I loved you once
I won’t deny it
Damned near idolised you
Certainly, would have bled or died
It never knows when to
Sit the fuck down and pay attention.
Blah blah I know everything
and you know fuck all
The funny part is that it was true
I did know everything
And nothing existed except your eyes
The feel of your arms around me
A steady heartbeat still means safety
That’s what you taught me
What’s the worst part?
It all sucks harder than a ten dollar whore
But the worst thing that I leaned lessons die hard
I’m less open as I grow colder and
I’ve become harder as I get older
Time doesn’t always heal
Lessons often start to decay
before I notice
But even so
If you knocked on my door
I would still welcome in
And welcome you home
I had left before and went back, was dragged back, lost few days once. I even woke up back in bed beside that monster one morning in January with a raging fever and no voice to scream with. But this time when I left, I left with my life and my meagre belongings stuffed into the trunk of that piece of shit Ford he always insisted was worth the constant money drain. It amounted to a duffle bag, a small suitcase and one box that held treasure from my child hood. How did I become so small?
The further away the road takes me, the more it seems I’m able to breathe and the stronger the paranoia grows. I don’t know how I got away. It struck me so hard tonight that I had to pull over to the side of the road to vomit. 24 hours have past and I’ve barely eaten. I was too afraid to stop, to run the risk that he had anticipated me and was close, and so it amounted to little more than bile. I hate to puke more than anything other than cry, which I did, an act of momentary self-pity before turning to prayer in desperation.
Said answer came in a form of an angel mechanic who saw my car for the rolling hunk of junk it was. It also came from Reaper, who made his intentions perfectly clear. Whether Grim intended for my death or Brian’s, I was still not clear on. I’d just escaped Hell on Earth and I was not going back there alive. I still see him in the wavering air, his tattered robe fluttering in the negligible breeze that feels like dragons breath. Pushing Reaper out of my mind, I concentrate on the growing lights of the city ahead and the warm body against mine.
How the hell was I going to lose myself there? I had nothing but a few hundred dollars in an account under an assumed name. Hard fought for money that I was loathe to waste a cent of. Of course I had the identification to prove it, and that made things simpler should I need to use it. But I’m alone, and after all the fight, I’m afraid. My arms tighten around Brian’s middle, grateful for his presence and kindness. He might murder my ass but so be it. I’ve survived worse encounters. He slows to crawl and turns into a tidy little motel just off the highway, with the vacancy sign cheerily lit. Why were we stopping here? We were so close to the city and I sobbed a little as I was sure he couldn’t hear my tears.
Brian frees me from the helmet, laughing at my dismay, and sobering at the sight of my wet cheeks before smiling and brushing the hair from my face. “Can you sit here a few minutes? I know that you’re tired but I just need to check us in.” Alone? I glance around, eyes scanning the brightly lit lot. It was nearly empty, but for Reaper lurking nearby. “Yes, alright,” I agree, yawning and stretching up onto my toes to breathe life into my complaining muscles. He stares a moment, before narrowing his eyes at me and thinning his lips. I pull out one of the precious few joints I’d rolled before I rolled on the highway. He says nothing, just watches me a moment longer and turns to the office door. Brian disapproves of my choices, does he? I let it go as I lit the end and inhaled deeply. Its acrid smoke burns my throat. At least I know I’m alive.
Us. He said us. Crazy starts her singsong tirade, insisting scenario after preposterous scenario that boggle the mind I fog her out with another hit and the bitch chills out for a few. Not far away, Brian is laughing with the desk clerk, nodding as she hands him two keys and tosses her long blond hair over her shoulder. She appears vapid and I turn my attention elsewhere, uninterested in the flirting techniques of the modern single. I wish he’d hurry. I wish I was blonde.
A lone vehicle drives dangerously slow along the highway, its headlights swerving and correcting. Reaper is back, this time agitated and appearing annoyed. He stands very close and he is cold. The tendrils of his robe brush against my calves, and I shiver. I know why he’s here. A sun faded red pickup truck I know too well turns into the parking lot, its driver scanning the open area with a predators grin. I hadn’t made great time after all. If he sees me I am dead, and so is anyone who helped me. I’m a corpse and a killer. Everyone here is dead because of me. The driver stares right at me, his mouth moving with spit slick lips and my blood freezes and melts as he turns away still talking to himself. I bolt towards the office, bouncing off of Brian and falling hard to the ground. I need to get away. Mother urges with profane suggestions to HIDE and my demons concur.
“I have the keys…what’s wrong Jes?”
My throat has turned to sandpaper and my mouth has dried up. I can’t speak with my throat so dry, so I point to my left at the worn dusty red truck that was making a clumsy U-turn with my shaking finger. Brian watches a moment, understanding finally clearing the worried crease from his brow. He pulls me into the office, admonishing me to stay where I was until he came back and extracting a promise. I need to warn him, make a negative noise or even a gesture but I’m frozen in place. The bells on the door tinkle as he leaves yet again, and I am alone in the office with the gum chewing cutie. He’s. A. Dead. Man. Walking. And you did it KIIIILLLLER! Crazy screams in my head, and I’m sure she’s right.
“Holee shit. Girl, your man is a badass.”
“Your man. Brian whatever. I dunno what that other dude did but damn he is paying.”
I struggle to my feet to peer through the window. Brian’s fist rises and falls again and again into the driver’s face with a fierce smile. He would kill him at this rate. “No!!” I yell, pulling a nine iron from the golf bag in the corner and rushing out the door. “STOP IT!!” I shriek at him, raising the club over my shoulder. Brian glances up suddenly, his hand a cruor covered glove that goes exceedingly well with his snarl, and falls back with his bruised and bloody knuckles held out from his chest. He opens his mouth to speak and I shout into his face. “SHUT. UP.”
The driver is attempting to speak to me but the words sound like little more than gurgle. He spits and tries again. “Found you Cunt.” Brian watches me from the ground, his fingers beginning to swell and his with his dark eyes on the club.
“Yes. You did. And that means what?”
The driver smiles and three teeth speckle the glut of blood that falls from the ruined curve. “You’ll never see daylight again,” he laughs, hoisting himself to up. That’s when I swing. Hard and fast as I can, I swing that club for all its worth. Crazy is silent and all I can hear is my own primal scream in my head, all I can feel is the moment the side of his head caves in. The moment his forehead shatters and the iron is stuck in the cavity my legs give out and I feel nothing.
I wake on the lumpy couch in the office, my head pounding and body screaming. My monsters are hiding. The Mother is raging, her voice full of concern. “Oh you’re awake.” I sit up too fast and groan, feeling my arm muscles creak from exertion and remember the blood on my hands. Clean. Where is Brian? Why am I here? I clear my throat and the gum chewing cutie brings me a glass of water.
“Here doll. Your friend will be back soon. He just took your stuff over to the room. He’s cute… Are you guys a thing?”
Saved by the Bell. They ring lightly again as he comes through the door wearing a small smile. He speaks to her and I can’t make sense of a single word. I lower my head to my hands and rest my eyes a moment. His voice is deep and sonorous, filled with unselfconscious good humour and my heart almost relaxes. It seems too formulaic, like a bad film balls deep with clichés. The air explodes with glass and wood and Brian lands hard on the floor a gasp before the cutie’s head explodes in a shower of gore. It’s impossible and there he stands with the club dangling from his ruined forehead like some fucked up zombie. Behind him the chuckle of the devil I knew shatters what little strength I had left, I try to crawl away but the agony hits and I have no time to scream before the electricity takes me away.
I come to on the floor. Chained to the floor. To the wall. To the collar around my throat.It can’t be and I don’t want to be here. Where is here? How long have I been here? I count the time by the blood streaked handprints on the wall, by the thrusts of the stranger fucking me and by the used rubbers on the floor. I swore I’d never be here again. The stranger is whispering vile and horribly accurate facts into my ear and he brutally pinches my clit when I don’t respond. Biology betrays me and I sob when he ejaculates fire into me. He’s not protected and I start to cry. It’s not real. It can’t be real and he shoves me into the wall spitting “its real sweetheart. I paid twice, See you later.”
The chain is heavy. My neck is killing me and my thighs are turning colours. This is repayment for my betrayal, for running away again. For killing him. I will die here, by disease, by accident, but surely as a prisoner. Unless I end myself before that.
I throw another log on the fire and watch the sparks fly up into the night air, joining the billion stars above.
Standing there, just breathing in the heavy scent of burning flesh and remembering how he screamed.
The fire sits in the middle of an empty field surrounded by thick trees. The autumn wind is blowing and scattering the dead leaves all around. Some have gathered in small piles and I happily kick them towards the glowing pyre as I hear laughter behind me. My friends have returned with a cooler and as we each pop open a beer we stand in awe of the glorious spectacle.
The large stake at the center of the inferno was burned black as the flames continued to lick the now charred corpse hanging limply from it. You couldn’t even recognize any of his features anymore. He had struggled quite a bit and it took all of them finally to tie him down. One of my friends suggested knocking him out, maybe with a hammer, but I said no. I wanted him completely aware during his experience. He had wronged my Sister and now he had to pay for it…so why not make a party out of it? And besides, who would miss him?
I am suspicious when my sister texts me to ask me to pick up some beer and a snack on my way out to her secluded little hidey-hole. She rarely, if ever, drinks beer. I agreed of course, demanding those bitches be ready and snicker to myself when I read her extremely crude response. The girls are going to love this shit. The old woman glares at me from the driver’s seat of her 1977 Ford pickup and I pop the finger and squeal off as soon as the light turns green. That piece of crap was still puttering through the light when I blew the next one. What else can you expect from a Ford, no matter the age?
I arrive at her place with a car full of women, a trunk full of beer, snack and my camping kit. A girl just can’t be out in the forest without her equipment. There was no way I was traipsing through the orchard in these boots and dragging snacks behind me no matter how much whining they were doing. Fuck that. I would drive up to the fire pit in my car.
She sees me barrelassing towards her and waves, dropping the axe on the ground and dusting her hands on the thighs of her jeans. Good. I would need her help to unload. Positive that the suspension in my pretty little car will be shot to shit at this rate and the beer would probably explode before we get to drink it, I cringe as I hear it bounce around in the back and rev the engine harder. The girls are laughing like maniacs at the litany of curses I was expounding. We bounce and I hit my head on the roof, and I let loose another explicative string of profanity that causes silence in the vehicle and that makes my sister clutch her belly in laughter when she hears me from the open window. No one had ever said that I didn’t have a colourful vocabulary.
The leaves blow and rattle like bones around my ankles when I jump from my Beast to give her a hug. The breeze has the slightest edge of winter on its breath, and the girls shiver slightly. It will be the perfect night for a fire. “Beer?” she inquires, her eyes focused on my trunk with hunger and I know it’s not the beer she wants but the snacks. I toss her the keys and she pops the trunk, stepping back with a gasp and a smile. I brought extra.
It was like she read my mind. I couldn’t help but stifle a guffaw at the sight of them…bound, gagged & practically lifeless, but not quite. Not yet anyway. All my sisters gathered ’round, practically drooling at the buffet in front of us & helped in getting them out of the car. I’d spent part of the afternoon arranging a sort of makeshift grill over one end of the pit where we could enjoy our dinner but not get too scorched ourselves. Food was always best when it was fresh so waited until they were a bit more lively before we began.
My Sister, our appointed leader, had picked up my axe and stood in front of the man who was struggling on the ground. She used it to push him onto the grates and as his skin started to bubble she shoved the woman up next to him. I smiled at her as we watched their skin blacken, took her hand and spun her around as we all began to dance around the blaze, singing at the top of our lungs.
How I loved our girls night.
Girls Night is a collaboration between Carolyn Graham and Melanie McCurdie
@CarolynGraham 2015 @MelanieMcCurdie 2015
Slayful Stories Volume 2
The Death Maiden Journeys is available now.
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