The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Perfection in Shadow
by Sonora Taylor
Colin never thought he’d find the perfect woman. Everyone he met had something wrong with them once sex and passion ran its course. They talked too much. They took up too much space. Their looks were harsh under the light.
His girlfriend left him in a huff after their latest fight. The sound of the door slamming behind her reverberated through the apartment. Colin swore he saw the shadows tremble beneath its echo across the floor. He wondered how the floor would move if he instead buried her beneath it.
The darkness trembled. Colin blinked, then saw the shadows fall back into place.
He thought of his girlfriend – now his ex – meeting other men. He thought of her going to bed with them. She’d been so eager to jump into bed with him. She’d do the same with any stranger who showed an interest.
The shadow arched back and sighed. Before reason could stop him, Colin moved to the shadow and caressed it. The shadow leaned into his palm and smiled.
Colin smiled back. Here was the secret. Here was what he needed to do to keep someone.
Piece by piece, Colin took the darkest corners of his fantasies and made the perfect woman. He imagined slapping one, and a face turned and looked away. He imagined gripping one against him, and a body stood slack and still, waiting to be held. Finally, he imagined telling each and every woman he knew to shut up.
A shadow stood silent in his window, a beautiful woman who was perfect for him. One made of his darkness, and thus, one that wouldn’t disappear from him.
Colin walked to her and touched her shoulder. She didn’t tremble. She didn’t speak.
“You’re perfect,” he whispered.
She turned and wrapped her arms around him, creating a shroud that consumed him. Before he could scream, Colin felt a coldness clench his throat and seep through his veins as he disappeared into darkness.
The apartment lay empty. A single ray of light shined through the window.
Fiction © Copyright Sonora Taylor
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Sonora Taylor:
When seeking gifts from others, the greatest gift is often a connection. A lonely fourth grader finds an unlikely friendship with a murder of crows. A college student tries, against all odds, to meet her favorite author. A commuter sees a stranger every day on her way to work. And a man who lives alone in the woods seeks a connection with anyone, so long as they’re another body to hold.
The greatest gifts, however, don’t always mean the greatest rewards. The fourth grader learns that a crow’s idea of loyalty may challenge her own. The college student learns that in a battle between herself and fate, neither may be the victor. The commuter never learns her new friend’s name, which may be a gift in itself. The man in the woods sees any connection as a reward — though not necessarily for those he seeks.
Connections with others keep us afloat, in varying degrees and at varying costs. As the man in the woods so aptly says, “We all want closeness and companionship. Some of us just gain that by burying people in the floorboards.”