words kill, words give life

caution: author at work

Posted in books and stories by Kaitlin on June 4, 2009

Coming to

The policeman behind the pens and stapler moved his mouth slow, drawling with every twitch. A woman stood unblinking until he extended his right index finger to the semicircle of chairs upholstered dried blood with tattooed arms.

Then she moved to stand in the center of the dirty wooden arc. She stood as a man walked past crying blood, a pair of women stumbled past stuck together with last night’s necessity, sweat and vomit and  three officers pushed a handcuffed senior citizen past in a wheelchair.

A policewoman walked up to her, touched her arm and walked down a hallway. She followed the officer into a cold room. There was a woman sitting at the table whose damp waving hair met the neckline of a stiff police sweatshirt.

“Deanne?” She reached out a hand to touch Deanne’s shoulder, but it slid past into a four-inch bulge of extra fabric. “Deanne?” she whispered again as she knelt on the floor. She picked up Deanne’s hands and held them in her own. Careful to avoid the raw fingertips she rubbed her thumb in circles on the back of her palm. “Deanne?”

She tilted her head down and then away. “Riley.” She murmured the name to a fuzzy corner across the room.

“I’m here.”

A drop of water beaded in Deanne’s left eye, but it did not escape the waterline. Riley stood still stooped to cradle her hands. Shielding her from investigation with her back, Riley gradually lifted her up. Deanne stumbled toward the door hugging her tightly. They walked out of the room carrying the cold with us.

She watched Deanne’s slow steady breathing before walking to her bathroom. Riley closed the door and locked it before turning the light on. Pushing off against the wall, she launched herself to the counter.

Riley opened a drawer and perused the contents before sliding it closed and moving to the next. Her hands shook as she pulled the third drawer open. Riley reached in and grabbed a shiny maroon toiletry kit the color of Deanne’s bruised cheekbone.

Riley’s eyelids squeezed tight but hot salty drops slid past onto her hands while she unsnapped the case. She closed her fingers on the small pair of scissors and slid them from their sleeve.

Sliding down to the floral bath mat with the counter against her back, Riley opened the scissors and watched the blade push against her arm.

It slid a couple of inches around her arm near the inside crease of her elbow. She lifted the scissors and watched the thin line change from slightly darker than skin tone to primary red.

I breathe. I think.

Quickly I stand up and clean up the scissors and my arm. After flushing the unused toilet and running water, I glance around the bathroom before turning the light off and opening the door. I pull on the sweater I left draped over the end of the bed.

When Deanne stirs and murmurs, I sit on the floor beside her and whisper, “I’m here now, everything will be alright.” Leaning against her dust ruffle, I close my eyes and drift off fully and peacefully here in the present.

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One Response

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  1. Bridgette said, on June 4, 2009 at 10:26 am

    very nice! I was a little thrown off with the carrying the cold with us line, but it made sense @ the end–I like that! =) keep it up, girl!

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