Page Turner Challenge: Picks
Tell Me Not To by Megan Cavon
I click the clothespin open and shut. It's cheaply made and the metal spring is coated with rust. Still, it opens and closes with little complaint. Such an innocuous object, yet, I hold it with a gloved hand.
Her body is covered with them. It isn’t my job to count, but I would say well within the hundreds. I don’t know how there was still skin left to pinch. Like a human porcupine she lies there. This room, with daylight filtering in through cheap polyester, makes me nauseous. Red velvet cushions sit on faded sofas. Tacky beads hang in the one doorway; thin veil to the hall beyond. Her body is stretched along the hardwood and tangled hair spreads like a mocking halo, blending into the once-cream rug. There are no clothespins in her hair.
I wonder why not.
Her nails are painted a teal blue, almost obscured by the pin clipped to each finger. Each knuckle has its own pin and each knuckle above that. Both sides of her wrists are pulled taught. I start to count the wooden poles despite myself. Maybe it is to see individual items instead of the whole, gruesome picture.
I keep up the counting in my head. Almost like sheep, helping to put my thoughts to rest for the moment. They’ll come back soon enough. I should leave before they do.
Open. Close. The clothespin is still in my hand. But I don’t control my hand.
Megan Cavon is from Ottawa, ON