What's in the Pocket

The woman is wearing clothes that might once have been smart. Business suit? Do I know her? She looks...messy, hair tangled, right cheek smeared with dirt. She has no shoes on...like me, no shoes, like me. Her eyes are round, her mouth open, her face a mask of mindless terror. Does she see me? Why is she so scared? Why? Should I be?

The strange woman stumbles, moans quietly and her legs give way beneath her. She falls onto the wet grass only six feet away. On her back...something...a dark stain...metallic, sharp tang in the air, shimmer heat rising in the mist...rust red. Blood? Is it blood? Blood.

She scrambles down the compost, her hands wet, dirt clinging, ground cold under her bare feet. She winces when she moves her left leg, the muscles there protesting. Am I hurt? But it's nothing, nothing like so bad. A bruise...did I fall? Aches elsewhere make themselves known, make her movements stiff and careful as she kneels beside the fallen woman. She shivers and feels a tooth loose in her mouth, tastes blood, licks a lip and feels the scab there.

The woman is dead. Dead and growing cooler. The woman kneeling sees now how the fabric of her jacket is torn, ragged, dark and thick with blood. A knife? Stabbed, someone stabbed her. She was running away, not running to me...Me, who am I anyway? Who? For her to run toward. Did she know me?

She is disturbed, but can't grieve like for a friend, for family. Isn't she a stranger? Is she? She is bone deep cold and afraid now, and confused.

She stands, and something digs into her hip. It's done that before. What is it?

In my pocket? What's that? Her numb fingers are clumsy, hurts to push them against the tough denim, but they close around something colder, hard and smooth in places, ridged, textured in others. Small but heavy, a good weight in her hand as she brings it into the light. My...mine? Feels like mine. Special. .38...

She doesn't know how she knows this. She feels sick. The scent of it tugs at something in her memory, a flicker, but the moment passes, the memory slipping like a fish from wet fingers, dropping back into black water. What felt good for a moment now feels bad, very bad. She hates the touch of it.

Toss it...go on. No...no I need it. Don't I?...It's not much but it's something. She's dead. She's dead and someone killed her. Stuck her right through the back of her smart...expensive...coat. Blood dribbling over it...don't want to be sick...down into her pockets.

What's in her pockets?




The End

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