By: Charlene Frett
“Listen,” they say. “Listen!”
“Do it. Do it now!”
I watch the shadows of the night peek through windows and creep upon our bed sheets, teeth mimicking the scraping of fabric, nails clawing at toes. I can almost hear them, the demons, screeching and squalling through curtains, thirsting for blood on their tongues. And I can almost hear it, yes, the deafening beats of my lover’s heart, thumping against the ticking clock, ready to be eaten at the seams.
I’m sitting on the sofa against the wall, legs loosely crossed, savoring the quiet in the darkness. My husband sleeps soundly on the bed across from me, wrapped up in thick blankets of wool.
I watch him roll slowly onto his back, shaking off the covers just below his waist. He mumbles a word or two and places his rugged hand on his bare chest. Swiftly, he turns his head to the side, smacking his chapped lips together, tasting his dry tongue. I sigh, nearly ticked by his oblivion.
Suppose Poe wasn’t insane when he spoke of the heart telling tales. If it could speak, the clock would tick like time bombs in a war, and I would have to save it like a good little girl, right before I’m dragged by the toes and thrown to the trenches, beaten ceaselessly by the scourge.
There was once a time where I’d admire this man in his sleep, finding him alluring—beautiful— in his most vulnerable state. I used to believe that he was gracefully sculpted by God; another Adam carved at the root. His body has no chips at the shoulders or scars on his back, and he has this remarkable ability to conserve his articulate flesh and physique without, yes, a wound in sight. He portrays himself as almost invincible, always charming the ladies with sun dresses and elder perfume. And while he lifts weights to validate his dignity, climbs walls to boost his morale, he secretly loves to use pussies until they bleed, to grip women by their throats and slam them against glass coffee tables and shallow walls—just to ignite his ego.
He coaxes them, you see, under his little fucking spell. He makes them get on their knees and beg, convince them their nothing but slaves at work, that we exist only to serve our king.
Suddenly, a ghostly young woman crawls out from underneath the bed before me. She’s horrifically bent and twisted at the waist, bones deformed and arched, feet bare and gaunt. I watch her as she gradually rises from the floor, elbows and kneecaps snapping and aligning with her half-naked body, cocking her head to one side. Her dark hair falls across her muted face, and she looks at me with one hollow, black eye, letting her sheer satin robe slip open to only cover her breasts. The stark presence of her erects bile in my throat. And yet, I find myself sinking into these wells of her ominous eye, perplexed by its appearance. I wonder if she’s here to collect, to ensure debts are paid, that the deed will get done.
She then diverts her gaze from mine and stalks over to his side of the bed. She stares down at him, holding out her hand to me, summoning my body to stand in her place.
I sigh, surprisingly unfazed by her call, and keep the knife steady in my palm. I uncross my legs and casually walk to stand in front of her. I then cock my head to the side as such, and stare down at him like she did, fixated by the incredible proportions of his body. Even in gloom, his skin glows a perfect light, soft at every curve, smooth and olive at sight. His lips are gently closed, corners thick and ripe, and his eyelashes glint in the shadows, cheeks heated, slightly rosy. I gape at his chest as it rises and falls; watch, wait, admire—up…and down. Up…and down. I can almost see his heart thump then, rhythmic and pulsating, rapping deliciously against the sternum.
“Listen closely,” they say. “It’s calling for you.”
I clench the handle of the knife; my knuckles turning white.
“Honey,” he suddenly moans. I raise my eyebrow at this.
“Yes…,” he gasps.
I grin, I gleam! He’s dreaming, he must be. He’s dreaming of me—no—of her, of them, of all of us, collectively; on our bruised knees and scabbed elbows, heads bowed elegantly at his ruthless command. And even though walls would drip of sex, pillows would stain of salty–
His bulge then rises among the sheets, hardening at every moan uttered, every gasp breathed.
No, no. I’m not one to hold grudges. I’m not one to commit an irrevocable crime that most women would applaud. But I am a woman, a woman with stature and poise, power and dignity, who refuses to be disrespected and expected to make ends meet. I may hear voices, I may see demons, I may call upon a moon and order wolves to howl at my feet. But I refused to be beaten and held by the throat because he couldn’t tie a rope. No, I’m not one to hold grudges, but I can’t help myself, yes, I can’t help what they are calling me to do.
I quietly, carefully, get on top of him, straddle my legs over his wide hips without disturbing his dream, and adjust to his frame. He hardens under the sweet bare folds between my legs and I see him faintly grin to the feel of me, licking his lips as if he’d awakened.
“Distract him!” they say.
Yes, I must distract him, keep him induced in his slumber, and perfect his imagination.
I then rub myself against him, move slowly back and forth along his length. He moans louder from the pleasure of my doing, gasps when he almost slips inside of me. I stare down at his chest as I continue this trance, and I can’t help but become fascinated by its radiance, so elegant and open, so clean and sleek, just for me. His heart; I hear it. It’s almost mine. I can almost taste it; the blood, his vessels, the organ against my tongue. Don’t you hear it? Calling? Whispering? The thick blue veins in his neck? The blood boiling within? It’s alive; awake—conscious, breathing, living…
“Do it. Do it now! Quickly, quickly!” they say.
I grip the knife with both hands.
The ghostly woman appears next to me, grazing her fingers rusted with soot along my hair. She licks her soiled lips and nods, inching closer to my ear, whispering verses that command the dead.
I lift the weapon above my head.
“YES!” they cry, “YES!!”
“Yes,” she purrs. “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes…!”
I quickly plunge the knife into his chest, my husband’s eyes popping open to the act, mouth ajar. Blood coats the blade as I push through his meat and twist. I glare at him from above and watch him attempt to speak.
“He hurt you! He beat you! He raped you!”
“Again, again, again!”
Before he can utter another breath, I quickly pull out the knife and thrust it into his flesh once more. Thick, dark blood gushes out of the wound, and I become bewitched at the sight of this, of the fluid splashing against my own body, painting my black breasts. I can even taste the rich, metallic gore on my lips as his dick grows limp beneath me. He attempts to move, to fight, to grab my arms, grip my hair, but I pierce him again— and again and again and again.
I scream into the dark eyes of a patriarchal king who believes he can just take and take and take apart women’s bodies and beat them until they bleed! I stab and stab and stab, mutilate his body, slice through his throat, tear out his flesh until he’s cursed and condemned, wailing at the guts that cling to my robe. They bellow into my ears, the voices! They shout until his eyes are empty, until his cock is spent, until his butchered heart is displayed before us; a bloody, copious feast!
I pause and take a breath with my arms above my head.
The woman then stretches out her hand to dig inside his mangled body. She snaps pieces of his ribcage to wrap her fingers around his heart and rip out the organ. She clutches it in front of me, blood seeping down her wrists and onto my thighs. She then puts it in her mouth and takes a delicious, big bite.
She cackles at my disbelief as she chews, laughter sweeping across the room with the others. Shadows then appear from the window, crawling up along the walls and onto the bed. They begin to eat and feed their children, scarfing down my husband’s remains, gnawing away the flavor. I drop the knife on the bed and close my eyes.
“That’s a good girl,” they snicker in the distance.
“What a good girl.”