Cleaning Up After

Dead_GirlThe smell lingers and so do the smoke and the haze. The smoldering continues but the broader fire is out.

Yes, the fire spread quickly. It was intense and just hot enough to burn off her flesh and muscle leaving her bones warm and almost clean. Any grease and soot left over simply wipes off with a damp rag leaving only a slight yellowish hue.

I can secure her now. I can place her light and petite frame in a small, easy to conceal box. Something compact; something, if I fancy, I can even carry with me.

Even in death, I will still have her hands to hold and her fingers to clutch; her features to stroke and a face, of sorts, to gaze upon.

But most importantly, she is safe now.

She is safe now. She is at peace and is no longer in danger; no longer a target from the local ruffians and predators that would seek to make her suffer just as the two who lie next to her with their heads, both big and small, completely blown off.

It’s my fault I didn’t protect her from them. I am never around. It’s my fault the hours I am forced to work. Completely and unequivocally my fault we lacked the money for an alarm system and the mark is died squarely on me for having taken our gun out of our residence for my amusement.

Oh I heard about the rumors about town. The salacious remarks about her and other men. Jealous snipes of illicit acts; all I know to be false.

The sirens surround as I finish wiping and stacking her bones in a basket we used for picnics when we were first married. I feel so bad we haven’t been on a picnic in years.

The sirens are insistent. One thing in my favor is our distance from town. Living here on the outskirts allows me the extra time to gather her, spirit her away from this sordid mess; buffering her presence from the scandal others will manufacture.

But my story, the true story, will be a simple one. Surely no one can find fault with the defense of one’s home and the vengeance of the honor of my young and beautiful wife who was brutalized and burned.

I am not concerned about the police or the courts. They will see. They will shift the blame to those I have designated and mutilated; they will clearly see me as a distraught husband whose love for his wife and his work ethic is above reproach.

Funny, and it is so cliché; I am not sure if they were more surprised to see me, my gun, or to find that the young and attractive woman they thought to be so alone and ripe for attack, was actually a corpse; a freshly dead one only drugged and strangled within the past two days; a woman clearly in her prime, now cold and soon to be rotting in our bed.

Yes, I wonder if these single minded rapists were able to speak, what would they tell me frightened them more; A man who kills his wife for threatening to leave him or the joy I demonstrated in first shooting their exposed cocks off before putting them down.

It was my plan to burn her anyway in order to get the worms and maggots out of our bed.

By Joseph J. Patchen

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