By Edele Winnie
It was the waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting that made her angry. But not just angry, strangle someone, beat someone, kick a dog mad – yes, why the hell weren’t they here? Mustn’t say hell. Don’t want to attract God or the Devil. This is JUST. But God and Devil twist, they twist everything, like he had twisted it. If you tell, something will happen to your mama. Something bad. You don’t want something bad to happen to your sweet mama, something that would be all YOUR fault.
Where was he? Where was he? She began to claw at the wooden railing, like an animal. Like she was scratching an itch, like she was the porch and she was scratching her fleabites, or her swollen red rash of raised pus filled bumps. A fingertip began to bleed, then a second, adding fresh red to the dark brown stains from the last time. The last time had been last week. It was happening every week now, every week, but still it was not enough. There had to be more blood! That was the only way that the sins could be washed away.
Footsteps, finally, footsteps – but they sounded odd – cloven hooved. She peaked over the porch – it was him – what was his name? – James – yes, James, but he had normal feet in normal shoes. Likely it was an illusion – and he was really a demon. She was a demon slayer, that’s what she was. She could tell them, identify them because they sought her out, they longed to taste of her spoiled purity which was still pure because some things were so pure they could not be spoiled, even though they were spoiled. James, yes, evil aztec James had looked at her – she had felt his pointed black eyes in her back, like talons, and she had turned and he had smiled at her knowingly. Evil bull headed freak. Yes, she was sure he had the head of a bull now too, but he was masked by an illusion – his humanity was an illusion, he was a demon.
James paced nervously on top of the porch. He was muttering to himself. A witch’s spell perhaps, or some incantation to a dark fish headed god. And then finally footsteps, boots, from the other direction – it was the Captain, hot-headed Captain Rice who like real rice expanded when filled with fluid – alcohol – whisky, the fiery breath of the devil. Captain Rice stormed angrily around the corner and rushed up the steps and grabbed James whatever-his-name-was around the neck and the violent struggle began. The letters had worked! The fake letters always worked except that once but there had been something wrong with that man.
The porch creaked and groaned as the men struggled. Oh, she followed it, this way and that way and James was winning but the Captain was winning now and he was saying “fool with my wife, fool with my wife”. And then they both tumbled down the stairs and were rolling in the dirt and the Captain was on top and James was not moving and then finally the Captain let go and James did not move at all again.
It was easy then, to slip the knife in the Captain’s back, right between the ribs, right over the heart, just in and then out, in and then out, in and then out, oh god in and then out three more times and he turned and looked at her with shock and surprise and he garbled something and fell forward on to James and they lay there like lovers. Dead lovers. Rapists. She put the bloody knife into James’ hand and stepped away.
It was finished. It was over. The man with the hairy hands who had touched her was dead. She wept. Wailed. All the pain poured out in the form of tears. She was empty. She wiped her eyes, shook out her hair. How had she come here? Two dead men lay before her. She looked at them and then looked away. How horrible, how dreadfully horrible. She turned and her shoes began to run, she ran away, away, into the forest and near the cottage. She was breathing heavily. A lamp illuminated the cottage, beckoning. She staggered to it like a moth to a flame.
“You’ve been out late.” Her father said. “Again.”
She nodded, closing the door.
“It’s past midnight.” He said. “Time for young girls to be in bed.” He smiled and showed his teeth. “I’ll be up to tuck you in.” And he rubbed his hairy hands together with anticipation.
2 thoughts on “The Men in This Town Have all Lost Their Minds”
Edele, I really enjoyed your story. It took me a couple reads before it fully sunk in, but I think that’s what I loved about it. The idea is a good one, but by using such a unique narrative, the story really takes off.
Great job, I hope to see more from you on Adventure Worlds.
They style of writing reflects the story perfectly. It was a bit of a challenge to read, but very worth the effort. If it were any simpler it would lose its edge.