I’ve broken things so many times that I’ve forgotten what it felt like the first time. What’s it like to walk out your door to meet with your mistress for the first time? What’s it like to tell your husband you’re leaving? What’s it like to come home after committing murder, to sit in your living room and know that everything around you suddenly lies on a very thin pane of glass?
The night Johanna came back, Lily and Anna were quiet. They were both giving me space, waiting, watching. We all knew the change was coming. Things had soured. Lily and Anna were constantly fighting. Anna, once quiet but strong, had become sad and withdrawn. Lily had become dangerous. There was a man who had come to the house twice that month. She hadn’t told him anything, but the message was clear: she could. There was a lot she could do, and make things very difficult for me.
I was restless that night. I walked upstairs, wandering through the useless rooms. I heard music downstairs, Lily playing loud bubbly pop. She knew we hated that.
I found Anna lying on the big bed, watching a weather report. She looked at me, then looked back at the TV without saying anything. I could see tears welling in her eyes.
I climbed on top of Anna and took her head in my hand, grazing her smooth, pale cheek with my nose. I nuzzled her ear, then bit it lightly. She just lay limp and unmoving. I bit harder, and harder—until I broke the skin and her rusty blood seeped onto my tongue. She took a sharp breath, but otherwise continued to lay silent and still. I licked lightly at her bleeding ear until the doorbell rang.
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