caffeine :: poverty :: stalk :: scalded :: blown
First time I’ve ever tried to write creepy!
Lucy takes her place at the sink, washing up the dirty plates and crockery from the takeaway curry. The water is slowly turning a yellow orange as she dips the sponge, rinses. She carelessly pulls the oven tray and winces as the scalding water hits her fingers. She sucks them and runs the cold tap. She’d forgotten she’d put boiling water in there, trying to unstick onion baji from the bottom.
In the sink’s unseen depths there are coffee grains mottling the water. She scrapes some up with her nails, inspects them momentarily. The street lights illuminate the early winter evening, filtering through the dying leaves blown about on the trees outside the window. They are hanging on by their thread-like stalks, occasionally letting go and fluttering lazily to the sidewalk. The branches display their poverty proudly, their bones full of green marrow. Lucy watches them as she continues with her routine, resting cups in the soapy water. As she fumbles for the knives she knows are there, her fingertips graze something soft and yielding. She gropes at it, not sure what it could be. A leftover dishcloth? It’s too solid for that. The burn on her fingers is getting warm down in the dregs of the sink. As her hands explore her mind begins to recognise the bumps, organise the feel into features. She finds an edge somewhere, and pulls. With a soft thwack, it comes away and emerges, bubbles and dirt trickling off its contours.
It is a face, with closed eyes, pale skinned and bland as a pebble often washed by the river, wrinkled with water. It is a blunt, empty face, a shelled out, bombed out face floppy as a mask. Lucy exhales, a strange sound escapes her. Both hands grip the flap of it’s cheeks as she stares as it’s full nude lips, slightly parted. She has that feeling she gets before she falls asleep, as if she’s been turned to stone.
She recognises the face that has churned up through the greasy dishwater. It is a face she sees in gravestones, in bitter dreams. Without thinking about it, moved by some odd curiosity, she turns the face over. She brings it to her own. She presses her eyes into the wan shut slots, pushes her nose deep into the familiar bend. The smell is overpowering, lavender and smoke. She moves to a mirror, looks at herself. Mother.