“X-Ray” – Fiction by Rosie Adams

eye-escher
Eye – M.C. Escher, 1946

From our Winter 2018 issue, “X-Ray” is Rosie Adams’ unnerving yet captivating flash fiction, which we recently nominated for inclusion in the 2018 Best Small Fictions Anthology.

{ X }

WHEN THE STEREO BEGAN TO BUZZ AND DISTORT I knew it was time and my heart leapt up to take its place in my mouth his voice was garbled and faraway as if speaking into the phone through a glass his profile picture was a close up of his EYE the picture had an effect added to it the name of the effect might have been X-Ray it turned light colours dark and vice versa giving the picture an unnerving quality inverted colours everything a variation of green I saw the EYE when I closed my own it followed me into my dreams I had the feeling of my organs clasped in an icy grip I stopped breathing out I passed the time waiting for Messages and Signs the relationship seemed to be taking place on another planet he had to be the one to contact me if I tried to initiate he would not respond there were rules that were never said out loud some of them I might have imagined whether imagined or not I devoted all my energy to following them I needed to keep the EYE on me without it I knew I would become hopelessly depressed
finally we met in real life I knew him by the way he crept towards me his lips did not move when he spoke he immediately placed his hands on my breasts and put his mouth over mine I was sure I could hear something inside him I imagined that it was his heart the details of him I can remember his clothes made a great deal of noise squeaking leather I could hear his steel toed boots walking a street away he wore a lot of glinting silver attracting attention from local birds his flesh was cool to the touch turning blue in some places today I search for him on the internet I find him commenting on message boards for a television programme that has been off the air for ten years I feel the EYE urging me to do the things I did in my youth the undoing of my shirt and jeans the slow pulling of a sock from the end of my foot the teeth of his zip raking along my cheek on the mattress on his floor he said I was sexy enough to be a glamour model now the skin of my breasts is growing slack a cluster of spidery veins has appeared on my left calf I would be ashamed for him to see me still I yearn to be watched I find myself scanning the blank faces of people in the vicinity customers I’m serving passersby I realise I am taking stock of their EYES as I do this I recite a minor prayer waiting for my breath to catch then hold and hold.

{ X }

ROSIE ADAMS lives and writes in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Her work has appeared in Pacifica Literary Review, Gone Lawn, and Strix. Her website is rosieadams.net and she is on Twitter @rosieawrites.

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