach shivered and let his hand trail down his sternum, goose bumps forming in the wake of his touch. He picked up the guitar, and laid it across his chest. He plucked and strummed the strings in time with the song, his fingers erring now and then. He sang softly along with the backing vocals so that his voice mingled and harmonised with Grigory’s. He loved the illusion of intimacy, the strange sense of belonging. His hips shifted as he played, tilting up,and the soft cotton of his pyjama bottoms brushed against him, teasing his sensitive skin.
The guitar solo started up and Zach tried to emulate it although his fingers weren’t quite nimble enough. The notes started long and plaintive and built to a set of blistering arpeggios. Zach played frantically, thin metal strings digging under his clipped nails and scraping the pads of his fingers. He writhed on the bed, plucking faster and faster, until his pinkie caught the E-string too hard. The wire bit into the soft meat of his finger before snapping with a twang.
Zach sucked in a harsh breath and put down the guitar. As soon as he caught the scent of blood, the terrible thirst returned. He brought his finger to his mouth. It was not hisimagination playing tricks; the taste and smell of blood made him crave more. He wanted to drink blood, to feel it, warm and slick, rolling around his mouth and sliding down his throat. The very thought of it made his mouth water. Again, he licked at the place where the blood welled up, but the cut healed almost immediately.