indelible (part 4)
It was the screaming that brought clarity. Or the vomiting – he didn’t know which.
Matthew had tried to be so careful. He had finished his first name from her left ear and across her throat in an old Italian script. The moment he touched the needle to her skin to begin his surname the skin appeared to disintegrate and the ink bled into her.
He didn’t panic at first, he just held it there watching the maggots crawl out, fascinated by how they made his name come alive as they danced underneath her skin. They started crawling up his fingers and that was when she started screaming. The pitch of her voice could have broken glass and almost immediately the neighbours upstairs started thumping on the floor like some kind of ironic bass beat to her soprano wailing.
And then there was silence.
He looked at her face and for the first time in nearly two weeks he wanted to kiss her. As he leaned over to touch her lips with his own, a fly emerged from her mouth and flew up to his face, hitting him above the eye. He started screaming again.
Matthew stood up and clawed at his own face, the flies around him buzzing their white noise so loudly that he thought they had burrowed inside his head. The neighbour started thumping on the floor again.
He quietened his screams to a whimper as he looked at her body. Where her skin was still intact, he saw the green tinge that his mind had twisted into a backdrop for his art. Matthew saw the beautiful dream world that he had created over her body being slowly eaten alive by maggots and flies; puss and shit seemed to ooze from open sores. The mattress was sodden with her bodily fluids, the stink of which finally hit his stomach.
The vomiting was uncontrollable but brief. He fell down to his knees and tried to breathe. The knife that he had used all those days ago was partially hidden under the bed. He pulled it out and looked at it. It was still stained with her blood. He stood up slowly and started to cry.
‘Don’t cry, Matty,’ she whispered.
Matthew looked at her smiling face and took comfort from it. He allowed the fog to take over his mind again so that he could speak to her.
‘I’m sorry,’ he said.
‘I know, Matty. Now you’ve got to come with me…’ She spoke the words kindly, sisterly. ‘Come with me now, Matty.’
Matthew looked at her one last time. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen and he had created her. She had completed him.
He lay down on the bed, laid his head on her chest and ran the knife over his left wrist… and then his right.