Death by Lion ( UNFINISHED)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Not quite done with it yet but it entails a very cynical guy damaged by life and a strange girl he doesn't know much about.

Submitted: January 20, 2014

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Submitted: January 20, 2014

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1.

She just seemed a little more interesting and terrifying than most. Maybe, it was her brilliant green eyes void of the sparkle that is produced in the eyes of fools but instead replaced with a sorrowful glaze that wilt whatever she lay her eyes upon; he was curious how she saw the world. Perhaps it was her hair. The darkness of it; the black. The odor of ash and ink that splashed over his face as she inched closer, the feeling of her prickling skin as he breathed on her neck. These thoughts miraculously sprang to vividity when he no longer had her. He would often think about her while he took hot showers and couldn't breathe through the warm steam. For now though, he didn't realize any of this, for now he just sat looking at her in amazement at the amount of sadness she bore. A grief that took up a physical presence on her very being as if she were given the sadness of every soul in the universe to keep in some bottomless vessel stored deep within her chest. He thought all these thing as she sat in all her sad alluring beauty staring into the coffee cup she half filled with cream. Gripping it with both hands trying to warm her cold fingers.

 

2.

 

“Are you okay?” I asked her.

I wanted to see her eyes but she didn't look up from her coffee.

“What do you mean?” she countered. This was the first anyone questioned me about questioning their well being. “ I mean, are you alright?” I said.

I was genuinely concerned as she was pale as a shedding snakes skin.

“I've never really felt okay, in fact I don't think anyone has and if they have I want them to tell me why” she said.

"Well then again” she added “ they're all liars.”

“I've said I feel 'okay' ”, I said.

“Well , you’re a liar” she said plainly.

The bitter abrupt nature of her answer seemed to make me reconsider. As I knew I was guilty of using this overused and recycled response in an attempt to lie to myself. I suppose we are all really a bunch of liars on close inspection as we are never really satisfied with what life has predetermined for us. That's probably why we dream when the world gets dark as to dream of diamonds, large and gleaming in our hands instead of seeing the coal that's stuck under our fingernails. Imagination is a dangerous human quality.

“What if you feel like you're dying?” I asked .“Like you could hear the ticks of Death's pocket watch in your left ear ?” I expected some owlish answer. She glanced quickly at me. I gratefully lapped up the green splendor. “Death-hhh” she said slowly tossing the word on her tongue.“Death is no matter of surprise, so in terms of death.....” she paused, bending her head back as she looked into the ceiling then suddenly shooting it back down flinging some of her hair unto her face,“ are you dying?” She looked unexpectedly intrigued.

“No” I said dryly. I was a little offended at her interest in the loss of my life. I really wasn't dying , as far as I knew but she immediately lost interest again.“I can't say then, pick flowers and wait. Besides, I think we should all be amazed when someones lives another year much less mourn when they die in the next.”

“What do you mean?” I asked her.

“Death is the only sure thing given to the human race. We don't know if we'll live to see tomorrow and if we don't , what do we do? Die. See? It's the sure thing , the act of living is far from certain.” She tipped the coffee towards her doleful mouth. I concentrated on her small forehead and thin eyebrows. She was enduring but in a unusual, unnatural way I suppose. I can't quite explain it.

 

We sat a little while longer until she suddenly she got up without a word and began to leave as if she were not sitting with anyone but a shadow. I sat dumbly , listening for the sounds of her bones shamble against each other. I soon got up and threw five dollars and a nickle unto the table as I quickly paced outside to see if she was gone. Instead she was straddling a rather dangerous looking green bicycle. I felt as if she was about to peddle off into her untimely death. I began to jitter a little at just the sight of this bike but she was composed, completely comfortable. As I mentioned, the bicycle was green or it appeared so , honestly the hue of it is still quite confusing as the bike seemed to be absorbing a green tint from a plush layer of algae that took solace on its frame. The tires were almost bald, rubbed raw from years of riding. Bulging bubbles protruded from the surface just about ready to burst like a ripe rubber pimple. It was destruction.

“Please , for the love God don't ride that thing anywhere!” I busted out.

She paused , looked at me. Her face null of emotion. “What the hell are you screaming for ?” she said calmly. “Wha- what do you mean?! Look at it!” I pointed at the bicycle , “have you seen it ?”

I was panicking and she was like a child not understanding my worry.

“Yes , I have. It's mine” she said as she ran her fingers gently over the green fur on the handle bar.

“You're crazy you know! Its growing!” I pointed, it seemed to be my only gesture. “It's growing!” I repeated as if not believing myself the first time. She just smiled , it was a sad smile but it was hers. It was first time I saw her smile and she glistened beautifully but it soon vanished quickly from my vision like the precious flick of a single firefly. She was a creature of great mystical circumstance.

“Anyway , I've got to go. Thanks for the brew” she said peddling off. Her hair angrily flaring behind her. My skeletal nymph. So I started off towards my car and began to think about what she has said. I thought she was quite right but not entirely. What about love I thought; love was uncertain.

I had always had sour feelings regarding love. It had a way of talking root in some uninvited manner and poisoning everything. Suddenly nothing belongs to you anymore and you feel yourself falling into a pit and the air drifting pass your heads is suddenly sweet and the darkness is alright because you can see a pinhole of light in the distance as you fall deeper. Your mind clouds and you succumbs to a balmy, pleasant stupor. Pain seems to dull and dying is no longer an obligation. When you hit the bottom you don't worry because you're not alone there’s usually two of you. Unless you were the only one to fall. Soon the thoughts that are no longer yours are like a ceaseless echo. You have a feeling as if nothing will ever happen again. Mostly , I would feel myself on the edge of the pit when I looked at her but my love was quite wary of her. My toes were over the edge but in my reckless tender stupidity I didn't step back.

 

3.

Life has a way of repeating moments upon moments like a mundane tape stuck on replay being watched by a quenchless God. A couple days after I had had coffee with her I had this lingering feeling, it wasn't foreign to me. It was a feeling of loss. I am a natural loser , I've been losing since birth. My parents wanted a girl but they got me; Maxim Cassandra Lynski. Before I even knew who I was I had lost to the wishing of my parents. To them I was gender deficient and they could never accept the fact that I wasn't a rosy cheeked baby girl. So the first name of their should have been daughter became my middle name; I was to walk with an air of femininity for the rest of my life. I would spend my infancy in a lavender colored room in fuchsia colored clothing. In middle school I would be forced to take part in plays and my mother would enter me in boys pageants where I wasn't the best looking child and had hardly any talent outside of reading any book put in front of me. On numerous occasions I would walk on stage, drop the mike, pull down my tailor made pants and continue my very peppy routine of cartwheels and handstands. I was often disqualified or even better banned. In high school I would be given the name 'string bean' as I was scrawny and had terrible posture. I would not know the feeling of being stared at by some doe-eyed girl while she played with my fingers over burgers and shakes. Nope, I would know this feeling later on in life when I could contemplate what hurt really was.

I was driving over a bridge one day on the way home when I spotted her on the side of the road trying to pull the blown tire off the bicycle. My stomach dropped , I nearly drove past her but I couldn't. So instead I pulled up against the curb a good distance from her and watched. She was totally consumed in fixing the thing but she was obviously very frustrated and didn't have much tools except a lone wrench that was too small to remove the bolts. She appeared to have thrown it quite a distance away from her as it was half tipping off the sidewalk but balancing perfectly. In two minute intervals it would dip its thirsty metal head into a pothole filled with dark brown water then it would tip back up and begin the act once again;I sat waiting for the great fall. I wouldn't be surprised if she tore half the frame off the way she tugged and kicked the bicycle; It was so dismal looking it was almost depressing. She was kicking and tugging with such wildness her shoe flew off and like a white bird glided theatrically as it hit my windshield making a dull thump and falling unto the hood of my car; lying on its side looking at me dead and meaningless. This did not hinder her in anyway, in fact she didn't notice. I opened my car door slowly and carefully as not to make any noise that might startle her. I had a fear of frightening woman. I couldn't handle their vivacious presence but I enjoyed being in close proximity to them. It was much more real outside the safety of my car like going beyond the glass at the zoo. When I got my fill of spectating I decided I might as well help her. I left her shoe sitting on the hood of my car as I drove up alongside her, “your shoe” I said calmly.

“Leave me the fuck alone!” she screamed.

The look she had when she turned around was fatal enough to kill a man; her shoulders hunched, fingers curling. I felt like game. I cleared my throat and gathered what little testosterone I had left. “Your shoe.” I repeated, pointing at it with a trembling finger. “Oh” she said “ It's you, sorry.” Her body relaxed and went limp. She lowered the bicycle slowly unto the ground and awkwardly walked over, half bare foot. She wasn't wearing socks and had a orange waxed cord tied around her right ankle. She greedily snatched her shoe off the car and shoved her foot inside, wriggling it curiously as if her toes were scoping out the hidden hollows in the thick moist darkness.

“Thanks” she said.

“Don't mention it” I replied.

I felt satisfied and better than I usually do. “So I suppose you'll need a ride. I'll carry you wherever you need to be” I said.

I was speaking to the the center of her head because she staring looking at her shoe as if wondering how a shoe could have managed such a feat of flight.

“I don't need to be anywhere” she said coldly.

“I meant like your house or a very patient aunt or something.” I replied.

“Nope , don't have those” she answered.

“Which one exactly?” I was trying to be patient and understanding but what a utterly annoying brat of a girl.

“ Just bring me to your house” she said. I didn't respond because I really didn't want her in my home at all. I wanted nothing to do with her. She was too much of the things I didn't like. She oozed insanity and madness; she had no place in my mind. She stood there for quite sometime as though statued by her demanding request and muted by the silence between us.

“Can you just get in?” I begged irritatedly.

She responded remarkably quickly as though switched on by some large ruling finger. She flung the pimpled tire over the bridge in a strong Olympian like form. I popped the trunk and she put it in gently. Laying it on its side like a rigor morticed body of a dear dead pharaoh. She closed the trunk very slowly and then joined me in the passenger seat of my buggy. Her elbow touched mine, I noticed how cold she felt as if she had no blood running through her body. She buckled herself in; her pale flesh blending into the seat.

We drove for sometime in silence until she spoke clearing the vehicle of the stuffy air, “you seem strange but faintly handsome.” (I really was strange but mostly strange looking) She didn't sound very sure then she added, “like those old paintings of Victorian men. That’s good.” I was not very good at accepting rarely given compliments so I grinned idiotically and nodded as if I didn't understand English. It sounded like she was declaring it to me but I knew I wasn't faintly handsome at all. My lips were thin and looked to be thin more with age, I was convinced that by the time I turned fifty my nose and chin would be touching. But I had a head full of strawberry blond hair that I was quite proud of. As were we very near one another and contained in the vehicle, I did notice something very particular in her voice. It seemed to hang in the air as if on a steel string , weighted down by its absoluteness and swinging but it was cold.

“So what's with you and the bike?” I asked. She turned her head and regarded me in an impassive and hard manner resembling a corpse. I was hitting my thumb nervously on the steering wheel.

This has got to be the longest fucking drive of my life.

“ I love that bike , can't throw it away” she said.

“ Why not , that things dangerous. Can't believe you seem to be in one piece after riding it.” I said.

“Oh no” she answered, “ I've broken my nose and split my bottom lip open, also most of my bones have fallen out of their sockets only to be pushed back in again but I'm mostly alive.” She said this as if it were apart of day-to-day existence like how someone may tell you how they butter toast in the morning and spooned sugar into their tea.

She continued, “ It was my grandfathers, can't throw him away like he's nothing.”

“Wait , your grandpa?” I was a little confused.

“My bicycle” she corrected me, “ I call him Henry” she said warmly. I snickered a little but she didn't seem to notice.

“Henry” I sighed, “Henry, the mobile garden.”

I had started to laugh a little more and I looked at her from the corner of my eye only to see her laughing too; she snorted like swine and I only began to laugh harder, having to pull the car over to the side of the road. We both had horrible laughs but we sounded good together, we had some sort of harmony.

4.

I decided I liked her but I didn't want her in my flat. She just followed me up like a lost cat; walked in, looked around and wandered over to my bookshelf. I had a habit of buying faster than I could read so I had books stacked everywhere , my flat smelled like an old library. It was a good, rich odor. She ran her fingers over the spines, head cocked to the side and began reading the authors names out loud. Her voice dispelling my treasured silence which I had stored so long.

“Twain , Dickinson , Bukowski , Lewis, Plath, Locke,Wilde,Lee, Takashu,Vidal, Fante, Diaz …......” she strolled past some of them , “Solomic ….... Savage.” She stopped and pressed her forefinger into the spine of the book by Savage called Kill me twice. Her hair hanging loosely, dark like the wings of a raven. “My last name's Savage” she said curiously.

“What about the first? You never really told me.”

“Ahra” she said softly to the books. Then I remembered something I learned in college when I took a class on Mongolian history.

“ You know your name means lion in Mongolian” I said to her. She turned and looked me in the eyes with an odd fondness I had never experienced before. I could feel my heart swelling at the the sight of them.

“ No, I didn't know.” She darted her eyes from me to the floor.

She wondered over to my small burgundy sofa and threw herself down into it and stared into the ceiling as if contemplating every groove and speckle.

“Can I have some tea please?” she asked. “ Preferably in a very big mug and also I would prefer chamomile.”

“Sure, its all I have anyway. I'll turn on the kettle” I said as I walked into my small kitchen.

I lit the stove and filled the kettle with very cold water as I had been told by a very wise Swedish woman that the coldest water makes the best tea so I filled it and dropped in a few ice cubes. I opened my cupboard and got the biggest cup I could find and it was also from the Swed. It was a large cup with a bone white background adorned with large faint green dots with a red scalloped rim. It had a little chip stained dark from years of drink. The cup had an obnoxiously thick handle painting to look like a red and white candy cane. I dropped the tea bag in and soon the kettle blew its shrill call. I filled the cup and the tea bag bobbed against the steaming down pour. Taking the cup by the thick handle I slouched out of the kitchen, tea in hand.

“Thank you” she said. “What an interesting cup” she added as she ran her fingers around the rim.

“ It's from Sweden.” I replied.

She sipped from the cup suspiciously and gently placed the cup on the floor next to her feet. “So, where will you be going?” I asked impetuously.

My flat felt violated and interrupted, I had lived by myself for so long the thought of having another person in my space had repulsed me.

“I'll sleep” she announced, blatantly ignoring me as she fetally fixed her lengthy body unto the couch.

“Hold on now! No , No! This is my house!” I protested. “ You can't just sleep at a strangers house! I could kill you in your sleep. You don't know me!”

I thought I would get a rise out of her but there was no response. Her back was turned to me, revealing the little bumps of her spine poking through her thin white shirt. A little pale skin was exposed where her shirt gathered up. I was brooding over her waiting for a response but there was none. She was asleep. I peeked over her thin arms to see her sleeping face. It was small and delicately freckled. I couldn't wake such a sleeper as I could tell her dreams were better to her than her life was.

So I just sat next to the cup of tea watching the steam sensually hover over the brown liquid before disappearing. But mostly I listened to her soft exhales and felt the sensation of residing in a casket lift from my mind. Occasionally she would mumble something and I would listen for a prophecy or some great prediction for the faith of mankind but instead it was of fruit and inconceivable mumblings. Then my phone rang, it was Tom. He wanted me to meet him at Fat Fairies Pub to have a drink of scotch and discuss some miraculous event that had happened to him last week. So I left the sleeping nymph and moved on to fairies.

5.

When I arrived at Fat Fairies it was about seven o'clock in the night and I was desperately looking for Tom in a crowd of heads and sensible haircuts. I spotted him over at the bar chatting up the bartender; I suppose they were discussing the scotch. What else might one discuss with a bartender besides the drink that was ordered and perhaps complaining of the hysteria life and its many incoherent signs. Alcohol, at some point, turns everyone into a philosopher its just that they wake the next day as idiots once more. Anyway, Tom was a very good friend of mine of about thirty-five years old. An impeccably well- groomed and well- educated man of the Stanford variety but I'm only speculating as I really have no idea what college he went to. It was though, something that I had been meaning to ask but to me these things were minor details. I liked his company as he made me feel sophisticated and mature as we ordered aged scotched and I bore through the awful taste; wincing at each sip. Tom had an amazing knack for women which marveled me as he was the most grandiose womanizer I had ever met, he was proud of his accomplishments of conquered women and he had no problem speaking about it in front of anyone. However, according to him he just loved women but everyone knew he just loved sex. I never actually met or seen any of these misfortunate women but only heard stories from Tom. He never really knew anything about them, perhaps a name but only first names. He did have a peculiar way of always remembering particular things about each of them but they were unusually delicate, loving details unusually from a man who only pursued sex. He once told me about a woman named Rachel who loved to bite collarbones and would kiss the bruises in the morning or some woman he met while he was jogging that smelled like grapes when she sweat. His appearance was what attracted women but his nature left them flushed of the worth they had gathered since their girlhoods; along with a heightened case of male neurosis. Apparently this careless and nonchalant attitude towards women was due to seeing his father having sex with the woman who washed the dishes. Upon finishing, giving her money that he took out of his pants still puddled around his ankles. Tom did the same thing but he usually waited until he was dressed and left the money on the nightstand under a lamp or a bible.

Tom diagnosed this as the reason why he was the way he was. To him women were sexual items and it was his job to purchase and return as much as he could. Surprisingly, he had very helpful advice regarding women and this always frightened me about myself. I was getting advice from a sensual woman-crushing nutcase but he made sense most of time. Although sometimes he would just say, “Max , fuck her and get it out of your system. Your just lusting.”

This was usually followed by my obvious disagreement and then he would sigh and give me the real advice I had been prying for. It was usually simple and in plain sight. Something I could have come up with on my own but I was constantly in a state of confusion, besides it sounded better coming from him.

I walked up to him and touched him on his well suited shoulder.

“Hey Tom.” I said. He turned, smiled.

“Max , how are you?” he asked.

“I'm fine.” I answered. “ What about you?”

“That's good” he nodded and added “ I'm alright Max , doing just fine.”

“ You look a little wound up.” I said noticing his shoulders were very stiff and lifted very high into his neck.

“Well , that's what I wanted to tell you about. Something happened to me last week, it was prophetic” he said looking very buoyant. I watched him smell the scotch and nod sagely, swirling it around the ice. He signaled the barkeep and told him to get me what he was having. I hated scotch but I liked Tom. I figured enduring for a good friend was worth it. When the barkeep returned with my drink Tom questioned him about the origins of the scotch.

“Hmmm.. you said it was aged in an oak barrel? In France or Scotland? Or was it Ireland?” It was as though he were pondering aloud.

He wet his top lip carefully, licked it off slowly and looked over at me valiantly smiling, “I can taste the oak! Can't you taste it Max? Mhmmm.... it's really superb.” I just winced and nodded stiffly as the scotch scorched my tongue.

“Now, Tell me about this prophetic situation” I continued as to which he became buoyant once more.

“Alright” he started. “I was in bed with this woman I met someplace, I don't quite remember where” he said looking off.

“No matter, all I know it was someplace!” He laughed. “So, usually by the time I have them in bed I break out the rope and gags and so forth” he began to speak very excitedly . The sensible haircuts all started turning towards our conversation.

“Please Tom” I stopped him. “Quiet down, you sound like a serial killer. With all the rope talk; it's just me and you talking.” I said whispering.

“Perhaps” he answered.

I shook my head, “ just continue please.”

“ Okay, so I'm in bed with her and were frenching and I'm squeezing her ass and tits and suddenly SHE asked for the rope! Now, I'm a little thrown but very excited. I mean I'm beating down there if you know what I mean!” He said nudging my arm. I too often forgot how Tom could go from eloquent to lewd in matter of minutes. As I said he was a marvel. He continued becoming more exaggerated with every sweeping hand gesture.

“What do you think she does? This bitch ties me up like a fucking mall pretzel; ties my feet in my face with my bare ass hanging out! Can you believe it?!” He exclaimed.

“Wow, very prophetic indeed. Took a baring of an ass for you to realize that you have a very unique problem” I said smirking.

“HA! No my friend I always knew” he said winking. Tom had a great manly laugh, full of husk and life. “ Wait! I'm not done! Next she gets one of those Chinese finger trap things, a green one with white criss-cross stripes and puts each of my index fingers in it. Jesus Christ she was crazy!”

He starts shaking his head and chugging the scotch. Some of it spilling on his gold cuff links.

“She left me like that for twelve hours. Wiggled her tight ass right out the door. Thought I was gonna die like that and I began to cry at all the wrongs I had did; every one of them.” He said tears settling in his dark eyes.

“Go on” I said. He nodded and wiped at his eyes.

“My neighbor heard me crying and called the cops; told them my apartment number. When the cops got there they didn't know quite what to do. They sorta laughed first and questioned me about what happened, told me they were gonna get scissors and that they had to write a report about it. Believe me I begged for no report, told them to take the money under the bible. Apparently this is bribery.” He said and shrugged, “ Who knew?”

“I think that's a universal law Tom” I said. “Here take my scotch, I won't finish it” He accepted it, raised it to toast me.

“ Yeah , well it was unannounced to me smart-ass.” he replied gruffly.

“Anyway , by the time they cut the ropes off, my ankles and wrists were rubbed raw from all my squirming I had been doing. I had no pride left, no nothing.” He saddened quite a bit towards the end. “ Maxine I am a changed man.” He said as he raised his right hand to his left breast. Scotch in hand. “I do solemnly swear to sleep by myself for a year and actually date like a human being.” Then he removed his hand, drank his scotch. A little damp spot over his heart.

“That's a hell of a story Tom. Glad you've chosen to change. I really am happy for you.” I said.

“Ahhh buddy, thanks a lot.” He looked at me curiously , an eyebrow raised.

“Max , I know I don't ask you this often but any women your life?”

I wanted to tell him about Ahra but with little detail as possible, I just wanted to outline my situation to him and see what he thought.

“Umm..” I began. “ Well, yes actually.” Both his eyebrows raised as if lifted by an ocean current.

“Wow! That's great Maxy. So tell me about her you bastard! She hot?” He asked , his elbows propped up on the bar counter.

“Yeah , I guess”, I shrugged. “ Not in an tradition sense though. She's kind of like one of the droopy sad faced puppies. When you first see her your not so sure, then she just grows on you.” I said.

Tom started to chuckle. “ Well, that's a new one, never thought of a girl as dog before. It could be cute , I do like dogs.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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