Returning from vacation is always disappointing. At least work was easy today, and I’ve been working on the story again. A friend wanted to read a little, so heres a little more.
Twelve years later, she built a house in the woods. On her own, she can parallel wire car batteries and arrange a solar panel array to power everything she needs with an unseen efficiency. Static electricity leaves her hair on end. Her clothes look messy and cling to her body.
It’s an odd sort of repellant – you can feel the shock of her hands as she draws you in, when she reaches out to touch you. She’s a fry cook in a local dive bar. Their specialty is hash: greasy shredded potatoes, peppers, and onion burnt black with an egg on top. When the neon signs go out, she has the touch to bring them back to life.
They tried her out front, behind the bar. Thinking her laugh and her eyes would keep the boys coming in when their shifts at the warehouses and cylinder plant ended. They forgot, though, her way of looking at people from beneath her bangs, the way she can stare at a fixed spot for hours on end and still mix, pour, and count change. They lost more money with her there, as she always gave her friends free drinks. Knowing this, lots of people pretended to be her friends during her month as a bartender.
She dropped out of school and picked up a second job. An odd job. Local nursing homes were swiftly losing STNAs because young women who think themselves beautiful shudder when asked to clean dead bodies. She agreed to do her first, and soon she was in business. Old men with liver spots and wrinkles were heard to say they longed for death: to feel her hands on their skin.
She washed these souls with such longing that you would weep to see her lift your loved one’s arm, slip her sponge beneath a sagging breast. With her tingling, electrified fingers, she could barely feel the clammy flesh. Washing them was otherworldly, and she cried, imagining the instructions they might give her if they were alive: “Be careful when you rub my calves and feet.” “I could really use a manicure, dear.” And she’d talk to them, whispering beneath her breath. The things she told them were more than personal, but she never need fear that they’d spread. All her life she was aware of the fact that she could go days without anyone talking to her. Now, she had a captive, human audience.
She washed each one in such adoring faith and life. It should have been no surprise when the first one woke up.