Owen's gaze went from the morning sun
outside the kitchen window to his laptop screen. He closed the lid so
Jessica couldn't read what he'd written.
it was time to make
to the drawer with all
the butcher knives in it. There was one he never used. It was Jessica's and she
kept it sharp. God knows why, she rarely cooked. It was a game with her; she'd
come home, pull out her knife and hold it up towards him. "You used my knife
today, didn't you? It's not as shiny as it was this morning."
the whet of the
knife, forgetting his father's warning: "Scrape, don't slice." Blood
gathered in the whorls of his thumb. He stared at it and chuckled before
licking it clean.
his laptop and
deleted what he'd written.
kill Jessica today.
came through the
window exactly how Owen told God it had to come through if God wanted Owen to
kill Jessica, and it came through exactly how Owen told God to make it come through
so that was it, there was no argument about it, God approved and gave Owen the
sign he'd asked for so it was okay to do it and today was the day he would kill
Jessica because God sent the sunlight through the window just as they'd agreed.
God for that.
came through that
window exactly that same way for several days now. Owen kept count, kept track,
going back and forth, bargaining with God, asking permission and wanting to be
sure, beyond reproach, beyond crime, beyond punishment.
together so quickly he
look, not linger, not
glare or stare or gape, just a quick look while she was upstairs dressing,
getting ready for work, going out, she'd talk with them, all those people, at
the bus stop, on the train, in the office, at the bank, he could hear them
talking, asking questions she didn't answer, smiling, nodding, brushing them
away, flirting, ...
with all those
people. His hussy, his scarlet, his little bitch in heat. But not for him, no
not for him, never for him, always making sure they were never alone, keeping
his mouth full of foods, of jams and jellies and mince so he couldn't ask so
she wouldn't have to answer.
she was, coming down
the stairs, her feet going tap tap tap on the hardwood stairs as she came down,
as she stepped stepped stepped in her sensible flats, no strain on the ankles,
no strain on the knees, no forcing the curvature of the calf, no pulling of the
buttocks and thighs to give balance, sensible Jessica, modest clothing and
sensible clothes, nothing too elaborate for his darling Jessica.
she was, his queen
descending from her throne, descending from her dais, turning the corner and
coming into the kitchen, into him, him waiting, knife in hand, waiting, the sun
streaming through the window, just as God said, him waiting, in the sun,
over his laptop, his
fingers moving like elves stepdancing on the keys, a towel wrapping his thumb
like a Turkish soldier's turban.
that last line. The
similes didn't fit.
his hand from the
keyboard. "Oh, you've cut yourself. You poor thing."
He looked at
his thumb and laughed. "It's nothing. But it did give me a great idea for
originally appeared in The Yard in March 2021.
Joseph Carrabis has been
everything from a long-haul trucker to a Chief Research Scientist and holds
patents covering mathematics, anthropology, neuroscience, and linguistics. And he’s
boring and dull.
Hillary Lyon is an illustrator
for horror/sci-fi and pulp fiction websites and magazines. She is also founder and
senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. An SFPA
Rhysling Award nominated poet, her poems have appeared in journals such as Eternal
Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s Honey,
and Red River Review, as well as numerous
anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night
to Dawn, Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales
from the Moonlit Path, among others, as well as in numerous horror anthologies
such as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big Easy, Thuggish
Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She
appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby" in Purple Cactus
Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for Zombie." Having lived in France,
Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides in southern