Carol found the photos in Luke’s glove compartment. The old truck smelled of cigarettes and fast food. She was looking for the tire pressure gauge. That was all she wanted. Luke was asleep inside the house. He had worked all night and the truck engine was still warm, and ticked as it cooled. Carol sat in the passenger seat and let the tire gauge drop to her lap as she looked at the photos. There were several. They had been right there. She didn’t mean to snoop, and yet she could not unsee what she held in her hands. The photos were crude and either over or underexposed. All of them were taken at night…outside… lit by a flashlight. Carol could see the ground in some shots. Dirt. Luke’s shoes. But mainly, she saw the genitals. Vaginas. Different vaginas than her own. All of them eerily lit and appearing lifeless. In one photo her husband’s hand was visible, holding open some skin. His wedding ring looked back at her and laughed. Carol looked at the pictures a few times, and then at herself in the old truck’s side view mirror. She wanted to believe she deserved better than a serial killer/pervert husband. She wanted to believe all sorts of things. That there was a Heaven. That things happened for a reason. That she was in her right place and blah, blah ,blah. But she didn’t. Her face was tired. Her soul was tired. She put the photos back in the glove compartment, along with the tire pressure gauge. Luke didn’t need to know she had been in his truck. Luke clearly had enough troubles. Carol moved towards her front door like a hollow thing. #nightwalk
Pete came into work just like he always did. Parked his car. Unlocked his office back door and entered sleepily. He turned the coffee maker on and hung his jacket on a door hook, ‘just so’ , as he listened to the dark liquid begin to percolate. He was feeling strange after his dreams the night before and could not get a song from his youth to stop playing in his head. When he entered the morgue, he sang it aloud. ‘Baby come back…any kind of fool could see…’ A body had come in late the previous day and he studied the shape of it beneath the bag. He recognized the name,.Madeline Fellows. Gun shot wound. Pete had loved a Madeline Fellows since jr.high school. He had always wanted to hold her. To be inside her and know that happiness. Madeline had a laugh and a voice that made Pete think of colors. He opened the bag to reveal her face and body. It was her. This girl he had not seen in thirty some odd years. He sighed. She still looked lovely. He slipped on his latex gloves and took in the scent of her hair. Pete thought of her laughing and placed his head on her chest. He imagined her breath. With his gloved finger he entered the bullet wound in her abdomen and closed his eyes. It wasn’t what he imagined in jr. high, but it was perfect. Pete hummed the rest of the song and felt grateful to have seen her this last time. Part of him always knew they would meet again and he would somehow be with her, even if for just a little while. #nightwalk
Sarah undressed her daughter and folded her clothes. She placed her on her bed, amidst stuffed animals and printed fabrics displaying fairy tale princesses, smiling. Her daughter lay limp and crooked.and Sarah had to position her in a manner that seemed authentic. Dead weight is hard to sculpt. The poison had gone down easy and the screams had been brief. With the stereo up loud, none of the neighbors seemed to hear a thing. Then Sarah wrote a note and said,.’this was for the best’. A dark move in an effort to keep a light on. Sarah pointed the gun barrell at herself and spooned with her little.girl. ‘See you there’ she whispered. ‘Her daughter said nothing. Almost an hour dead, she didn’t feel her mother’s embrace nor her shame. She did not ask questions or open her eyes wide to see her mother’s face. They would.either.reconnect or never recover. Sarah pulled the trigger and had no worries from then on. There was such relief in her decision. Guilt and relief. Not a bad combo when she thought of the options. She was leaving and and she had no idea.. #nightwalk
Rachel had worn the white pants she found in a thrift store. A classic brand that made her love her hips and gave her, what she felt was, ‘just the right amount of camel toe’. Her friend, Violet, disagreed. Violet hated camel toe and felt there was no acceptable amount of it, other than ‘none’. Rachel grew up with hippie parents and week long parties where long hair and weed and camel toe meant everyone was happy. She recalled thinking that someday her own hips and lower lips would fill a pair of pants the way the women around her did when she was a child. She saw those women as beautiful, and certainly popular at parties. Rachel wore her pants and felt amazing in them…until Kevin bumped into her in the office kitchen, causing her to spill coffee down her left leg. For a few moments, she waa crushed. No good reason, but she had wanted to be like those women, and had felt for a few fleeting moments, that she was. Like a peace loving invitation to intimacy and the scent of her neck, a silent and yet loud scream that she was sexual. Damon began to hand her paper towels and ask if the coffee had burned her. He touched her hand. He got close. He told her the pants looked great on her… ‘even with the coffee. ’ Maybe Monday was a day when.dreams came true afterall. #nightwalk
Calvin made his coffee without noticing the commotion outside. Sleep still moved in his head as he pushed buttons and hovered over his cup. It was when he went to take his usual seat in the living room that he saw the flashing lights and strangers outside on the street. He watched photos being taken of something on the ground. He saw a man on his phone. His hands skaking. Calvin watched as an officer walked towards his front door. He remembered suddenly that he woke in the night to the sound of a girl, giggling. As if she were being spun around. He woke to it and thought about a girl he used to love but never kissed. He went to the bathroom and then back to sleep. Calvin wondered if the thing on the ground was the girl he had heard laughing. He wondered if he had slept through something terrible. The officer knocked on his door and Calvin set his coffee down. #nightwalk
Wendel pulled his car over and put it in park. He let the old engine rumble and keep the warm air moving in the front seat. He had never seen the sunset from this place before. He had only driven this road in day or night, rain and snow. Wind. But never like this. Never just before dark with a cold air and nothing else. It was a day of firsts. It was the first time he had picked out a coffin, and he did it three times. The two larger ones for his brother and sister-in-law, and the small white one for his neice. He had never done that before. It was also the first time he said, ‘I don’t care how much it costs’. It was the first time he had cried in front of a stranger and it was the first time he had ever tasted powdered sugar on pancakes. The waitress at the diner told her he looked like he ‘could use some sugar’. Wendel thought about her as he sat in his car. He thought about what might be like to see her again. He wanted to ask her to dinner. He wanted her to go with him to the funeral. #nightwalk
Walter tried to explain it to her. He spoke calmly and without too many gesticulations. He had done it wrong before, with other women. Other first dates. Sheila seemed interested. She leaned in to listen. Walter told her that he had always wanted to be a doctor. He told her that he respected women. He thought theu deserved care. He felt too many women knew too little about their bodies. Sheila leaned back. Walter tensed. ‘I’m not a pervert. I don’t do anything I shouldn’t with my patients.’ Sheila took in a breath. She sipped her wine. Her finger played with the edge of her glass. ‘I have a gyno..’ she told Walter. ‘I’m looking for someone to sleep with who knows what my gyno does,.but will use it… innapropriately.’ Walter reached for her hand. ‘I’m your man’ he told her. #nightwalk
There wasn’t much she could do about it, Elaine explained. She was lucky to have survived the fire, not to mention the 32 surgeries for skin grafts and infections. If Billy was going to do anything but worship her, he could go fuck himself. Elaine had escaped death and knew how amazing each moment could be. Billy left, and he spent the rest of his.life regretting.it.