Eyes Hollow, Empty

By Elizabeth Board

"I'm just a little fucked up," she had told him when they met and she had repeated those words that night. "The kind of fucked up you can still make look pretty and prance around a party with. The kind of fucked up that can fake it," her eyes had been focused on him so painfully. "That is, if that's what you want." That's when he had finally noticed the blood. At first he had thought it was coming from her and he had felt terror grasp his throat, stopping a scream or words of panic in their tracks. But the blood wasn't hers. It was splayed across the front of her dress, dripping down the designer sequins.

He had become worried when she hadn't shown up for dinner, he had rushed back to their hotel room expecting to find her bathing in her own red blood, just like before. He had found her bathed in blood, but the body in the bath tub wasn't hers. She'd said that the man had forced his way into the room, tried to take advantage of her. He didn't entirely believe her, there would have been no reason for her to have cut him up like she did. The blood was pooled and smeared all over the room, splattered in a vivid red. The knife was his, though he had no idea how she had gotten it. He carried a knife for the sake of carrying a knife, but kept it away from her just like the doctors had advised. It now lay on the bed smeared and bloodied. Red soaking into the sheets. He had pushed past her stumbling to the bathroom, not wanting to look at the corpse but forcing his eyes to see. The man was completely stripped naked; his clothes folded on the toilet, a small rivulet of blood trailing off his lip and down the side of his face dripping rhythmically onto the tile. He had been split open like a body on an autopsy table the red of his entrails open for the world to see and his slick wet organs lay in pools of their own blood and fluids about the bathroom. He had felt himself becoming sick and had reached for the counter to keep his body steady only to feel that it was sticky with blood. He had bent in half and vomited fine caviar into the gore.

At that point he should have gone to the phone, dialed nine-one-one, had the cops come, save him. He shouldn't have straightened himself out, shouldn't have gone down the street, bought bleach, duct tape, and trash bags. But he did, and then he came back and stripped the sheets from the bed and thrown them and the man's clothes into a bag. He had scrubbed the bathroom with bleach while she stood there, eyes hollow, empty. He had wrapped the naked body in trash bags and duct tapped them closed. He had taken them all to his car, in the trunk, and drove off until the glare of the city didn't obscure the stars anymore. And there he had dumped the body. He had left her alone in the hotel room. And when he got back she was just sitting on the edge of the empty bed. She had looked up at him and said simply, "I warned you."

And that was it. That was that fiasco. He had put it behind him but now as she holds the gun at arms length he wonders why he hadn't seen the danger. He stares down the cold hopeless barrel facing him and understands why people put it to their lips, why they pull the trigger, why they blow themselves away. There's nothing in that barrel that gives you any hope for survival, any hope for the future. Embalm me now as love decays, it seems to say and he wants to press it to his lips and he wants her to pull the trigger. But she's sobbing now, so consumed in herself that the man at the other end of her gun is just a blur, if he moved now she probably wouldn't even notice, it wouldn't faze her. He knows she'll eventually shoot him. He knows he shouldn't have expected her to let him get away with it. He must partially want to die; after all he's seen her do tempting her to rage against her. His secretary, and sometimes mistress' body is sprawled over the couch blood seeping into the leather dripping down the sides. So many mistakes had led him here there really wasn't anything to do but regret. She just aimed the gun at him; eyes hollow, empty.