Trigger warning: violence
THE BLOOD OF FREEDOM
– It seems to me that you will soon leave and will not return: and what will be worse for me then—death or life? – Horror was read on Sarah’s face, – Well, at least I will always remember the smell of your hair and the size of your penis. Smile, – Sarah was visibly nervous, – please, I would like to remember your smile, and not the cold marked look.
But then no one smiled at her, and a reflex of madness worked in her head—she attacked Steve and, with a frenzy, began to injure him with a kitchen knife. After a while, the whole kitchen turned into a hell full of blood, overturned furniture and shreds of Steve’s skin. And outside the window, someone began to cry from the sky, and when the rain stopped, the sky turned red, like the eyes of a crying person. But Sarah understood that nature is a random trick that means nothing and is meaningless, although it may be that it is thoughtfully silent.
“No, it’s still pointless,” she thought, “it’s all some kind of nonsense.” Tears suddenly appeared and began to fall on the parquet, diluting the color of blood (it was everywhere: on the floor, on the wall, on Sarah, in the sky).
In the bathroom, the blood was not washed off, it looked like it had stuck to the girl’s body forever, and not a single soap would help to cleanse itself.
Sarah woke up in a cafe, and it was not clear how much she slept (with obligatory and inexplicable groans in her sleep), catching sidelong glances from staff and other visitors. She did not even understand what she was ashamed of: for a dream or appearance, for red eyes or disheveled hair. She also wanted to forget yesterday. I really wanted to forget yesterday. At one point she wanted to either smoke or die.
And when the waiter approached Sarah, she wanted to fall through the ground.
– They gave you a postcard and a bouquet, – the waiter said, putting the gift on the table, – this is a transfer from a young man at that table, – the waiter pointed somewhere to the side, and Sarah, rubbing her eyes properly, looked at the table in the corner and I saw Steve there. He waved his hand at her and smiled. Sara smiled too. Suddenly she looked at her hands to make sure there were no traces of blood on them.
– Dressing room to the left of the restaurant hall, – prompted the waiter and left.
The sun was rising in the sky, I didn’t want to sleep anymore.
Trigger warning: violence
– What? – she winced.
– I love you, I say. – Igor answered, putting his hand on her shoulder.
Here she suddenly turned around and stabbed him in the heart with a knife.
– Tell me, did you meet Igor yesterday? she asked, pointing the knife at Angela’s helpless, immobilized body.
Angela cried, unable to say no.
She sealed Angela’s mouth with duct tape again and went outside to smoke.
So hours passed while she smoked, and Angela was held hostage. (So hours passed while she smoked, and her husband Igor was cheating on her with Angela.)
– What? – she shouted furiously, and the knife in her hand trembled.
– I say that I couldn’t, well, I couldn’t, – Angela almost broke down and cried, – I couldn’t meet Igor yesterday, because his funeral was the day before yesterday. What’s wrong? –
She hesitated for a moment, and Angela’s eyes sparkled with hope.
– I say that I couldn’t, well, I couldn’t, – Angela almost broke down and cried, – I couldn’t meet Igor yesterday, because I flew to this city only for the funeral, I have been living in the USA for a long time!
Then she laughed, and Angela began to cry. The knife also laughed, shaking in crazy hands.
– It’s horrible. Not only did they hit him in the heart, they also abused his genitals, – the investigator took off his glasses and handed her a napkin (she was sitting all in tears), – You don’t know for sure who could abuse your husband like that? Perhaps he had a mistress?
She quickly nodded in the negative. The investigator sighed heavily and let her go.
– Igor can’t be returned now? – she finally asked, so that the investigator was surprised to the point of impossibility to twitch a muscle or say something.
– Do you want me to bring you a piece of his penis? – she laughed.
Angela for some reason specified: – Igor? The answer to the question will not be long in coming. –
That same night, Angela passed away. And in the morning, workers found her—the vagina was mutilated, and on the bare chest, among the marks and dried blood, a hole from a knife was visible.
She kissed Igor as hard as ever, right from the doorway. Then she hurried to the kitchen, stood at the window and waited.
– What was it? – Igor did not understand.
– What was it? he said as he entered the kitchen.
In response, she asked out loud if he loved her and if he was capable of treason.
– And at night I dream of his betrayal, – she said to herself, – do you think it’s very bad? Does it matter or not?
No one answered her, but it seemed to her that they answered. Many things seemed to her that evening.
“And underfoot lay: anthology, ontology, oncology” – she began to say to herself. Of course, there was no betrayal, there was only an oncology diagnosis, which she learned about that day. There was her medical card on the couch, next to which was lying propaganda material of some sect, or party, or religion, or culture, or there was no propaganda at all. It didn’t matter to her. Nothing mattered to her. Madness came over her, she wanted to read the propaganda material and rush to fight for/against something. But it was too late: she had already realized her mortality and finiteness, she had already unleashed a non-existent war, she had already begun to fight for the illusion of happiness, she had already believed in the myth about the existence of truth and untruth, she was already… When suddenly there was a knock on the front door: there there was a non-existent figure who reported Igor’s betrayal. Was there a figure? Was there a campaign? Was it oncology? Was there a fight? Was there death? Was there happiness?
She stood and cried. Or maybe she just dreamed it all? Perhaps every time a person starts to fight for happiness, he starts a small war, which is worse than any oncology, which is worse than any death? No, probably, after all, there was no agitation: she herself decided to fight.
From now on, in each of her despair lives a small piece of the coming atomic winter.
– Still, I was not right, he did not cheat on me, – she said when the examination showed that the disease had receded. But only Igor was no longer to return.
Mykyta Ryzhykh is the Winner of the international competition Art Against Drugs, bronze medalist of the festival Chestnut House, and laureate of the literary competition named after Tyutyunnik. Ryzhykh’s work has appeared in: Tipton Poetry Journal (2022), Stone Poetry Journal (2022), Divot: A Poetry Journal (2022), dyst Literary journal (01.07.2022), Superpresent Magazine, Allegro Poetry Magazine (2022), Alternate Route (07.2022), Better Than Starbucks Poetry & Fiction Journal (07.2022), Littoral Press (2022).