Photo Story No. 17

“It’s Friday the 13th. Everybody, stay safe out there.”

Celia turned off the radio. She spotted what she had been looking for. She killed her idling car.

Her long legs presented first. When Celia stood, four pairs of eyes followed her movements. She gave a nod to a few, then continued her hunt.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” she said, giving a light run to catch up with the blonde. “Excuse me.”

The girl gave a stuttered glance back, then fully turned around when she realized Celia was talking to her. “Yes?”

“Could you help me? I need to use a phone. Mine died, and I need to call my husband to tell him my car is dead.” The woman looked around as if searching for a reason to say no, then pulled her phone from the pocket of her Michael Kors handbag. When she held it out, Celia grabbed her wrist.

The woman tried to pull away, but there was no movement. Celia had the strength of stone. When the woman looked up, she saw her attacker’s eyes had gone black, and no one around them seemed to notice a thing. “Let go of me.” She pulled as hard as she could away from the woman with the black eyes. No one watched them, no one turned to look; those on the same sidewalk were walking around them. How could no one care she was being attacked? She screamed again.

Celia smiled. “They can’t hear you. Today is our day. Today, he protects us.” The woman half heard Celia, but she was frantic, hysterical, screaming, flailing. She felt like her wrist was cast inside of dried cement.

Celia tightened her grasp, then put her other hand to the woman’s chest.

“Help me, PLEASE.”

“I am helping you. You’ll live on forever, in me.” Celia’s palm opened, then latched onto the woman’s sternum. When the transfer began, Celia’s knees grew weak from the flow of euphoria. Her blood, marrow, cartilage, fibers, her energy….she tasted, she FELT divine. She didn’t even watch the woman; her eyes closed and her head fell back.

The woman shriveled before completely dissolving into a pile of dust, having been depleted of everything.

“Twenty-three more hours.” Celia licked her hand before the orifice closed. “Who’s next?”

To see the photo that originally inspired this story, please visit the Instagram link below.

Photo Story No. 17

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

Photo Story No. 17

Her

Annie watched her float all night, cloud around people like smoke and creep into their lungs. Her scent was so strong you could feel bits of her settle between your taste buds. Annie was determined to sweep those smooth legs out from under her.

She moved for her from the bar with two shots of Jameson and slid across the vibrating floor. She was standing alone with her eyes closed, dark hair dancing around her shoulders as she swayed left to right with the music. Annie stopped in front of her and told her to open her mouth, which she did, oh my God, and Annie poured the whiskey in.

Annie danced with her and bought them both two more rounds. When the lights came on, Annie knew it was “now or never”.

“Come home with me,” Annie said.

“On one condition.”

“You name it baby girl.”

“Can we start a fire?”

“Yes.”

She smiled and winked oh so smooth that Annie forgot herself. A surge of blood flew into her clit. She pushed her knees together and told herself to calm down. That’s not what tonight is about.

After a requested stop at the 24-hour Walmart, she hovered back to the car with a bag full of “goodies” and said it would all make sense when they were back at Annie’s place. Annie quieted her curious brain and drove them home.

*

Annie’s house was modest but neat. The walls of the living room were lined with shelves on two solid walls, half full of books and half full of VHSs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray discs. Annie watched her walk around and place her finger on the spine of a few books, then pull them to protrude from their previously aligned positions. If I Stay, Water for Elephants, Pride and Prejudice, Dear John, The Pact.

“Like to hang out in your head a lot do you?”

“I was an only child and couldn’t find an imagination of my own. I had to borrow.”

“You can use mine.” She looked back over her shoulder at Annie – Annie’s knees tingled.

She pulled marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, and skewers from her backpack and asked for help torching the marshmallows.

“Do you always keep s’mores ingredients in your bag?”

She laughed. “No, though that’s not a bad idea. I grabbed them from the store on my way out tonight. I was going to make them when I got home.”

They made s’mores on Annie’s floor after her guest removed her skinny jeans and sat cross legged on the red, velvet pillow from Annie’s couch. She talked about her mother, her love of music, and her devotion to the legalization of marijuana. Annie was prepared, had been waiting for years for that night. Annie could see her pleat pinching her white satin panties between her open legs, and Annie’s eyes kept inevitably finding their way back down.

“After we eat these s’mores, how about we have a go at each other?”

“You read my mind baby girl.”

“Read your mind? You weren’t she to look.”

“It wasn’t for a lack of will power,” Annie responded. “I made a valiant effort.”

“I wasn’t going to let you go all night without a taste.” She winked at Annie while she licked a bit of marshmallow from her top lip. Her head rolled back as if she was in divine pleasure. Annie lost herself again. This time she found herself between snow white legs.

Annie hugged her arms around the tops of her thighs, and, open-mouthed, she huffed warm air at her new dessert. She looked up to meet dark brown eyes framed by a curtain of rolling hair. Her dark tunnels narrowed, and she gave a nod, then Annie, not breaking eye contact, stuck her tongue from her mouth and licked through the white satin. The wet cloth clung to the tender skin it protected, and Annie found herself thankful at the loss of control her guest helped her find that night. It only helped solidify Annie’s belief that she had found the one. God, oh God, how perfect a final pleasure.

*

The next morning, Annie woke in bed with milk skin on her white sheets. Her dark hair laid around her quiet face. Her lips were parted and her features relaxed. Watching her, Annie found herself anxious. She was afraid she misread the signs, picked the wrong one. Knowing herself well enough to trust her decisions weren’t made on lust alone, she went to the kitchen to make coffee, then wake her lovely bedmate.

She was rolling over when Annie came back with a red mug in her hand, filled to the brim with black tar.

“What a perfect way to wake up in the morning,” her guest said.

“I thought the same when I woke with my nose tucked in your hair.”

She smiled a confident smile, which she deserved to have, and sat up, pulling her knees to her bare chest.

Annie brushed her hair to the side and kissed her forehead, then passed the mug into her skinny fingers. She raised the cup, taking a deep inhale. Annie turned to look at the low sun in the sky.

The clouds were white and wispy. A palate expanded from the round sun which faded from yellow to orange, pink, and then purple before bleeding into the light blue sky overhead. Annie took a sip of her plain, black coffee and let thoughts race through her mind about the perfect ending. She was smooth, soft, sexy, playful, attentive, thoughtful; Annie couldn’t have built a better female from scratch. She was thankful at her find, but now that the moment was here, she was sad knowing it would end.

Annie heard the red mug fall to the carpet, followed by what sounded like her girl inhaling with a mouth full of coffee, then choking it back up. She felt several warm drops splash on the back of her arm, then searing pain sizzle into her skin. Annie turned to see her clawing at her swollen throat, her lips and chin dripping blood. She put her hands over her mouth and vomited again. This time Annie hopped back to avoid any spray and watched her project blood and coffee through her open fingers onto the window and carpet. She reached for Annie, then fell to her knees and spat at the floor.

It sounded like she tried to speak, but gargles and coughs muffled her effort. After two more explosions, she collapsed. Her eyes bulged, blood flushed her face – she held on for dear life, squeezing at her neck like she was trying to keep her insides from expelling, then all at once, her body let go.  With the floor squishing her cheeks into a half fish face, her dead eyes stared at the blood pooling.

“I’m sorry, that took longer than I was expecting.” Annie squatted down beside her girl to pick bits of wet hair from her face. “I would have it for myself too, but I don’t want to lose my wits with pain. I want to go calmly with you, just like last night.
Annie moved for a towel. After rolling her out of the mess, Annie made an effort to clean her face, but behind was left pastel pink milk, stained from the viscous blood. She scooped her up like a bride, to put her in bed where she belonged.

“You were always meant to be mine, baby girl. I’ve waited for you forever. I don’t mean in a broad sense of the term,” Annie continued while she placed the hydrochloric acid back in the cabinet, “but in a literal sense. I’ve known since I was twelve I was meant to die by my lover’s side. Relationships, the perfect ones, never last.”

Annie pulled a revolver from her nightstand drawer, along with a polishing rag and three brass bullets. She began rubbing smudges off the barrel, “This was my only solution, to end the perfect love without ever losing it. I am sorry that I hurt you.” She looked to her girl, still and on top of the white sheets. Her skin was softer than the bedding. Annie ran her finger up the side of her abdomen, crossed her ribs, circled around the skin of her breast, then brushed across her pink nipple. Annie leaned in to lick the top of the sensitive peak. She reached down and touched herself, then laced her hand through the red stained fingers of her perfect love.

Annie looked through the window once more to the rising sun warming the ground. Beams made their way through the naked tree tops and, though broken, still shown just as brightly on the other side. She felt the rays cut through the glass to brighten her face. She closed her eyes, thankful for the last glimpse of beauty. Annie pointed the revolver to her temple. Still holding her girl’s hand, she squeezed the trigger. She scattered across the face of her bedmate. Annie’s body slumped forward before she rolled back, dropping the gun to the floor. Her head landed hard on her girl’s face, splitting open the bottom lip she kissed so gently the night before.

The yellow sun beams crawled in the room, moving down the wall, across the floor, and finally to the bed. Highlights glistened in the blood on the white skin and white sheets.

There was no legacy to be left behind by their ephemeral love, no gossip for the news stations to blast. “This wasn’t about that, it never was,” was all that was scribbled on a scrap beside her bed.

The sun fell and finally set that day, unaffected by the events witnessed through the window in the room. It pushed its beams to crawl through other glass panes in other houses. Light moved to wake those on the opposite side of the ocean and stir them from their beds. For three revolutions, the pair stayed in bed together, dripping and molting, enduring their love. Annie’s red stained fingers remained in her’s, and, each morning, when the sun rose over the pair, one circular beam spotlighted their connection for a full 10 minutes before moving on to its next scene. God, oh God, how perfect a final pleasure.

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

Her

A Quick Communication

Thank you for subscribing! I am grateful for each and every one of you. Writing is not only something I love, it’s been a dream of mine since I was in third grade. Knowing there’s someone out there interested in reading what I produce is still a bit surreal.

If you haven’t read through all the stories, there’s several here on the blog. There’s a few earlier stories on my Instagram that never got transfered too. My novella, Brenna’s Wing, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.

My first full length novel is currently being sent for representation. Be patient with me. There’s much more to come.

Thank you again for subscribing to receive updates. Have a wonderful weekend. May it be filled with many quiet hours in your reading chair and your favorite blanket draped around your shoulders.

Sincerely Yours,
WB Welch

A Quick Communication

Photo Story no. 16 – The Water Stain

It all started with a dead squirrel. That was the first sign of death anyway. I was in the back watering the yard one morning before work, and there he was, stiff on his side with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. I found two more in the front yard the next morning.

About the same time, I noticed my grass and bushes wilt, then die altogether. Within a week, every plant and blade of grass was dead. I watched the trees knowing they were next. Whatever poisoned my property had killed everything but the three massive oaks standing leafless.

I had a lawn company cut them down the next day.

It took them all day, and before bed, I had two winter’s worth of firewood in my barren back yard.

The pipes went bad next.

The water turned rust red a few days after I had the trees taken down. The toilet kept clogging. I had to go to the town rec center for showers and shits. Then the pipes started leaking all over the house. I shut the water off to inspect the problem, which was worse than I imagined.

My pipes looked like swiss cheese, rusted holes running throughout. I bought pallets of water bottles, kept gallon jugs for urine, and got a lot of exercise biking to the rec center and laundromat.

One night a small, round water stain appeared on my bedroom wall, just beside the bed. I thought it was a water stain anyway, though I had always seen them brown or yellow – the blue-gray hue was a first. The stain changed a little each day.

The circular shape was lost, then the top half lightened, a blob creeped downward, then branched out, but then…one morning when I woke, I saw very distinctly, a hand shape on the end of what now looked like an arm. The hand wasn’t complete, but that portion of the stain resembled the back of the hand along with a pinky and thumb. I told myself I was being irrational, seeing ‘shapes in the clouds.’ But the next morning, the stain had grown again. Not only were there five digits, but there was a nail at the end of each finger.

I quit work, packed my clothes, and told my mother I was visiting home. She was always happy to see me so she didn’t even ask why. I then scoured all airlines for the next flight to Denver, called the cab company, and went for my bags.

Going back into the bedroom, I couldn’t help myself. I went in for one last look at the stain. I was lightheaded and took shallow breaths. I shoved my hands in my pockets to try and calm the shaking. Why was I so scared of a stain? People see Jesus in toast all the time. I took a deep breath and steadied a little. When I exhaled, I suppose my warm breath hit the wall, and the hand twitched, like a limb might sometimes just before you fall asleep.

I fell on my ass – my head slammed into my desk. I jumped up, grabbed my bags, and ran out of the house. I didn’t look back until I was on the sidewalk by the curb.

The property looked so miserable now. A dirt yard covered by still decomposing grass, low, large tree stumps, the paint on the house trim had already been flaking but was much more evident now that all the green was gone, the windows were all jammed open, some of them propped with various items, because the house smelled overall like mold and urine.

When the cab pulled up, I crossed myself, and left the godforsaken place. I ignored the calls from the landlord, the lady who owned the house I had been renting. I knew she’d fuck my credit, but what could I do? The house had gone sour. A month later, I read in the paper that two construction workers died of electrocution making repairs; satellite images still presented no greenery around the property; then one day, the calls from the landlord stopped coming.

It was about two weeks before anyone found her body. She had apparently been making some repairs on her own, according to her son, and would sometimes sleep over on an air mattress if she was working late. She had been stabbed several times then strangled, and partially dismembered. Her left hand had been amputated, and so far, had not been located.

To see the photo that originally inspired this story, please visit the Instagram link below.

Photo Story No. 16

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

Photo Story no. 16 – The Water Stain

Photo Story No. 15

My clothes stifled. I couldn’t seem to breathe. I pulled them from my body, found myself on all fours, head sagged, heaving, gasping. Sips of air came in. My skin was on fire. The breeze chilled, enticed goosebumps. My lungs stung, like the needles one feel as a sleeping limb wakes, but needles that surged with electricity. Then I couldn’t breathe at all.

Panic. I don’t understand. I was only trying to help the baby.

I gurgled trying to swallow, coughed bright blood on the green grass. My vision darkened, then faded. When I came to, it wasn’t the Savior nor Devil who came, but Death himself. He held me upright, cradled my fallen head. In the midst of disbelief, I realized the irony in the comfort of his grasp. His eyes didn’t frighten, they lured. I let slip the memory of blind pain moments before, I was already forgetting the bullet my neighbor shot into my chest; the knowledge of my own passing produced no emotion. The baby whom I had been so worried about, whom I’d called the doctor for, became but a blip on my radar, a blip I knew would grow and fade in her own time.

“I have you.”

There was no face to be seen. His voice rumbled with the authority of a barreling train. He held me still, then had his way, dragging his boned fingers up my side, squeezing the tips of my dead nipples. I saw not the part that pressed inside, but it filled me – he led me through sways and rocks. We hung in the air, he licked the neck of my soul. There was never an option nor a desire to resist – I was his moment and he, mine. Seconds, minutes, hours, breaths, swallows, gasps – how do you measure time when time stands still?

To see the photo that originally inspired this story, please visit the Instagram link below.

Photo Story No. 15

Copyright WB Welch – All Rights Reserved

Photo Story No. 15

Home Garden

Two things happened to (X) in the spring of last year that seemed less significant than they turned out to be. She started sleep walking at the same time that circular patches of disturbed dirt starting appearing in her backyard. Just one at first, but a new one appeared every night that followed.

Since (X) lived alone, she was able to discern her new sleepwalking habit via the grime trapped under her nails when she awoke, amongst other indications she’d been in dirt. It seemed she was digging holes, then returning the displaced earth before returning to her room. As any rational independent adult would do, (X) visited a doctor, who prescribed less stimulation before bed along with a little round pill that “may or may not prevent the episodes.” The little pill didn’t stop the episodes. Neither did avoiding television or books before bed.

Attempting a more psychological approach, (X) researched gardening. She thought maybe she was repressing some desire to dig or grow her own food. The holes she dug in her sleep continued parallel and close to the back line of her fence. To avoid disturbing her vegetable garden during an episode, she started a raised bed close to the house.

Little green sprouts presented in her garden, stalks thickened, the promise of home grown vegetables and fruit excited (X) more than she expected. The sleep excavations continued regardless.

When she reached the end of the fence line during the night digs, another horizontal row started. She was surprised at the symmetry of the appearing holes, each measuring eighteen inches in diameter and spaced six inches apart – exactly six inches. Nothing sprouted from these night dig sights; never did the idea come to her to dig one up while she was awake. Nothing was missing from the house; her car keys were never disturbed. There seemed nothing she could have been “planting.” (X) got used to the idea and accepted it as part of herself for a while. Maybe when I’ve dug the entire backyard, it’ll stop.

*

Six weeks later, (X) was picking the first ripened pods from her green bean bush when she heard a muffled voice yell. It was early morning, the sky still dim; the sun prepared to peak over the horizon. (X) stopped all movement, quieted her breath and listened with her arm hairs vertical. She heard it again. Turning to look towards the origin, she saw nothing aside from the dig sights now covering almost the entirety of her yard. (X) held her sheers as a weapon and approached the back fence.

The muffled yelling continued, as if a man was having a one-sided angry conversation with a sock in his mouth . Panic set in as she neared the sound. It came not from behind her property, but from beneath her feet. Standing at the edge of the first night hole, she could almost discern annunciation – she could feel the vibration being carried through the ground. Shaking, she fell to her knees and clawed at the dirt, throwing handfuls in all directions. Her nail scratched flesh, the voice cried out in pain, then began cursing at the mishap.

(X) panicked. Her first thought had been that someone was buried alive down there, and she needed to get them out. Never did she consider herself responsible. She kept checking over her shoulder for a villain of some kind to descend upon them. She continued digging, more carefully, until she could completely palpate a human head. Grasping both sides of the head, she stood and pulled so hard she questioned her own arms staying in place; the voice yelled with angry pain.

Slowly, hair crowned the earth, then a brow, then a clenched pair of eyes. (X) lost her breath. Again, she checked for an oppressor. She was alone save her buried friend. Then the pull changed, the struggle got easier, the dirt felt to be giving way. She pulled harder, the screaming volume multiplied, then subsequently she heard rips and pops, like when you pull a large, well-rooted weed from the ground, the screaming ceased, and she found herself flat on her back with the wind knocked out of her.

The world was blurry. Her head ached from the impact with the ground. She still held the uprooted thing in her hands, only now her grip was wet. Warm liquid fell to her chest and abdomen. (X) sat up, trying to breathe. When again she opened her eyes to focus, she looked at the hole and saw red fluid filling the void. Water stained with clay? She was dazed still. That’s when she saw the decapitated head in her hands.

She screamed and threw it. The head bounced off the back fence and rolled before stopping with its face in her direction. The expression was twisted with pain. No way do I have the strength to pull a head off.

Again, not thinking logically, (X) threw her hands in the pooled hole, throwing out cupped handfuls of the red liquid she could now see was blood, looking for the rest of the body. How would she convince an officer she was trying to help, not murder this guy? But she would have to call the cops. She dug for shoulders. What she found instead was a tendon and vein root system.

There was an intricate twisting of them for several inches below the tearing points. (X) sat with blood and mud equally caked on her hands, turning the organic mass over and over. Her eyes were wide and glazed. Her lips hung parted. She was only half-way conscious, unbelieving of what she saw. She guiltily dropped the mass of veins and white connective tissues when she heard another voice nearby. The second hole was now yelling at her.

Her trembling hands pulled away the dirt, carefully, slow. Once she felt her fingertips brush the scalp, she began to move the dirt in a more direct motion, as to expose the face and mouth. Again, she saw emerge a head of hair, a brow, blinking eyes…the yelling stopped when he seemed to realize she was excavating him with the caution of an archaeologist uncovering her first find. She swallowed and held her breath, then exposed his mouth.

“It’s about damn time.”

(X) said nothing. She couldn’t speak.

The head scoffed, rolled his eyes, then clicked his tongue. “I suppose I should say thank you, but you are late. I’ve been calling for you.”

(X) still said nothing. She looked to her hands, then to the severed head only feet away.

“Is he here?”

“Is who here?” (X) looked around the yard again, now feeling something looming over her shoulder.

Him. The one who brought us to you.”

“The one that brought you to…” she trailed off. She was dumbfounded, overwhelmed, overstimulated. She didn’t think. (X) stood and grabbed both sides of the head as she had before, telling herself this time she’d pull a full human from the ground. The head screamed and cursed. She shoved dirt in his mouth. She pulled until the tension gave way, and she once again found herself holding an uprooted human head.

Now frantic, she clawed at the third hole. (X) knew what she would find, though disbelief tingled in her knuckles when she actually found skin. This one was sleeping. This one was a woman.

(X) slapped her. The sound reminded her of the noise fresh dough makes when its plopped onto a cold counter. No response. She slapped her three more times before she woke.

“What the fuck is going on?”

“You tell me what the fuck is going on. Why are human heads growing in my yard?”

“Are you serious? Why didn’t you ask him?”

“Him who?”

“The one who brought us here.”

“I don’t know who you’re talking about. I’ve just plucked two heads from my yard like weeds, and I’m assuming there’s fifty more of you here.”

“You picked two of the heads? He’s going to be mad. You can only expose our tops once we become lucid. We still have months of development.”

(X) found herself with a lack of words again.

“We were all dead. He came to our graves, asked if we would join his army, said he was taking control of things on earth. You are the gardener. You were given the privilege to cultivate our growth.”

“To cultivate…” (X) stared at the woman, looked to the holes still covered. Her brow creased. “Is he the devil?”

“To be honest I don’t know. I didn’t ask. But I think we all assumed that was the case.”

(X) stared at her for seconds longer before jumping to her feet and once again pulling to free the head from its roots. The woman yelled horrendous curses until the snap and pop came, then she was quiet.

Neighbors would have heard the commotion. Cops had probably been called. (X) moved quick, grabbing the pickaxe from its rusted wall mount. She stood in front of the fourth hole, raised her arms high overhead, then brought the axe down with as much momentum as she could produce. The axe struck something solid, a muffled yell came quick, once, then blood began to seep from the opening. She repeated the process around the yard. Blood stopped presenting around the thirtieth hole. She heard distant sirens when on the last two. Once she finished, she made a mad dash for her car keys, fish-hooked her purse with the nook of her arm on the way out, and drove north.

The authorities couldn’t make much out of it. They were finally able to solve the mystery of who had been stealing heads from graves all over the southern region of the U.S. The lack of pattern, and the sheer distance between occurrences left them baffled. They still couldn’t sort out how she was reaching such distances on a nightly basis. Her car wasn’t on any video surveillance to or from the grave locations; her bank account showed no indication of recent flights.

When they saw the blood, the fresh heads, at first the police thought they caught her in the act of burying recently murdered victims. Upon further investigation, they found the humanesque root systems, the lack of bodies to which the heads belonged…someone put together that the “recently decapitated” victims had all died at least twelve months prior. Dental records and DNA were compared, the bodies excavated from their graves. The heads presented no sign of decay while the bodies were decomposing on schedule.

Even harder to explain were the rest of the heads that remained buried. All had been hammered with a pick axe; all seemed to be in a different phase of re-growing skin and other soft tissues.

The incident was reported officially as nothing more than a woman stealing dead heads from cemeteries before burying them in her backyard. They later caught her trying to set sail on a beach of the Atlantic Ocean. She was in a tugboat with both pockets full of rocks, claiming the devil chased her and wanted her help to build his army. She escaped before any full evaluation could be made, and, less dramatically, she hung herself from the first bridge she came across.

After her service, after she was buried, after agents and doctors who knew the truth spent hours staring at the ground packed atop her casket with a curious thirst they knew could never be satiated, on an easy morning with the spring sun waking the cool sky, a groundskeeper came out to find her grave disturbed, the dirt dug, and her head gone. Most thought it to be a revenge move executed by a disgruntled family member of one of the heads she’d stolen. The ones who were there, though, the first responders, or those like me, who dissected the roots and autopsied the heads, we let our minds and imaginations wander.

Our charted pattern showed the heads regaining cognitive function at six weeks. The furthest along, his roots had signs of developing systems that typically lead to the heart, lungs, and upper appendages. Our research was forwarded to a classified party, one I always assumed to be a branch of the government. If it was possible to bring humans back to life, and we somehow stumbled on said evidence, the military would want their hands on it.

I swallowed a dry piece of doughnut and found myself musing on the woman’s claims when I clocked into work. Someone was still out there stealing dead heads, but the collection rate and radius expanded. If she had been telling the truth, for the evidence had no support in either science or logic, the death of a garden or gardener would not divert his course. I pondered in whose backyard she was planted.

Copyright W.B. Welch – All Rights Reserved

Home Garden

Flowers for Breakfast

I knew she was strange when I saw her eating flowers for breakfast. They were lined in rows on the table in front of her. As I walked into the room, a rose bloom disappeared into Justene’s open mouth. I’ve seen stranger diets. I proceeded to fetch my bowl of cereal and pretended like the roses and daises going down her gullet wasn’t new for me.

Clue number two stopped me dead in my tracks. When I came home from work, she was sitting criss-cross applesauce, naked in my den…mind you, she is only paying me monthly for a room. We aren’t roommates, and her name isn’t on the lease. I don’t know what she was doing. There weren’t any symbols drawn on the floor, and she wasn’t chanting; I just found myself staring at a lot of skin when I came in through the garage door. Thank god the neighbors couldn’t see. I reacted, she apologized, kind of, and floated to her room.

After I came home to her force-feeding herself crickets, I should have made her leave. Hindsight is twenty/twenty. I just told myself she must have had one tough childhood, or at least a strange one. I asked her to please keep her meals in her room if they weren’t normal groceries.

I didn’t see her much after that. I’d catch a glimpse of her as she moved from the bathroom to the bedroom, or when she’d emerge for a chilled bottle of water.

A couple of weeks later, I started finding green tiles of some sort around the house, they seemed to be anyway. They were round and slightly convex but tough as nails. I knocked one from the counter, and after it bounce instead of shattering, I actually tried to break one of them, but with no success. I left them in a pile on the bar for Justene to pick up. After they sat there over a week, I took them to her room. I was not prepared. I should have left when she didn’t respond to my knocking.

When I opened her door, there was a six-foot iguana on her floor – six feet without the tail. I screamed so loud my throat locked. The animal’s attention was on me before I even had time to process things. I fell back when it ran at me – I’ve never handled stress well – and by the time I felt the hot pain in my arm, it had gone back in her room and slammed the door.

It had bitten me. The damned lizard had bitten me. There was a clear “no pets” policy in the lease, and when I had calmed myself, I would begin eviction procedures.

“I’m going to sue you if that godforsaken thing infected me with something!”

My arm ached a lot. I sat up trying to collect myself and finally looked to evaluate the damage. When I saw the blood on the floor, the nub of torn flesh just above where my elbow had been, heat flushed my face. I instantly felt sick.

“What in the hell have you done to me? How did you sneak that monster in here?”

I was freaking out. I heaved my good arm over and stumbled from a seated to a tripod position, and then to a waving stance. After stumbling to my room and managing to lash a belt around my upper arm, I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and dialed 9-1-1.

“I’ve already called them. The ambulance is on the way,” Justene said from my doorway. I started and dropped my phone. When I turned to her, I saw the blood around her lips.

“What the fuck is going on?”

“I asked you never to come in without knocking.”

“I knocked…you didn’t answer.” I was feeling very woozy. I gripped the bleeding stump with my bare hand to try and slow the bleeding. Warm blood dripped through my fingers and pooled in my palm. Pain shot up my arm and behind my shoulder blade, deep into my back.

“I can’t talk when I’m the lizard. You should have just left.”

“When you’re…” I remembered thinking then I must have been losing blood fast. I seemed to be hallucinating already. “When you’re the lizard?” I huffed, laughing.

“Yes. I’ll be leaving now. I’m sorry I ate your arm. I hope they fix you.”

“Ha! You hope they fix me? They’ll fix you when they’re throwing you in jail.” I fell back, hard against the wall, then slid to the floor with my legs stiff in front of me.

“No, sorry. And you better not tell them your tenant turned into a giant lizard and ate your arm either.”

“Is that a threat?” I said to her back as she walked away.

“No, it’s a warning. They’ll throw you in the looney bin.”

I didn’t listen of course. What else was I supposed to tell the police? How else could my arm have ended up missing? They had no choice but to have me evaluated. Of course there was no evidence of foul play, no signed lease in the house from a “Justene Marbrow”, and no “giant lizard tracks” (they jested at me). After a stent in the hospital and an even longer stent in the mental ward, they had me transferred to a facility where I could be watched and my mental state could be “properly evaluated”.

Did you know a straitjacket is still effective on an amputee?

To see the photo that originally inspired this story, please visit the Instagram link below.

Flowers for Breakfast

Copyright W.B. Welch – All Rights Reserved

 

Flowers for Breakfast