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Puppy love, my grandma called it, to tease me. She didn’t say it to me directly, but to everyone else during those months. When Allie broke up with me, right before prom, I thought, yeah, that’s right, because she sure turned out to be a real bitch. And I wanted to tear her apart with my teeth.


I climbed in through the bedroom window. The latch was broken and Allison didn’t have a father to fix it. Her brother had been man around the house but he had left for college the summer before we hooked up and I only met him the one time, over Christmas break. I didn’t like him much and later she told me that he didn’t like me either. She actually said that it wasn’t me as a person he didn’t like but me and her. I remember I told her that was the polite kind of bullshit adults say and her brother wasn’t an adult and besides, it didn’t matter to me what he thought about us being together. I have two older brothers and an older sister and I didn’t give a rat’s ass what they thought about me or who I was hanging around with. Not that any of them held an opinion on it. In my family no one cares what you do, leastways not enough to give you a lecture about it.

Now, when I see her brother in the courtroom, I know he hates me. I don’t blame him, of course. He hates me for me now. What kind of person I am.

I had been climbing in and out of that window for the better part of the school year. We were seniors. Neither one of us had ideas for the future, so that year felt like an ending, a dead end street. Allie liked to do makeup and hair styles on her friends and that’s what she said she wanted to do with herself, but our town was way too small for that kind of school and she didn’t have a car to drive over to the next big town where she could go to the beauty school there. I swore to her I would drive her every day and wait for her and she got real excited about that. And that was our big plan for after graduation. I never did tell her that I wasn’t going to have enough credits to get my diploma.

They want me to take classes in here so that I can get my GED. But I don’t see the point. Most days I don’t actually want to get sprung. I know someone or other is going to be waiting for me on the outside and I don’t want to live like that. Looking over my shoulder, sleeping with one eye open. In here no one cares who I am or what I did. In group, one of the older guys said that all his life he just wanted someone to be into him and now that he’s in here and no one could possibly care less about him, that’s what he likes, no one to even think about him at all. I totally get that. I told my family to stop visiting me and I think we all felt relieved.


I don’t know where Allie’s mom was or when she got home that night. I still don’t understand those details all that clearly. It doesn’t matter, she wasn’t home when I parked down the block and walked up to the house. I just assumed she was drinking down at The Last Call.

In the bedroom, I could see how Allison had been busy getting ready for the prom. The light was on in the hallway. That was just something her and her ma did, leave that hallway light burning. The bedroom door was open and there were girlie things everywhere. On the bed, on the dresser top, on the floor, hanging off the door knob. Sweatpants and underwear, a hairbrush, and her jewelry box open on the floor. I remember every single thing on account of waiting so long in the closet. I could see out the crack. They say I trashed her stuff like that, but that isn’t the truth. She always treated her own things bad.

I know I had dozed off because when I woke up they were already inside her bedroom. I never heard the front door opening up or them coming inside. Just suddenly I was dreaming that my Uncle Jay was shooting squirrels out of the trees out back behind the house. Bang. Bang. Bang. And when I shook loose of that dream, it was Allison and him on the bed. The headboard hitting the wall.


There was blood, spurts and gouts of it. I saw the photographs at the trial. The ceiling, the walls, the furniture, just everywhere. It was a torrential storm, raining down on me from clouds hanging heavy above my head. Moments that cannot be taken back. None of it can be taken back, and so none of it can be forgotten or forgiven. She was alive and then she was not. He was of no consequence to me and I didn’t consider him in that moment but in all these moments of my ruined life afterwards I consider him. Collateral damage is what the lawyer told the jury, that I considered him to be nothing more than a hindrance to my goal. Her body. Her life. Her death.

I didn’t actually know he was going to be there. I thought it would be just me and her and that prom dress.

I remember the in-between time, but I’ve told everyone that I don’t. Crouched down in the closet, nearly puking my guts out from watching the two of them in that bed, my heart small and tight and hurting me with a pain worse than a rotten tooth or the broken arm I got as a kid falling off the roof. I thought I was going crazy, like a bad trip I had once when I smoked an atom bomb that I stole out of my sister’s purse.

Here's the thing, I already had the knife. You see, I already had the kitchen knife in my hand.

Then there was me walking down the middle of the main street of our ragged town decked out in my new skin, sitting down on a bus stop bench. I didn’t try to hide. I wanted to wear the stained and accusatory clothing. At the police station, they had to strip me naked and put the fire hose on me, I refused to shower. My hair was caked, my face painted. War stripes. She had become my enemy. That’s the part I don’t understand entirely. I loved that girl more than I ever loved anyone in my life. And I killed her. Because she didn’t love me anymore.


One night, months and months after all that, I came awake out of a dead sleep. And I was crying like a little kid. Just crying myself awake. I lay there, a prison bunk is as uncomfortable a thing as a cement floor, and I knew it was the anniversary of the first night she let me into her bedroom through the window. I had parked down the block and walked up the sidewalk, the shadows of sycamore trees and dog-eared fences keeping me mostly hidden from view. Not that anyone would have cared all that much if they had seen me. I guess I was hiding from myself more than a nosy neighbor. I was nervous and wanted a smoke, but didn’t light up, my hands were deep in the front pockets of my hoodie, a packet of shoplifted condoms tight in my fist. I ducked down the side of her front yard and hesitated just outside the window. It seemed to me that something big was about to happen to my life and that I ought to pay attention to it. To all of it. The smell of autumn, the crunch of the dried up lawn beneath my sneakers, the way my blood was singing her name. My hands on the windowsill, her muffled giggling, and my body tumbling through the opening of the universe.

Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
thistle_verse
May. 19th, 2016 01:54 am (UTC)
*is stone cold dead*

Possibly that was in terrible taste, that metaphor. Sorry.

Jesus, E, I don't know how you can smush together the beautiful and horrible so wondrously, but you do. You did. This is an awe-inspiring piece of writing. Iconic, terrible, luminous. The capital letter kind.

I could pick out the tiny parts that made me shiver and shake and nod my head. But right now I want to bow to its whole.

Edited at 2016-05-19 01:54 am (UTC)
bleodswean
May. 19th, 2016 03:24 pm (UTC)
*glomps* murielle urged me to it. Said she LIKES the creepy! I know...that I have this strange affinity for it. Not sure where that comes from. Cutting my tween teeth on King, I guess? Having a deep-seated morbid fascination/fear of the psychotic mind?

THANK YOU for reading, sweets! Your comment made me sleep like a contented wee baby.
thistle_verse
May. 19th, 2016 06:01 pm (UTC)
It definitely has an edge of creepy (and I like a subtle shade of creepy myself) but mostly it's terrible in that human, fractured, peeking through my fingers as the tension increases, psychological way. It rings so true. That last paragraph is a MASTERPIECE. Also, you nailed the voice of this so hard my ears are still ringing.
tsuki_no_bara
May. 19th, 2016 03:48 am (UTC)
thistle_verse is right - this is beautiful and horrible. it's kind of a low-key horrible, which just makes it worse.
bleodswean
May. 19th, 2016 03:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you, C! "low-key horrible" - I LOVE THAT!!!! Totally appreciate you reading and commenting! I've got to churn out two more entries this week. Eep!
meridian_rose
May. 19th, 2016 10:31 am (UTC)
So this was premeditated, he was waiting for her to return, knife in hand, ready to rape and kill her, not necessarily in that order :/ What a dramatic piece!
bleodswean
May. 19th, 2016 03:26 pm (UTC)
I wasn't thinking rape...I think he's past that. I think he just wants to destroy. "Post relationship grief" can be so incredibly violent an emotion for some. Akin to cornering a wolf with his leg caught in a trap.

Thanks for reading, L!!! And always thanks for your thoughts!
kathrynrose
May. 24th, 2016 12:46 pm (UTC)
Relationship grief indeed! Really like the descriptions in the last paragraph, the crunch, the tumbling. The innocent beginning coming after the horrific outcome adds a degree of chilling.
bleodswean
May. 24th, 2016 01:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and commenting! I do think we can do so much harm when we don't take young love seriously enough.
swirlsofblue
May. 24th, 2016 04:12 pm (UTC)
brilliantly dark, loved the characterisation here- it being telling from the get go that there's something not right and it builds beautifully.
bleodswean
May. 24th, 2016 08:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you, J! I'm so fascinated by the "why" when it comes to these truly incomprehensible crimes. "How" did a person find themselves in such a terrible place?? I really appreciate your comments!
millysdaughter
May. 24th, 2016 06:17 pm (UTC)
Nailed it!
I am also troubled by the fact that she dumped him and immediately took a new boy into her bed.
bleodswean
May. 24th, 2016 08:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Yes, I find that troubling, as well. For me, the mystery is in the thought process of this other person. Totally appreciate you reading and commenting!
millysdaughter
May. 24th, 2016 08:28 pm (UTC)
I have to believe that he would not have killed her if she had been alone in her bed.

murielle
May. 24th, 2016 07:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, E! You've done it again! Anatomy of a crime of passion--from the inside!

I love the attention you pay to little details, like the jewelry box lying open on the floor, the crunch of the autumn leaves beneath his feet, the blood as a new skin. All of these and more are so rich.

I love the fact that you don't psycho analyze, or preach, you just tell it like it is. I love the way the story weaves through time taking us back, forward, back and back to the beginning. Wonderful! Great use of the prompt.

This is just a wonderful story! Thank you.
bleodswean
May. 24th, 2016 08:19 pm (UTC)
Thank YOU, M! For all your encouragement regarding the dark, the uncomfortable, the shadows! I would NOT have written this if it weren't for your thoughts.

I am so fascinated by the human being who has a dark and terrible experience of existence that the rest of us will never have, never face, never contemplate. HOW did this soul find itself in this place?! So, I'm glad I don't sound judgey or preachy. I'm curious and confused and conflicted.

I appreciate all of your thoughts and am dependent on your unflagging encouragement! XO!
halfshellvenus
May. 25th, 2016 05:10 am (UTC)
Dark and fascinating, and the horror of that girl dating and loving someone who could decide to kill her over a high school breakup... it gives me shivers.

They seem like such an ordinary small-town couple, where anything big is unlikely to happen, but the fact that one of them is a monster changes everything.

bleodswean
May. 25th, 2016 04:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you, K! Yes to all of your thoughts! This was creepy to write, to try and imagine how someone pivots inside their own life, how impulses change everything. Totally appreciate you reading and commenting.
halfshellvenus
May. 25th, 2016 05:13 pm (UTC)
I've had that feeling before, in writing darker pieces. Less so the Pinocchio story, because the narrator didn't really realize what he'd done.

But in others... channeling the thoughts of such a person is so unsettling. Honestly, I wrote a drabble for The Dark Knight Rises once, from the POV of Bane, and getting inside that anarchist state of mind made me feel tainted. :O
bleodswean
May. 25th, 2016 05:16 pm (UTC)
But that's such an amazing experience! Especially as a writer. I know that actors struggle terribly with this. Poor Heath Ledger and his Joker. Where do you archive your fanfics?
halfshellvenus
May. 25th, 2016 05:27 pm (UTC)
Yes, for actors, it would be even worse!

My fanfics are here at LJ (I have a header page on my journal that links to other pages), fanfic.net, or (especially the smaller fandom ones) at AO3. That drabble is here, and in re-reading it, it didn't seem so disturbing at first but by the time I got to the end I was ooked-out all over again.
rayaso
May. 26th, 2016 02:29 pm (UTC)
From Persephone to the mind of a teen killer -- what a great stretch! I loved the insights into the killer's mind, plus the thought of the "new skin." This was wonderfully done, and very convincing. Now I have to go wash my brain.
bleodswean
May. 26th, 2016 04:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you, G! I'm so glad you thought this worked. The convincing is the tricky part, eh? And yes, I had to wash my brain, too, afterwards.
prog_schlock
May. 26th, 2016 09:20 pm (UTC)
I really appreciate how you played with the order of events in this narrative - especially how you ended up with the idyllic start of the relationship. Women don't start abusive relationships with the knowledge that the man they're with is abusive - they start them on romantic autumn nights with guys who seem to be great. That's the last image you leave us with here and I think its essential to understanding the situation.

I also like that your narrator lacks the awareness to really fully understand why he did it - or, rather, despite his attempt at letting us know his secrets (like that he remembers waiting) he is keeping his motivations as a secret from himself. It wasn't jealousy (as he states, he had no idea she was going to be with the other guy when he already had the knife). It was (and this is my interpretation of the behavior of many abusers) that he was rejected at all and he was, in essence, throwing a childish, murderous tantrum. "You hurt me so I'll kill you." But, again, he doesn't really fully recognize or admit this, which I think is totally in line with the psych profile of abusers. If they reflect too hard, they can't be the poor hero in their own story.

My go-to band for murder songs is The Decemberists:

bleodswean
May. 27th, 2016 02:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for this wonderful and detailed comment! I'm fascinated by these sorts of decisions which are more impulse loss and being completely at the end of a place in which one can cope. Especially for a young person. You are so right in so many psyches, they thing the entire world and all of its inhabitants are secondary players in their solo show.

I love The Decemberists. This song.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )