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Drama Fiction Crime

This story contains sensitive content

***TRIGGER WARNING*** Details of abuse, rape and child lose.



The cut-throat razor barely glistens anymore. Years of slicing, scraping and shaping have gradually worn it down. Made it obsolete. Its bluntness won't deter me though, I'll just have to cut a little harder.


I turn it in my hand, a museum clerk appraising a lost relic, a murderer savouring the moment, a lover lost in loneliness. Your initials are almost worn from the walnut handle. I had it engraved specially, just for you, gold leafed, just for you. Everything just for you. Everything.


The massacre streaked clown in the mirror looks so pathetic that a nervous laugh bubbles up out of nowhere. This bathroom was a haven of sorts, my safe space, cool, refreshing, running water to hide my tears, a lock to close away your anger. I eye the splintered, patched, smashed and repaired door frame, multiple screw holes never filled, a sad account of your determined strength. Some locks just weren't built to hold back your unbridled love.


I run a hand through my thick red curls, gathering them as the executioner gathers his noose, hosting them over one trembling gibbet of a shoulder. They were always so overbearing, so demanding, so you.


“Love your hair.” Your first words to me all those years ago. Fresh faced out of university, leaning against the packed bar like the world owed you something and you’d arrived to collect. Damn but you were James Dean cool. I tripped right into those ocean blue eyes of yours, sipping my cocktail to hide my stupid giggles at every one of your terrible jokes. Then you kissed me. You. Kissed. Me.


Two years, two glorious years of sunny holidays, dancing, surprise gifts, moonlight dinners, it was everything a goddamn hallmark movie wants to be. Even a proposal before the crackling yuletide fireplace. But I said no.


Perhaps my gut knew you better than I did, perhaps it could see through your slick greased hair and perfectly manicured nails to something much rougher. Yes I loved you, yes you were good to me, but that wasn't enough. I was only twenty three after all. I could hardly imagine a month ahead, never mind years.


Then came one late period, two blue lines, and another reason to say yes.


Small and fast. Not the adjectives you want to hear from your fiance's parents when planning a wedding, but they were the big city lawyers with the dinero so who was I to say no. I should have though. No to the proposal, to the holidays, to the kiss. To you.


But that was my problem, maybe it's better to call it a weakness. I'd never been one for confrontation, always scared of violence. Still it found me all the same. I'm sure some second year psych student could tell me why. Maybe because daddy hit mommy whilst you cowered behind the sofa, they might say. If only I still cared.


So they planned the wedding, the bride an afterthought, their special little boy front and center.


Swollen, bloated and sore all over, simply the perfect combination for a perfect day in white. Although your bitch mother demanded I wear cream, the good Catholic that she is and all that. I forced a smile, we kissed, they applauded, we signed a registration and suddenly I officially became we. I never realised what I was signing away until weeks later.


It was playful at first, make dinner wife, get me a beer wife, I would snigger and waddle to the task at hand thinking it all a joke. But the punchline never came.


Ten weeks out from meeting our precious little boy and you came home drunk. Another late night with the rest of the rookies from the station. You called out my name in that disgusting sing-song as you stumbled down the hall, like you were some cheap horror villian. You never were cheap though.


Sex. You wanted it. I didn't. You demanded it. I said no. You stared with a killer's glint. I made for the stairs. You pulled me by the hair. I screamed. You laughed, pushed, held, tore, forced, ripped, choked, came. I wailed, all night, until trauma and fatigue carried me from one nightmare to another.


Searing, crippling pain woke me. Barbed wire tightening around my belly, kicks and punches coming from within. Something's wrong mammy, help me mammy. My child, my boy. The crisp bed sheets of the guest bedroom puddled in our blood, I….


The memory is too much, the blade clatters in the sink, I grip the porcelain edge sobbing for the child that never was. I didn't just lose a son, I lost the possibility of everything he could have been. I lost the 'what if'.


I tear at the strap of my black velvet dress, three days was enough to mourn you. I'm done. Should have left you years ago, but I stayed for twelve years. Twelve, fucking, years of abuse followed by roses, slaps followed by kisses. But never an apology or explanation. You moved us half way across the country for a fresh start, so you could be a detective. What a shit one you were. And I took the brunt of all your failures. Always thinking it's the drink, or the pressure, or the grief.


More fool me.


The dress slinks to the ground and I stroke my yellow mottled ribs, your last and final kiss.


I grab the razor, my hands shaking. There's no point waiting anymore. I hack, and slash, and slice. Red ribbons spill onto the bathroom floor, dropping like autumn leaves, the dead falling away so the new can begin.


Blood runs in rivulets down my forehead, across my ears, stings my eyes. Look at me, a fucking shield maiden of old, barbarian here to stab and maim. Steam clouds everywhere, the shower washes away the blood, makeup, and phantom grief with it. Oh I put on a show for you darling. The perfect grieving wife by your fresh grave.


Dripping, I pad across your pristine hardwood floors to the landing. Only two weeks ago I stood down there watching the men in white put out their little numbered yellow placards, bright flash photos highlighting the judging detective's glares. One of their own found dead. An accident? Murder? I was prime suspect number one. Of course. As I knew I would be.


I descend past the remnants of shattered spindles, where you twisted your arm, the badly repaired plaster where you struck your back, the glorious final step where you cracked your head, snapped your neck ever so sweetly. My fingers touch the well scrubbed blood splatter that keeps coming through the paint.


Stories tell us death smells bad, to me it stinks of casserole and flowers. I need a drink. You always told me I was embarrassing when I drank vodka, so guess what I reach for. Closing the fridge door I see Dolores' back porch light is on. Our little signal. She is awake and there if I need her.


She's the only good thing that came from our move here. An unexpected friend when I really needed one. She knew the tell tale markers, big sunglasses, turtle necks jumpers in midsummer. She never pushed, only told her own story over our shared fence. Her husband came back from war a different man. Seems a uniform and gun change some people. Or gives them permission to be the bastards they always were.


We bonded. She was the shoulder I cried on, the mother I never had, the best of friends. An ally. An accomplice.


I wrap myself in a throw from the sofa and slide open the patio door. Swigging my booze I wander across the lawn to the crackling bonfire. Your suits, pictures of you, our wedding album, everything with you in it. Everything. Bye bye darling.


I run my hand over my stubbled head, wince at one of many cuts, then laugh.


"You did it then?"


I don't need to turn to know it's Dolores, for a woman close to seventy she moves like a cat. You would never hear her enter your house, or cross a landing, especially if you were distracted arguing with your wife.


"The neighbours are going to think I lost my mind," I hold out the bottle.


"Let them." She drinks deep, smiles at me, puts one arm over my shoulder. I lean in.


"Thank y–"


"No, never thank me dear. Sure we were in the backyard saying our goodbyes. Remember?"


I breathe deep the smoky air.


"Is it working?" She asks, nodding towards the fire.


"Strangely, yes." It was another of Dolores' ideas, she's great for ideas. Get rid of all that was you, all that held power or sway over me. Like a ceremony, cut it out, burn it away, until you are nothing but a shadow and ash.


"So you feel better?"


I tilt my head to the full moon, resisting the urge to howl, the night breeze gently caressing my bare, glistening skin. My edge is coming back. I smile, a wide deeply felt smile.


"I feel free."






























July 06, 2023 11:47

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28 comments

Michał Przywara
20:40 Jul 06, 2023

A dark story with tantalizing misdirections. The opening is ominous, with the talk of a razor. We expect something horrible is about to happen, but then it scales back to more mundane. It becomes horrible again when "Red ribbons spill onto the bathroom floor" - but it's just her hair. A very tense scene! I wondered if she had enough, and it turns out she did, but she's taking it in another direction. With the help of Dolores, she finds a way to heal. No such luck for the husband, but we might say he had it coming, and the last of his bit...

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Kevin Logue
20:48 Jul 06, 2023

Thanks for reading and commenting Michal, I am glad you enjoyed. Was a bit experimental for me this week so glad that what I was trying to do came through. That should be your, thanks for the catch. It's unreal how these slip through, I reread it a lot ha!

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Michelle Oliver
11:42 Jul 09, 2023

An interesting story of love twisted into something that is destructive and abusive. She finally escapes only after his death, which was arranged to appear as an accident. Good sprinkling of just enough clues to have me on the edge of my seat here. Well done

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Kevin Logue
11:45 Jul 09, 2023

Thanks very much Michelle. I very deliberately wanted to give as little detail as possible this week and glad it worked. I'm still debating whether to flesh it more before approval cause I've had some feedback that its was too subtle or even missed. Was an experimental week for me, so I guess I'm gathering the results ha. Cheers again for reading and commenting means a lot. Onward to Phobias!!

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Michelle Oliver
12:01 Jul 09, 2023

The only thing I may have missed was exactly who did the actual deed, but I don’t think it matters. We know enough to know there is no innocent party here.

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Kevin Logue
12:08 Jul 09, 2023

Yeah that was what was mentioned before. I guess I buried it in subtly, oh well . Was trying to imply it was Dolores in this paragraph but I think I put it too early to make the connection: I don't need to turn to know it's Dolores, for a woman close to seventy she moves like a cat. You would never hear her enter your house, or cross a landing, especially if you were distracted arguing with your wife. I shall chew it over later, almost got something for this week so cant break the flow. Peace!

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17:19 Jul 06, 2023

Fast paced tale really drew me in. Like the way the story unfurled. Just enough detail for us to get the picture. Well done

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Kevin Logue
17:55 Jul 06, 2023

Cheers Derrick, that was exactly what I was trying to do this week! 👍

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Mary Bendickson
16:40 Jul 06, 2023

Abusing the abuser.

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Kevin Logue
16:46 Jul 06, 2023

Karmic one might say 🙃

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Lily Finch
16:17 Jul 06, 2023

Kevin, I enjoyed your story. It was well written and sad. I thought the vigilante justice was morally wrong but understandable given he situation. I wonder if you moved too quickly over the details though. That is to say = what do you believe is the most important part to your story? The incident of his death. OR the character in your MC? I see evidence for both. Just wondering if in this line below you meant to say, And I took the blunt of all your failures. - brunt instead of blunt. Thanks for the good read. LF6

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Kevin Logue
16:46 Jul 06, 2023

Hey Lilly, hope you're well. Good catch on the blunt/brunt, locally, as in Ireland, we say to bear the blunt of something but you are correct. I tend to use colloquialisms all to often. Ha. I wanted this story to be as short as possible, was trying to push myself this week to make something fully formed with a lot of inferred storytelling, so maybe I missed the mark and it came across as rushed. Still time to edit, so your feedback is appreciated. For me the MC is most important but I also wanted it to drift into the morally grey, so I am ...

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Lily Finch
22:01 Jul 06, 2023

No problem. That's why this community is great. Everyone helps everyone. LF6

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Ken Cartisano
06:39 Aug 03, 2023

Yo, Kevin, I'm definitely in agreement with Michelle on the 'good sprinkling of clues' column on this one. This is a great story because you have added tension with the razor and the shaving, in a story about domestic violence, and in the end we find that the razor and the shaving are aspects of a symbolic act of liberation, not instruments of fear and violence at all. You used them to pull us in, and then showed us how wrong we were. And when I say 'we' I mean 'them.' The other readers. See, I'm on to you Kevin. I see what you're doing. ...

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Kevin Logue
07:20 Aug 03, 2023

What a wonderful comment, it's almost a story in itself. Next time I'll be sure to run it around the gymnasium to a helter skelter momentum. I like the idea of critique wars! Can't believe my cover has finally been blown, my tricksy Irish ways have been discovered! I'll do my best to spread that maybe not true but possibly 100% factual report that your are the volatile critiquer!

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Ken Cartisano
17:25 Aug 03, 2023

'The Volatile Critiquer!' You have a magic tongue, Mister Logue. This is a grand title for one as meek and insignificant as the rumors I've been spreading seem to indicate. The Volatile Critiquer. It--is me.

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Angela Ginsburg
10:09 Jul 14, 2023

I read comments below, and I think the subtlety is an asset—we have enough to know that Delores either did it or contributed and then provided the alibi.

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Dennis Haak
15:39 Jul 11, 2023

A chilling, well-written story. Really had me on the edge of my seat. I liked how sparse you were with details and how they still told enough about at what had happened. The razor at the start was a nice intriguing element, which played out differently then I thought it would. Nice twist and a great read overall!

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Kevin Logue
16:13 Jul 11, 2023

Thanks very much Dennis. The sparsity was a bit of a self appointed challenge this week to see if I could pull back on details and still get the story across. Appreciate the feedback.

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Nina H
10:20 Jul 11, 2023

Great story, Kevin. I was trying to figure out what she was doing with the razor in the beginning, then it made sense. Tough content, emotional, and I like how you reveal Dolores’s role in it all.

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Kevin Logue
10:36 Jul 11, 2023

Thanks very much for reading and commenting Nina, I was trying to create a bit of suspense with the razor at the beginning. Glad you liked Dolores roll, I realised after I was subconsciously adding a Stephen King reference, Dolores Claiborne - It about a woman who can't take her husband's abuse anymore. Strange what seeps through. Hope you are keeping well and good luck with whatever you are working on 😁

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Nina H
10:49 Jul 11, 2023

That’s so interesting how Dolores came through like that! Lol! The mind is a wonder, isn’t it? And yes, you held my interest by starting off with the razor and keeping me guessing what would happen with it! Are you working on a phobia story for this week? I started one, but I hit a wall so am letting it sit now. The great thing about these prompts is being dragged from your comfort zone (kicking and typing?) to a place unfamiliar. That’s where I’m at this week. 😂

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Kevin Logue
11:01 Jul 11, 2023

I am, I started one that was very phobic with a chained up character who is trying not to scream as the bristle of a huge spider tickle the inside of his mouth as it searches between his teeth for food. But it didn't go very far. So I wrote a personal one about a time I got jumped as teenager and left with a Phobia that it would happen again and how I got over it, but unlike my usual stuff I've tried to make it funny lol

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Nina H
11:07 Jul 11, 2023

I’m not sad you abandoned the horrible spider one!! Eek!! 😂 I’m so sorry that happened to you as a teen, that is terrible. You’ve worked through the fears and now can take a humorous approach to an otherwise traumatic situation, so that’s great! I look forward to reading it!

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Helen A Smith
08:54 Jul 10, 2023

Hi Kevin For me, the friendship between the two women stands out in this piece. I’m guessing Dolores did the deed? I’m inclined to think this seventy year old who “moves like a cat” is responsible, but It could be either of then. It doesn’t matter either way. Good graphic descriptions and scene setting here. Two damaged and destructive men. The first obviously needed help after the war- which he will not have received. Early on, you can almost feel the bile rising with the second one. “Perhaps my gut knew you better than I did.” If only s...

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Kevin Logue
09:01 Jul 10, 2023

Thanks for such great feedback Helen. Dolores did indeed! I toiled with having MC gut feeling coming back in and asking the same questions you have, so I am pleased you have done so. Exactly, what did happen to Dolores Husband, perhaps this ain't her first bonfire. Again, all story points I had in mind but wanted to leave for inference. Cheers for reading and commenting, means alot 😊

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09:39 Jul 08, 2023

Hi Kevin, interesting story - nice use of language to misdirect in places - clever. I didn't entirely understand the ending - the bit about saying goodbye over the fence or something. Is Delores offering an alibi? I'm not sure.

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Kevin Logue
10:38 Jul 08, 2023

They are each others alibi, maybe it was too subtle, but Dolores was the one that pushed him. Luckily still time to edit : ) "...for a woman close to seventy she moves like a cat. You would never hear her enter your house, or cross a landing, especially if you were distracted arguing with your wife." Cheers for reading and commenting.

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