Author : Hannah Hunter

The only thing that is tangled is our limbs.

Out here, the signal dies and our thoughts separate. The need to be one becomes my own, conscious drive and not one enforced by the society in which I live. A blissful biological release with a stranger and a night without other voices in my head, it’s always worth the risk. I retreat from the man’s embrace and seek comfort at the window. I watch the sun bleed through the acid clouds while he sleeps. I don’t. Why waste this time with sleep?

This is my hideaway beside the sea; my addiction. It’s my abandoned street that no one else would dare to claim. They couldn’t. No one knows this place exists; unless I want them to. The silence is deafening without someone to share it with.

So, I share.

I share my food, I share my bed. But it’s mine, never ours. Never we! Always me!

‘How did you find this place?’ He questions me when he eventually stirs. His tongue makes the question heavy; he’s not used to the spoken word, something else about this world that’s almost dead. It sets my teeth on edge.

‘If I tell you; I’d have to kill you.’ I say and he laughs; he thinks I’ve told a joke.

At one time, it would have been. A cliché; something said, tongue in cheek. Murder, to them, does not exist; it’s no longer a crime. But to be here, away from the watchful eye, that is unforgivable and subject to corporal punishment.

I redress and watch him curl into the stale and musty sheets, breathing deeply; he doesn’t care. The smell is new to him and there is no one telling him it’s an unpleasant smell. Fucking fool!

He persists with his enquiry and begs I tell him about my discovery. I tell him that I’m defective, a blip in society. I can think private thoughts, even when I’m part of the collective voices. I’d heard rumours of a place where the signal didn’t reach and decided to explore. He smiles apathetically at me; I’m sure he only understood half of what I’d said. I bite my cheek to remind myself to be patient.

‘Can we do this again?’ He purrs as I gather my things; I have to leave soon or I’ll be missed. This only works because no one knows. ‘We can bring some friends. Have a-’

I’m there, plunging my favourite blade into his chest before he’s had time to blink. A skill I’ve proudly perfected over time; straight through the lung, perforating the heart. He doesn’t know how to scream; no one ever knows how to scream. He’ll hang on just a little longer; until the blade is yanked from its new home.

He looks at me, wounded. I don’t need to hear his thoughts to know what he’s asking.

I crawl up beside his dying body until my lips reach his ear and whisper, ‘because I can!’

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