White Space

Guy eyed the words on the page before him, traces of worlds. The white spaces between them looked like cracks a person might fall into.

“Darling,” Beatrice said, slipping between the sheets in her tights and t-shirt, black hair rinsing over her shoulders like lacquer. “After you finish reading you will turn your back to me, turn off the lamp, and ask me to cuddle you. Then you’ll fall asleep in two minutes. Do you love me?”

“I love you so much,” Guy said, trying not to let his mild annoyance at her needling show through. To prove his point, though, he put down the book and massaged Beatrice’s feet, lingering on the part in the arch that made her moan with the greatest bliss.

A knock came from Guy’s closet, and out strutted a skeleton, wearing a lacy, purple bra and blowing a party horn. Beatrice popped bolt upright, pointing, glaring. “Who, might I ask, is that?”

Something in Guy’s gut seized up. If the skeleton had been wearing something else, another bra even, he might have understood. But he couldn’t make heads or tails of this skeleton. “I’m going to be completely honest with you,” he said. “I haven’t the foggiest idea.”

Beatrice smoldered. “You expect me to believe that?”

The skeleton sauntered over to Guy, ran fingers through his hair, tossed its head back, and tooted the party horn with abandon. Hot pink frills fluttered from the end of the horn like naughty fingers. Guy tried to pull away, but the skeleton pressed his face into its bra, started undulating against him like a river otter. Guy crumpled inside. “Right about now,” he said, “I don’t know what I expect.”

A thought flashed across Beatrice’s eyes, but instead of voicing it, she threw the sheets from her body, stormed from the room, and slammed the door.

Guy pushed the skeleton off him. “Who the hell are you, anyway?” he bellowed.

The skeleton jiggled about a little more and pointed Guy to his book. Guy opened it, but he found his mind fragmenting such that he couldn’t read anything. Only the white spaces advanced, calling to mind the cuddle before sleep that was no longer his, the undetected cracks he may have fallen into.

© Thad Fowler. All rights reserved.

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