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Washing their hands of it...

Necrology Magazine has shut down. Which is sad because it was a pretty cool lil' horror mag dedicated to "tales of macabre and horror!" (to be said in very Orson Wells-ish voice).

According to their web site:

"We are sorry, Necrology Magazine has closed. Our parent company has decided to close Necrology Magazine for undisclosed reasons. We wish to thank all our contributors for the wonderful stories and material which they submitted to us over the issues."

How mysterious. Alas, my short story "Hands Born Dirty" had recently been published on the "Shorts" section of their web site, and as the site is down, it pretty much no longer exists as a published piece. I'm not sure how that affects my sending the story elsewhere (anyone know?).

If you're interested in reading it, I've posted it here in the meantime. It's a pretty short piece, and a pretty dark one. Let me know what you think :)

Hands Born Dirty
By Kayley Thomas

Sometimes, when the motel they were hiding out in wasn’t entirely disgusting, Jonathan liked to take a long, hot bath. Hot enough to scald his skin pink and red, not enough to blister. Just enough take away the grime and pain and leave him numb to everything else but this fiery baptism, this pure submersion.

It was never a good idea. At first, it’d be relaxing, after his skin had settled into the water, accepting, tingling pleasantly. But then the tub would inevitably cloud with dirt and blood and whatever else Jonathan reeked and dripped of, and it was no longer escape, reprieve. Flooded by the days’, the months’, the years’ memories. Drowning. And he would try to drown it out, duck his head under water, his whole body under, send small waves over the edge of the tub splashing to the floor, and he would hold his breath intermittently, and suck the warm water in. But while gravity was no match for the weight Jonathan carried, he would eventually emerge, coughing and sputtering, cursing, gasping, breathing. His blood hot and racing, crying out for oxygen. For blood.

God bless hotel amenities. Many a towel and soap had been stolen for future cleanups, nights when the car as rest stop would have to do; now and again they even took a pillow or sheet or two. And sometimes, there were straight razors, small things poised all delicate by the sink, and Jonathan would grab one without thinking, laying it on the tub’s ledge before disrobing, sinking into the water, staring. The blade gleamed. Hypnotizing. Jonathan wasn’t sure why. He knew it’d be a girlie way to go; men pulled triggers, swallowed gun powder, kissed by bullets in the temple. But something seemed right about the cool sharp against his wrist, that little hill of veins, and the idea of bleeding out, all the bad blood slowly leaking out of him…Seemed only right. And he would have time to think as he died, to digest what he’d done, appreciate it, savor it…

Most times, Jonathan just stared at the razor lazily, sitting there pink or blue, his fingers growing pruny. Some nights he would hold it to his wrist, simply hold it, feel the soft scrape, the dull shiver that ran through him. And once or twice he had tried, really tried, but these disposable razors were as shitty as everything else in the holes in the wall they stayed in, and all Jonathan could manage was a flushed chafing, a quickly fading white scratch in the skin. And then Rik would be pounding on the door, wanting to know what the hell was taking Jonny so long, he had to piss, and Jonathan would dunk himself under again, so all of his face came out wet and red.

And Jonathan would open the door, and let Rik in, and sometimes Jonathan would pull him into the shaking warmth of his skin, and sometimes Rik wouldn’t even complain about Jonathan dripping all over him, and sometimes, sometimes, they would kiss. All the way into the bed, and Jonathan would sink down into the sheets and hold his breath until he came gasping, blood racing, cursing and praying, crying, immersed in Rik and emerging like something clean, purified. And he could write off the scrapes on his wrists as brush burns, or just scars, and just wear them. Wear them around until they got too heavy, until he felt like going under again, until he was covered in so much dirt and blood again he didn't know if it would ever wash away, or whose it was, Rik‘s or theirs or his.


Thank you so much!

The characters are somewhat early incarnations of the two main characters in the novel I'm working on, and hopefully that will unveil their history a bit more explicitly. This was a fairly vague, cryptic piece in some ways - I tend to focus more on the details, like you said, than plot necessarily ;) But I'm so glad you enjoyed it...

There's another short piece posted here, if you're interested. Just a real quick bit of flash fiction. I'm hoping to clean up some longer pieces for posting/shopping about soon.

Thanks for reading and commenting <3