Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine Flash: The Many Forms of Love

Today is Valentine's Day and to celebrate many of us around the blogosphere have written sweet, romantic flash fiction pieces to celebrate the syrupy, rather nauseating, Greeting Card Industry created holiday. OK, knowing most of these people, this things aren't going to give you any warm fuzzies. More like chilly blisters.

You can find a list of participants on Patti Abbott's blog. My story is below. Read it with someone you love.

The Many Forms of Love

By Stephen Allan

People express their love in different ways. One person can show off her dozen roses, while another can talk about a romantic cruise. Some get chocolates and others a nice dinner followed by a night of dancing. What I can show people are the cigarette burns. They pepper both forearms so I wear long sleeve shirts. I hide them because people won't understand. The other girls pity me because no flower delivery comes for me on Valentine's Day, but what they don't know is that I have a fresh bruise across my back. Tears are temporary, but love is forever.

I didn't understand what others were talking about when they talked about domestic violence. It seemed like such a harsh accusation, something that definitely didn't apply to me. But when he first hit my Lana, I couldn't handle it. She isn't like me. She's too sensitive for that type of love. I tried reasoning with him, but it ended with a smack to my jaw. I guess I deserved it for speaking out of turn, but Lana didn't deserve what she got.

Words aren't something that comes easy to him. Expressions are in the form of drunken yells and flying fists, not talking. When Lana got her first black eye, I asked him to stop. That was when he broke my arm. I wanted to protect her, but a woman in a cast isn't much of a defense.

The night it finally rose up was the night I heard Lana screaming from her bedroom for her father to stop. I didn't know what it was, but it burned within me. I felt it fill my body and I wanted to tear something apart. I wanted to yell, but I kept it in, which only intensified the heat.

To tell you the truth, I don't remember going downstairs to the kitchen. All I can recollect was grabbing the knife and rushing back up to Lana's room. I pushed open the door and saw him naked and on top of her. My Lana was struggling against him.
When I think back on it, I guess it was stupid of me not to think about the length of the knife. The thought of it going all the way through and cutting Lana still bothers me, but like I said, I wasn't thinking.

The first thrust didn't go too deep. I hit his rib cage. But it was enough for him to yell out in pain and turn around. He reached for the knife, but I slashed the blade across his open palm. He closed his hand and cradled it to his chest. I continued to strike, cutting across his arms and shoulders. Crimson streaks of blood began flowing from the fresh slits in his skin. I went for his gut next. There were no bones to stop the knife and I sunk it up to the hilt. He grabbed a handful of hair and tried to pull me away, but I dislodged the weapon from his jelly-like abdomen and hacked at the underside of his arms until he let me go. A clump of my hair remained in his fist. That started a frenzy of slashes. Afterwards, the police said he had lacerations on all extremities, his torso and his face. I don't remember what I hit, so I took their word for it.

What I do remember was the final cut. I stepped back from his bleeding body and looked at him. Any fight he had was gone. He was still alive, but slumped against the pink wallpaper of Lana's room. I turned to look at my daughter who watched from the hallway. She held a bed sheet up to cover her naked body. Her face was drenched in tears. I should have gone to her at that second and hugged her, but I didn't. I looked back at her father and knelt in front of him. There was a moment of calm as I stared into his pain filled eyes. Then I shoved the serrated blade into his throat.

When I looked at my Lana, she was just staring at the floor three feet in front of her; but I hope she knew that what I did, I did for love.

7 comments:

Gerald So said...

Great job crossing gender and using pace for suspense and surprise.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Wow, a real heartbreaking story, Steve. The inevitability of what happens is excruciating.

Patricia J. Hale said...

Roped me in and wouldn't let me go. Nicely done.

socalledauthor said...

Very intense. Nicely written.

[ darwin ] said...

You get my vote. Nice work.

Darwin Stephenson
ANALOG [darwin]
"15 Questions Put to 100 Anonymous Strangers"

WellesFan said...

Wow. Just wow. You knew what was coming, but like a freight train, it couldn't be stopped.

Steve Allan said...

Thanks, guys. I'm glad you all enjoyed it.