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Music drifted through the peaceful halls of the house, winding its way through the open basement door and down the stairs. It wrapped around the two of us and I couldn’t help humming along.

This magic moment, so different and so new…

Was like any other until I kissed you…

It was magic how the scalpel in my hand, caressed by my fingertips, pressed into him, sharp enough to part the flesh like cutting butter. Crimson weeping wounds kissed his skin and making him shake. For joy, I told myself. He was just as happy as I was that this was happening. My love, my dear. Staying with me in the most permanent of ways.

And then it happened, it took me by surprise…

The Drifters crooned, making my heart melt. You took me by surprise. Each new incarnation of you that I took captive. Each new man that wears your face, that smiles your smile, that laughs your laugh.

I knew that you felt it too, by the look in your eyes…

He was weeping. I almost was too. Each time felt like the first. Each time new, yet the same. Each time pure. Each kill a retelling of the same old story, the same tragedy that I live. The tragedy that is me without you.

Sweeter than wine

Softer than the summer night

Everything I want, I have…

I have you, even if you aren’t here. You on this table, letting me carve you up. He has a different name, but he tastes like you when we’ve kissed. He makes the same soft sounds low in his throat. Sort of like the keening sounds he’s making now, though not nearly as high-pitched.

Already I’m thinking of how I’ll prepare him, after I’ve cut him into fillets.

Whenever I hold you tight…

    How many times had I held him tight, pretending he was you? And then he was going to leave, just as you did, just like all of the others. I couldn’t let him. Of course I couldn’t. I wasn’t going to be left behind, some forgotten memory.

Blood gushed up around my fingers, warm wet coating the tips and making me hum.

This magic moment while your lips are close to mine…

I couldn’t help having a tiny taste. I didn’t want to spoil my appetite, but a little self-indulgence wouldn’t hurt. I flicked my tongue over the mess he’d made, a burst of copper hitting my taste buds and the metallic scent that hung heavy in the air filling my nostrils.

Will last forever, forever till the end of time…

I’ll keep you like this.


Tick. Tick. Tick.

She is staring at the hands on the old brass alarm clock by her bedside, watching the fragile metal arms as they make their jerky circle around the numbered white face. She needs to move. Just get out of bed. Her alarm went off a half hour ago but she is still laying there, her body a dead weight against the mattress, holding her in place. Trapped. She feels trapped in her own skin, imagines her joints are made of metal and rusted to the point of being immobile, her bones are steel, her skin aluminum. She imagines she was made of brass and gears and cogs grinding together, teeth locking into teeth, making her grind her own in frustration.

She can’t move.

She knows it’s all in her head.

The fear.


It waits outside of her bedroom, just outside of her apartment door, stalks her at work, shadows her in class, follows her to her car in the middle of the night, slinking around after her like a cat in the dark.

It is safer here. She pulls her blankets over her head and squeezes her eyes shut. How late was she going to allow herself to be? This shouldn’t be so hard.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Just get out of bed. Her chest starts to feel tight. Just get out of bed. Tears begin to build behind her eyelids and her mouth feels dry. The bitter taste of bile burns the back of her throat.

She is doing this to herself. She knows it, but she cann’t make it stop. She can’t stop herself from repeating this cycle, this little failure in itself, failure to function, to be human, to be normal.




She throws back the covers with a sudden burst of motion and snatches up the clock, tossing it against the wall in one powerful throw. She pushes down the sickness, her jaw clenches as she forces herself to move, to put all of her strength into overcoming the rust and denseness of her limbs. Her feet swing over the edge of the bed, toes touch the floor, and she draws in a deep steadying breath before standing.

Another day. She can make it through one more, then one would turn into two, then three. Another week. Another year. A lifetime.


{AN: I wanted to go ahead and post the short story that won me the Roy F. Powell award, not just for you all, but so I have a place to share it with family and friends.}

Dark. Quiet. Home. She breathed in a sigh of relief the moment the door was closed behind her and she leaned against it as her eyes slid shut. It had been an ordinary day, rather uneventful really, but sometimes those were the hardest to get through. Especially today. She’d found herself running low, wanting to go home earlier than usual.

She pressed her hand to her cheek and felt a layer of makeup there that she couldn’t wait to get off. The bathroom was always her first stop once she was in the door. Standing in the sterile white washroom she could relax and disrobe. Plus, she enjoyed the process of taking off her face.

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