Sunday, May 20, 2012

Madness Ascending by Nancy Pogue LaTurner

Miranda slumped against the down pillow as she felt a hole widen in her chest. The last rays of brightness in her essence trickled out, evaporated, and left a dry, bruised Miranda-shell to blow away in the next strong breeze.
Over, she thought. It's over. It's done. I'm done. I might as well not exist. I have no reason and no energy to go on living. If I lie down flat, I will melt into the comforter and seep through the mattress, filter through the bed frame, dribble into the carpet and become a stain on the concrete below.
No solution to her dilemma existed. No known tonic or elixir could revive her flagging life force. Miranda recognized the cloud of doom that oozed around her and held her will-less like a burial shroud. She lay still, exquisitely aware of the melting of her bones, the emptiness of the gap where her heart once was, the liquefaction of her gray matter, the desperation of her soulless state.
Nothing mattered since Jack's death. Better dead than between the loathsome thighs of that disgusting bitch, she told herself as sparkling shards of flashbacks pierced the putrefied remnants of her memory. Mental images of the filthy slut who held Jack prisoner in a marriage of inconvenience flashed in neon bursts of garish blood-spatter.
Miranda knew too well the seductive comfort of that whore's thighs -- hadn't she slid down the self-same channel only thirty-five years before? Too bad for Jack that his tramp was too retarded to recognize Miranda as her replacement rather than her product. Talk about slow. Jack's thick oblivion kept him in the dark right to the very end. He died without catching on to the fact that Miranda could no longer allow him to have them both.
It didn't vex Miranda that the harlot still lived. That was the whole point of slashing Jack -- to make the witch suffer. Miranda didn't need to witness the pain to know its magnitude. She understood agony well enough to enjoy it telepathically. The loss of Jack would turn the rest of the widow's life into a hell with more circles of suffering than Dante's Inferno. Miranda smiled, sighed, and squirmed with pleasure.
A rude itch in a recently neglected spot agitated Miranda. Maybe she did have a reason to go on after all. Two reasons, actually. Arlo and Zeke, her twin boys. Arlo, dark and nervy, eager apprentice in Miranda's car title loan business. Zeke, a replica of the young Jack from twenty years ago, wired tight with a lust for power, bound for a future in politics. She lit a match, inhaled the brimstone sulfur fumes, and drew a lungful of narcotic smoke.
Miranda envisioned herself, wrists bound together and lashed to the brass head-rail with a red silk scarf. Her back arched as details of the fantasy made her a slave to the adoration of her son-brothers. Internal heat ignited the rise of another cycle in her inextricable madness.

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