It’s deserted in the gloomy morning and broken beer bottles
are crunching under your step. You can’t
find that damn rose. Where the hell is
it? You stride back and forth from one
side of the street to the other, kicking debris out of the way. An old glove
and a Pepsi can meet the toe of your boot and go flying.
Wait! There it is!
The rose is submerged in a muddy puddle.
Your face twists as you shove your hand into the thick sludge to pull it
out. Still red but sodden the flower
curls in your hand. “Ha!” You fold your
fingers around it and crush the bud then slip it into your pocket.
She had been wearing that rose when you dragged her into
the abandoned warehouse last night.
Maybe dragging her wasn’t such a smart thing to do. After all,
if you had carried her, it would
have been easier to make sure nothing got dropped, no evidence to find
later. But dragging…well, the clunk of
her head bumping along the ground, the look of pain in her eyes…Ah, you
couldn’t resist. And the groans, the
sounds from behind the gag, those were so exciting. Yes, you’re well-acquainted
and the thrill you get from watching the pain of others, hearing it, smelling
it… well, that’s deliciously tasty.
These women, your “night visitors,” they send thrills through you as
they slowly die. And you know the most
torturous ways to entertain them. The
muffled screams from behind stifled mouths confirm your talents. Their begging
eyes and flowing tears make you
feel like God. In fact, in those
moments, you suppose you ARE God. After
all, you have the power over life and death.
It will always be death, of course, but the edge of hope in their eyes
amuses you. You revel in their
pleading. “Pray to me,” you whisper in
their ears. You know where to twist,
where to cut, where to thrust so that they will shudder with agony.
And last night, the woman’s palest parts, so soft and
protected, the secret parts leading into her warm body, her unsuspecting parts,
all these received your attention as she wiggled beneath you, beside you, under
you. Fear, anger, anguish passed over her
face then the final terror before her eyes were empty. Her used remains were
disposed of in the
usual way but that damn rose was missing.
It wouldn’t do to be sloppy, even in such an obscure way.
But now it was taken care of. Time to head
toward home. On the way, you would make your usual pass
through Tentville, as it was called.
Your cries for those poor slobs stuck living under the makeshift
blankets in that desperate place. Such a
terrible situation. You’re disgusted with the government for letting the
economy get so bad. Those men are hungry
and cold at night. Yes, you are familiar
with discomfort, you remember living through terrible days being starved and
beaten as a kid in the streets, and it nearly makes you cry to see these folks
with their torn up clothes and dirty faces.
That’s why you always bring dollar bills, socks, toothbrushes and other
gifts when you pass through here (and you pass through whenever you’ve been
“entertaining” a woman in the old warehouse.
“Thanks, Mister!” you love to brighten their lives. The way
their eyes shine when they’re thanking you makes you feel like God.
Lewis is a Chicago native who has spent many years writing
legal documents. Now, in semi-retirement, she is pursuing her
MFA. Dabbling in varied genres, she has had over a dozen stories, essays,
and poems published in print and online, as well as had a piece performed by
Knowles has spent over 40 years working mainly in comics, along
with contributions to TV, Radio, animation, gonzo-style journalism for a “top-of-the-shelf”
magazine and odd spells as a digital artist. Not to mention three gruesome years writing
gags for comedians (even though they begged him not to. But what did THEY know
I wrote for the comic papers.