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Kristina England
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Body Art

 

Kristina England

 

 



Tony liked to collect pin-up girls.

First, there were the posters. He was methodological about hanging them, using the leveler like his father had taught him.

He’d stare at the posters before going to bed at night.

It wasn’t lustful. He compared his fixation with his mother’s prayer card ritual. Both were worship of idols. Both were intangible.

The problem arose when he grew tired of mass-produced prints.

He wanted the real thing.  The curves, the fishnet stockings, the slight turn of head that said, “I am yours.”

That’s when he made the plan to pack up his things and go on a road trip. He’d go in search of those voluptuous cheesecakes and bring them home.

Of course, there was a slight hitch in his plan. Most of the pin-up girls were dead. That was apparent by their black and white photos.

It didn’t matter, though. All he wanted was the ability to say, “I have touched glamour, I have held pop culture, I have done more than buy a poster or some cheap magazine.”

So he packed some additional items and left a note for his parents.

Back in a few months. Gone fishing.


His mother was inconsolable. His father chucked it up to a normal phase of adolescence. Neither noticed the absence of their gardening tools.

It wasn’t until Tony returned that people started talking.

His reproductions were replaced by a new, original kind of art.

“Where did you get the bones?” asked his mother.

“Where did you get the bones?” asked his mother’s priest.

“Where did you get the bones, you little shit?” asked his father.

He shrugged.

“I told you, I went fishing,” he said as he placed his father’s metal shovel back in the shed.

Tony turned and looked at their tightened mouths.

“And when you cast a wide enough net, there’s no telling what you’ll catch. I just happened to pull back some lady fingers, is all, which is cool, ‘cause there’s no truer art in the world, right?”





The Reincarnation

 

by Kristina England

 

 

Jasmine’s older sister had died last winter when Jasmine was 10. Katrina was a dainty thing, but she had the “devil in her,” as Jasmine’s grandmother had said.

 

“She reminded me of her dad. He was a wretched thing.”

 

Jasmine’s mother mourned the loss for six months, although Jasmine could sense the relief in the air. 

 

A year later, when the house was brimming with their laughter, a mouse showed up at the front door. It was wearing her sister’s favorite hair bow and its blondish hair startled them both.

 

Her mother quickly called her grandmother, who came over for an evaluation. The moment she tried to touch the mouse, it bit her between her thumb and forefinger.  The bite was so bad, her grandmother needed stitching.

 

On the ride to the hospital, her grandmother looked at her mother and said in a whisper, “What you have there is your daughter reincarnated.”

 

Jasmine chuckled. It was the funniest thing she had ever heard. Both her mother and grandmother gave her a nervous look.

 

“What have I told you about listening to other people’s conversations?” her mother said.

 

Jasmine shrugged.

 

They returned home later that day with a cage and some food. They set the cage down. Her mother bit her lip.

 

“How are we going to get her in the cage, now . . .”

 

The mouse came out of hiding and walked right into the cage. Her mother gave the mouse a look. “I know you’re up to no good when you’re actually doing what you’re told.”

 

Later that night, Jasmine walked over to the cage. The mouse poked its nose up against the cage.

 

“You’re not my sister,” Jasmine said.

 

“I’m not,” the mouse responded.

 

Jasmine jumped back.

 

“I can’t actually get you from here, stupid. I’m in a cage, remember?”

 

“What do you want with us?”

 

“Redemption, of course.”

 

“Redemp- what?”

 

“Forgiveness, silly.”

 

“Why would you want that?”

 

“Because I’ve been watching the two of you and realized what love is. I didn’t have that with you or Mum, and Dad left long before we knew him.”

 

Jasmine smiled. “Okay, where do we start?”

 

“I need to first go back to the pond and make my peace with my death.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Jasmine carried the cage back to the pond. She sat down and took the mouse out.

 

The mouse walked up to the newly-formed ice and looked back. “I need some support here.”

 

“Oh,” Jasmine said.  She walked up to the ice.

 

The mouse suddenly bit the back of her heel and she feel forward onto the ice. A loud, crunching surrounded Jasmine as the mouse giggled. 

 

Jasmine began to sink into the pond as the mouse began to morph into her, but she could see by its eyes, her mother would know better. 

 

Even now, she could swear she heard her mother’s feet chomping through the snow, the sound of her rifle crunching alongside, ready to kill her she-devil of a daughter.

 

 

 

Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in several journals, including Gargoyle, New Verse News, Poetry24, and The Story Shack. Her first flash fiction chapbook, Stanley Stanley’s Investigative Services and Other Mysteries, was published in the 2014 Poet’s Haven Author Series.




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