A thunderhead, she looms. Round cupped breasts. A soft half shadow below the belly. Hints of shadow on the inner thighs. A handsome still face without recognizable emotion. Wide destructive wings spread out from narrow shoulders. And she draws the dead from the ground. They rise about her, tiny things beside her unknowable colossus. Jubilant lost despairing relieved. Slowly she lifts her face skyward in crushing silence. She raises her hands and everyone begins their ascent. Screaming laughing trembling calling. She shows no human emotion as she leaves, drawing the dead after in her wake.
In a parallel universe the car would not crash and the bodies would not be ruined; the father would not drink and the children would be unhurt. In a parallel universe the glass would not be thrown and the cheek would be uncut; the punch would not be thrown and the nose would be unbroken. In a parallel universe the shot would not be fired and the girl would not be dead; the boy would look both ways and the party would go on. In a parallel universe you would smile and I would kiss you.
I called the hostess and asked for fresh water. She said everyone was asking and she didn’t think there was any. She left. I squirmed. Tried to loosen the seatbelt, but it was useless. I smiled without humor: the rust wasn’t going anywhere. I looked across at my nearest seat mate. Long blond hair drifted and a pretty nose came into view. She turned and looked at me; eyeless sockets. I slipped a bright octopus from my pocket and offered it. Hair drifted and fish swam through her breast. I sighed, squirmed, and waited for relief which would never come.
I snaked the chain through the handles, slipped on the lock, threw it shut. Faces on the glass beating fists torn mouths silent shouts eye whites. A policeman came to me. Looked at the doors, chain, lock. Looked at me.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he asked.
I slipped the stiletto point into the flesh under his jaw, tickled deep. Blood pumped in spastic bursts. I looked into his eyes as he looked into mine with that sense of mild surprise they all show. Gently, I took his face in my hand.
“What do you think I’m doing?”