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‘He will be arriving shortly, and he and I will fuck on this very bed while you sleep in it.’

His old, fetid breath hung thick in the air above his mouth. She leant over him, closer. Pulling her knees up to the frayed trim of the mattress she moved. Sliding her arm over the sheets pulled tight up to his neck, she moved closer until the hot breath rose to meet her where their lips touched. And as one foot lifted, with the skirt resting soft against her leg, the other foot with the leather creasing as her toes bent to push further and stretch right out until she found herself laying across him.

Again she whispered, ‘To you and this room the devil, I pray, comes for you both.’

The useless arms of his were trapped, now and for every day prior, under the endless sheets. She pushed herself down onto him with more force and then he did make a sound, from deep somewhere, but she did not release him. Only sliding her knee further up onto the sheets and feeling his bones under it.

‘If only, if only,’ she sang and spat. ‘If only you could hear me and all I have planned for us.’

Her knee straining, and the other foot almost slipping. Then she rested her head with her cheek touching the edge of the pillow and stared into his spidery skin. And into his ear she saw hair and the creases of age. Looking up towards the ceiling and the yellow stains from water damage and cigarettes, and she let her foot slide out and with it her body dropped from the bed and onto the carpet and like water is how she felt as she stood and opened the door to his room.

Behind her she closed it, shutting out the dark and the stench and the awful staccato of life being chipped away.

She had polished the dining room table and placed a small arrangement of flowers in the middle. Beside and around the flowers she had set tablecloths and glasses, cutlery and placemats. Candles, and there were four, and from the kitchen the heavy stench of animal blood sang to her, mixed with the scent of the flowers, and then she lit the candles.

By the front door she had laid out two thin strips of raw lamb. She had fashioned them into the shape of a small cross, and had prepared them in such a way as to suggest nothing more than a trivial afterthought on her behalf. Strewn on the tiles, as they were, with the gaps between them shimmering watery pink.

She felt it time now, before brushing her lips red and turning around and around in the bathroom mirror, to sit for a spell and cry.

So she sat at the table and ran her hands over the crystalline reflections that the candles made. Then, watching as the flames pushed wax into the small glass cups that sat atop the lean metal sticks, she lowered her head and waited. She waited for the tears that were sure to crumble away from her. She lifted her hands from the tabletop and pushed the palms into her eyes.

In the red pulse that followed, she saw herself as a young girl wearing the white stockings that her mother had bought. These were the same stockings that had cut two circles into the flesh below her knees, that had made her cry out whenever she sat down.

She took her hands away and rubbed them together. They were wet.

There were still many things to do before he arrived.

She undressed and watched herself in the water, and as she lowered herself, and as she sank until her hair floated and bubbles broke the surface, she hummed quietly to herself and hummed quietly and

In the large cupboard underneath the oven. In the deep glass bowl she carried to the table and then set about preparing the meal. In the large cupboard underneath the oven, with the deep glass bowls, flies twitched against each other. She closed the doors. Water dripped from her hair. Bare footprints on the kitchen tiles. She decided to dress herself in red and white so slithering into a petticoat and then a skirt. Then into the laundry where she pulled an old, tattered bra from the wicker basket. After brushing away the maggots, she draped the bra over herself and then her shoulder blades touched.

At the bottom of the basket she found a shirt. It was heavily stained and had a tear down the left side. It was a size too small.

In the three plastic containers that she had set down beside the deep glass. The first container was filled with organ meats, rancid and moving. She tipped them slowly into the bowl, and then placed the container gently beside the next where the dead eyes swam and bobbed. Scooping the eyes out into her palm and then crushing them, they popped and ran out between her fingers.

The last container was empty.

In the hallway, where the tools were kept, she knelt and rested her face against the rusted lid of a dented metal box. Inside, amongst the livers and throats of pig and deer, were a box of nails and a large hammer with cracks in the handle. She removed the hammer and the nails, carried them to the front door, and placed them both on the ground beside the strips of lamb. After adjusting the hammer slightly so that the head pointed towards the interior of the house.

After she had walked six steps away from the door and sitting with her legs apart and her palms flat against the tiles between them.

After she let her head drop forward she blinked and saw the dark shapes crawling over his bed and suffocating him as his skull broke apart showing the teeth inside.

After he opened the door after she heard the footsteps and after


For Francis Bacon. Both of them.