Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Taste of Cement

It would have been so easy to kill her. He had been watching her for the past two weeks, when it started getting dark so early. She was always riding the bus at the same time every day, a book bag at her a feet, a laptop case on the seat next to her. She was wearing the ubiquitous white earbuds, but the machine that fed them was small and cheap.

She never looked up, never spoke, instead keeping here eyes down at the crocheting project in her lap. When he first saw her, climbing on the bus in those ratty jeans and the tattered hoodie, he had known she was for him. He had known that he would slip off the bus after her, follow her down her street. He would reach for her elbow, rip the earbuds from her ears.

He would bend her backwards, a romantic dip that so many women found so enchanting on the dance floor. In this context, most began to scream. But she---she looked like a fighter. She would fight, but she wouldn't scream. He found himself looking forward to having her nails digging into his skin, ripping up the flesh and making his blood, sweet and thick down his cheek.

But when he saw her with that crocheting project only half done, he lost the nerve. Shouldn't she at least finish what she was making?

So the next day, he rode the bus, for the chance to see her again. And she was a few rows farther along. Again, she spoke not a word, was silent except for the breathless thank you to the driver as she hopped off and started on her trek home.

But tonight, she was tying it off, with an intricate knot. The small blanket lay lacy and expensive looking across her lap. She folded it up and shoved it in the book bag. He watched the strands of her hair falling out of the bun at the back of her skull. He watched her flick it impatiently back.

It would be so easy to kill her. What a shame to do away with those clever fingers. He could keep her of course. Could make her one of them. He would have those clever fingers with him forever.

She smelled like sunlight and strawberries. His heart wrenched. She wasn't suited for immortality, and yet she was not suited for death. She was not suited for him. She pressed the buzzer for her stop and rose, gathering her things, checking her pockets, changing the song in her head.

To be in her head, he thought. To hear those songs. To hear her voice.

The bus rolled to a stop, and she began her hurried walk to the door. She passed by him, her eyes flicking upwards.

She smiled.

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