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shards.jpg
Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2019

Shards of Glass

by Sebnem Sanders

I opened my eyes in the moonlit bedroom, and saw myself standing stark naked before the mirrored doors of my wardrobe. I say myself because it was me. Yet, also reflected in the mirror, another image of me reclined in bed, watching.  Is this a dream or reality? I pinched myself. Nothing changed. Maybe, I should refer to her as she as there cannot be two me's?  

Our eyes met. Then she turned, slid the wardrobe door, and took out a carrier bag. She slipped on a pair of black, lacy strings and a matching bra. Black sheer stockings and a red garter on one leg.

Strange. Never seen these before, nor do I wear or own such garbage.

She took no notice of my implied look, as she pulled a red mini-skirt and a black bustier from the bag, and wriggled into them.

They're not mine.

Finally, sitting on the bed, beside my outstretched legs, she put on a pair of black stiletto boots.  She stood and inspected her look. Heels clicking on the parquetry, she pranced down the hall, and flicked the bathroom switch. 

I rose and followed her. She examined her face in the mirror. Standing behind her, I could see my own image in the glass. I looked her in the eye. No acknowledgement, as though I didn't exist.

She picked up my make-up bag. Eyes defined with black, charcoal shadow, and a generous touch of dark mascara, she applied a rich, red colour on her lips, and blew a cupid's kiss.

I never wear such make-up.

She reached for my hairbrush. Bending over, her hair cascading from the back of her neck, she brushed it with long, firm strokes. Straightening, she styled it with her fingers, soft curls framing her face. She looked smashing. Once back in the bedroom, she sprayed my perfume on her neck, wrists and bosom, and grabbed my black bag.

“Hey!” I shouted.

No response.

 My phone, wallet and car keys inside the bag, she opened the front door. I followed her, in my nightie. She locked the door, strolled to my car and unlocked it. I slipped into the back seat before she started the engine. She reversed out and drove down East 32nd Street, heading west.

“Where are we going?” I questioned. Nothing. I could see her eyes, and my own, in the rear-view mirror, as passing headlights illuminated the interior. She's going downtown, to the West End.

She turned left onto Smith Street, a popular nightclub strip, and stopped in front of Charisma. The car left to the valet, she stepped inside, with me on her tail, and headed to the bar. I'd never been there before and the fountain of intoxication looked packed. The guy next to her asked if she'd like a drink. She smiled and said, “Thanks. Scotch on the rocks and a bottle of water, please.”

I felt naked in my nightie, at a venue buzzing with people in trendy clothes. Men in black leather or sports jackets over a sea of faded denim. Their shirts and tops ranging from dark grey to white. Women's hair in the colours of the rainbow, the cuts and styles street-smart avant-garde. Sensuous bodysuits, hot-pants and miniskirts hugging the curves and contours of their figures, decorated with tattoos.

Realizing no one seemed to notice me, despite my reflection in the mirror behind the bar, I relaxed, and even attempted to ask the barman for a drink. He did not respond. I was a non-entity.

The guy tried to chat my other self up as she scanned the room, until her gaze settled on someone at the other end of the bar. She finished her drink, picked up my bag and approached the man who was tapping something on his mobile. Standing next to him, she ordered a drink. The guy lifted his eyes from his phone and glimpsed her, smiling.  

“Hi,” he said, “can I offer you a seat?” His face looked familiar. Very much like my ex-husband, but a younger version. As though time had not taken its toll. She perched on the stool, flashing her long, slender legs and the red garter with the rose.  

They talked, danced, had a few drinks, and danced again. He held her tight, his hands, moving up and down her back, towards her hips. Finally, they left and waited for the valet to bring the cars. She jumped into my vehicle. Me? I climbed into the back seat. She followed him across the river, to a fashionable residential district. He slowed down and paused briefly on a narrow road. Then continued and entered a car park on the next street. She parked beside him. Hands linked, they descended down the steps.

“Impossible to find any space on my street at this time. Thank God for the car park. There's a shortcut to my place,” he said, leading her through a dark alley, between two buildings. His arm wrapped around her, he stopped to kiss her, pressing her back against the wall. Moaning, she swung her leg around his body.  

My God, they can't wait … 

His hands moved to his trousers as she took something out of her handbag. He embraced her again, his mouth moving down her neck, to her bosom. Something flashed in her hand. As he lifted his head towards her lips, she pushed him back and dragged the shiny thing across his throat in a swift and precise movement.

 

 I yelled. No one heard me. A faint noise, a gurgle, or the last breath. He collapsed, an empty sack on the pavement. She retracted the blade, tossed the knife in the handbag and took out a lipstick. In big red letters, she wrote on the concrete. For eternal love.

I screamed, and ran, not knowing who or where I was …

 

I woke up in my bed. She was gone. A bad dream, a nightmare, yet so vivid. I must write this. I leaped out of bed and rushed to the lounge to switch on my computer.

Newsfeed on the screen: Eternal Love strikes again. Second murder with the same M.O. The victim's body, identified as Anthony M. Collins, was found early this morning by garbage collectors, in an alley 100 metres from his home. The victim's car was located in the district car park for community members on subscription. To reduce costs, CCTV cameras had not been installed in the parking area. The investigation by Metropolitan Police continues …

So, it wasn't a dream. Deja vu? I no longer felt like writing. Going for a walk seemed a better idea. Searching for my hooded sweatshirt in the wardrobe, I dug through the pile on the shelf. Behind them, a pink carrier bag. Samantha's Secrets. When did I put this here? I don't remember shopping there.

 I peeked inside, and froze when I found the clothes she had worn last night. I turned my handbag inside-out onto the bed. All its contents were my own. However, there was no flick-knife or any flaming-red lipstick.

The flash of my reflection in the mirror caught my eye. I gasped and cringed in terror, my heart pounding in my ears. I grabbed the heavy door-stop, threw it at the mirror, and watched my distorted image within the shards of glass as the cracks spread wider and wider.

Shards of Glass was originally published by Twisted Sister Lit Mag on July 9th, 2017. Later it was reprinted in Ripples on the Pond, Sebnem’s anthology of flash fiction and short stories, in December 2017.

https://twistedsisterlitmag.com/2017/07/09/twistedsister-fiction-shards-glass/

And later in Ripples on the Pond, my anthology of flash fiction and short stories:

https://www.amazon.com/Ripples-Pond-Sebnem-Sanders-ebook/dp/B077XCK3SD/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534513742&sr=1-1&keywords=ripples+on+the+pond

 

 

 

 

The Hunter

Sebnem E. Sanders

 

Blanche stood before the cheval mirror and adjusted her fur hat. Tucking wayward curls inside the headpiece, she buttoned her fitted long coat, and picked up her gloves.

Fat snowflakes dancing like butterflies greeted her as she stepped into the street lined with terraced houses. She pulled up her collar, and glided over the soft mounds on the pavement. Warm lights pouring from windows and lamp posts illuminated the blanket of snow which muffled the sounds of traffic and footsteps. A postcard scene, as though time had stopped. Turning left at the bottom of the road, Blanche continued towards the High Street.

Loaded with bags, Christmas shoppers headed in all directions. Passengers stepped onto or off red, double-decker buses along the main street decorated with colourful lights. Children fascinated by displays, stuck their faces on the windows of the Toy Shop as their parents pulled them away while hailing cabs. Echoes of festive songs spilling from the stores brought an inconsolable pain to Blanche’s heart.

“Ho, ho! Story time!” The words brought her back to the moment.  The Santa in front of Dickson’s rang his bell and invited children inside. Blanche took a close look at him and froze. He hadn’t listened, had he? She had warned him several times, after catching him in front of school yards and following youngsters to the park. That summer, she had seen him peeping at a bunch of blooming teenagers splayed out on the lawn in their shorts and strappy tops.

How could a reputable establishment like Dickson’s employ him? Did his big belly and alcohol induced red cheeks not require further references?  Sly and insidious, perhaps, he had no offence record. Yet, Blanche knew a paedophile when she saw one.  He was on her longlist.

She stood and watched him settle on a red armchair at the children’s bookstore by the toy department. Taking an illustrated copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, he glanced at his young audience sitting on the floor. Then, pointing to a pretty blonde girl, he patted his leg. Once the girl hopped on his lap, he began to read Little Red Riding Hood.

“Ironic,” Blanche hissed, as the girl put her head on his chest and listened. Blanche could see beads of perspiration on his puffy face. He licked his lips as words came out of his foul mouth. Moving his legs and feet at intervals, he cleared his throat and turned the pages.

He summoned two more children, a boy and another girl to his lap as he read the second and third stories. Confident in her next course of action, Blanche waited patiently until his shift ended. She followed him to the staff rooms where he changed into plain clothes and slipped out of the back exit into a dark alley. Whispering ,“Ho, Ho, Ho!” he reached for his pocket, and brought a flask to his lips.

“Disgusting pervert, I will kill you!”

Startled, he looked around, but couldn’t see anyone. Another mouthful consumed, he lit a cigarette and inhaled.

Blanche watched him mellow. Then, grabbing the cigarette from his hand, she extinguished it on his skin.

“Aww!” he mumbled and sucked his hand. Blanche thrust him against the wall, and clutching his neck with both hands, she squeezed it with all her might.

“This is not a heart-attack, you pervert. You’re being strangled. I warned you many times before, but you didn’t listen. You deserve to die.”

Hands like steel around his throat, she pressed until his heart stopped beating and his face morphed to blue from red.

She dropped him on the snow-covered pavement, next to the black garbage bags. Smoothing her gloves, she walked to the High Street.

In stark contrast with the wardrobes of the last century, the outfits of the passers-by lacked elegance and style. Stepping inside the main hall of the Toy Shop, she peeked behind parents and their children, viewing the vast array of enticing merchandise. On the way to the first floor, she paused by the hall of mirrors Edward had loved. She could see everyone’s reflection except her own. At the model train department, she listened to the whistle and choo-choo of the steam engines as children cheered, until tears blurred her vision.

Toys were different, fashions had changed, but not the laughter of children.

The hubbub of the High Street faded behind her as she turned to a side street and headed home.

In the attic, she crossed out the pervert’s name from the list and placed it back inside her pocket. Pain and vengeance had given her more powers than spirits were thought capable of exercising. Yet, she needed to rest to replenish her strength. Exhausted, Blanche lay next to a chest of toys and wept.

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t protect you from the monsters, Edward, but I promise I’ll do everything within my power to save other young ones.”

 





Sebnem E. Sanders is a native of Istanbul, Turkey. Currently she lives on the eastern shores of the Southern Aegean where she dreams and writes Flash Fiction and Flash Poesy, as well as longer works of fiction. Her flash stories have appeared in the Harper Collins Authonomy Blog, The Drabble, Sick Lit Magazine, Twisted Sister Lit Mag, Spelk Fiction, The Bosphorus Review of Books, Three Drops from the Cauldron, The Rye Whiskey Review, CarpeArte Journal, Yellow Mama Webzine, Punk Noir Magazine, and Flash Fiction Offensive, as well as two anthologies: Paws and Claws and One Million Project, Thriller Anthology. She has a completed manuscript, The Child of Heaven, and two works in progress, The Child of Passion, and The Lost Child. Her collection of short and flash fiction stories, Ripples on the Pond, was published in December 2017. More information can be found at her website where she publishes some of her work:


https://sebnemsanders.wordpress.com/


Ripples on the Pond


https://www.amazon.com/Ripples-Pond-Sebnem-Sanders/dp/1981383115/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1573749231&sr=1-4






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