Living and Dead in Equal Parts

Until you see me, you won't know.

Am I lying dead in a pool of blood and shit and misery on the ceramic tile of the foyer? Is my mouth curled in a rigid scream, my eyes reflecting the last brutality I knew? Or did my life end in the middle of an angry screech as I realized what you had done? Is my face twisted into one that better matches the monster you think I am becoming? Does the shape of the man's hands remain imprinted on my neck? Is my shirt torn from his iron knife where he buried it deep in my stomach? Are my fingernails ragged from fighting back? Did I break my left hand and bust the knuckles while punching him in the head, each blow creating more damage before I'd healed from the last? Have dried, glittering tears left tracks from my lifeless eyes into my shimmering hair? How many stab wounds do I have? How many bruises and broken bones? How many silver bullets did it take to kill the woman you once loved but grew to fear as she became something other, something more?

You believed I would reach for that light switch. Did you trust that replacing it with an iron plate would ensure the right outcome? Did you think to tell the man to try everything, just in case? Will you avoid that messy divorce now? Will you walk away with insurance money and sympathy and a fresh start while I rot under sod and browning cut flowers? Am I lying dead, not even the darkest magic able to animate me now?

Ah, but you haven't seen me yet, so you can't know.

Maybe instead I'm lying in wait, a pool of blood and shit staining the dining room carpet where I dragged the man's dying, devastated body. My mouth might be set in determination as my eyes adjust to the dark in a way you never imagined. Maybe my shirt is tattered from his steel knife, where he tried and failed to slice me open. My fingernails could be dark from the drying blood I drew. My left hand might already have healed from the blows I delivered to his head and throat. Perhaps glittering tears of regret and rage slide down my cheeks and onto my ruined shirt. Does the foyer smell of ozone now, of inevitability and gathering magic?

Will I avoid a messy divorce? Will I settle my affairs here with you and then walk out the back door, through the dewy grass, and into the center of the circle of toadstools you tried to kill last month? Maybe someone will concoct a story, so close to the truth, of a banshee whose screams in the minutes before dawn bring down even the bravest men, even you.

You can stand in front of that door and wonder at the reality you've created. Either way, dead and cooling or alight with fury, I'm waiting.

Open the door.

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