He paints over the blood on me again before she arrives. He makes my two beds. He vacuums and organizes the desk in my corner. He kicks a paint and blood splattered shirt under the bed and adjusts his tie. He opens my balcony door, but the miasma of copper and paint fumes only dance along the waves of air that rush in.
Maybe she wouldn’t notice.
I feel the clickety clack of six-inch pumps approach. Her tapping is a tickle just below my eye.
He turns up the music, filling me with the spirits of Louis Armstrong. “Come in,” he says, after opening me up.
“You alone?” Her voice is husky from too much smoking.
“I have Molly. And cash.”
She enters, pumps sinking into my softness.
“Sit,” he says.
“Cash first,” she says. She follows him to the balcony.
They light cigarettes and he holds out a baggy to her.
“Relax,” he says.
She sighs, holds out her hand, her fingers wiggling.
He fumbles for his wallet. She snatches it, pulls out cash and stuffs it in the front pocket of her blouse.
She puts out her cigarette and walks back inside. He follows, closing the balcony door behind him. Closing us all in together, before he strikes.
The bed groans, as if to say not again.
For a moment, Louis’ solo becomes an off-kilter duet, the cacophonous sounds of screaming, ripping fabric, the headboard against my stone body, and finally metal meeting flesh over and over. And over. Two minutes tops; he’s getting better at this. My white is painted red again.
The music ends, the static of a record player pleading to be shut off. The souls of all the women he’s brought me slowly fill in the empty space.
He washes evidence of his masterpiece off his hands, down my drain, filling my veins. Her body lies on my bed, the only thing he won’t let me keep. He lies on the other bed, and faces her, watching.
Blood pools, the flowered quilt stealing color from her. She stares up at me, one pump hangs delicately from an unsupported foot. Any moment now.
The scratching of the record player mingles with the buzz of the bathroom’s fluorescent lights.
I wait for her to join me and mine, the meandering ghosts of women who close in to welcome her. But she doesn’t come.
She blinks, her ashen face coloring and I realize then, the red isn’t sticking to me like it had with the others. I feel my feast pulling away and I see her now. Like a flower, her smile grows, oh so slow. It stretches behind her ears, her lips thin and pale as her skin, until no lips remain, only a black curved line.
The shoe drops.
His head lifts, hair in his eyes.
Her hand moves to the knife in her gut. No nails, just skin.
I throb with the need for blood. My lights flicker. He can’t let her escape. I need her back. My reserves are dry, I feel the weight of me, the cold. But, she’s not…
He sits up, the bed groans as if to warn, don’t go there.
“Bad boy,” she says.
He stands above her unblemished person. “No,” he says.
“Yes,” she says, and in one-two-three seconds she pulls the metal from her meat, jamming it into his hip. Out again, and then fun retribution to his stomach. Into his bicep.
The blood is there, out of my reach, until he hits the floor. She straddles his fallen form and who cares if he’s crying and pleading? My ladies’ faces contort in mocking horror and silent screams. They laugh at old phantasms of each perfect moment now gone horribly wrong.
And I? My carpet sponges up each red drop and it is good, and it is foul, but not enough.
She pulls the small bag of pills from his pocket.
“You’re a monster,” he rasps.
“And so are you,” she says. “Molly?” She dumps the pills down his throat, holding his lips closed. She carves a line that frames his face, and it is a great gift, a new masterpiece. I fill, and she stands, opening the balcony door for another smoke.
Janelle Chambers lives with her husband, two daughters, dog, ferret, and unknown number of fish. She is inspired by the works of Poe, the Grimm’s brothers and way too many fantasy writers to name. In addition to writing, she also hopes to successfully make it as a voice actress.
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