Just did an edit to my micro story, ‘Blinding Lights’. Enjoy!
Just did an edit to my micro story, ‘Blinding Lights’. Enjoy!
We’re cramped in a room that’s too small to be a walk-in closet, gathered around a bed covered with a blue sheet; a woman lays there naked from the waist up. Neon red buzzes and flickers from the ceiling while my camera lens cups her face in its reflection. Click. The strobe of white drowns out the red above.
“Shit, my eyes!”
“Sorry. Just need a few more pics.” Everyone knows the drill.
Her face is a delicate oval with skin of light brown caramel mottled with blotches of green and gray. She was…is beautiful. I wonder if she knew or did it all happen in a flash? It doesn’t matter. Only thing left is to file it and clean up. Strands of shoulder-length hair, black as her dilated pupils, fall disheveled over the bed. She carries a smile that’s starting to give the faintest hint of a grin. I almost smile back as a reflex.
“I hate it when they do that.”
“Do what?” I know the answer, but still ask my stupid question.
“Smile. Fucking rigor mortis.”
Click. Her glassy stare shines at me like two lonely stars for a second before going dark again. There’s a small gaping hole at the center of her forehead surrounded by a purple bruise. Under her head, a dark red stain has spread and soaked over the blue sheets.
“Poor girl got a .38 kiss, probably a few days or so by the looks of it.”
“And the smell. Jesus.” You never get used to it. Not really.
“Yeah.” I chime in while I look at her through the camera’s viewfinder.
“Third one this week.”
Someone lights a cigarette, mingling the stench of smoke, blood and more than a tinge of singed rotting flesh. Click. White over red, red over blue. Click, click, click. I wonder what’s her name.
“Somebody call the morgue. Tell’em were sending a ripe one for cold storage; she’s starting to stink up the place.”
Sweat trickles down your chest, your body crying in fear. Run, run, run! Satan’s hell hounds are not far behind. The lights from speeding cars blind you, but you can’t stop. Only you can fulfill His work, ingrate as it is. You feel the gun’s warmth in your hand. Another sinner cast out, a junky corrupting his flesh, and some time ago before, the harlot who tempted your purity. But you were stronger than all of them, and their red blood is spent. Now they’re on to you, these devils in blue; you’re out of breath.
“Stop, police!” Out of time.
Row upon row of glass, brick and mortar buildings encroach upon you, caging you in. “Drop the gun, drop it, man!” There is no escape.
“Do it now!”
Gnarled trees on the sidewalk shiver their leaves. There is no fear. You turn around, catching the glint of a cross in the distance. It rests faithful atop Christ’s house. You raise your divine instrument; you shall not go to your just reward meekly.
“Oh fuck, fire!”
Flashes of light tear your body, then darkness.
“Yeah, man, shit went down! I was walking on 5th when across the street a group of cops were chasing some guy inna black trench coat, right? Ok, good. Yeah, they cornered the poor fucker, but instead of giving it up, the guy starting talking shit. Sumthing about God, crazy talk, y’know? The pigs were shouting at him like crazy too, ‘drop the gun, lay on the ground’, all that bullshit. Man, their faces were red and blue. But he didn’t listen, cool as ice, he raises the gun. Was he gonna shoot at them? Fuck do I know? Anyhow, it was all over in a blink, man. Bam, bam, bam, lights out. Dead fucker’s on the floor leaking all over, prolly crapped his guts out too. Cousin told me dead people do that, just empty themselves. After that cops were all like ‘Show’s over, move along.’ They were shining flashlights all over the place, almost blinded me. Buncha assholes, fuck’em. Anyways, I gotta deliver some fine Colombian white flour before this rain drowns me. Laters.”
I spoke to the city gray
Asking for its secrets
Enshrined behind stone
They were stepped on
By feet uncaring
I drew water pure
From a fountain
To drown my
I climbed a peak bare
Touched the ceiling
Of a world chained
Yet the nomadic wind
Remained ever free
I beckoned the sea without end
It came to me unrepented
The waves touched my lips
Sharing the secrets of the deep
I found my heart again there.
The wound was clean, already the blood had dried. Maria looked at the palm of her hand where Carlos’s blade had cut her. She didn’t feel anything, not exactly. At the time she was high as a kite, and by the time she came down from her trip they had already bandaged her. She didn’t even need any stitches. Carlos was passed out, face down, on the ratty couch by the corner of their place. Sonuvabitch.
Maria stumbled over there, still woozy from her rush. Carlos was her fuck buddy. They weren’t dating or anything. Neither one had the emotional attachment, or the energy, for that. But it got cold in the empty derelict building they nested in, like the city rats that they were. Besides, he smelled good.
Her hand smacked the back of his shaved head hard, making it move sideways, then lay still. Carlos did not stir. Maria saw an empty syringe and a rubber band on the rotten floor boards next to the couch. She wanted to laugh at how stupid this whole mess was, but tears blinded her and she had to wipe them several times.
If she had to name it, Sarah felt lonely. Plain and simple. You could drop her in the middle of a busy street in a bustling metropolis, cars zooming back and forth, honking their horns, and everywhere people walking. A veritable sea of people of all shapes, sizes and colors could swallow her, and she would still be her own solitary island.
That’s how it had always been for her. It didn’t matter how many bodies were near her. No one ever got close… and she didn’t know how to approach others. She always shuffled along with the human tide, anonymous and quiet. The little details around the city where her brief escape from the overwhelming solitude.
She would walk to work when the streets were already full of the morning shift crowds, yet she loved gazing at the skyscraper windows. They mirrored the sky no one else cared to look up at. Azure blue with pure white clouds, if she was lucky there would even be birds flying about.
Sarah felt an odd kinship with the mannequins on display at the retail windows from the shops downtown. Mute, posing, they dressed up, but never interacted with anyone, just pretended to, until the season changed and their clothes.
Her mood would usually turn a bit brighter when she passed by an outdoor fruit market just a few blocks from the office she worked at. The vendors calling out to people, putting out their best produce in creative arrangements; if you were lucky, you could get a free slice of honeydew melon.
It was on a batch of strawberries where she saw the sparrow trapped. It’s leg caught between boxes of strawberries. With care, Sarah lifted the box that had trapped the bird and off it went flying.
“Ah, I just got those the other day from the farm! Fresh and sweet, I’ll sell them cheap!”, an older woman wearing an apron and a Led Zeppelin tee approached from behind the stall. Sarah was starting to decline but then stopped to think about it for a brief moment.
“Give me two boxes, please. I’m treating myself today.”