Hey!! What's the story?
“I asked him, ‘Do flowers yawn when they bloom?’ Right out of the blue! The freaking guy sat there dazed.”
Mark shook his head in disgust. “What’s the point?”
“You need to be careful, Dave. And you know why.”
Dave took a seat on the sofa chair across from his older brother.
Talking to Dave never got him anywhere. Sometimes he regretted taking him in. After eleven years in that hospital, where else could he go? The last of Dave’s family, he really didn’t have much of a choice.
“We’ve been through quite a bit, Dave.”
“Who’s we? You got a frog in your pocket? It’s me who’s been through it, Big Brother. I was the guy behind padded walls, remember? You were the guy who ran off to join the Navy where even the war kept you safer than I was at home.”
It didn’t pay rehashing what happened. It happened. At sixteen Dave had… No, it didn’t pay at all.
“They said I snapped. I lost my mind. I killed the two of them. Unpremeditated murder of good old Dad and stepmother witch.”
He sat there cross-legged in the center of the living room. Around him he had arranged the twenty of them like bloody rays from an angry sun. The two lay very dead, crumpled outside the circle. She would never punish him again. Dad would stop asking. ‘He said what? He did what?’ and then beat him till he could only crawl away bloody, bloody as they were now. Bloody and silent.
Dave ran his fingers over the stiletto in his pocket. The touch calmed him. He imagined its slim black shape, the sudden spring of the razor-sharp blade. Today he had taken it out of its dark warm shelter and introduced it to Dr. Paulson, whose litany of “Then what?” stopped dead in its tracks. The appearance of the blade left him speechless. All those prodding words like graveyard shovels digging away. For what? “Under the wounds of your past we need to find answers,” Paulson had said, but today the wounds were Paulson’s. The blade cutting away. Ten geysers of blood. The puffing up and the sagging down of Paulson’s suited chest.
He took his hand from his pocket and lowered it into the brown shopping bag behind the sofa. From it he removed a wooden jewelry box.
He placed it on the end table, then from the other pocket he took out a stick of white chalk and drew a large misshaped circle in the center of the room.
“What’re you doing?”
Dave said nothing. He emptied the box. From it tumbled ten jagged-edged fingers. “Paulson’s,” he said. Then a red gelatinous glob of heart wriggled seemingly on its own. “Paulson’s,” he said again.
Mark tried unsuccessfully to reach the door.