Red hung from the blade edge, garish in the morning sun coming in through open windows and reflecting off yellow cream wallpaper. The blood seemed to hang too long, dared not fall into the tidy kitchen, built through careful planning and hours of Sunday work and trips to the home decoration store. Every piece in the exact place and color precise to match, to give an aroma. Something intangible, like the smell of the sun. It hovered a moment longer with the silence, ran along the blade and gave way to gravity.
The dot ran into a crack between boards. The clock chimed in, beginning its’ ten count strike. The brunch hour. Brunch. The second strike brought me back to myself. And the pain. A sting grew to a wale of pain throbbing from my arm. Blood seeped between my fingers still dusted with flour. Death could come today, that simple, at the brunch hour. A laugh died in my stomach. Ironic it seemed at that peaceful hour. No movement on the asphalt outside, no calls from the neighbors sleeping off a hangover. They sounded like crows going at each other every morning. How easy life could go from the body with the simple loss of fluid. My head felt light, in reality I knew I hadn’t lost that much yet, not enough yet. But, the whole morning seemed to have taken leave of reality.
The knife. The knife in her hand still. A second passed and every muscle in my body convulsed and tightened, my throat stretched and scratched fear clawing up it from my intestines. Another drop fell from the tip of the blade and splayed onto the floor. The unmoving blade. For a moment a memory of a nature channel special or maybe a science class video flashed into my mind, projected itself over the gory kitchen scene. A mouse scrabbles in the dirt, searching for seeds. Zoom behind, and on a branch an owl, looking every bit the evil predator spots the prey, lifts its’ wings and flies from the branch. Mouse ears twitch and the muscles make to run, but it is too late. Claws capture the mouse, the evening meal. Murder of the innocent, murder for food at least.
The knife waves forward. “Get out,” I know the voice, the face. I should look, but I can’t take my eyes from this metal predator, can’t breath, can’t lift my feet. Some vital flight response severed in the first attack. My arm feels like flame and the rest of my body ice. Heavy. Cold. Unmoving. Stone.
“Get out. Now.” This time the knife lunges forward. That knocks the breath back into me. It drags through my lungs. I realize my feet can move, my knees can bend. I take two steps back. A chair behind me. My mind searches for a memory of the layout of the room. The quickest route of escape. Because if I take my eyes off the knife, it’s sure to attack again. A deep cut, a life ending cut. The kind that takes only seconds. The table in the corner, the nearest exit the door to the living room, cutting a path nearer the knife. But the only option other than out the window. I see the red color growing against the muffin mix flour. They would have been blueberry chocolate muffins.
It all seems so funny. What happened? I can’t remember what happened. What words led to this. A scene out of a crime drama, right before the first murder happens and special detectives get called in to investigate. But never in small town, nowhere. She steps forward, some blood on her ankle socks with black heals. Black empty nothing. The future, my plans for the day, next week, next year clipped off by a black hole. I try to form words but every muscle of my throat my tongue repulses against me and refuses to move, strained to tearing point.
The knife waits, maybe three meters away, too close. Far too close. With the palms of my hands spread behind me, I edge around the table to the wall. The bright sunlight yellow paint. Warm and living. I want to live. Please, I want to live. I think to the wall. to the sunlight, the car passing around the cul-de-sac. The knife point follows me, waits. Blood runs through my hands around my arm and to the floor now. How much time? Time, so short. I drag another breath into my lungs and at the same time propel to the opening, to the living room, to safety. My brain screams at me, pictures of the blade sinking Hitchcock style into my back, or slicing like sandwich meat.
Around the couch set, in soft pinks. Faster, faster. The door isn’t locked. I open it and hurl my body out into the garden, into the street. And turn to face the house. No one at the door. Carla still inside.
A shadow passes along the curtains. Maybe a shadow, maybe not. Maybe death turning the light out of me, slowing and fading. Dark smudges coming into my vision. I back away from the house, my brain screaming. Someone see. Someone help. Someone up and greeting the morning by peeking through their venetian blinds with a cup of tea in hand. I imagine the cup falling and smashing, a voice yelling out, they are calling the ambulance and the police. My mind picks it out in great detail seeming to take minutes. Only seconds have passed because I am only one step back. Back and back and back. Carla doesn’t come out screaming mad. The door waits ajar.
Alive. Still alive, still enough blood. I just have to get help. Using the jacket around my waist, I make a tourniquet and walk out of the cul-de-sac.