I’ve hardly written any short stories at all…only three I would let anyone else read. This was just a quick exploration, off the top of my head. I really like how it turned out.
Painted girl strolling down the street, painted girl in tattered jeans, tattered heart, red beaded necklace strung like a noose around her neck, layered over and over (roar). Painted girl had a name, she supposed, but no one really knew it. She bit the side of her black lips, thick and full. The blackness was like a scar ripped into the side of her face. The black around her eyes, the image of beauty, American beauty, painted in circles around her eyes. She saw the world through these thick black lashes, the black liner, thick and cool against the soft skin around her eyes, gentle as a baby. She pounded down the streets, crunching on every strewn wrapper with the sole of her boots, inch thick rubber. She pretended like she heard the crunch of autumn leaves.
There were no trees in this city. No oxygen. No love. Nobody could breath, there was only hate. Suffocation. What was her name? She called herself Miss Murder, Killer, Pain. She liked the attention, the stares, the hatred just seemed to pour off of the people around her. Hate City, that’s what she called it. She stomped around the block, around and around, just like her head. Around and around her thoughts went. Jimmy. Jimmy. Jimmy.
A snarl caught on her lips, she curled up the side of her painted black mouth in contempt.
“I just need to run off a little steam.” She laughed, swinging her black, thick curls, long and full, behind her. Black Black Black, everything was black with Killer.
KILLER? WHO ARE YOU KIDDING.
He’s a joke, he’s a joke, oh just a crime against nature.
REALLY BUT YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN. THE CHILDREN KILLER, THE CHILDREN.
“Shuddup.” She mumbled sheepishly, chewing on the side of her lip. Pearly teeth, big and pretty. She didn’t want to listen to the voices anymore, arguing amongst themselves. As long as they didn’t sound like Jimmy, though, she could handle this.
Tired of the race track, circling around like a vulture, in search of discarded corpses, the remains of a bloody fight, the circle of life; she sprang forward into a dash.
That’s it girl, get away from here. Just get away. The voice of her mother chimed in her head. It sounded so soft and sweet compared to the real deal, she wondered why she recognized it at all.
The city whirled, building upon rotted building joining up with her midnight sky. They never seemed to cease. She could hear through the walls of the concrete apartment, prison blocks disguised as low-cost-living. She heard the crying of babies, the screaming of husbands and wives, the silence of the battered, ignored teenagers, the weak coughs of the aged and dying. They all clung to her brain like victims washed away in a hurricane. They drank the putrid water, they were dying of thirst.
Killer kept on running until she reached the place of worship, some religion she wasn’t a part of, never knew the name of. Those kinds of people didn’t look her in the eye, didn’t even glance up. She wondered if they knew there was more than the gray of the sidewalk, if they knew about the glistening beauty of a setting sun, rising moon. She hopped the wrought iron fence, little pointy crosses sticking up at the top, waiting to stake her in the heart. Surrounded by dead people, she strolled through the church yard and felt at home, calm. These dead people didn’t talk back, they just lay in the earth, decomposing, staring up at their imaginary sunshine. They liked a little company, even welcomed it. They wore little name tags, saying what they meant to anyone, their entire life summed up in one engraved sentence. Convenient.
Killer strolled up to Keith Johan, stared down at his solid gray face for a moment.
“Hello, Keith, and what’s your special talent?” Beloved father, husband. Hm. Not much to go on, but the painted girl didn’t like making fun of dead people, after all. They couldn’t defend themselves, and they were probably laughing right along with her, anyways.
Yeah, I had a pretty shitty life, and now everyone knows it. How embarrassing. Cremate me, why don’t you? Killer wondered what his voice really sounded like, what he smelled like, his clothes, what was his favorite shirt, what did it feel like to hug him, to hold his hand? Did he have a gentle handshake? She hated glorifying the dead. Most people were disappointing in life. No point in wearing rose colored glasses. She pulled off her sweatshirt, with the giant laughing skull on the back, tied it around her waist, laid down on the soft grass on top of poor Keith, keeping him company. Her arms rested lazily behind her head, muscular. Her tank top showed her breasts, like a flag. Female Female. She hated the pull of sex, ever present in the back of her mind, ever present in the front of men. They did nothing to hide their monkey brains.
OH KILLER, RETURN TO ME, I’M DYING.
Will you shut up please? Relaxation is key. Smell the grass, so sweet. So rare in the city streets.
You’re such a beautiful woman, why hide your face? Why stick around with that odd boy, what’s-his-name.
The voices, the usual voices, their constant argumentation, like starved buzzards. They just circled around and around in her mind. There was no end to the madness. She just wanted a little peace, a little quiet.
She tried looking hard at the stars, seeing past the eternal blackness, into the stars beyond human sight, beyond intelligence and imagination. She only saw herself, mirrored in the sky like a glossy lake. One star shimmered into the edge of her vision. It crawled across the sky like a silver spider, brilliant, delicately spinning a sinewy web in the eternal darkness.
Baby, you’re going crazy.
Oh look, people are coming out of church, they must be devil worshippers. Look at them, they have red eyes.
SHUTUP YOU, CLAIRE—
“WILL YOU SHUDDUP.” Killer screamed, her shrill cry piercing the silence. She flung her hands up in exasperation, listening to her voice echoing across the shimmering streets, falling away, away, away. She leapt back to her feet in one swift motion, punk ninja.
She circled around the cemetery, always a circular motion. Her boots squished in the wet grass, mud sucking at her soles, threatening to pull her down to hell. She resisted, getting along fine with all these dead people. She didn’t need the living, didn’t like the living, couldn’t understand the living. She was a living dead, truly. Stomp stomp stomp, around and around the cemetery, like a nursery rhyme going off in her head. Hurricane, hurricane’s a’coming, sound the alarm. Jimmy, don’t do it. Please don’t do it.
Tick tick tock little lady bug, time’s a wasting.
Hush little darling. Hey you, have you called your momma anytime soon?
REALLY, I THINK YOU SHOULD LOOK OVER AT THOSE CHURCH PEOPLE. JESUS, NO JOKE, LOOK. LOOK. LOOK.
Killer bit her lip, she couldn’t stay in here forever, could she? She couldn’t listen to the voices. Once she started listening to them, she would start talking to them, arguing with them. She couldn’t slip down that awful spiral, not again. Jimmy, her mind wandered over and over him, stepping lightly over his grave, one little hop at a time. Counting sheep in the night. What would his grave say? Beloved, my island. Would it ever be enough, one little line? She saw it in her head, etched into stone. Name. Birth. Death. Purpose.
Leave it alone, let the little man roast in his oven.
Lie in your own bed dear, feel safe in the night.
ALONE ALONE, HATE CITY, ALL ALONE.
Killer couldn’t stand it, the sweat building on the surface of her skin. A soft breeze tickled her damp chest, making her shiver. She was trembling, her lip, trembling. Blood mixed in with black. She bit her lip so hard it drew blood. Soft and sweet, she tasted her heart like a lion, beating through her veins, flesh and bone, welling up at the surface like an ocean of tears. She cried out, this heart would stop one day, someday soon. It would give up, become nothing, not even history. The human line would stop, no more little painted girl running around, no more little blood. The life would End, like a brilliant thought—cut off midstream.
She felt the fire coursing through her body, enraging her, making her feel insane. She burst forward, springing above the graves, feet flying. She cast her body over the wrought iron fence. No staking today. The dead silently watched her go. She flung herself past all the ghostly church goers. Their red eyes mistook her for nothingness. She flew with wings outstretched between the concrete arms of the city, enclosing, choking, suffocation. She couldn’t breathe. Her heart like a black hole bared itself, its teeth, its softest corners. She ran until she came to that circular place, surrounded by water. Water eternally flowing past, the island in the middle. She reached for that island.
A gun shot, shrill in her ears.
No no no.
The voices urged her.
Go forward, keep going, you can still reach him.
That’s your island.
BLOOD, DON’T YOU FEEL THE BLOOD?
She strained her ears, listening, stopped dead in her tracks. Was that her Jimmy? Was he lying on his back now, facing the sky , eyes open and glossy into nothingness? She strained to listen to the drip of red, the echo of pure silence, pure peace.
She reached out, fingers tentative upon reaching the doorway. Watched. Listened. Still as the dead.
She watched it, a little painted girl in a huge, round world:
There was a small boat, gently paddling away, across the black ocean of the city streets. She listened to the cool slap of salty water against the wood.