She regarded his sad face and couldn’t help but laugh. He looked pitiful; standing with only one shoe, tears falling for the one that lay abandoned beside him. “Bad mother,” she scolded herself, but it did nothing to abate the chuckling that escaped her. She knelt down, carefully guiding his foot into the discarded shoe and fastening the velcro tightly. Entirely clothed once more, his tears no more than a sniffle, he beamed at her. She kissed his forehead, wiped the dribble that had escaped his nose and knew she couldn’t love him more than she did in this moment.
There was so much she wanted to say; things that had been left unsaid for an eternity. Inside her head she’d screamed them so loud, but had never given them any sound. She really was the coward they professed her to be.
Her stomach knotted and churned as the words resonated inside. She knew them all exactly so that their meaning could not be mistaken, the message misinterpreted. But as he held her in his arms she found only silence escaped her parted lips, with his breath warm against her skin quieting the voices screaming to be heard.
I approached the wrought iron gates to the cemetery. They were ornate beyond necessity: filigreeing and pointing and posing in every which way. But that didn’t distract from the truth. Existing in the empty spaces between each constructed spindle, the cavity atop each pointed diamond shape, the voids swirling in and around each perfectly curled piece of metal were the gateways to hell. The doorway for the demons and ghosts and curses that are the haunting of each and every one of us until our dying days. Those spaces, each emptiness a playground for the devil himself.
The old man strode with purpose, whistling as he went on his way. His rubber wellied feet kicked up the leafy carpet, his arms balancing a rake over his shoulder. The rake suited him well; the metal rusting and old like him, the spokes bent out of shape from a lifetime of labour. He began to rake up the fallen leaves, the old whistling tune mingling with the delicate notes of the leaves as they cut through the air. He worked tirelessly, amassing piles standing proud like monuments amidst the trees. All the while he whistled that old whistle tune.
He stood by the river bank with murder on his mind. It had been too long and his body was becoming restless. His blood boiled hot so that his whole body screamed, the monster inside protesting against its incarceration. He had been watching her with a desire so strong he thought it would be never-ending, and he knew the time was near. Each night he fantasised, her contorted face emblazoned in his memory as he hacked, strangled and beat his way to ecstasy; his actions the shields against insanity. The madness of his monster needed to be fed.
He walked in the room and came to an abrupt stop. He looked around, frantically trying to recall what had brought him here. His breathing became shallow as panic set in, the ability to remember hovering just out of reach. Tears pricked in his eyes as his mind remained blank; a dark fog eclipsing even the simplest of thoughts from his head. He did an about turn, stumbling in his slippered feet as he raced back to the safe sanctuary of his chair. He threw himself into it, allowing it to swallow him, hiding him from his life.
As she washed the blood from her hands, she finally realised the full extent of what she had done. She regarded his body as it lay limp on top of the now blood soaked wooden table and dared it to move. But it didn’t, couldn’t. The now sliced open chest was still. She had finally done it, and now it was over. She had told him often enough that he would be hers, had promised time and time again, though he had never believed it. But as she watched his heart lying still, hers at last, she smiled, victorious.