Fright Week Flash Fiction VI: Out of the Eater

You know how I told you not to let your kids read these? Especially not this one. Really.

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This gentleman is probably a very nice person.

OUT OF THE EATER

I see her getting pizza at the New York joint across from the bus station, and she’s beautiful, juicy as a ripe fruit. Blonde hair, big round titties, schoolgirl dress just short enough to make you think about everything under the dress for a good long time. She pays in cash, counting quarters for the tip. I think about stepping over, gallantly offering a dollar or two, but it’s too soon and I know it. They run from you, if you approach too soon.

They run from you, if you approach without purpose.

She’s not heading anywhere in a hurry. She stops out front for a few minutes, searching for her phone and her ear buds in her see-thru plastic tote. I watch her, watch her head bend, watch those bleached curls fall down, down, down. I think about the deer hunts I’d go on with Daddy at dawn, me twelve or thirteen, mist rising off the fields, just the two of us crouched together in the blind above the world. The deer flashing their asses at us. White tails, not too different from the color of her hair.

I’m not a monster. Nothing like.

I’m just a man who knows what he wants.

She turns left and walks out of my line of sight. I leave a ten for my bill and take up the hunt. Twenty percent tip: good, but not memorable. In an hour they will have forgotten I was ever there.

Daddy always said, women don’t know how to act. You have to teach them, show them. You have to not take no for an answer. A woman like that, short skirt, long legs. She knows what she’s doing. She knows what she wants. You just have to show her.

She clips down the cobblestoned street in those tall black heels, legs pumping. Sinew and skin and flesh, a promise of honey, a taste of milk and sweetness. Other men are looking, and hot jealousy floods me–eyes elsewhere, you scum. My honey, my taste. Marked as mine, by the force of my gaze.

I think of the way her skin will goose-pimple, on such a crisp evening. I imagine reading her like Braille in the dark. I imagine the warmth in her secret place. I imagine the loosening of limbs, that warmth seeping out into the ground. Stickiness. Smell of copper, primal.

She turns into a side street. A single old woman on the corner, pushing a shopping cart, her hair full of shit and leaf fragments, muttering ceaselessly under her breath. Boarded shop windows. A crosswalk sign, its light busted.

I steal closer.

I think of the weight of the hunting rifle on my arm. Daddy’s beery breath. The resistance in the trigger–young fingers have to pull, and pull. And squeeze. And pull.

She’s off guard. She didn’t even know I was following her, phone volume jacked up to full bar. Her weight is soft under my weight, yielding, forgiving. I trip her up and send her flying into a close alley. Her breath streaming in the air, like mist over the fields. The soft aureole of bleached hair around her. Angelic. Divine.

She tries to scream, so I save some time and crush her windpipe. I won’t have long this way, but these moments are better when brief. Sweeter. Rarer.

I push up her dress. I’m here to teach. Here to admonish. Here to inflict. Here to guide.

She’s making a funny noise. I lean in, wanting to catch every grace note of her death, but that isn’t what I hear.

She’s laughing.

Somehow, the bitch is laughing.

Her body is cold. Too cold–ice cold. And when I look up at her face her eyes are reflectionless, dark as two polished stones.

“Mmm,” she murmurs. “Hello, handsome.”

She opens her legs farther, farther. Wide-wide. There’s a cosmos in there, the black brief tickling dotted by distant stars, howling with the loneliness of time. Darkness, death-dark. A wave of terror crests inside my skull–against the void there are monsters moving, silhouettes blotting out all light.

I try to run.

Something–something–grabs me.

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