It's an acrid smell, pungent, burning my throat as I enter the room. Broken glass crunches beneath the soles of my weathered boots, the crushed pieces forming their own eerie tune.
You are there, languid, stretched across your favorite stained chair. The cushions are soaked from the bottle toppled in your cognitive impair.
Beyond your bourbon blessings and charred breath, I toss the cigarette, lit, into the dripping, volatile mess. And as I exit I wonder in spite of my conscience suppressed, "Did you ever think to fear the wrath that would come next... ?"
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Neon lights illuminate her love for back alley life, broken bottles and discarded needles glittering like fallen stars across the pavement. Most nights, you can find her in a strung out stupor. She's floating with angels and wishing on the shattered, flickering constellations scattered beneath her.
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"The whispers told me that I had to extract him from my life to find closure," I explained calmly. "They promised that I would find my peace in pieces."
"Where can I find him, madam?" the detective asked.
"You can find his eyes on Old Mill street where he first saw me, his hands on Park Avenue outside the diner where he proposed, and his heart, mangled and bloodied, on the altar where we were wed."
The detective blanched for a moment before continuing, "And the rest of his body, madam?"
I felt a smile tug at the corners of my mouth. "You can find the rest of him on 2nd street. I left his disfigured corpse on the porch of his mistress--just a little gift from me to her."
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All the Broken Things
Mamma always told me that I wore my pain like I wore my clothes, form-fitted and too close to the skin. The melancholy always clung in layers across my ribs and at the corners of my mouth, my eyes reflecting the knives that had skewered me through.
She would preach for me to swallow those bitter pills. "No one will love a sad, broken girl," she'd say as she handed me the needle. And I'd stitch wounds and powder scars until I was the perfect illusion of whole. But the stones thrown always found their way back home, chipping armor and weakening my bones.
And I would crack.
He tasted like salvation and spiced rum as I clung to his arms in the low light. His hypnotic voice swirled between us as he whispered quietly, "My dear, there's no need to fight." When his brimstone eyes burned into mine, I felt my weakened walls cave. And I wondered brokenly to myself, "Does this enticing devil's embrace have the power to save?"
Her gaze was fixated upon his trembling hands as he threw back his eighth shot of top shelf vodka. The dwindling candlelight cast the room in eerie shadows as he tried to focus his swimming eyes across the table on her smiling face.
“I would never hurt you,” she whispered into the still air between them. “I am not the collector.”
His searching eyes seemed to momentarily focus at the sound of her voice, a flicker of doubt flashing across his languid expression. In those questioning moments, she reached for the bottle to refill his drink, watching closely as his demeanor visibly relaxed at the sound of liquid hitting glass.
She let out the breath she had been holding, the pistol in her waistband no longer feeling quite as heavy. Absentmindedly touching the cold metal for reassurance, she relaxed her stance as he threw back shot number nine. It wouldn’t be long now.
She continued to watch his relaxed expression as one by one the candles surrounding them went out, casting the room in a haze of smoke and darkness. She saw him flinch slightly through the filmy haze as a chill entered the room announcing a demanding presence, the scent of brimstone cutting fiercely through the smoke.
“A deal is a deal,” he slurred through quivering lips as he threw back his tenth shot, waiting apprehensively for the darkness surrounding him to converge and devour his forfeit soul.
#flashfiction #flickerofdoubt #mystery
You promised to fulfill my dreams between powdered lines and lost time as we sat on the floor at 2AM. Shot glasses tumbled as I fumbled for the bottle stashed between the couch cushions. But that elusive bottle came up empty, just like your eyes when you realized I was done. And you left me to rise from that dirty floor with my broken dreams alone.
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