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"Two Drops" by Tiffany M Storrs

Two drops of blood found on the bedsheet, the one tossed casually over her shoulder all night, in the one place where she felt small and safe: unassuming and anonymous, the quieter the better, the bad habits she couldn’t break. She awoke to find that and nothing more—two drops of blood in a sea of possessions, items that didn’t really belong to her, at least none that she would claim. She kept her shoes strapped tight all day and most of the night, a bag full of necessities on a hook by the door, ready to disappear if circumstances called for that. They hadn’t yet.

The walls were mostly awake by then, aching echoes of rooms she was invited into but couldn’t bend her legs to sit in, leaving the laughter of loved ones curt and short, tinny, blowing endlessly from an oscillating fan in one corner. A pile of fake IDs sat face-up on the desk, all her name but a different address: some downstate, some out-of-state, some Istanbul, none used for anything but daydreaming, feeling her way through the other lives she could be living. For now, she exists in sun-scorched confusion—some dichotomy, caution reigning supreme, every would-be “yes” a tentative “maybe,” "nothing" doesn’t mean "nothing to lose,” always think it over. Meanwhile, two flies occupy the windowpane where she unknowingly slept beside the remnants of dead bees. They make frantic, frazzled pleas, negotiations with each other and the cool glass and the breeze they could almost sense—feeling through vibrations, knowing but not knowing, gut instincts. “If you move, I’ll move. If you bend, I’ll bend.”

Neat stacks of towels sat folded but not put away, locked together in mismatched hues of well-worn terry cloth. Some dryer heat was still secured in between; not an ounce of warmth to be wasted, even during the warmest season. Strength in solitude is dubbed weakness and still weakening like an atrophying muscle, the lull of exhaustion waxing and waning. Fingernail clippings top the trash—bones expelled by routine squander, the way we waste things we don’t believe we need! An in-ground pool laid sultry and inviting beyond the window, close enough to observe but not to touch, an ocean chemically salted and trapped in a cage (the way humans do with every wild thing they encounter). It’s still the only way she has to walk on water, so it’s worth the trouble, at least for a while. But summer’s bitter end is coming, the hazy, sweat-soaked throes of death, cool air wrestling its heavy iron fist loose and easing it away with a whisper. If you move, I’ll move. If you bend, I’ll bend.

Tiffany M Storrs is the editor in chief of Roi Fainéant Press. She is a writer above most other things, but there are so many other things, and she is properly qualified for none of those titles. She loves a lot of stuff but we're not going to get into all of that now. You can find her here, on Twitter @ msladybrute, on Instagram @ lady.brute, and out back honing her wit.


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