Fiction: “Blood Fugue” by Shannon Barber

 

The music is quieted and leaves him in an inelegant sprawl. He is my minuet, so stately and the dance while it lasted was nice if, clumsy. When I stand over him, his still face is pretty again. He relaxed at the last and released himself to whatever is after. I wish I’d thought to leave enough wine for a last glass, next time.

Next time, the music is heady. A grinding tango that pulls us together and glues us until our hearts pound against each other like one throbbing entity. The union is short lived, the dance is too full of fire to burn for long. When the music is done, he is a cherub resting amongst spilled drinks and the remnants of the dance.

When I see him on the street, I know he will be my final performance. I watch him for days, the way he walks, he is in command of his thick body and is grace. I watch him in his apartment and know he will be my last, my greatest love. I take my time with him, I get to know what he likes, how he shaves. I know his skin, the little scar on his hip calls me.

I take my time to get ready, plan for the perfect swan song. With him, I am done. I am complete. When the time comes, he exceeds my expectations. The music is everything, this is my magnum opus and he is so beautiful I almost don’t want it to end. Our dance is slow, requiem and reprise, I am beyond and outside of myself.

Finally, I am maestra and our music is melomania. We are glorious and the moment is the elongated crescendo I have been wanting my whole life. When our dance ends, he is still so beautiful. I am beautiful. The time has come.

I call 911 and scream the address. I gibber about knives and blood; I am ready for my finale. The door bursts, the faceless pigs run in screaming. Until they see, my beauty on the floor, covered in a silk of coagulating blood and then they see me. I can feel them recoil when they start to sing.

“Ma’am! Ma’am, put down the knife ma’am.”

My blade has been as fine a bow as any and I look the first pig in his eyes, his song dies on his lips. The music, no my music, turns to a fugue, the fugue quiets as I draw my bow to my neck. I turn, just enough and draw my bow across my neck, I’m alive long enough to hear the music die in a cacophony of squeals.

And I am done. I am complete.

Fin.

 

 

Shannon Barber Is a 42-year-old author from the Pacific Northwest. Their work has appeared in Wear Your Voice Magazine, Ravishly, and Witchcraft Magazine. They are the author of the poetry book, Gasoline Heart, by Lark Books, which is now available. For more please visit their website at shannonbarber.com.

Image: pinterest.com

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