• Dzama


Dorothy lay alone in bed, thinking only of him. She thought of him in the shower as she washed, she thought of him when she ate cakes. When she looked at postcards in the art book store she thought of which one she might send him. She knew she’d made a big mistake when she’d let him go.

That was how Den imagined it, a month after her final text to him.

But instead Dorothy lay on a slab of soapstone, naked. An evening mist rose from the dewy grasses below, back-lit by the red of the setting sun. The fingers of her right hand rested lightly on a sharpened dagger. At midnight she rose, eyes unseeing, tip-toeing forward like a weightless marionette. Following the gleaming point of her silver dagger down a gravel path to the tennis court behind Den’s house. Soon she was up on his balcony, white like chalk outside his floor-to-ceiling window. Then she was in his bed, hardly a ruffle in the covers, waiting for him to come back from washing the stage makeup off his face, waiting for him until he finally slid in beside her and turned off the light, unknowing. Unknowing until cardiac arrest and a gallon of blood geysered up from an open chest wound that had a silver knife handle sticking out of it.

At 2:23am Dorothy was back on her slab, her knife back at her side. This time though she was covered in blood and smiling.

Den first met Dorothy in a hotel lobby. The second time he met her he said, I know you from somewhere. The third time they found themselves pressed together in a crowded subway. Hi, he said. Heading uptown?

No, this is my stop, she said. But she looked back over her shoulder as she got off the train. Her mouth was open and her eyes burned a message into his. In retrospect, this message was a lie.

Dorothy and Den sat in a coffeeshop in a forgotten part of town. If you ever got to have your way with me, she began, you would tie me up wouldn’t you? With a sad smile Den encircled both her thin wrists with the long fingers of one hand.

Whenever he’d asked her what would happen when all this was over, Dorothy would answer, I’ll die. But now she was alive and well, albeit covered in his blood.

A month ago Den had been alone in his office, staring at his phone. There were many attractive women in his line of work. He had eyes for none of them. He sat on his swivel chair under fluorescent lights, sweating into the armpits of white pressed shirts, thinking of Dorothy. Texting that he couldn’t, in fact, leave everything and travel to Madagascar with her. He reminded her he’d be leaving behind eight hounds that roamed the planks of his A-frame estate. And also, to be honest, a wife.

The wife was named Adrienne and she was the first one to stumble upon his corpse that early morning, weeks later. She’d been working late at the precinct. Had not expected her work to come home with her. During her training she’d been severely burned and lost a lot of sensation. This insensitivity in her flesh was matched by an emotional chill that helped her get through most things.

At 5:47am when Adrienne tracked down Dorothy she had the full support of her local police crew behind her. Dorothy rose up off her slab, brandishing what they would later call a “shining sword”. Maybe twenty officers opened fire at close range.

But this was not the end. Adrienne would later need counseling, and she never quite recovered. She couldn’t understand how, at close range, none of their bullets made contact. She couldn’t comprehend how Dorothy could have just walked away from them all through the tall, wet grasses, naked, unharmed except for one small scratch from a single rookie’s whizzing bullet. One scratch after they had all had exhausted their magazines. They were reloading as she slipped off into the river. And she swam away from them, never to be seen again.



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