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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Hillary Lyon: Laundry Day

Art by Sophia Wiseman-Rose 2022

Laundry Day


by Hillary Lyon



Galinda opened the closet in her bedroom, and picked up the wadded sheet stashed in the corner. She shook it out. There were lots of wrinkles, But hey, she told herself, that makes it look appropriately jaded. That and the bloodstains. It will make a perfect screen for the multi-media project I have in mind.

She gnawed her fingernail as she worked out the details for her next art installation. I’ll use the video I made of my last tryst with Benson—our final fare-thee-well-fuck, as it were. I'll convert the video to black and white, overlay a grainy filter, and—voila! Instant old-school amateur porn.

I’ll delete the audio, and add a recording I made years ago of children laughing and screeching in park playground. Project the finished video on this soiled sheet—yeah, that’ll do nicely. I shall call it, “Laundry Day.”

* * *

Dressed in a black vintage frock and her highest heels, Galinda wandered around the gallery, eavesdropping on the attendees, her radar tuned to any mention of her artwork.

A tall thin gent knitted his eyebrows together as he watched Galinda’s multi-media installation. “It’s rather, uh—” he stuttered.

“Empowering,” his beautiful, androgynous companion finished.

“I mean, the physical viciousness of it all, is certainly—” he started again.

“Em-Power-Ing,” his companion emphasized with finality. Galinda giggled and moved on to the next group, a cluster of college-aged young women. Art majors, most likely.

“Is that really her in this video?” a mousy girl in over-large glasses asked her cohorts. “Her and her actor boyfriend?”

“Yeah, that’s her,” a pudgy tattooed blonde offered. “She’s seriously pushing boundaries with this one.”

“She’s famous for that,” Her bespectacled friend added. “Though, all that ultra-violence she uses in this one—”

“Right?” A brunette with red-tipped curls laughed uncomfortably. “You know I’m no prude, but all that sex made me cringe—then when she brings out that knife and stabs and stabs and stabs—”

“Yeah, no way that happened—yet it did look so authentic,” the tattooed blond opined, sipping her wine. “And the ingeniousness of calling it, ‘Laundry Day’—I mean, Wow! So many layers to that alone. Societal norms, traditional sex roles, and the patriarchy be damned!” The blonde added sagely, “She’s a true artist.”

Galinda continued to move through the crowd, grabbing a glass of wine off a serving tray on her way to her multi-media installation. She looked around at the people before her; they were certainly uncomfortable, talking avidly amongst themselves and motioning to her multi-media presentation.

Good! She wanted everyone who saw this to be shocked. People will talk, and she especially wanted word to get back to Benson’s family, friends, co-workers, and—

—his current girlfriend, who was standing at the back of the gallery crowd. Galinda’s eyes met hers, and Galinda smiled as the woman gaped in horror. Her eyes shifted to the video, then back to Galinda. She turned abruptly and walked out of the gallery, cell phone in hand.

Galinda threw her head back and laughed.

* * *

Back home, Galinda kicked off her heels and pulled out a bottle of chardonnay from her fridge. There had been no offers to purchase her installation, not even from any local museums looking for scandalous pieces to make their reputations; she’d assumed some place would want her artwork, because the buzz alone was sure to bring attention and crowds. She unscrewed the cap and drank deeply as she sauntered over to her couch. Police sirens wailed outside her window; she lived in the city, she heard sirens and the buzz of police helicopters all the time. She ignored it.

Finishing off her bottle, she stumbled to the coat closet in her front hallway. She flung the door open and leaned unsteadily over Benson, who was curled up, crumpled in the corner.

“Hey you!” she teased, “guess whose gonna be famous after tonight!” Galinda yanked out the butcher knife embedded in his neck, nearly severing his head from his naked body as she did. She licked the congealed blood off the blade. “That’s right, I am,” she said as she nudged his ribs with her pedicured toe. “And so will you, Bensy!”

Galinda was vaguely aware of voices barking orders just outside her front door. Her neighbors were a rowdy bunch, so she disregarded this as just more of their noise. “Tonight, I made you a star! An avant-garde indie movie star—just like one of Andy Warh—” But Galinda’s gleeful declarations were rudely interrupted by the violently insistent knock at her front door.

Annoyed, she raised her voice. “Jeez, people, give it a rest.” Galinda returned her attention to Benson. “Anyway, I have an idea!” she shouted over the sound of her front door splintering.  “A sequel! Gonna get started tonight! Already have the plot scripted in my head. It’s gonna feature—”

She smiled coyly and ruffled Benson’s bloody, matted hair. “—you and me, together again.”

As the cops poured through what remained of her front door, Galinda still focused her attention solely on Benson. She leaned in close to his cold gray face to whisper in his blood-clotted ear, “I shall call it—”

“Bloodbath,” an officer gasped. “Dear God, this scene is a bloodbath!”

Surprised, Galinda turned to grin at the cop. “Exactly!”

Hillary Lyon founded and for 20 years acted as senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. Her stories have appeared lately in 365tomorrows, Black Petals, Sirens Call, Night to Dawn, 50 Word Stories, Legends of Night drabble series anthology, and Revelations drabble series anthology. She’s also an illustrator for horror & pulp fiction magazines.


Sophia Wiseman-Rose is a Paramedic and an Episcopalian nun. Both careers have provided a great deal of exposure to the extremes in life and have provided great inspiration for her.  

 She is currently spending time with her four lovely grown children and making plans to move back to her home in the UK in the Autumn.  

 Sophia had a few poems in the last edition of Black Petals Horror/Science Fiction Magazine.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2022