by Erich William Bergmeier
She came to see me the night she shot her lover. She stood on my porch in the rain, her big wet eyes staring plainly through the window, saying nothing. The water poured down over her and left a thick trail of black mascara on each of her ivory cheeks. Her hands hung limp at her sides, her fingers pale and wrinkled.
I opened the door.
"Come in," I told her.
She waited in the hallway while I got towels from the closet. She said nothing when I stripped off all of her clothes and patted her body dry; her delicate little head shaking as I scrubbed behind her ears. She was poised, quivering, waiting for my first request. I decided to make it symbolic.
"Tell me that my eyes are as convincing as Bela's."
"I will tell you whatever you want," she said.
She stayed with me because I asked her to. She slept next to me on the cold sheets and let the salty breeze of the ocean wash over her. She made breakfast and did the dishes and kissed me lightly on the mouth before I left for work. And when I bought her a violin she played it. She played it in the same empty, listless way that she did everything I asked of her. Her fingers moving mechanically over the strings as she gazed with dull and hollow eyes into the distance. I had been a fool, I realized, to think that things would be different.
"Do you like your present?" I asked her.
"I like it very much."
"Then smile, Madge. Show me that you're happy."
"If that's what you want," she said.
It was hopeless. She had slipped away, detached herself, long before she'd ever come to live with me. I was furious. I asked her to do terrible things: to steal, and vandalize, and humiliate herself; to pull away the last vestiges of her humanity. And without protest, she did them. Until the day I found her standing on the lip of the balcony, her toes curling with excitement, her gaze transfixed by the ocean. Only it wasn't the water that she was looking at. It was something else. Something beyond it. A place away from all of this.
Terrified, I helped her down and kneeled beside her.
"I didn't mean for you to shoot him," I said, pleading. "That was a mistake."
"He wouldn't let me go," she whispered.
I wondered how long I could keep her like this; how long before another man told her that she would be better off with him? And what if I tried to stop her? Would I end up like the last one? Like poor old Stanwood, wounded and helpless and begging for forgiveness? My heart began to race at the thought of it. My cheeks went hot with rushing blood.
"Will you kill me, Madge? Will you kill me like you killed the others?"
She watched the water as it crashed up against the rocks. "If that's what you want," she said.
About The Author
Fast-Paced Mini Interview (at high speeds! risking dire consequences!)
The Squid: Who would you invite for roadtrip on SHIELD's hovercarrier?
EWB: No one, because it would mean going up there myself. I'm terrified of heights and that seems like a long way down.
The Squid: So, you're a freaking science fiction/fantasy action hero. That's pretty cool.
Now, tell us, which one you are most like, and why:
a) Conan the Barbarian (from the book, but you knew that already)
b) Han Solo
c) Captain James Tiberius Kirk (not that new guy pretending to be him)
d) Buckaroo Bonzai
e) Rick Deckard (the book... or the movie)
EWB: I would have to say that I am most like Rick Deckard, if only because the Director's Cut version of my life is generally considered to be better than the original.
Erich William Bergmeier currently resides in Guelph, Canada. He does not drive a hovercarrier.