KATALINA BRYANT - SATISFIED
I laid still, the tracks and rope digging into my back, my heart beating rapidly in my chest. The train was loud in the silent forest surrounding it. Its light was blinding in my peripheral vision but I would not close my eyes. I would stare at them until I couldn’t any longer - that was to say, until I was dead.
Train tracks. I hadn’t realized I was the star of a wild west film. That was the thing, though, my killer probably thought they were the star. No, I vowed, I would be the star of this film. This would end with my satisfaction.
My killer stood watching, just as still as me. Not even the wind ruffled their hair. The train was getting closer. Closer still. And--
I opened my eyes to darkness.
Where am I?
I could hear a muffled voice.
“Thank you… today to… the life of…”
Wherever I was, it was small and cramped. I struggled to move my arms but I managed to get my arms up. They hit soft padding. A grunt escaped as I pushed upward, light flooded into the small space, blinding me for a moment.
“Hazel had a heart of gold and is surely resting in peace.”
Or in pieces for that matter.
I looked at the preacher and the over the sea of black. My friends and family sat, crying. I swung my legs to the side of my closed casket and hopped down, landing on solid ground.
Walking to my mom, I waved my hand in front of her. She continued to stare, tears staining her cheeks. I reached forward and gave her a hug, even if she couldn’t feel it, I wanted her to know that I loved her. The heartbreak came up in a wave, but I couldn’t cry.
I moved on from my mom and continued down the aisle, observing those who came to mourn, only stopping at the last pew.
My killer sat, smiling.
“If anyone would like to say any last goodbyes,” the preacher said, his voice distant as I stared. “Please come up and say it now.”
My killer stood up and got in the line.
I followed, glancing at the stained glass window as I went. I froze. My body was horrible. I could still see the blood dripping from my mutilated limbs, or lack thereof. My head floated above my body, my neck in shreds and jaw unhinged. I only had one arm still attached, the other torn from my shoulder.
I looked away before I could see more. If I had any stomach, I’m sure I would have thrown up.
We waited in line until my killer finally reached the casket. They ran their hand along the wood, that stupid smirk still on their face. As they turned to leave, they looked at the framed photo and saw me. Not me smiling as I was alive, but the mangled body I wear now. Their body tensed and the smile they had been sporting, faded.
I’ve got you now.
They turned to return to their seat, but I stopped them, kicking their legs out from beneath them. They tried to stand, but I pressed down on their shoulders.
“Confess.” I didn’t know if they could hear me, but I didn’t care. They could feel me.
They replied with silence, but by now we had the attention of the other mourners.
“Confess,” I said again.
This time, I took their hand in mine and snapped a finger when they said nothing. They yelled in pain but continued their silence. People murmured around us.
I broke another finger each time I said it.
By the tenth digit, they still hadn’t confessed and the others were sure there was a demon amongst them. They weren’t wrong.
I moved away from their hand and took hold of their wrist, repeating that one word.
With no reply, I twisted it until I heard a crack.
Their scream was louder this time, but still no confession.
I continued up the arm, snapping and breaking until I reached the top. I placed my hands on either side of their head and leaned in close to their ear.
“Confess,” I whispered.
I began to twist when they cried out.
“It was me! I killed her.” They were panting and focused on the ground. “I killed her. I killed her. Make it stop, please.”
I released them and returned to my body, and the dark, satisfied.
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