Making a Stand.
She flicked her cigarette, just to watch the ashes drift to the yellowed, dingy linoleum. Torn and stained by too many careless moments, its jagged teeth placed strategically for unsuspecting bare feet. The whole of the place was like that, an almost sprung trap. A hunter that swallowed it's prey with the same lies spent to lure the unicorn. It must be so for it had consumed her and there was nothing that could make her move. She would sit here, bent kneed and raggedly slumped until he came home.
He'd probably find her half comatose beneath a pile of ash and crushed butts. He'd probably start yelling about the mess. Bitching about chain smokers and being strapped to someone dying of cancer. Then he'd commence to ignoring her, grab a beer, land with a bounce on the couch and light up. That was the part she hated. It wasn't the unanswered questions, the desperate watch in the early morning for car lights, the looks of disgust and the snide jabs of opinion. No. It was after all that. It was being invisible. It was passing a mirror just to make sure she really existed because time spent with him made her wonder if somehow she'd faded away.
He wasn't always like this. That cliché had always kept her trying. Some story she had. His motorcycle. Her virgin airs. The last conquest of man. She had been his untapped frontier at least. And typical of just such endeavors, the end result had left her barren, stripped, without life. That's how she saw it. Too buried to remember the exact details for ghosts only see where they're trapped. They only see their prisons.
She wanted to fuck like crazed animals again. She wanted him to charge at her, grab at her like he couldn't hold back. She wanted him to tear into her like his cock was starving, shove her face down in the ash covered linoleum and take her with teeth and nails and vicious savagery. Not sure if anything less could reach her now. She just wanted to feel again. He hadn't touched her for more than a year. He said marriage to her had left him dangling and inept. He hated her, he said, because she had eaten his manhood. Swallowed it like Xanax and wouldn't be content until he up and died like some shriveled old bastard.
She'd wait for him right here. Amidst the roaches with the bas relief wood of the chipped cabinets biting splinters into her bare back. She'd wait with only the fine hairs on her skeletal frame as armor. Her clothes in a rumpled, discarded pile by the stove. He'd face her. He'd have to, for she had drug all the furniture out to the backyard. The mangled, second-hand couch that smelled like urine and the pawn shop television he'd bought with her last tax return. The kitchen set that was really a rusted card table. They no longer had any chairs. She'd left their bed frame because she couldn't get the stripped bolts to give but the mattress had landed with a satisfying thud on top of the milk crates he used as both footstool and end table. She'd tell him she'd cleaned house. She'd tell him they needed to talk. She'd tell him it was over, that she didn't love him anymore, didn't want him. She'd tell him he was out of chances, out of time, out of choices. She hoped it would start raining.
He'd probably yell at her. With a twisting grimace, she reasoned he would more than yell this time. He'd turn plum purple like he had when she'd wrecked the car driving home from work that winter. It had been sleeting the whole day and her shift at the diner hadn't ended until 2:00am. She'd totaled the car on an icy bridge, slammed head long into a side rail, cracking three of her ribs on the steering wheel. He hadn't trusted her to drive after that. He didn't trust her to do anything really.
If she cleaned? She was whoring and didn't want those slick dicks to see her squalor. Though, what anyone would want with her pathetic cunt was beyond him. More beer, T.V. If she cooked? She was trying to kill him and what would she think if he force fed her the entire fucking pot. He'd do it too! Cram every last poisoned bite down her throat and watch her choke on it. If she somehow dared a small smile when he got home? She had fucked him again somehow and he'd be damned if he'd let her get away with it. The first time fucked had become a haze of innuendos, invented grievances and insulting accusations. It all depended on how his day had gone.
Of course, there was no beer tonight. She'd poured it all out. In fact, the living room was now an ocean of cheap, stale mead, soured by the lapse of time. Her nose stung to running and her eyes watered from the smell now permeating the trailer. Maybe she shouldn't have tried rubbing it deeper into the carpet. She'd scrubbed and scratched and whatever substance that had previously been there had mixed with the beer to become rather toxic. By smell alone, she'd have his attention. She'd left a scrub brush showcased perfectly in the center of the room.
Her hand moved to flick the roach tickling her side and then lingered a slow path to her belly. It was almost flat, tattooed with silver, spidery streaks of wrinkled skin. She missed feeling that flutter of life. Missed the hardened swell, regardless of the torture she'd endured for and because of it. Another failure that. She'd felt like someone for a moment. She'd felt like she'd mattered to that tiny, wrinkled thing growing inside her. When she'd talked, it had rolled and squirmed. When she'd played what she had named, The Shadow Game, her hand touching some part of her enlarged belly, it would find her and touch her back. For once, she'd felt a connection. She'd felt connected. That fucking brat your coddling in that withered womb of yours is going to tear you apart when it pops out. It's going to rip you open just like those clueless bastards you spread your legs for. When it does? Don't come crying to me. And those fucking hospital saps you had feeling so badly for you, so sorry? They ain't going to help you either! Fucking disgusting. You and that freak your carrying. I bet you liked it. Did them on purpose. Asked, begged them for it, you fucking cock-whore.
No, no beer, no couch, no television tonight. She flexed her hand across her stomach and ached for the missing parts. She'd lost both child and womb. She'd go through that pain alone if only she could do it over again. Retake that night. She wouldn't ask him to help, to drive, to anything. She'd calmly suck it up. Maybe go down the road to the neighbors, she could have made it. He'd left her there. Walked out and left her lying on the kitchen floor. Blood, fluid and it's violent conception leaking out. Fitting. The pain had been so intense she must have passed out. He hadn't even called anyone. He didn't even come home that night. Told you it'd come out the same way you let it in.
She dropped her spent cigarette to lay with the others and reached for another. Her hands looked huge to her eyes, powerful. Her fingers rubbed raw from scrubbing, she winced as she flicked the lighter to life, too late removing her stringy, matted hair from the flame. It singed, adding one more brief odor to the already grotesquely saturated air. Can't even light a fucking cigarette correctly you worthless bitch. Her eyelids fluttered in a wince. Not tonight. Not anymore.
The sound of crunching gravel filled her head with a dull hum. The deafening roar of foot steps pounding dirt. It became a hammer in her head as she followed his arrogant gait up the drive, up the porch steps. She took a deep breath, cramming it in before it released in a spasm that almost made her cough. She flicked her cigarette and took another drag, waiting for the whine of the door hinges. He was in no hurry, neither was she.She knew the moment his confusion turned to surprise and then to fury.
"What the fuck?"
She rose up off the floor in slow deliberate movements, her hand grazing unseen along the floor beside her. There. Her fingers wrapping around the hilt of the largest knife she'd been able to find in the drawers. She was ready, her head hanging, legs braced, her eyes on his black loafer clad feet.
"What have you done to my fucking house?" He roared, charging at her, his eyes hot with anger.She heard the taunts, snide insults like whispers through her fractured brain. Whore, bitch, cunt, worthless, useless. All laughing and superimposed. She knew what he'd meant to say.
His beefy arms shot out , a gym bag hitting the floor with a whoosh. Large hands gripped her small shoulders, sending familiar shocks of pain down her arms. Before he could shake her, her hand clenched hard to swing the blade forward.
"Who the fuck are you Lady, and what…?" his voice froze to a grinding halt. The silver metal had reflected an instant of light before disappearing into his hard, warm belly. On impact, her hand tore upward, all her weight behind the task.
"No, No, No, No, No, No, No!" A guttural scream shredding her throat.
A moments shock, his eyes distant and confused. His dark, expensive suit split from waist band to matching tie. His once white shirt crawling red as blood and gore poured down his legs to pool in his loafers. His hands seized on her now bruised shoulders as he sought to drag her down with his crumbling descent to the floor. The knife pulled clean as she jerked away. He hit with a sickening sound, like punching soft melon. Blood ran thick into the cracks of the polished wooden tiles as her small feet left perfect traces of her path to the sink. His voice was apologetically silent as she cleaned the knife carefully, leaving no trace of herself. She meticulously cleaned the soles of her feet, the splattered mess on her hands, arms, chest and thighs. She even erased all presence from the floor.
He wouldn't taunt her again for awhile! Then she dressed once more, staring at her reflection in a large ornate mirror. Relieved to see she had stopped him in time, relieved to see her visage. Taking her cigarette butts in a small bag, she let her eyes sweep out in admiration of the bastards lovely new home. If only he had…
No. Never again. And when the son of a bitch started to make her invisible once more, started to sneer and taunt and torture, well, she'd just have to kill him again.