UNDERGROUND VOICES: FICTION
ANTONIOS MALTEZOS

Cabin Fever

She fiddled with the capsule, twisting its two halves against each other, her painted fingernails

Pablo Picasso

like the blood-soaked legs of a spider spinning its prey into a cocoon – evil things her fingers. She pulled them apart, the white powder down the front of her blouse, a slide of death and destruction spilled through the valley between her breasts.

She’d try again later, after she’d stripped naked, after she’d spent some time at their bay window, her nose touching the glass – their lake, their love forever.

Before they’d left the city in their converted van, she would keep him clean-shaven. Here, she barely combed his beard. She gathered the wood for the fireplace. She opened and closed the windows according to his chills, the freshness of the air. She cooked with propane. She bathed him and trimmed his nails. No distractions, his heavy boots squeaking the floorboards as on past trips up to the cabin, no cuddling in the evenings, a wool blanket stretched across their shoulders -- just him, a wisp of the man he was, calling out for his mother because there were no pain killers here, just the sedative, their beautiful puddle of a lake and his heavy breathing telling her he’d had enough. When? When? When would she be ready, if ever, she did not know? She placed his hands at his throat one night rather than tuck them in under the blankets, thinking he could do it himself. “Help me,” she’d asked of him in a whisper, but in the morning, his hands were still loose at his throat where she’d left them.

In a dream, a daze, she was naked and sobbing, her elbows on her knees, the paint of her fingernails, a tiny reminder of the grace she’d given up for him, two tumblers of ginger ale on the nightstand. Angry, her fingers like the blood-soaked legs of a spider spinning its prey into a cocoon, she tried getting it right, her fingers barely twisting. Between her legs on the floor, a growing mound of the sedative, blue/green capsule segments on one side, bone-white segments on the other -- their lake, their love forever.









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