Monday Jun 24

RihamAdly Riham Adly worked as a volunteer editor in 101 words magazine and is currently a first reader/ marketing coordinator in Vestal Review. Riham is a creative writing instructor. Her short stories appeared in Vestal Review, Page&Spine, The Ekphrastic Review, Cafelit, Tuck magazineFictionalCafe, Writing In A Woman's Voice, Visual Verse, Paragraph Planet and the Clarendon Press anthologies (Vortex, Carrier Wave and Cadence) . She has upcoming stories in Spelk, The Cabinet of Heed, Carp Arte and Soft Cartel. Her story "The Darker Side of the Moon" won the Makan Award in Egypt in 2013. Riham lives in Gizah,  Egypt with her family.

      A lament is a song, a deep tone roping me into a deep well, clandestine touches of fingers alternating between shadow and light.

      The sound of the lament—a rich gust of melody—is louder than the high-pitched whirr of my drill. A billow of enamel dust fogs my vision but not my sight; I know it now, like I knew it then. The hour of my demise has begun.

      It is much easier to live like a shell, soul-free. Swindling hand-shakes sealing dubious deals, broken promises cemented with deceit.

      Here’s a cavity I chisel in light swerves using my best diamond baby, an inverted stone with a conical head. I dig and dig, fill then drag my obscure mercuric poison reinforced with mighty silver and copper for strength, metals of the earth they are, elements of greed in your average periodic table.

      Margaret peers at me after spitting excess filling in the spittoon. She lay there on the dental chair smiling, her perfume over-powering the floating odor of camphoric Eugenol. The composite of scents reminds me of freshly turned earth after rainfall.

      Margaret…Margaret…Margaret, my smiling macabre doll bespectacled in the red rubies and pink diamonds I lavish on her. Margaret in pink fringes, Margaret in rose-patch ripped jeans, Margaret sashaying her way to my heart. Her undulating charm never fading.

      I never look good in suits, but I’m quite a sight in my white coat.

      I let my hand touch her throat, my finger caressing her jugular, feeling her life pulse in steady throbs. Convoluted chasms well up inside me. I see roses impaled on a stick, delicious rose kebabs, not her Sunset Jasmine when I sniff her neck. I let my nose follow the blueprints to Margret’s flesh. She tastes soft in my mouth like when we first kissed. Thirteen months ago to be exact.

      Jason sits where he always does, out on the sidewalk. Homeless Jason and his cards, always happy, always free. Margaret pities him, says we should help, but why should we when he finds food and accommodation in the shelter? She says we should let him read our future.

      “Hello sir.” He’s young, much younger than me, young enough for Margaret.

      “Today’s card is…” He shuffles and reshuffles one deck upon another.   “Pull a card sir and keep it hidden and I’ll sketch what you’ve got without knowing what you picked.”

      I pull a card. “The Devil” no doubt...

      Shuffle after reshuffle. Time whirrs in my head like a dental drill, voices whisper into my skull.

      “The Lover’s card, it is sir.”

      I watch his fervent stokes, he works quick, hands shaky, eyes narrowing in focus. He looks intense, but that doesn’t stop him from stealing glances when he shouldn’t.

      In the cavernous retreat that is our home Margaret offers me lemonade. I like mine extra sweet. Margaret likes to serve it lavender colored, her way of making it special. I sip and sip and sip. Feels good, doesn’t it?

      My eyes need to rest. I shall lie in my bed, soon. I shall metamorphose from the zombie in a white coat to the vampire in a suit to the naked werewolf. I am what I am, a monster lying in peace waiting for its resurrection. No swindling handshakes or broken promises. No bespectacled wife in trailing perfume. Margaret will love the analogy.

      I like the blue-tinged gloom tucking me in. The truth breaks into many pieces, and it’s like witnessing my image in a gallery of mirrors. A deluded fisherman casting his net in the dark.