--GREEN IS A REALLY GREAT COLOR ON YOU. IT BRINGS OUT THE GREEN IN YOUR EYES
…I sent a story into an online magazine. The theme was “fashion” and the story had to be 500 words or less.
This is the response I got:
I read your story last night and the end is so disturbing, I just can't run it, I'm sorry.
Of course it's a personal choice - these things always are - but I was so disturbed by the final image I just thought no, I can't.
I've thought about it some more and just re read it and still the same, so I thought I would let you know.
Of course, if you have something else.
…I’m not upset at all. Truly, I’m not. I’m just surprised. I’ve been rejected hundreds of times and this editor is a friend of mine who I like a great deal.
So, yes, absolutely, I do write on disturbing topics. But was this story really that disturbing?
You decide and let me know.
Here it is:
The pink wig she put on was a bob cut. It went well with her bubblegum lipstick and Pepto-pink necklace.
She was thin, had gotten very skinny over the last year, and yet it was a struggle to get the tight leather pants over her bony hips. Next, she added a silver chainmail halter that shimmered and rustled when she moved even the slightest.
The summer days were too long and it seemed night would never come. She snorted a jagged line of white powder off her coffee table and welcomed the fierce burn. She took another and another until her eyes watered and her nose ran and all she could taste was the satisfying copper tang of her own blood.
Near dusk, she strapped on her stilettos and grabbed her clutch-sized handbag, peeking inside to make sure everything was in order. In the mirror that hung from her apartment door, she looked exotic and sensual, desirable, to be sure. After she touched her lips to the glass, they left an imprint that resembled a pair of wings closing in on themselves.
She knew where to go, which street. She’d moved here months ago, after the trial and verdict, and had told herself to be patient, studying the new city, doing proper surveillance, establishing the man’s habitual patterns and customs.
Around midnight, the red Jaguar slowed half a block from where she stood under a streetlight that cast her elongated shadow in two directions, like a switchblade half-open, she noticed, and that made her smirk.
Now that he was here, though, she felt an unexpected calmness and no adrenalin rush whatsoever. Perhaps it was the aftereffects from all the drugs earlier, or maybe it was a sense of impending freedom.
His driver-side window buzzed as it came down and he leaned across. He’d gotten thick since fleeing the States. Too much strudel, warm beer and sausages.
In a foreign language she’d recently learned, he said, “Why, aren’t you a pretty fashionista.” He was so pleased with himself, even though his accent came through sloppy and disjointed.
In English, she said, “I’ve been waiting for you.”
Both her statement and her speaking his native tongue startled him. “Well, what are you waiting for?”
“Yes, what?” she said, sliding into the car.
“Where should we go?” he asked, adjusting the rearview so he could steal glances at her outfit while driving.
“Where do you usually take them?”
“Can’t go there. How about my place? You cool with that?”
“I am,” she said, “I am very cool,” and he chuckled, said, “You’re a mysterious piece of work.”
She waited until they were in bed, both of them naked, her straddling him on top.
She didn’t much resemble her sister, the one he’d raped and killed, and he would never have known it had she not rammed the knife through his heart, afterward carving Ashley Andrews—her sis’s named—across his chest.