A POST-MORTEM BATH By: David Kent


Okay, you can blame +kim hodges for this.  No, I cannot enter into the Writer’s Challenge, but I did have a take on prompt 1. I acquiesced to posting it so that people could comment.  Kim decided that I should address prompt 2 also.  This is TOTALLY her fault. (And no, I didn’t make the 500 word limit.  I told you, I can’t sign my name in 500 words or less.)

The pain surprised her, she had thought it would hurt less this time. Looking down, a tear fell from her cheek and disappeared into the pool of warm blood. She knew she would have to start the bath.

She stood up from the squat stool she used during the killing and walked slowly towards the screened back door.  Bred and raised to be a good wife, there was contentment in her stride; content to be far from town and isolated from the nosey eyes of neighbors.
The killing knife dropped in the sink; she ran water to be sure the blood would not cake.  Her attention then turned to the oversized pot of water on the stove.  An extended middle finger satisfied her that the contents were warm enough for the bath, but not hot enough to scald.  She lifted her caldron of death and carried it to the edge of the back porch.  Placed at the lip above the first step, she began to assemble the ritual tools.  First she dragged a small chair to the pot, then an old square basket to catch the outer waste, a plastic bucket for the innards, a short sharp paring knife and finally a towel to dry both her hands and the corpse.
Down three steps into the yard that was more dirt than grass, she strode towards the murder scene.  Geraldine was this one’s name, but most just shortened it to Gerry.  Full of energy and always playing, Gerry was either instigating the others in an intimidating chase, or being chased in retaliation. This morning she had been vibrant and lively, but now no more than a crumpled mass of bloodied flesh.
The good wife picked up what once was Gerry by a single leg and carried the body back to the porch.  She looked to be sure there was nothing still oozing from the gaping wound at the neck and then lifted the still warm remnants over the steaming pot.
As the body sank beneath the surface, she sat heavily into the chair.  Reaching for the towel to wipe the tears from her cheek, she mentally readied herself for the long list of tasks that lie ahead.  From a distance came the pop and crunch of tires on gravel, it would be Robert, her husband, her lover, and the only reason she took these lives, time and time again.
The car stopped at the edge of the yard and Robert, dressed in dusty jeans, a sweat stained t-shirt, and a John Deere cap, stepped up on the knoll that marked the homestead boundary.  He saw his wife hunched over the great pot that was only ever used for one thing and smiled.
Without a stolen glance she knew he was standing near and watching.  Reaching deep into the water, she grabbed the body and lifted it high above bath with one hand and with the other, clawed and ripped at the scant covering still worn by Gerry.  The waste was discarded and the body was wetted again.
“Who is it,” he asked.  “Gerry,” came the choked answer.  Robert smiled but with loving empathy.  “I’m sorry, honey.  I know she was your favorite.  But I love your fried chicken.”
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