Counting Down [Flash Fiction]

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I remember how incredibly bright the August moon was as I strangled the old lady.  Vinnie and Greg were ransacking the bedrooms, looking for her stash of jewels and bonds.  I had knocked her almost unconscious but she was a tough bird and fought back mightily. She grasped my hand which was clutched round her throat, and the blood trickled down from her fingers unto mine.  She croaked in a whisper, “Pointless….pointless…for you’ll be dead by the next full moon…” I squeezed harder to stop that whisper because as soon as she uttered it, I knew with a grim certainty that she was right.  Her eyes blazed for a moment and then went glassy still.  It’s a look I’ve had occasion to see before.

 

I didn’t tell Vinnie or Greg; I didn’t even know if it was true for them.  I only knew it was true for me.  After we fenced the goods, I was set up pretty well.  Except for the fact that I’d be dead in a month.  I started to watch the moon wane every night, though I struggled not to. I thought I’d eat, drink, and be merry, the educated word for whoring, I believe. But the liquor tasted like bitterness and the food was as dust. Any woman I looked at, I only thought of what she would look like when she was dead.  Lecherous skeletons in postures of macabre seduction, offering obscene, bony kisses.  “What’s wrong, honey?  Don’t you like wimmen?” 

 

So the party was over. I left Vinnie’s calls unanswered.  I started to sleep during the day, so that I could moon watch at night.  I didn’t bother to look at a calendar, I had only to watch the moon as it turned crescent and then started to grow. I remembered a lot of things during those nights.  My childhood.  My awful dad.  The beatings.  I took my money to a mission for street kids – for the kid that I once used to be.  I took it in a sack and saw the slack-jawed administrator look puzzled and alarmed, as if he didn’t want to touch it.  He tried to ask me questions but I hightailed it out of there. I don’t need that money anymore.  Let it do some good.  I don’t eat much now and who cares about the rent.  I can see it now, outside the curtains, daring me to pull them back and gaze at my demise.  The September full moon, in a sky of burnt darkness…..

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