I’m trying to write more often, but I usually only manage a half-hour a day. During that time, I sit at the keyboard and type whatever comes out. This morning, it was this peculiar and rather dark story:
Supper is soon, she called from the back door that led to the man’s little garden. He was always often there, soaking the soil with water, trimming old growth back, yanking out weeds like they were the tongues of his enemies.
Anyone speaks ill of me, he often told the woman, I’ll have their tongues and we’ll eat a nice supper for a change.
The woman didn’t fancy tongue, but she didn’t fancy the man’s meager vegetable offerings every night either, so she prayed to the sky god that the man’s enemies would unleash their venom and the man would sneak up on them and have his revenge.
What have you prepared? asked the man, dragging in dirt. He clopped over to the fire and spat into it.
What do you expect? replied the woman. Stew.
I’ve had enough stew to last three lifetimes.
Then go catch something.
The man pondered striking the woman. He’d done so before and felt moderately better after doing so, but it wasn’t worth it. The woman was good, the woman was loyal. She had eyes like tiny dark buttons and divine breasts. She kept him warm at night. So what if she talked back occasionally?
It’s a plenty big deal, the voice of the man’s father roared in his brain. You know who’s tongue you should be eating, don’t you?
Shut up, whispered the man.
Don’t answer him, said the woman. It only gets worse when you do.
The man sat at the splintered table and stared down at the bowl of tepid vegetable stew. He hadn’t eaten meat in months.
A man should eat meat as often as he can, his father commented.
There’s no meat to be had, the man answered.
Stop it, said the woman. Just stop it and eat.
They ate in silence punctuated only by the wind whipping around the house. After supper, the man added more wood to the fire and the woman stood by it, warming herself.
Undress, said the man.
Yes, that’s better, said the man’s father.
The woman frowned. It’s very cold.
Undress, repeated the man.
The woman did as instructed and the man gazed longingly at her. The firelight played over her large breasts and flickered between her legs, the tuft of hair there turning bronze. The man reached for her and the woman came to him.
Now, said the man’s father, after you’ve finished, you know what—
Stop it! shouted the man.
The woman held the man’s face in her hands and kissed his lips gently. “Ignore him,” she whispered in his ear.
Yes, you can. Concentrate on me.
The man tried his best, and for a few moments his mind filled only with the sight and scent of the woman as she removed his pants and slowly moved him into her. His ears filled with her soft, low noises as her hips moved back and forth. The fire cast her shadow fiercely.
You could plant her in the garden after you kill her, the man’s father told him.
The man squeezed his eyes shut and began to shake. The woman continued her rhythm, oblivious to the hand and knife rising behind her.
The blade hovered behind the woman’s back, glinting in the fire. In that moment, the man stepped outside himself. He felt like he was dreaming, watching himself at a distance. His wife’s beautiful, naked form covering his own. Loving him. Protecting him.
Do it, his father urged.
The woman turned her head slightly when the knife clattered to the floor. That’s twice in one week, she murmured.
I’m afraid one night, I’ll do it, the man said.
I know, said the woman. I know.