TITLE: Pretty Saro
GENRE: Adult Fantasy
In a dark room, a woman crouches over the body of a sleeping man. The dim light reflects off a knife she holds hovered over the man’s heart. The tip grazes his bare skin. As he inhales, his chest rises towards the knife’s point. When he breathes out, the distance opens up again. The woman watches this rise and fall and waits.
She raises the knife above her head and the white of her knuckles glow against the dark surface of the handle. She stops there, frozen, then sighs and lowers the knife. She holds it again just above his heart. One deep breath pushes the tip more deeply into his skin, and she watches for it to break the surface. It does not.
The man breathes out and his left eye opens like a slow curtain rise.
“Don’t you think you should just get on with it?” he asks.
The woman shifts her gaze from the man’s heart to his eye. In the dark, she can make out what might be a smile on his face. Perhaps a smirk.
“Not that I mind you wiggling around up there, at all, but it seems if you’re going to stab me, you should probably get on with it.”
He opens the other eye and looks up into her face. She watches him closely and adjusts her grip on the knife. Her breathing stops.
Lying on the bed, the man watches an emotion flash across the woman’s face so quickly that he has no time to name it. Hope? Or disappointment? Then anger. The anger is unmistakable.
She raises the knife to its full height above her head once again and with one swift motion brings it plunging down towards his chest.
It wasn’t the first time Syd woke to find a strange woman in his bed. It might have been the first time she was holding a knife over his chest.
Sleep was different in the After. No one was sure why, but Syd suspected it wasn’t something your body needed anymore. One of the fancy scientists Gabe was always talking to could probably spend years coming up with an explanation, and then everyone would know it was true, but Syd didn’t have much use for scientists. He didn’t particularly like the look of white lab coats. No one looked good in white.
Some Splits liked to pretend they didn’t notice it–the difference in how they slept After. Gabriel, for example. Syd bet if you asked him if he slept differently now compared to Before he would purse his lips so that the dimples on his face became even deeper and pretend he had no idea what Syd was talking about. That was Gabe.
But sleep was different, and the good part was that it made it much harder for people to sneak up on you. Syd heard each sound the woman made as she picked the lock on his apartment door. He heard her creep down the hall and open his bedroom door.