The radio blared to life jolting Arla awake. Ben groaned next to her. “I’m working on it,” Arla said as she reached for their radio(more…)
It begins as a dark itch It writhes and ticks within the skin Pulling up its sense of dread Never to be happy, ever again(more…)
The flour had dried out her hands. It had worked its way deep into the shallow lines that ran across her palms, and up through her fingers. She loved the texture of the flour embedded into her skin. It was part of the reason she always made the dough the day before and left it to refrigerate when doing her sugar cookies. Today she was pulling out chunks, flouring the table, flouring the dough ball, rolling out the dough, flouring the cookie cutters, and then cutting out the festive shapes. Fifteen gingerbread men, fifteen snowmen, fifteen stockings, fifteen candy canes, and fifteen stars. All politely waiting on the floured parameter of the table for the batch ahead to be taken out from the oven. Then each group would be placed on the cookie sheet and put in the oven for nine minutes. And so the pattern continued: sticky dough, flour, flour, flour, sticky dough, flour, flour, flour, oven mit, repeat.
There were things that were hard for her like changing plans, changing her furniture, changing any type of pattern, regularity, or system she had. Change in general was an inconvenience, but she did it. Did Bethy sometimes come off as rigid and demanding, probably. Did she give a shit, no. Bethy always made sure to cross her t’s and dot her i’s when it came to scheduling. She had a calendar for herself, for her boyfriend, for work, and at least six notepads in rotation each with a general subject or specific area covered. There was her work notebooks (one for shortlist tasks, tracking her food/water intake, and noting her hours for her daily log; the other for meeting notes, long term projects, and tasks assigned to her from her boss), the was her purse notebook (for everything lists), the one by her bed (to capture her dreams), the one on the hallway table (to leave instructions for whomever was watching her home while she was away), and the one on the kitchen table (which was her financial book). Then there was the memo app in her phone where she kept anything that needed to be written down when she wasn’t near a notebook or was not specific enough to be put into a notebook. Bethy liked structure and organization almost as much as she loved notebooks.
His loud sounds needed to be silenced. There was only so much she could take. Aurora realized this was partially her fault. She was the one who had put him, and herself, in the situation. But she couldn’t take it anymore. Every time he howled, the sound pierced her body. It had become almost constant. Before she could sing or hum or talk just a little louder to drown him out. But now, it was just too damn much.
The green grass so perfectly in disarray it looked as though someone had positioned each blade by hand. Throughout the healthy grass were long pieces of pale yellow dead grass uprooted from the last mowing. Occasionally there was the head of a dandelion long since blown. Two feet, a pair of them, were laying in the grass. The soles of them facing upward and slightly out. Small patches of flesh were visible. The right index toe, not the tip, but the shaft, the part that never touched the floor; the inside of the left pinky toe; the inside sole of left foot, the arch of this foot was higher than that of the right; and the right ankle bone, barely visible in the picture due to the angle, but if you studied the photo you would see the pale white skin glowing like the silver lining of clouds in the sky. The rest of the feet were a dried, sticky red.