By Gregory J. M. Kasunich
The paper dolls lay massacred across the barren apartment floor.
All of them, silent, still, deceased.
The world was better for it.
A pair of dull scissors jutted angularly from the coffee table, the murder weapon left out in the open; a purloined letter of evidence hidden in plain sight. The culprit; splayed out, belly up and naked on the disintegrating sofa.
Her body, motionless; stagnate, beautiful.
Only the cigarette, balancing between her slender fingers and spitting fumes into the empty space produced any semblance of movement across the murder scene. Overhead, the lingering plumes, drifting from the red ember that tipped her black cigarette, accumulated into a wispy storm cloud, and grew ever more ominous with each exhale.
Turning her head and simultaneously extinguishing the smoldering filter, which threatened to singe her already bronzed flesh, on the bare coffee table; she surveyed her work, the aftermath of her torrid slicing spree that ended only minutes earlier.
The chips and sheds.
The ink and paper.
The shards and scraps.
She smiled at the sight and lit another cigarette from her quickly diminishing pack. Again, she exhaled and fortified the cumulous clove clouds above. She needed a storm, a torrential downpour from the sagging, stained ceiling. She needed a biblical flood of thought, of light, or static. Of water or fire, to wash her one-room studio clean.
Soon. Too soon, the detectives would be here marking miniscule calk outlines on her oak wood floor. They would come with sharp eyes, pens at the ready, firing questions through bare body like linguistic bullets. Cameras would be aimed at the pulpy carnage. At the empty open fridge. At her.
She stood, slowly, waking from her momentary mental/physical paralysis placing her feet evenly on the floor, taking effort not to disturb the paper flesh of a hundred tiny, self made and subsequently self destroyed, effigies.
She checked the locks her door, the chain, the deadbolt. Perhaps to buy her some time before the authorities snap her into cold cuffs and rattle off her rights. By that point there would be no time, no chance to clarify, to explain how no one was hurt in the incident. The pieces that lay before them were nothing more than fragments of her former self, snipped to bits for the betterment of all.
Nevertheless she exhaled again and prayed that the blue nimbus above would burst and purge the apartment of any incriminating evidence leaving her personally and lawfully exonerated of her transgressions. Not against society, but against herself.
In front of the fridge, the only appliance offering relief from the warmth, she paused, the wafts of Freon frosted air grazing her golden brown skin, running over her face, dripping down her lips to her stomach to her thighs and feet.
The summer heat had preceded the season’s arrival, as it was only May, but she knew the temperature was less than culpable for the first-degree extermination. The subtle chill slowed her thoughts, if for a moment, and like the static thunder growing above, she realized her motivation.
Perhaps had the choices made for her, to her, maybe had they been different, such extreme measures could have been avoided. But no, the repugnant rapids were hers to weather from birth; and even that decision might have been taken from her. Regardless, her father both gave and took all too much of her twenty-two years ago and despite her mother’s unyielding search for an antidote, the inevitable inebriation would eventually wear off.
The only solution was to kill herself a million times over, and then a million more, until all that remained was nothing like it was.
The clouds circled sending miniature bolts of lighting streaking through the apartment. She shivered and knew it was any moment now. Making her way back to the sofa she sat and pulled the thin blanket across her naked body.
She exhaled and snuffed the last of her cigarettes, the lingering pillar of blue smoke adding just enough to crack the clouds apart.