A Lost Love
John Henry ran his fingers through his little girl’s hair. The golden curls were as soft as silk. He stroked her peachy skin, kissing the nape of her neck.
‘We’re nearly ready, my love.’ John took her hand into his. The tiny palms were still so tender. ‘Very close to the end now.’
John turned his little girl around. ‘Now, now, don’t cry.’ He brushed away the tears with the back of his hand. ‘There’s a good girl, no need to cry.’
John lifted her off his lap and walked over to the brown, tattered suitcase. Undoing the straps he gently lifted out the little bag of nails and hammer.
‘See, my love,’ he said, taking her face into his hands, ‘This is nearly finished.’ John moved his face forward and kissed her lips, forcing his tongue into her mouth. His little girl tired pulling away, but he held her fast.
He played around with the stub that had been her tongue.
‘Wasn’t that sweet?’ John helped her up, taking care not to touch the torn flesh and black and blue marks. He didn’t want to hurt her. She was his little girl.
John bit his lip. ‘This is all going to be over soon, I promise.’
His little girl’s tears broke his heart. The way her face was pulled together. Her eyes pleading him. Why did she have to look at him like this? Why couldn’t his little girl just be happy? She would be coming back soon, anyways.
John led her over to the wall, bent down and took her fast from beneath her arms, his thumbs touching her flat chest. He lifted her up. She was so terribly light, barely heavier than a sack of flower. John rested her feet on a stool.
‘There, just one more thing left for you and me.’ John looked his little girl in the eye as he stretched out her arm. He lifted the nail to her palm and held it between his thumb and index finger. John drew back the hammer and in one swift motion, pounded it against the nail.
‘No,’ whispered John to his little girl, ‘don’t look like that.’ She wasn’t allowed to look like that. Her mouth stretched open into a silent scream.
Please, she seemed to say.
John kept on looking at her as he went on to the next hand. His hands shook slightly as he swung the hammer this time.
‘Just stop it!’ He wanted to use his hammer to end her pain. But he knew that then it wouldn’t work. She had to stay alive.
John let go of her arms and held her feet together, one over the other. He had to beat three times before the nail held her in place. A stream of blood flowed from her.
John turned around and made his way back to the suitcase. He gently picked the knife from its place and stared at its gleam. John walked back to her.
‘See? It’s all nearly done.’ John took a sharp breath and placed the blade slightly over her breasts.
The blade slipped in her without any resistance. The scarlet blood spurted out from her body like a small fountain. John sawed through the bone, cutting away the flesh.
John pressed his lips against her again. He drank down the blood as it flowed into her mouth.
John pressed his fingers into her chest and felt for the beating heart. He tightened his gripped around it and began pulling it from her body. With a final struggle, his little girl went limp.
John moved quickly, severing the veins with one fast slice. John pulled away from her and his little girls head fell.
John ran to the small, wooden table and placed the still beating heart on it. His knife sank into the muscle as if it were butter. John grabbed a bowl and tossed the pieces of flesh into it.
He poured milk and sprinkled a bundle of clovers over.
John heaved a heavy breath and glanced at his little girl. All life had left her now scarlet body. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘I had to. You’ll understand when you come back. I know you will.’
John Henry took the bowl into his hand and made his way through the back door into the consultation room. The heavily pregnant women smiled at him as he walked over to her.
‘What happened?’ she asked him. ‘You look like a mess.’
‘I’m sorry, love. I lost the other patient.’
‘That’s terrible,’ she said. ‘I’m sorry for that.’
‘Don’t worry about it,’ John said. ‘I brought you your medicine.’
‘What is it?’ the soon-to-be mother asked the physician.
‘Just an old remedy to help ease the future pains.’ John Henry handed her the bowl. ‘You’d better eat all of it, it might not work.’
‘I will.’ The woman stood up and made her way for the door. ‘Sorry again for the loss.’
‘I think it’s going to hurt the parents more,’ said John. ‘It really will be terrible to tell them.’
‘That’s why I didn’t become a doctor.’ The woman smiled and left.
‘See you soon,’ John said under his breath. ‘With my little girl.’