Flesh and Blood

She peels it back, inch by inch, careful to remove just it, and not the viscera beneath. Concentrating hard on the sound of heartbeats, she doesn’t notice the visitor.

“Help me,” sobs the man in chains. “Help me!”

“Nice to see you taking up new hobbies,” the visitor remarks.

“She’s crazy, help me!” the sound of the man dims to background noise.

“Well, with you not around, I have to get up to something,” she says airily.

“Some people take up piano. Or French.”

“I thought I would study the great artists.”

“Monet? Van Gogh?”

“Dahmer. Sagawa. Also, it’s pronounced ‘Gogh’.”

“You sound like you have a hairball.”

“HELP ME!”

“Shut up!” she said tersely.

“Me?”

“Well I’m not telling him — I like the sound of his distress. It’s soothing.”

The discourse went on and on; and all the while, he slid closer and closer, until he reached to touch her hand. They smiled, sharing a secret sort of grin.

He closed his hand around her wrist, and pulled a gun.

She pulled him in closer, and drove the knife she’d been using to flay her neighbor right under his ribs, up and up and up. She was surprisingly strong for her size — surprising to him, at least.

She laid him down and let him bleed out; the tarp was already laid out, after all, might as well.

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