8x10

Short Story

8x10Helena Ortiz
00:00 / 05:55

The angels guide me through a narrow doorway. I’m wearing a smile. It’s so nice here, with the cushioned, upholstered walls and neon blue mattress. Such colors! The walls may be white, but against the blue, they’re absolutely stunning.

The angels leave me standing in the middle of the room, gazing at my new home. I gaze at the white floor, then the white walls, and then at the blue mattress. Delight flutters in my chest.

Crossing my legs, I slowly lower myself down as to not lose balance. Now sitting on the warm, white floor, I gaze around again, still wearing the smile.

I’ll like it here.

 

I know I’ll like it here.

 

I squeeze myself into a tighter hug.

How beautiful all this is! So, so very beautiful.

 

Jasper would be so proud of me. Yes, I believe he would. My wonderful boy — he’s training to be a doctor. Pre-med. My boy… a doctor… how lovely.

Jasper wants to be a surgeon. He wants to be a surgeon and take care of his mother. I told him — I told him he had no time for girls. How could he? Between taking care of me and training to be a surgeon?

Focusing on what he needs and wants are most important. Women need too much. They’re needy — clingy. They’re a distraction. They’re too much of a distraction for my boy, who’s pre-med.

 

I yawn and close my eyes, seeing little, dancing birdies from the light’s glare through my eyelids. Sitting back on my tailbone, I feel the hot, yellow

light beating down on my face. It burns my skin, yet it feels too good — like laying in the sun.

But, it’s not the sun.

All I can do is pretend.

 

It feels like a halo of warmth wrapped around my head — a halo of warmth wrapped tightly around my head.

 

Delight flutters in my chest.

 

Am I becoming an angel?

 

Am I becoming an angel like them?

 

The halo of warmth squeezes tighter around my scalp, needling my eyes. Numbness tingles down my right arm to its digits. The left side of my face slackens. Opening these eyes, I see a blurry double. Everything is spinning, including those little… dancing… birdies.

 

Delight flutters in my chest.

 

Am I becoming an angel?

 

Am I becoming an angel like them?

 

Isn’t that what I deserve? Isn’t that all I deserve? After they crowned me a saint, and sent me here to this heaven? After they crowned me a saint for saving my only son — saving my only son from that harlot?

 

The burning sensation burns hotter — brighter.

The halo becomes so hot it feels as though my scalp is framed by the sun. Wincing, I know I’m now getting my wings — no matter how invisible they will be.

 

Real angels don’t have wings.

 

God must be happy with what I did to that wh — harlot. He’s always watching -- always watching. It’s His job. My job is to protect my son. My son is my family. God made him through me. He used my body to do so — yes, he did! My son is a miracle — a miracle boy.

 

I believe her name was Catalina… the wh — harlot.

 

She appeared on my doorstep one day with light olive skin, freckles, and thick black hair that reached her waist. A smile had crossed her pink-stained lips and eyes such a dark brown, but wide and lively — like caffeinated coffee.

 

I believe her name was Catalina.

 

She told me she was dating my son, and asked if she could come in. I told her that my son didn’t date women. She laughed an irritating, high-pitched titter, and asked if he normally dated men. I stared at her blankly, thinking she was joking.

 

She wasn’t.

 

So, I offered that he didn’t date at all, and that dating was dangerous.

Again, Catalina laughed in that irritating, high-pitched titter. Her laugh was something I despised.

 

The burning halo begins to dissipate. Still, I don’t know if I’m an angel.

 

My new home looks exactly the same.

 

I give myself a tighter hug.

 

There’s a knock on the door behind me. I hear it open, and recognize the footsteps, then the shoes, then the legs, body, and face of Jasper, my greatest treasure. His eyes are red and he’s sucking on the inside of his cheek. His body is rigid and his eyes are red. He has caked mud on his boots — the same kind of red-type mud that is in my cellar at my old home. It even smells the same. He’s getting dirt all over my clean floor.

“My dear boy, what’s wrong?” My voice is odd against the silence of the room. Until then, I didn’t notice how quiet it was.

 

He closes his eyes.

 

It’s as if he’s wishing I’d vanish, which is odd. This is my home, after all.

 

He opens his eyes. “This is the last time I visit you.”

 

But, what about me? “But, what about me?”

This updated short is from my upcoming self-published horror story collection  Horripilate. 

Its original can be found on Etsy in Thistle.

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