whatever ragged scars would be left

It wasn’t the worst moment to come, the night he had to curl up, drugged, beaten, bloody, bearing a strangely youthful wonder for her, as though the past decade hadn’t happened. He was irritated with her, only barely lucid, and alternately muttered obscenities as the rainwater poured down. Where are you? Why are you so late? His phone had been dead for six hours, but he still attempted to dial, still whispered urgently for pickup, still hated the icy rain down his collar with a violence surpassing most any other sensation

The worst moment came somewhere around two am, when lucid was more often and the drugs had worn away and he could feel the cuts on his skin, sluiced clean with cold rain, and he was mentally berating her already for her inability to stitch clean lines — though a part of him felt so strangely affectionate for those ragged scars — when it suddenly occurred to him that she was gone, it was over, and whatever ragged scars would be left, it was only his own hands that would make them.

I Understand Perfectly

He couldn’t even swallow; he felt perspiration bead on his forehead and the faintest cool breeze from the open window kissed his skin. It was a gentle thing, not at all like the way the dark-eyed man stared him down. That gaze wasn’t anything like a kiss; instead, it was more like a bite, a snap, a vicious thing.

“You don’t unders–” he tried to begin.

“No, I understand perfectly, Grey,” was the cold, clipped reply. There was something about the way his words came, rolled from the tongue, not harsh, not rough, but silksharp and icesweet.

There was a moment of silence, where both men could still feel the violent heat of wanting her, protecting her, having her, but only in the wake of her absence.

Silence, and Black stared at Grey, who finally stepped closer and let the gun touch his skin. He nuzzled at it, lips sliding along the barrel. He kept his grey eyes on Black, unblinking, hard and sharp and neither coy nor submissive, but hungry and watchful. Finally he opened his mouth and took the muzzle gently in his teeth, his tongue snaking out to taste the acrid sting of it, the tang of metal and the bitterness of the oil.

When he took the whole barrel in his mouth, swallowing as his lower lip slid against the trigger guard, and reached his hand for Black’s cheek, the gloved palm sliding over stubble, the thief didn’t flinch, didn’t pull away, not even when Grey’s fingers pressed against his lips and parted them. Black’s teeth grazed the gloves as he kept his dark eyes on Grey’s.

They stood there, gazes locked, tasting hate and desire, each feeling that he had won.

The Blank Heart Of A Man

It was easy to instill terror and hatred into the blank heart of a man who knew only what love and hope she gave him. Quietly and with tears, she fed his fury as he laid in her arms, remembering the feel of blood and tissue sifting through his hands.

He remembered sweetness and then he remembered the way she was torn open.

A new idea was born in the back of his head, to feed on that terror.

Vengeance, and it was precious to him, something he wouldn’t release until it was well over.

There would be blood on everyone’s hands.

* * *

Travel took no more time than it should; he wound up in town, wide-eyed and feverish, hungry with hate.

It wasn’t hard to find out where she lived; they were public now.

The newest sets of pictures showed her gloriously pregnant.

The very sight of it made him violently ill.

In Remembrance Of

In a past, in a future, in an elsewhen that never maybe shouldn’t ought to have happened. All of these things were his life. Are his life. All of these things have happened. All of these things are someone else’s lie. Someone else’s life.

All stories are true.

* * *

Nobody ever goes to see the movie “Happy Guy.”

It was a phrase he never used, didn’t believe in, and couldn’t really have understood without the fire of his previous life to illuminate the idea.

And so everything that happened as he came home from running errands seemed like… Well. It seemed like pure cruelty due to a most un-happy Fate.

* * *

“Ohgodwhathappened? Baby are you all right?”

Bruises and cuts, dark and purple, deep and red. A black eye. Torn clothing. She was curled up in the bathtub, sitting in blood, her arms wrapped around her belly, screaming silently, because she’d already screamed herself hoarse.

The house in shambles.

When he touched her, her grip turned to him, and it was fierce and painful, and she hissed, voiceless, “They said to tell you that you promised. You promised not to forget her. They said.”

He was at a loss, stunned, touching her, slowly realizing how his hands were covered in what was left of his unborn son.

“No,” she breathed, seizing him with a terrible fear. “No, what have you DONE?”

All The While

Rich color, stark black and white, photographs upon photographs. The digital files were unscathed from the bitch’s wrath, and he went through them with a keen eye and a trembling hand, looking over each piece meticulously.

There, the curve of her thigh, bruised and bloody. There, the bones of her hand in stark relief, tight skin over the tendons, the lines of her fingers marred by the ripped nails, the delicate nature of their seeming lost to the brutal reality of violence.

And this one, the look of the girl in the mirror, with the real girl’s face turned away from the camera. The girl in the mirror is bruised and tearful, broken and yet strangely beautiful, in a disturbing way.

He marks those he’ll save for the display he’s putting together for the Abuse collection, and carefully prints out everything on glossy white paper, slipping them into a portfolio, half-sick and half-awed at the way he managed to capture the pain and suffering and ultimate grace of the young girl who was so badly used.

“How is it,” he asks the girl in the photos, “that you can still be so beautiful, even in the midst of this?” She doesn’t answer, but those bright eyes watch him, all the while.