She sat at her grindstone, slowly and carefully pulling and sharpening her knife. When it sang, she knew it was sharp. Nose to the grindstone, she thought. That’s an interesting idea. Maybe next time.
She held the knife up and watched the blade gleam in the flickering candlelight.
She got up from her worktable and turned off the music. Rossini’s “Thieving Magpies.” She loved the exuberance of the music, the playfulness of the birds before death.
She selected her victims with care. Alone, vulnerable, each with a secret in her past. It was the secrets that bound them.
Her last kill was perfect. Quick. Out. Away. She had thought of Grieg’s “Hall of the Mountain King” before killing. A sense of doom. And, Grieg’s “Morning Song” when she was done. A perfectly blooming morning after blood and death. She was already planning her next kill.
It was the birds who saw her
The day started slowly. I woke up to a world wrapped in a gray fog blanket. Damp tendrils of mist drifted in the air. Droplets of water clung to leaves and dotted the windshield of my car.
I warmed my hands on my hot cup of coffee, breathing in the fragrant steam and waiting for the caffeine to kick in. The newspaper lay unopened on the table. I would get to it later. It was to delightful to sit and sip my coffee while gazing out the window at the cool, damp, peaceful landscape.
That was the beginning.
In my reverie, I didn’t hear the footsteps creeping softly up behind me. I didn’t notice the quiet breathing on the back of my neck. Or feel the prick of the gleaming, sharp knife as it slipped between my ribs and pierced my heart.
Then, I was floating on that blanket of fog that somehow came into the house. Drifting slowly, ever slowly upward. Watching the scene in the kitchen unfold below be. I saw my body, slumped and bloody on the kitchen chair. The floor below the table was slick with blood. Rivers of red filled the seams between the floorboards.
Red footprints led out the back door. I followed them, drifting just below the ceiling and through the wall. It didn’t occur to me that drifting through a wall isn’t possible.
I saw a figure bending over to take off the hospital style booties that covered red running shoes. Pulling off surgical gloves and folding everything together. Then she stood and looked straight at me. I saw the face of my killer. She looked exultant at what she had just done. In love with the act of killing.
She would do it again. And I would follow, watching. A silent witness.
She joined the birds
A dimorphous spirit
“I saw,” she said
The birds accepted her
They joined in a circle in the sky
My wings are clipped, and I fall
I brace for impact
But I fall through the earth
I land in a dark room lined with soft blankets
I pull one around my shoulders, but it disappears like mist
Shelves are lined with chocolate, dark and rich
Melted cheese sandwiches and potato chips
Bottomless glasses of wine
But they taste like cardboard
They offer no nourishment for my soul
A seductive voice calls
Look at your pain and behold its exquisite beauty
Caress it, love it, embrace it
Stay, sleep, the seductive voice whispers
The world won’t miss you
You’re not good enough
Its tempting to stay in the dungeon of despair
Hiding from life, hiding from light
But there is only false comfort here
I can’t stay
I need light
I need life
I claw my way up towards the light
Pulling myself hand over hand up the dark walls
With agonizing slowness
My fingernails are lined with earth
My muscles burn
But I’m out
I collapse on the ground, exhausted
Still raw and in pain
But craving true comfort
I stand on shaky legs
Not sure I can make it
Not sure I’m good enough
I don’t want to ho back into that dungeon
With its false comfort and false promises
Pain fades, happiness grows, light glows