‘STITCHES’ by JJ Breech

Nervously I fiddle with the stiches on my chest, they just seem too long and the scar never seems to heal. Maybe I should leave it alone and forget about it?

If I am to do a God’s work, why do I loathe myself so?

In the day, because of my condition, I remain in self-created shadows, not wanting an audience, not even of one. I feel victimised: by the sun, by society, by my own thoughts.

Then everything changes. The sun goes down and even the moon hides itself from me. The night can camouflage many things, but is it not dark enough to hide my black-heart. I am on task but in the back of my mind I know ‘it’ lies like an unfinished jigsaw back at home- and this disturbs me so.  Tonight I must find the final missing piece for it all to make sense and so my peace of mind can return and my world can continue to spin.

No security, no guards, no hope for them. I slip in through the back door after picking the lock in 11.9 seconds. I take of my shoes and make my way up the stair, carrying my icebox carefully so as not to rattle its insides.

Gerry Taylor, young, healthy, vibrant lies asleep in his double bed. I do not stand around to enjoy this; I am there to do a job, so I do what needs to be done. I slit his throat and carve off his right hand, wrap and place in my box of ice; all under 8 minutes- a personal record. I leave the way I came in and am home before sunrise.

The stitches around my wrists look like cool tattoos but the scars on my face look like wounds from war.

In the renovated basement- half laboratory, half morgue- I set to work and the final part is to be put into place; click- and ‘it’ will be ready. But will I?

I stitch ‘it’ together and pray to myself.

My lab, my rules. No one can tell me what to do,

‘It’ lies on the slab so still. What is there left to do now? What must I do to realise my goal? To finish what I started? To have a true and final end? Or is this a beginning? No- no- revenge is always a means to an end.

I inject the adrenalin/nitro-glycerine compound into a black vein rising from ‘it’s’ neck- so thick and worm-like it’s almost asking to be pumped full of life. I stand back and watch the fluid make its way around ‘it’s’ body as it illuminates the blood, like luminous roads on a map of skin.

‘It’ opens its eyes wide and coughs and splutters as it tries to grab oxygen from the air, in wide greedy gulps. ‘It’ sits up and glares at me; there is no question at all, it is not baffled or confused, it knows who I am.

‘Son?’  it slobbers- drool and blood congealed together gloop from its malformed lips.

‘Yes Father. How does it feel that the tables have turned; now I am the maker and you, the lifeless monster?’

The look on his face was enough; he knew his wrongs would never be righted, but this was a start.

He spat: ‘I just wanted someone to love, someone to care for, someone to be mine.’

I reply by blowing the back of his head out with a shotgun.

He created me: a creature stitched together from dead body parts, and I returned the favour; only the head was his and now even that was gone.

 I turned the gun on myself and pulled the trigger- a mosaic of skull, brain and blood hit the wall behind me. At first glance it looks like a butterfly ready to take flight, fluttering its wings, readying itself to be free. Or, on second look- like any good Rorschach inkblot- it was something else: a horned demon watching silently with a sly grin on its face, as human pitted itself against human and the outcome could only be death for all.

Once you’re gone you’re gone, there’s no coming back. You can’t cheat death, you can only keep a few things from it for a short while. The last three months was like gambling with the Reaper- my poker face took me so far but in the end I cracked, the stitches split and I ended up empty.

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