Smut Marathon: Broken…

‘We die a little every day and by degrees we’re reborn into different men, older men in the same clothes, with the same scars.’
Mark Lawrence, King of Thorns

Smut Marathon is over! What an extraordinary year!! Since being sent the first assignment on 28th January, I have written and submitted nearly 7000 words, and read many, many thousand more words woven into wonderful stories and vignettes of erotica. This competition really has brought out the best of our writing community!

The winners were announced today and I am so proud of EA for coming first – I’m obviously biased but his story was absolutely fantastic!! The quality of all the finalists was ridiculously high and I am also really proud of myself for being among them.

So to finish, here is my final story! A piece of erotica to be set in World War 2…

***

Albert sat in the steaming water of the bath and let its warmth flow into his body. It may have been almost spring but he felt like he needed the heat. Fresh scented soap bubbles covered his skin and he lathered them again and again until he had scrubbed every inch. More than just being warm, he needed to feel clean.

It had taken a while to build up to this bath. Weeks of sponge washes from visiting nurses had kept the dirt at bay, but he had still never felt clean. Not since he came round in the hospital wing and discovered that he’d survived. Not since painful operations had released the stinking infections that had developed within his wounds, and not since they’d told him that they couldn’t save his leg. Not even since he was discharged home to recover, opening up the bed for the never-ending stream of wounded and dying. Still, avoiding bathing had allowed him to hide behind the memory of who he once was and avoid looking at who he had become. This was half the battle now; he was finally physically strong enough for the exertion but was he mentally strong enough for this complete exposure?

He already hated that he had to be helped into the bath; hated that he couldn’t trust himself to stand, balancing on his one leg. And when Albert did catch sight of himself in the mirror above the sink, he saw a stranger with only glimpses of his own ghost in the wasted body that stared back at him. Thin, skeletal, pale, but with a slight familiarity perhaps in the curve of his shoulders and the strength of his hands. Albert touched his new scars, permanent warpaths that decorated his skin. Reminders of the battles he’d fought; the battles he’d won and lost. He didn’t know this body yet and it’s unfamiliar shape was still jarring.

God, he missed who he was before. Before pain became horror. Before words like ‘invalid’ or ‘wounded’ became part of his everyday language. Before he needed a wheelchair, before he had become so scarred. Before he was broken. After such a long hospital stay both in the similarly bomb-scarred St Bartholomew’s Hospital and the local cottage hospital in the village, Albert felt lost, like the pieces of himself that he knew had drifted too far apart to hold together. He didn’t look the same, losing so much weight and still wearing bedclothes all day. He so rarely ventured beyond bed that dressing seems somehow frivolous. He certainly didn’t feel the same, no longer able to walk or support himself and his family.

Although he struggled to admit it even to himself, Albert most missed who he was in her eyes. Clara didn’t look at him the same way. Oh, she looked with love and gratitude, with respect at his fight, with pride in his resilience and survival, but it wasn’t the same. She must only see his wounds. How could it be otherwise when he is so helpless? The nurses may visit every day and Dr Staunton stops by whenever he passes, but Albert still felt the weight of his dependence in Clara’s eyes where they used to burn with desire when she gazed at him. Since their marriage in ‘36, they had struggled to keep their hands off each other. He used to pull her into the shadows to kiss her lips and face and neck at every opportunity, often scandalising neighbours who caught sight of their trysts under the trees or around corners. And when alone, they would joyfully explore their bodies, making love for hours and melting into each other, sweat dripping and merging as their moans and cries filled the air.

So much had changed.

Clara hadn’t wanted him to travel to London to collect his nephew. Although the effects of the war could be felt all around them, their little village would never be a target and he knew she was secretly delighted that his poor vision had so far prevented him from enlisting. Did she blame him for taking the risk? The Luftwaffe bombing had become a daily event that September in 1940 and Clara had wept in fear when he’d told her of his plan to get Jackie, but he’d had no choice. The boy was only nine and after Albert’s brother George and his wife were killed when their shelter was destroyed, Jackie had no other family left. What was he supposed to do? The daytime raids were continuing but the boy was too shocked to make the train journey alone. Albert would be careful, he promised. He would be back home within a day.

But it wasn’t to be and Jackie hadn’t survived the second threat on his young life.

After the rescue from the rubble, recovery in hospital and repatriation, Clara had been so grateful that Albert had come home at all that he didn’t really believe that she still held on to any resentment at his choice to put himself in such danger, but she didn’t touch him like before. It seemed more that she was worried that he might break apart completely and he again cursed his helplessness. Honestly, the last time she held him in her arms was to help him to the toilet! They had even taken to sleeping separately as his nights were so fitfully disturbed with pain and nightmare. He didn’t know that he could miss that connection with his wife so much or that the change in their relationship could hurt as deeply as any wound that bombs could inflict. She was supposed to be his wife, not his carer. He was supposed to be the man of the house, the breadwinner and provider, not a burden.

Albert longed to talk about his fears with her but the words dried in his mouth and their unspoken weight drove them further apart. They had always been a team but Albert knew that she too had lost sight of him inside the scarred body that carried him. Worse, he knew she recognised the damage to his self-worth and his sense of masculinity. Goddamnit, they had always joked about the prim and proper lives of their parents and promised they’d never live like that, but some sort of stoicism had smothered them and he couldn’t see a way out.

Leaning heavily on the sides of the bath, Albert managed pull himself up to stand. Clara had left a bell to call for help when he was finished, but she had also left his chair within reach. Trying not to curse too loudly and alert her to his struggle, Albert lowered himself to sit on the side, twisting around and swinging his leg over the edge. Standing again on the roughly carpeted bath mat, he gracelessly hopped to the chair and sat with a thud. The sense of achievement was almost physically overwhelming but he suddenly started to see the possibility of strength in his battered body.

Feeling oddly renewed, he massaged his arms and thigh with a towel and tried to remember what it felt like to be touched for pleasure or with love. For the first time since he woke in the hospital bed all those months ago, Albert curled his fingers around his cock and felt a familiar stirring in his belly that he had almost forgotten existed. Moving slowly as if for the first time, he slid his fist up and down, feeling the same delicious thickening that he once knew so well. When so much else about him is different, Albert was stunned by how quickly his fingers recognised and remembered the feel of his cock, gliding over the network of veins that mapped the surface of the shaft and slipping over the head to spark pleasure just as he had done when he was seventeen. Flexing his body and tightening his grip, Albert let out a moan as pleasure flooded out under his skin.

‘Are you OK, my dear?’

Clara had opened the door to check on him, alerted perhaps by the sound. Mortified to be caught in such a position, Albert swiftly covered himself with the towel and almost slipped from the chair in his hasty attempt to disguise what he was doing.

‘Yes, I’m fine!’ he blustered, ‘I just, ah…’

‘Oh love!’ If she was surprised to see him out of the bath and if she noticed what he had been doing, she hid it well. ‘You know you can always ask me for help. That’s what I’m here for!’

She took another step into the room and Albert felt the resentment at his limitations growing within him again.

‘I made it out safely, didn’t I?’ He hated the sharp edge of anger that had crept in. ‘I’m not completely useless!’

‘I didn’t mean that!’

Suddenly she looked bashful. Unable to quite meet his eye, she started to speak but stopped herself, taking a deep breath before trying again.

‘I meant you can always ask me for help…as your wife.’ She was still unable to catch his eye, and Albert delighted at a pink flush that was starting to spread up her neck. ‘I didn’t know that you, I didn’t want to rush if you weren’t ready but…I’ve missed you and I, I could have helped.’

She stopped, wondering if she’d said too much. After a silence that seemed to stretch forever, Clara finally looked up to see a mix of apprehension and hope clouding her husband’s face.

‘You still want me? Despite everything? How? Why?’

‘You’re my husband and I love you – in sickness and in health, remember. And anyway, you’ve not changed that much!’

She was smiling more than Albert had seen since he first came home and as he smiled back at her, she came towards him, shutting the bathroom door behind her.

Kneeling, Clara tentatively lifted the towel that was still shielding him. She lifted his cock, running her fingers along the surface and circling the head.

‘Is this OK, my darling?’

Becoming bolder as he nodded, Clara leaned forward and took him into her mouth. Albert gasped at the soft warmth that enveloped him and he pushed his fingers into her hair to slow the movements of her head, already risking becoming overwhelmed at the intense and heady sensations that her lips and tongue were creating. Instead, he lifted his hips upwards, pushing himself deeper into her throat. Lips tight around him, she slid up and down as his cock swelled in her mouth until she was choking on him, but she didn’t stop.

Albert could quickly feel a ball of pleasure growing inside him as Clara continued to lick and suck him in, gaining speed as she regained confidence, spurred on by the moans that her attentions were drawing from deep inside him. He wanted this to go on forever, wanted to feel her lips on his skin forever, but he knew that was impossible. Soon enough, Albert cried out in long forgotten ecstasy, shuddering as his orgasm ripped through his entire body.

Sitting back and wiping her mouth, Clara grinned up at him.

‘Like I said, I’ve missed you!’

And suddenly, for the first time in too long, they were both laughing. Scrambling up into his arms, Clara sat in his lap and kissed him long and hard, just like they used to, and they held each other fiercely as if they could pull back all the time they had lost.

Later, she wheeled his chair into their bedroom and up next to the bed. Clara went to help him rise but stopped, letting him instead make the transfer, which he managed with ease. Slipping out of her clothes, she slid into bed next to him, snuggling back against his body once more.

As he drifted off to sleep, Albert marvelled at just how normal this felt after feeling adrift for so long, and how much the return to this routine could comfort him. He knew that this one good day couldn’t change everything, but he felt hope for the first time and that really was wonderful.

Logo for Smut Marathon, showing a fountain pen nib writing on parchment

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