Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

I lay on a table, my chest cavity exposed. A bandana covers my mouth, so tight it nearly cuts my skin, and a light aimed at my chest blinds me. I barely notice the figures around me, the four knives laying on a white cloth beside my head, before they begin.

My first lover lifts his knife — the smallest — and cuts out a triangle in the center of my heart. He looks at my face then steps away. Without looking into my eyes, the next lover carves out a nearly perfect circle to the right, just above the triangle. He begins a second one to the left but stumbles out of view when the third pushes him out of the way. I watch as he eagerly slashes deep Xs where the other circle would have been.

Before the third is even finished, the fourth lover gently lowers their knife, starting with a slow, sweeping motion for a mouth. I sigh, thinking I’m safe, and their pupils lift to me. A grin appears on their face as they drag the knife in zig-zag motions. Their eyes bore into mine. I look away, pleading to the others through the blur of tears. I recognize the first two as they step forward, but the third pulls them back. I turn my gaze to the light and hold my breath.

The knife finally lifts, and I’m left alone. I gingerly remove the bandana and toss it over the cloth, now covered in blood and tissue. Knives are strewn about haphazardly. My heart pounds. I hang my legs over the table’s edge, replace the skin and bone over my chest, and hope my feet catch me when I fall.

Rebecca Kelley is a fourth-year English major with a minor in Creative Writing. RK905058@wcupa.edu

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