Chapter 8: Dragonfish

My cheek is wet from dribbling and it’s numb, I run my hand across my skin and feel the pattern of the grooves that have imprinted on my face from sleeping with my head on the tiled floor. I run my tongue over a sore spot on my inner cheek, running my hand over my head I jerk up right at the sensation underneath my fingers. I look into the mirror with a start at my shaved head. And then it comes to me, I remember seeing her in the reflection behind me, her knickers around her ankles as she sits on the toilet. The sound of the buzzing as I took the clippers to my head and then the gushing of her pissing behind me. Remembering how I looked into the mirror feeling radiated as well as aroused. She stood from the toilet, her legs apart as she wiped herself before slithering down and taking me into her mouth. Her face looked up at me, her hair everywhere in the bath as I moved up and down on top of her, my knuckles going white as I placed my hand around her neck. Her red lips puckering, mascara running down her face. I inspect my head and face in the mirror, trying to get to grips with my new look before looking to my right and seeing her lying there lifeless in the bath. My heart pounds hard against my chest, a rush of blood to my ears pulsating and the bathroom light suddenly too bright. A cartoon plays out in my head of my heartbeat being visible in my chest and then bursting out and flinging out as if catapulted from my chest into the mirror with a splash of blood splattering all over the room and on myself. The room starts to spin, I look at her pale body until I feel the bile rising from my stomach and lurch towards the toilet bowl. I draw an O for a mouth on my light bulb head along with big round eyes that have reels of a film playing out a nightmare, all while the light flickers in and out. I breathe in sync with the flickers, gasping with horror every time the fish flashes into my consciousness. Water starts to drip down until my head is almost submerged, but the light still flashes. Blinking on then off again. It only just occurs to me as I run out of the bathroom that I’m still naked. I close the door to the bathroom and run into my bedroom and get dressed. I’m dripping wet with sweat or the sea. I’m drowning. I take a quick peek back into the bathroom, catching my breath at the sight of her before closing the door again and rushing out of my flat and off to work. Images of us having sex in the bath plague my mind, my hands around her neck. The taxi driver is listening to the radio, a song about going to church is on as if the radio knows my sin. The driver looks through his rearview mirror at me, his lips contorting into a grin I could only be dreaming up. “Are you okay?” The driver asks me. Now I notice he’s actually frowning in concern. “Yes,” I lie. The silence hangs heavy over us.

The tap in the kitchen is rhythmically dripping, filling the empty silence and my heart is pounding against my chest again, the gush of pulsating in my ears syncronised with both the tap and my heartbeat. The water and I, we’re always in sync and we’re always playing cat and mouse. My phone is ringing out in the hallway between the bathroom and the lounge. The light illuminating the hallway. The ringing and the drip, drip of the tap seem to have the same rhythm, filling me with dread. By the time I get to my phone, it stops ringing and the screen flashes a missed call from Jasmine. My fingers smudge the screen as I press to call back, “H…Hello?” I stutter. “Hello.” Her voice sounds hoarse. “You…You phoned,” I manage. My eyes darting to the bathroom door across from me, the room seeming to shrink, closing in on me. I open the bathroom door and peer cautiously over the rim of the bathtub. My heart jolts at the sight. The bath is empty. “Yea just wanted to check you were okay. The comedown from those pills I gave you, it can get pretty bad. Especially the first time.” “The comedown?” I ask blankly, still not convinced it can really be her. “Yea, the hangover is always a bitch. But you got through it obviously.” “You’re…” I take the phone away from my ear and look back at the screen, it definitely says Jasmine, “You’re alive!” I can hear a sharp intake of breath on the phone and then laughing, “What you on about?” “When I left you…” “Oh, yea!” Jasmine blurts out, “Why’d you just up and leave this morning?” “What?” I swallow, “I..I had to go to work. I…You were in the bath…” “What did you think had happened?” “I don’t know,” I lie. How can I tell her I thought maybe I’d killed her? “I think I better come up and see you.” “I’m fine, honestly,” I say unconvincingly. “Be there soon,” She says ignoring my words. “But…”I Start but she’s put the phone down.

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