Writer in Residence · 09/17/2010

Artifact 6: Hand of God

He picked up her teeth after the smoke cleared in the gutter next to a dumpster. He’d watched where they rolled after he’d hit her.

He’d never hit a bitch so hard before. Ever since the flashes started it seemed like everyone was a bit peeled back; he was no exception. Everyone walked around like burn victims without bandages trying to do everyday tasks like their skin wasn’t blistered, hair wasn’t singed, like their nerve endings weren’t exposed and screaming. Everyone was doing their best dance like the emperor had clothes except for one little problem, the emperor was naked as a newborn with the erection of a porn star.

The teeth were maybe a bit too small, too jagged, but the greasy slick of them, where they had been buried into her gums for what, maybe 17 years, reminded him of river rocks covered with algae—the ones you find sitting at the black bottom after your eight year old self thought for sure he could find that perfect skip rock he’d just let loose moments ago from shore pinpointing the spot its skipping stopped then wading out, reaching down, and grabbing fistfuls hoping to find its perfect flatness among the round.

He looked down at the teeth in his palm and fingered them with his thumb making red gooey smears. He felt really disappointed he wasn’t able to watch her bleed. He was pretty sure he broke her jaw and by the way her face dented the dumpster, probably her nose as well. As soon as she lay still and he steadied his footing, hand still clenched in a fist, he felt it coming on.

It started as it always did with the air thinning, sucking back so fully he couldn’t catch a breath. Then, the brightening started; like the whites of his eyes, not the pupils, were heating up, ready to shoot lasers. He braced himself, looked at the limp bitch, the dented dumpster and then the sky and recited his usual, “One, two, three, four, five, who is gonna stay alive?”

The flash came and went and he was still standing, numb to the smoke and the screaming. He looked to find the five and saw the bitch was gone. He deemed her number one. Number two was a bus that had stopped a half block up, number three was a mail carrier (made evident by a flurry of letters whipping in the air as it settled back to its fullness), number four an auto shop across the street and number five, from what he could tell was maybe a bike messenger; the back part of a bike with one of those little cases strapped across the back lying in the road, smoking.

“Number 33, boss and I’m still kickin’! Wooooo!” He did a quick spin as he shouted this, creating no stir in the passers by. Nobody cared because everyone understood. They had their celebrations too. They just kept them quiet or passed them directly to God as thanks for sparing them.

“God, ha,” he smirked and then squatted. All that was left of the bitch was a small puddle of blood from the fractures in her face. He raised his arm up high, made his hand into a claw and lowered it slowly towards the red. He made an explosive noise with his mouth when his fingertips dipped into the still warm liquid.

“Hand of God, motherfucking bitch! Hand of God!”

He’d personally been through 33 flashes now; approximately 165 unlucky things and motherfuckers gone just like that; Hand of God. Five in a flash, you do the math.

Everyone thought that when the end finally came it would be all at once—a continent destroying meteor shower or a nuclear war. One minute you’d be fucking your neighbor’s dog, the next minute exploded and dead. Nobody thought the end would come like a geriatric’s walk to the curb, painful, slow and hard to watch.

Personally, he thought it was fucking hysterical.

He put her teeth into his mouth, sucked them clean.

xTx is a writer living in Southern California. She has been published online in places such as PANK, Monkeybicycle, Smokelong Quarterly, elimae and Dogzplot. Her free e-book entitled, “Nobody Trusts a Black Magician” is available at nonpress. She says nothing at www.notimetosayit.com.

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posted by Amber Sparks