Cut Away

in #horror2 years ago (edited)


It’s not easy to see you in the daytime, but the birds know where to find you. The other day I saw an osprey perched on the bridge railing, picking apart a strip of your flesh. Factories crowd the south side of the Mortmarie River, but the houses on the north bank sleep among tall pines. That’s where the osprey live. They swoop down to the river in search of fish. Sometimes, they circle round and through the wall of mist that rises from the rapids spilling over the dam. That’s how I know you’re there. You’re there, drifting in the air above the frigid water. I can’t avoid crossing the river. I can’t avoid the sight of a raptor snatching a sliver off your body and fluttering down in front of me to pick at it.

At first I used to think your death set me free, but now I realize that couldn’t be anything less like the truth. You haunt me in death as you haunted me in life. You were a monster when the glass got to you. Can’t suppose it’s any different for one woman than it’s ever been for anyone since the invention of booze, can we? You’d ask why I stuck around. Eh, maybe I’m weak for you. Or maybe it’s better to say I was hopeful. A long night of terror floated away on a smile in the morning. You’d remember nothing of the things you’d done.

Rocking back and forth. Muttering with a sneer like fucking killer.

By dawn it was gone and the woman I loved had returned. And she’d watch me with eyes that peered inside me, that knew me, that haunted me in the way every man wants to be haunted. And as you spent more and more days in a drunk fog, as those days became fewer and fewer, I found myself loving you even more. Why? Because I had so little that was worth anything, I became obsessed with holding onto whatever part of you I had left.

Your death was painless as far as I know. Can’t say for sure because no one but you was there. From what I can piece together, your addled brain took you out of our home around two in the morning. You stumbled onto the Trecesson Bridge and threw yourself into the river. They say the water was so cold that your heart stopped the moment you went under. You probably didn’t know where you were or what you were doing, much less that you’d died.

The rest doesn’t seem so painless. I don’t go out at night anymore. Unlike the daytime, the night makes it easy to see you. You look as though you’re in constant torture. Maybe it’s different if someone dies some other way, with her head on her shoulders. But as far as I can tell your death is like your life, only it’s forever. You’re forever drifting near the place where you breathed your last, forever watching the world with dim and sunken eyes lost in confusion. You’ll never awake from your drunken stupor. In your hand you hold a knife and with that knife you peel your skin off your bones. At night the bloody bits fall into the water because the osprey aren’t out. In the morning they feast.

When I pass by, you look up from your carving. For a moment you seem frozen, your arms and your legs and face scarred and bleeding from all the places you’ve cut yourself. Then there’s a flicker of recognition. With that recognition comes rage. That look I see in the face that looms from the frozen air above the water - that’s the look of a person who wants to reach through my chest and squeeze my heart until my blood bursts into my throat. I know - I’ve seen it before.

In the mornings after your rages you used to give me a different look. God, your eyes in the day’s early hours could fill a cathedral with light. And all I’d wanted to do was preserve that. Even as larger masses of your waking life sunk below the surface, I still told myself that you were still there somewhere. The rare animal you claimed was your real and true self had some hope of survival and I had to do everything to make it live.

That is, until you died. Now it’s no more. You are out by the bridge now. Though I can’t see you in the light anymore, I can only assume that you never awake. The osprey are evidence of that. You are preserved in the state in which you lived when you died. Forever. There is nothing else, not anymore. And all I am or ever was is lost.

image is public domain


This is a powerfully haunting piece of writing. I was disgusted and intrigued and confused and yet, somehow, completely understood the pain and regret that can only come from deep irrational love. The piece is a polaroid of a moment in time that makes me want to know more about what came before, and what will be next for the author. Thank you for sharing 🌱

Wow, @bia.birch, thanks so much. I'm glad it touched you in some way, despite being disgusted and confused! I guess that was the intent, so on some level it had an impact and a writer can't ask for more.

Absolutely! I appreciated the way you intertwined those dark emotions with the lightest emotion - love. You wrote a very intriguing piece.

This is a dense, touching and intriguing writing work. I don't like horror pieces because the literary images (you have several) come back to me, recurrently, after reading. I don't tell you anything else .... I think this short story is very well conceived.

It has been a pleasure to read you @candidfolly

Thank you very much @marcybetancourt. I hope it didn't bother you too much after reading. I am glad, however, that it all came together for you. Sometimes it's hard to know how my own thoughts look from the outside.

Your story is very well written and that's the important thing.

Hi candidfolly,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

Visit or join the Curie Discord community to learn more.

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 0.68
TRX 0.10
JST 0.076
BTC 58667.85
ETH 4730.20
BNB 647.42
SBD 7.30