by Carla Damron

A squeeze of a finger is all it takes. Sound explodes behind me like thunder. I am lead with fire inside, sleek as liquid, my brass tip flashing gold like a wedding ring as I spin through the air. No wind, no distance alters my course.

You had been waiting for her, dressed in that gray suit she told you she liked. The smile you wear is practiced. It used to deceive her, but not anymore.

I pierce your skin like a needle through velvet. The heat of you startles me, but I press on because I will not be stopped. Your rib is as brittle as driftwood and when I nick it, my trajectory tilts, just a little. I have only these seconds, but that is all it takes.

At first, you do not know who sent me. Faces flash in your mind: your wife, after so many betrayals. Your business partner wearied of your schemes. The son you could never love though you tried, or at least, you thought you did. But he no longer speaks to you and your wife--she plays the game better than you, doesn’t she?

As I push into the melon of your heart, I feel the quiver and jolt. I race through an artery, an unsteady boat slowing. Your heart stutters and thumps. Your stubborn chest fills with air. Surrender was never your way.

When she comes to stand over you, you want to reach out to her. You think how you wanted her, how her full-bellied laugh surprised you, how her soft petal lips aroused you in a way you never expected. And you spoke of promises... Speaking them was always easier than keeping them, but you had thought, maybe this time?

You whisper, “Please.” You have a lifetime of regrets, but she doesn’t know. She turns and walks away, something you could never do.

As your arm drops, I settle in the muscle of your heart, strong and pink like a virgin. It shudders then stills. I’m immersed in a thickening pool of your blood, warm like a summer ocean, as you grow cold as granite.

Carla Damron, author of the Caleb Knowles mystery series, has published three mysteries: Keeping Silent (2002) Spider Blue (2006), and Death in Zooville (2010). The State newspaper describes Carla’s writing: “Damron's carefully constructed plot and thoughtfulness about social ills contribute to a noteworthy work.... She has the talent to play on a much broader stage.” Her short stories have appeared in Buck Naked Unitarians, Mystery on the Wind, Six Minute Magazine, and Melusine Literary Journal. Damron recently completed an MFA in Creative Writing. Now availabe on Kindle and Nook: an updated version of Keeping Silent! www.carladamron.com.