Electric Hands, Clay Skin
by drink me pretty

There was a riotous ringing in my ears. It was the kind of hollowed reverberation that enveloped the numerous dimensions of noise I had previously known into an inescapable, air-tight satchel of blank space—leaving me to question whether any other sound had ever existed at all.

She had pulled the trigger.

Her body collided against the blood-splattered wall at once; her upper torso compelled by the force of gravity to slump onto the wooden floor. The .44 magnum, surprisingly, remained firmly secure within the acquiescent grip of her hand. It was no longer merely her father's handgun. As of that moment, it had been permanently bonded to her being; an appendage of her body as intimate and ordained as her own arms and legs.

I watched as her hazel eyes fluttered vacantly open and shut, as her dissonant breathing slowed to the brink of cessation. I watched as the blood from her chest saturated her clothes and formed an ebbing pool around her—encasing her. I watched as her very essence itself drained right out of her gunshot wound, leaving behind nothing but an inanimate object that I could bear no feelings for.

Snapshot after mental snapshot was going off in my brain. I memorized the color of the beige walls surrounding her, the subtle creases of the black leather couch, the rings of water on the coffee table. The silk curtains had been drawn shut, the fan on the ceiling spun 'round overhead. Every architectural line, every defined angle, they were etched into the back of my eyelids in high definition. That, or I hadn't blinked once since the world became surreal.

I wasn't supposed to even be there. It was a mistake.

"This is my choice," she had said when I walked in, the pistol already aimed directly at where she presumed her heart to be. "If you're going to blame anyone, blame me."

No words escaped my mouth. All I had were plea-filled questions—a steep, barren mountain of questions—with only a bullet to her chest as the answer.

I hadn't realized I'd been screaming until the paramedics arrived. A man with a receding hairline grabbed me by the shoulders and told me to calm down, but when I tried to ask him what he was talking about, I realized I couldn't because my voice box was already fully preoccupied by my frantic screeching. The howling in the back of my throat, the impact of my fists pounding into my thighs and the furniture before me—I couldn't feel any of it, let alone acknowledge that they were occurring. My mind and my body had been disconnected. It wasn't until I saw them lift her up and place her stained body on that white stretcher that I accepted this as reality.

Leandra was gone, and so was any future prospect of finally telling her how I feel; of how I had always felt.

You can't tell a dead woman that you're in love with her.