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Werefore Art Thou David? by Jen Matteis

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She turned the envelope over in her hands. She had waited so long for this letter, but now she wasn’t sure she could bring herself to open it.

The envelope was robin’s egg blue with cartoonish red hearts on it. It also smelled a little funny. Pungent, and kind of musky. A little like wet dog. Her name and address were written in large, child-like handwriting in green ink, and there was no return address.

Becca took a deep breath, then tore open the envelope. Silver glitter scattered down her shirt and across the kitchen table, turning her blouse into a laundry chore and the dark table into a starscape. She pulled out the letter, shaking the glitter onto the table. The thick paper was folded in thirds. Trembling, she unfolded it.

Dear Becca,

You are probably wondering, “Why am I covered in glitter right now?”

She almost smiled.

I wanted to prove to you that I still have my sense of humor. Yes, I have changed. Yes, I should probably never see you again. But I am still myself in many ways. You are probably wondering were I am. Get it? For obvious reasons, I cannot tell you where I am living, but I would love to see you. I know I have done terrible things, and I do not expect you to forgive me. But I hope I can see you one last time, and I know you must feel the same. A love like ours transcends any circumstance. And what happened to me was not my choice. I cannot be held responsible for my behavior. I love you and I hope you understand. Our anniversary is approaching. At noon on that day, meet me at the place where I proposed. I hope you will come see me.

Love you forever,
David

Becca’s hands were shaking. She looked at the calendar stuck to the fridge. Four days remained until her anniversary. For a moment, she thought about going back to him. Maybe they could make it work. Then she laughed, a sad and sober, mocking laugh. She looked at the wall opposite the fridge. There, her father’s face stared down at her from a photo taken at Cobalt Bay, five months ago, right before everything in her life went wrong. He was standing in a boat, holding up a fish he’d just caught, with a grin splayed across his face. But his eyes were serious. And his voice rang in her head, the only place she could hear it anymore: “Kill the damn thing.”

Becca crumpled the letter in her hand and dropped it onto the table, a moon in the field of stars. She stood, then walked over to the desk in the living room. She opened the top drawer and took out a small handgun. Then she pulled out another envelope, the one she hadn’t been able to open back when it might have made a difference.

It was a large, padded yellow envelope with a foreign return address. The package that Dad had bought on eBay, when they’d first found out. She tore it open, and emptied the contents onto the top of the desk. Bullets—silver in more than their color—clattered across the hard wood. Her expression was stoic, but tears ran down her face as she loaded the gun.

 


I love that I had to read this three times before I understood it. The clues were there all along, but I never suspected that the author was writing a mystery piece with the economy of flash fiction. It makes the reader relish the revelation.  – Dan Buck

 

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