She still got butterflies in her stomach in anticipation of him walking through the door. It was the same motel and the same room they always reserved and it somehow had begun to feel like home. This was her real life; he and her together, shutting the door to the outside world.
She prepared as she always did, wine chilling in the ice bucket, candles lit, soft music – smooth jazz was his favorite. She took a hot bath and tried to relax, her thoughts traveling back to when they first met; he an aspiring artist and she a struggling writer. It began slowly; she was shy and unsure of herself while he weighed the idea of stepping outside of his union. Eventually, chemistry conquered rationality and they found themselves in the back of his studio early one morning (or late one night), the beginning of a decade of desire.
She ran her hands through her hair pulling it into a ponytail. The red light of the digital clock pronounced him an hour late. She slid onto the bed and pulled a magazine from her tote. She’d been here before. It’s difficult to get through 10 years without someone being late, especially given the circumstances. And she was habitually early, it was a virtue her mother instilled in her at a young age. It was rude to leave people waiting; how was your time more important than theirs?
When was the last time the motel laundered this bedspread? The flowers, once dusky rose, had turned to a near brown with years of smoking and God knows what. They clashed with her dress. Her skin was ashy; she better smear some lotion on those legs.
Ice shifting in the bucket startled her awake. Headlights from the neighboring interstate darted across the wall. Beats from the adjoining room announced a party in full swing. Four hours late. Pulling a dusty chair to the front of the window, she watched the rain wash away the day. Worry gave way to anger and then sadness.
Six hours. Realization smacked her in the face so hard she hit her head on the footboard. Her phone declared her forgotten, repudiated like this morning’s coffee. Trembling, she dialed his number; “We’re sorry, the number you have reached is no longer in service.”
Her eyes fell to the shag carpet. Beige. Her life had become as the color. She became aware that she was a convenience now inconvenient. No longer enough air in the room, she grabbed her bags and moved toward the door. Bitten by frigid air, she turned to contemplate the room, emptier than she had ever noticed. Her eyes found a water stain in the corner of the ceiling, a bubble declaring pressure above. Disintegration of a steadfast façade.
You make me nervous
Give me butterflies and make me blush.
I'm a teenage girl around you;
Skin burning with need.
The air between us - weighted and electric.
I could reach and touch, but would I explode?
That way you look at me,
Head slightly bent as if you aren't looking at all.
The way you touch me,
Soft, warm, and gentle
Are you afraid?
It isn't worth the beginning,
If you're not afraid of the end.
“There’s something wrong with the sky” she said
as a tear dusted her pillowcase
and the light faded from her eye.
It had been days since his passing
and yet it felt like none.
“There’s something wrong with the sky” she said
as the shine faded from her smile.
Now her skin grew cold
and her body grew old
as she knelt over the body of her
“There’s something wrong with the sky” he said
yet no type of retribution
could raise his son up from
The moon was in the sky that night.
Scent of death
hanging in the air
as straight ahead the couple fled
onto another nightmare.
Fragile, lonely widow
Darkened New Hampshire farm house
Silent morning, dawn just breaking
Strange shadow in the doorway
A jolt of terror with the realization of what may come.
“I’m an old woman,” she croaked.
“You don’t want to do this to me.”
A sinister smile advancing his scheme.
He took his time.
Hands around her throat, invading body and mind.
Shockingly quiet as she lay
Eyes scanning the room – her once safe space.
I must make it through, she prayed.
Until blackness overcame.
She roused, bruised and bleeding
A stranger snoring where her beloved once dreamed.
Small-town Easter morning
And nothing will ever be the same.
I don't see a person when I look at her.
I see eyes that looked at him longingly.
I see lips that kissed him passionately.
I see a mouth that spoke promises
and a mind spinning thoughts of betrayal.
I see a human with no regard for bonds sisterhood;
A selfish, lustful harlot's tunnel vision;
A snake in waiting ready to strike at a sign of weakness.
She assaults my mind at varying moments,
Images of naked deceit,
Messages of an opportunity,
Speculation and questions unending.
As if in a fever dream
I lay next to Ophelia
Floating flowers in her hair
Pocket rocks and broken hearts
Breathe out and let it go.
She for love,
I for anger,
Fitful sleep, fighting mind
Breathe out and let's rewind.
Did you enjoy it when it came?
I throw myself at your alter
begging for reprieve
searching for acknowledgement
of what I used to be
A dog at master's table
Seeking scraps of meat
Wearing uncertainty - a scarlet letter
Veiled in anguish
And the desolation of deceit.
shards of glass
Sleeping bed of razors
Dining rusty nails
Master's merciful release
And though I cannot stop for death
I pray it sets me free.
Still so fresh
Audrie is a writer and editor living in Illinois. She is a fan of all things horror and pop culture.