Leo entered the room and closed the door. His entertainment sat in a chair facing away from him. She wore a faded army green t-shirt and camouflage cargo pants without shoes. They were dirty with a bit of blood stain on the sleeves. The feet were dirty too but weren’t bloody. This afternoon she was not at her best.
“Don’t tell me,” and she paused here as if pondering the stars. He imagined her lips parted effortlessly. Then she inhaled deeply. “It’s Leo.” His lips bent in a crooked way. Last time they met she had said something about the pungent sporty scent of his deodorant. Leo grabbed the back of the chair and tipped her backwards in one smooth movement. She crashed just after her body jerked to prepare for the fall. Her eyes were closed as she breathed in through her nose. He’d surprised her.
“How old are you?” One eye opened as she kept the other closed as if not sure if she could commit to seeing. Some process whirled through her head and she forgot to keep the other eye closed. Honey, they looked like small drips of honey with a speck of black in them. Well, in this lighting, it was more than just a speck of black. Her pupils were dilated.
“Fifty-three,” she calmly spoke as she had the last three conversations they’d had today. The only difference was her ankles rotating in the air, which he assumed kept her blood circulating.
“What are you?”
“Scavenger,” is all she said. During their first meeting she had told him what that meant. She fed off the parasites. The parasites fed off of the walking blood banks. And the walking blood banks, he’d asked. She smiled knowing he didn’t believe her. The blood banks feed off of each other but only metaphorically. “Oh,” she looked embarrassed, “you mean my heritage. I’m half Lebanese.”
She chummed around with dying parasites, who were really scavengers and she wasn’t one of them. But she set the balance right. She hadn’t been able to feed off parasites for several years now because of some sort of genetic backtrace retrovirus. He did admire her ability to tell the tale as if it were real.
“I’m of a mind to think you don’t believe me. How old do you think I am?”
“Who are you?” The corners of her mouth twitch as if he’d spoken something diverting. She’d answered that during their first and second chats. He just didn’t believe her answer. She had the date of birth, social security number and parent information. She even told him a story of skiing that ended up with a cast. No matter the details she was not who she claimed to be.
“I like your necklace. It’s very beach bumesque.” He almost played with the small rope knotted around his neck. He didn’t though because she was studying him as closely as he her. “Was it a gift?”
“No.” He told her what he intuited she wanted him to say and then he got on. “Where are you from?”
“I’m hopelessly Midwest. If I get around to going home, even you might even hear the elongated vowels.”
“Even me?” Her slight amused him, her assumption that he couldn’t tell the regional dialects after living in the U.S. for years.
“You aren’t from the US and you’re certainly not Czech.” He had U.S. citizenship even if he hadn’t grown up there and he was only in the CZ because of her.
“No I’m not,” he agreed. He didn’t help her into a vertical position but instead realized the fabric on the sleeves slackened, allowing him glimpse her arms. He saw the red left on the cotton material as a reminder but he couldn’t see the scratches he’d etched hours ago. Leo crouched to get closer. He couldn’t remember exactly when and which meeting. He pushed up the dusty green sleeves over her shoulders to expose her flesh and then inspected it with his hands. He saw no marks along the skin with a yellow hue.
“Did the dingo eat your baby?” she mocked his accent. He didn’t pay attention as he went from one arm to the other a second time. She sighed like it bored her—their time together and her position on the floor with her knees up. “Should I ask about a vegemite sandwich?” His brow wrinkled from both the puzzling and her laugh.
“When did these heal, Morgan?”
“When did what heal?”
“I cut you.” He emphasized the middle word in that sentence. He’d used a razor blade for shallow cuts to give him the opportunity to run over her arms several times. It caused enough pain to make someone pay attention.
“If there’s no scab, then you can’t prove you cut me.”
“How far can I take this?” The blade inched towards her arm.
“Let’s not play these games, Leo. I tired of them.”
|Because this message is archived you cannot respond to it.|