Posts Tagged ‘murder’

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Scenes from a Hat: Substitute

January 27, 2009

Scenes from a Hat: Substitute

by M. E. Ellis

A pillow for a breast, a cigarette for a cigar, a candle for a lamp. Substitutes.

Out, out into the night now, coat collar up, fists in pockets, cap low on my brow. My gaze darts, ears listen, nose keen to catch her scent, her beautiful, well-mourned scent. I will have her once again.

She stands on the street, hands upon hips, head cocked, lips a sultry pout. Similar, so similar that the sight of her invites a lump to my throat. Could it be…? My approach doesn’t startle her. Far from it. She has been waiting for me…hasn’t she?

“Hey, sugar,” she says, candy-pink lips a wide smile. “Wanna fuck?”

No. No, I don’t, but I return her smile, nod, nod like the sucker she thinks I am.

“Come on, then.” She jerks her head towards an alleyway between the buildings behind her, lit only by the streetlamp in its mouth. The lane stretches into infinite darkness, where my imagination places many girls like her, their backs against the wall, legs spread, or on their knees, maws wrapped around cocks that don’t belong between professional lips.

She turns, sashays into the alley, shadow’s jaws closing around her. I follow, my footsteps precise on the rain-slicked cobblestones, my heartbeat accelerating. Ten, eleven, twelve footsteps later, and she stops, a grey figure, no discernable features.

“Here will do.” Her loud whisper floats, rebounds off the mouldy walls. “Fifty for full, twenty for a hand job. I don’t use my mouth.”

My broad frame fills the width of the alley. “You should do. Doing so would shut you the fuck up.”

Her sharp intake of air stutters in her throat, the release of it a breathy laugh. “What?”

“You didn’t hear me the first time?”

Eyes, they almost glow in the dark when as wide as hers, you know.

“Yeah.” She snorts, laughs again, and a clicking sound breaks through the cocooned air.

“Are you chewing gum?” She. Is. Annoying. Me.

Substitute. Substitute. Substitute, substitute, substitute

My fist connects with the end of her nose. She squeals, sinks down onto her ass, the proverbial sack of shit, legs bent at the knees, hands steepled over her face.

“You’re not her, are you?” My nostrils flare. An ache so vast threatens to overwhelm my airy mind, threatens to thicken the descending red mist. “You…tricked me. You…almost had me…believing—”

My boot heel greets her temple, and she releases a muffled, blood-garbled shriek. Her torso thuds sideways to the damp stones, her body the pose of a cadaver left to rot.

Which she will be after I’m done, for her breaths grow short, and her appendages spasm, inciting twitches to her fingertips, her feet.

Sarah? Sarah, where are you? Come back. I need you. I can’t…can’t accept any more…fucking…substitutes.

She won’t listen. She never listens.

But I’ll keep looking, and I’ll find her. Oh yes, I’ll find her.

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Scenes from a Hat: Rainbow

December 12, 2008

Scenes from a Hat: Rainbow

by Anthony Owens
Editor: M. E. Ellis

I stare now at the children playing in the water. It’s not so long ago that I can’t recall what it was like, but long enough that I cannot imagine the cool kiss of the water on my skin. Though my years add up like a Fibonacci sequence, I would not call myself old. Nor would I call myself young. I’m nestled right in the middle where maybe tomorrow I would be old, and I think I was young yesterday.

I remember portions of my life with stunning clarity and sentience, but other parts are ripped from me in their entirety. I know that something makes me feel like it’s not my fault they’re gone, but I have no proof that anyone took them from me.

Still, the children play.

I couldn’t tell you when or where I met her, but there’s a woman in my bed, just now. I think she’s still breathing. I honestly don’t care. She is—and it’s with great sadness that I say this—one of those bits that was torn from me by forces I cannot confirm nor dismiss. Parts of her are familiar, but I don’t know if it’s because I’ve supplanted memories by the telling of tales, or I’ve incorporated my recent knowing, or whether some portion of the veil has been lifted.

A child rests somewhere in the house. He may have crawled into the bed with her. He may be tightly wound in blankets of vibrant red, blue, and yellow. He certainly has a small stuffed toy with him. Who knows whether he entered slumber in the night with his dog, Sebastian, his cat, Two, or perhaps a plush version of his television favorite who lives in a pineapple under the sea.

One child outside holds the hose and sprays water on the others.

This stasis of thought is more cumbersome than I expected it to be. I am neither ashamed nor proud of what I’ve done in this house. I would pray for some result, if only I believed in prayer. I keep telling myself that the only way to move on is to actually move on. The window is cool. I imagine it is the water of the children outside, and the sun catches a chamfered corner of the pane so that a small, spectral beam punishes the floor with its multi-faceted truth.

The child with the hose has capped the end with his thumb, and, just like the pane of chiseled glass, the water spray creates a rainbow, but this one is free and unburdened by the floor.

I push against the glass with my hand, and the once molten sand gives way to my will. The bubble surrounding me grows with astounding force, and I can see the shimmering iridescence of its shell rippling through the air. I close my eyes and push hard as I walk through the wall and the prismatic field grows to envelop the children playing.

Silence.