last words | a short story of some kind

She had lost her voice to a man with an open mouth. He’d open his mouth when she’d open hers. He made the sounds that came out of her disappear, within him, and he killed them there, cradled them there, to death, and it excited him, consoled him, he consumed her entirely, bit by bit, before she’d been able to form words with her mouth, from the depths of her that he called his creation, his to take and diminish, his to brand and render obsolete, his to father and smother, to set on fire and besiege.

She had listened to him transform an entire house into his body, a hammer in constant motion nailing his words into her flesh. A beautiful house amongst others, but it sounded different. She didn’t want to die there. Perish under his roof that covered up his robust acts of violence of which she couldn’t find the roots.

The roots evaded her. They had another language. They didn’t grant her access. The roots would crawl at night. Become part of the shadows around her door, camouflaged by a sizzling light. They sought power over her, wanting her to never get an idea of who she was. The roots wouldn’t let her get her hands on them. They pulled her out of her body, invaded the world beneath her skin, and studied her, getting an understanding of how to survive, how to stay put in her blood, so that she keeps hurting in the right and known places.

And he carried their history on his face which fell into all the other faces before him, collapsed, choreographed, the wrinkles of the dead prolonged in the textures of the living. The same amassed rage, roots and nerves unfound, greying the body, the hair, the eyes want revenge, they revolt against death, he’s still in there somewhere and if he could he would grab her by the throat to take her life away from her and tell the gods it’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine, I’ve paid the price.

He haunts her. He can’t say a word. What he had stolen from her is decaying in him, his voice can’t exit his body anymore. It’s still there, but it can’t move. It can’t be brought to life because his body is dying. He hears his own voice in his head. The ghosts and echoes. His house. He wants to remember it, how it felt, how it sounded, how it made people feel, how easily it came out of his mouth, how his body served his voice, the muscles, the gestures, everything automatic and natural, but he can’t even tell anymore where it is, where it went, whether it sticks to his breath, in how many ways could it have left him. All she could still hear and remember is that in his voice, strained from the screaming, she could find her voice that his throat had swallowed.

It was a beautiful voice he had. It was a beautiful house. But everything within destroyed the sound. She remembers his voice and it never served her body well. And from his unclenched jaw she pulled out her own voice and honoured the child from which it had been taken so violently.

My own drawing © Laura Gentile 2022 | Instagram: croque_melpomene

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