Eunice, 2.B.5, 500 words

Connie in constant smock skids again her trolley to its scuffed basement slip and smocked wends through the thinning crowds of the lobby to breathe and wait in silence for her night train. Attempting to lose herself at a long table, her elbows upon it facing back out across the lower strata of the great hall, still abyssal, where from this vantage the only visible people are abstract in the distance, a sharp, faint, yet distinctly rhythmic tapping is transmitted into her flesh. A man at the far end in chartreuse tennis shirt, sweat crescents, grin crescent, scanning the hall floor a few levels down for matching tennis shirt or upturned, like grins, or raking eye contact, automatically taps the pedestal supporting his end of the table in fleeting foot flicks. Each rattles through Connie’s unfocused eyes a shiver of colorful reconfigurations. As the dot end of the table’s bang a group huddles close, speaking, as though across the room, endlessly about life brought to the hotel from town. Their voices follow Connie through the corridors and stairs and escalators. He came of age, the final months of his companion’s struggle, three bodies, a jeering crowd taunted a suicidal teenager, one long knife and two blackjacks, the anticlimactic return to everyday life, exposed to the amoeba, and stabbed her partner before stabbing herself, many thousands of bats, vacillating about wanting to end her life, a winch lifting the boulder snapped causing it to crush her a second time, all while our physical bodies lie safely in bed, and then smothered him, lights sighted over Curie Lake, as he rummaged through a trash bin, accidentally, a hand-written letter assured him his exact double was being held, disappeared in columns of light, bore the mark and used a saw to cut off the hand, barricaded in a motel room on Grade Road, he pan-fried it, riot in a suburb, through the back door, behind the stage, in misty dawn, teeth chattering, another died yesterday cleaning his weapon, he saw someone floating, to cross a dust trail left behind by a comet, with a nail-studded paddle, silently watching the intricate design of millions of grains of colored sand pour into a nearby creek. The train slides in. Entranced amidst the cutting wheels against the rails, one after the before and more after these squealing though all as one indivisible from what cutting they might divide, Connie slides out on the train, then next rolling from tunnel to darkness indivisible where the faint clouds of star froth delineate a mountain range by where they show not and a vast, though bound, lake by where fog and frisk reflect all around. The train obliterating night lit from within all night loops the lake. Connie aboard, in constant smock not clearly awake or asleep but hidden from the hotel save for the long trace of reflected train windows on the lake always seen from some high, uncurtained windows until sliding into the tunnel again before dawn.



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