An Uncouth Scribe

“This paper is weird. It’s all stiff and thick.” Carla’s eyes dribbled back and forth across Dylan’s restless form. He lay prone and twitching on the couch. Her gaze paused just under his belt. “Kinda like yer-“

Dylan leapt up faster than a jackrabbit on meth, grabbing the white vellum out of Carla’s hands. “Don’t be writin’ yer stupid grocery list on that.”

“Whoa. Fine. So sorry to take your,” Her fingers twitched into air quotes, “special paper.” Lips contorting, Carla’s nose squished, creating a pinched expression. “Ya gonna git yerself a fancy pen too? What’s it for anyway?”

“None of yer damn business! That’s what!” The hinges on the screen door felt Dylan’s furious shoulder and the wood porch cracked under his feet. “Damn bitch, always gettin’ in my business.”

His pace slowed as he fished a lighter out of his back pocket and pulled a cigarette from behind his ear. But his draws were almost violent, lips bruising the white cylinder—a futile attempt to steady his nerves before opening the mailbox. Hollow reverberations echoed inside. The box suffered his anger, receiving a fist-sized dent in its side.

“Shit!”

He yanked a phone out of the other back pocket. A slow flush of resentment began to rise from the base of his neck at the lack of missed calls. No new emails had his entire face enflamed.

“God damn you, Kerry! It’s been two weeks since I sent that letter.” A final pull and the cigarette was expunged below his bare heel. “You got one week, girl. Then I’m comin’.”

An unwelcome gust of spring dropped his words off at the open window where Carla had been peeking out.

Who the hell is Carrie, she wondered.

LKT © 2015

(Other segments in the Kerrington series can be found here.)

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Interim

She waits in her skin
time drips into
nooks and crannies

They call her granny
which she no longer hears
over jittery fingers

Disease and pain linger
bones shrivel and wane
she can’t savor her food

Trifocals ruin the mood
everything is dry
she waits, she waits to die

LKT © 2015

“Nobody Told Me”

It was one of his favorite things—combing her hair before they went to bed at night. Ellen enjoyed it too. His gentle touch soothed her after a long day. Carlton would hold her upper arms and gently lean her back into a chair. Sitting behind her, on the edge of the bed, he would drape her long, grey streaked blonde tresses over his knees. If the strands were tangled, he might use a comb first, but he preferred stroking her with his fingers.

Carlton would start at the edges, bringing them up to his lips, kissing them. With one hand he would skim through her locks and the fingers of his other would caress her neck. Occasionally, he would lean in, his lips tickling where his fingers had been. Ellen’s neck would sometimes loll to the side at his persistent petting. Carlton would smile and lift her head back into place, chiding her softly for falling asleep. Ellen, of course, said nothing. Always, she remained silent throughout his ministrations.

Carlton didn’t mind. She was still here with him and it was all he could want. This nightly ritual of smoothing her hair was a comfort to him. He filled the silence with songs. Usually it was something by John Lennon. Still, he often wished for the days when he had been able to hear her beautiful contralto vocals.

Once in a while, he would hold both sides of a conversation they might have had. He yearned for her sassy comebacks to his dry wit, so he closed his eyes and spoke for both of them. They talked of their African safari and their trip to the Alps. Carlton smiled and became a little overly enthusiastic when he brought up the possibility of a vacation to Hawaii and Mai Tais on the beach. His energetic fingers distressed her hair, pulling out a small chunk.

He cried out. She did not.

Carlton rose and came around to face his wife. He touched her cold cheeks, lifting her head with the gentlest of movements, apologizing over and over. Ellen, of course, didn’t respond. Her lips had long ago been sewn shut. Her glass eyes had no life in them.

With years of tender practice, Carlton cradled his bloodless wife and carried her to their bed. He lay down beside his beloved Ellen, placing her delicate hand in one of his while still caressing a strand of her hair in the other.

LKT © 2015

Signs of Arrows

“Do you have any idea where we’re are going?”

“I’m just following the signs.” Darrin pointed to the arrow on the wall. “I figure whoever painted ‘em has a final destination in mind.”

Stephen’s hand life-gripped the rail on the rickety steps. “This building doesn’t exactly seem safe, D.”

Tapping the arrow on the door, Darrin stopped. “Steph, quit being a buzzkill. Think of it as an adventure.”

“There’s probably an axe-murderer with a freezer full of meddlesome people’s toes on the other side of that door, you know.” Still, Stephen blindly followed Darrin into the darkness.

“I do know. And now, so do you.”

Stephen’s eyes were a bit tardy in bending to the dim light. He only had time to spot the freezer in the corner before the axe hit his neck.

“And it’s heads, not toes.”

LKT © 2015

Written for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers weekly prompt. Click the link below to read other participant’s entries.

FFfAW image 12.15.15

(Image prompt courtesy of pixabay)

Sepulchre

Frozen fingers squeezed her shoulder. An eidolon’s grasp. The wooden legs of her chair scraped the tile below as her body shuddered in its shadow.

“Apologies, my love. Did I frighten you?” Leaning across Ginny’s shoulder, Richard took her left hand in his, the ice on his lips scraping raw the knuckle on her ring finger. “You left something on the chest of drawers this morning.” Encasing her with his arms, he slid the brilliant shard onto her finger.

“It looks beautiful there—where it belongs.” Cool lips brushed her hair and he was gone.

Gin remained at her desk for some time, sliding the ring on and off. It wasn’t forgetfulness that had left it on her dresser. She had wanted to know if her hand would feel lighter without the weight.

Fifteen years ago, they had been looking at the bay when he had come up behind her like he had now. Back then, it seemed romantic when he cocooned her inside his arms and gave her the ring. It had felt secure. She hadn’t known then that his gift would become her tomb.

LKT © 2015

Vending Machine Wisdom

apes and spiders mocked
the jays of winter, battles
raged five times a dragon,
maleficent and cinderella:
shades of grey, inside and
out, transforming minions
of seven furious dinosaurs
into interstellar guardians
and avengers—impossible
this all fits in a red cuboid

LKT © 2015