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  Table of contents Issue Fourteen DEAD LINE



oredom. Days of boredom. Days of typing a word and deleting it. Then one day. Two words. Knock knock. The keys hit the door. Knock knock. I got up from the typewriter and opened it. Gary Tolma was standing on the other side. I'd met him a few times at the Bell II Community Centre. On most Sundays, he would be there with his father, a War Vet, who suffered from dementia and possibly post traumatic stress disorder, collecting Tupperware and sampling old lady's bake sales. He looked to be in his mid-forties. Some grey. A few deep-set wrinkles around his eyes.

”Hi Gary.” A cloud of my breath floated into the frozen air and dissipated against his smile.

"I thought you might like to go for a ride".

A snowmobile was parked at the end of the driveway. I could hear the motor ticking as it cooled down. Gary was wearing a reversible hunting jacket, camouflage on the inside and fluorescent orange on the out. I looked past him, out onto the frozen lake, and imagined the leviathan fish hibernating in its depths. My eyes returned to the flatness of his expression. But that was the whole reason I was here; too many thoughts and too many expressions. I had moved north to live a simple life and get away from it. Whatever it was. I’d been alone for the last three weeks, with hardly any human contact, writing, and living in too many places; too many contradictions; too many paradoxes, for one mind. "Sure, just give me a minute to suit up." I opened the door, so he could step inside. "Coffee’s still hot, cream’s in the fridge."

I listened from my bedroom as his hard boots rolled against the linoleum. I knew exactly where he was. I could see him standing in front of the fridge, looking at all of the pictures I had taken of myself. I could see his gloved hand reaching for the handle. The crack of the rubber seal breaking.

"You make your own Chinese food?" He asked.

"Sometimes," I shouted back.

"Chinese food is good when you’re hungry," he responded, as though just to himself.

The air was dry and the sun was hot. It felt good to be out on the road. I put my visor down to protect my eyes. I liked riding on the back. I liked a chance to be with someone, but not have to say anything. Isn’t that what we all want anyways; someone we can sit with comfortably in silence?

The countryside was black and white. All that was dead was black and all that had killed it was white. We diverted into the trees. I felt like an animal, running. I felt like I remembered a past life. Then the forest ended and the sky opened. The snowmobile glided along the ice. We stopped in the middle of the lake.

I had forgotten to eat breakfast and thought about the chow mien in my fridge. I was tired of eating it, but it was all I knew how to make and Gary was right - I was hungry.

"Sometimes I just come out here and scream," Gary looked at me. "Go ahead try it".

I screamed.

"Go ahead, until you can’t do it anymore."

I screamed again.

He stared at me and smiled. "I like you, Sarah. You’re pretty."

"Thanks Gary.”

Compliments made me feel insecure. Just another reminder that there was something surrounding attractiveness that I had to worry about.

"But I never see you smile," he pulled out a boning knife.

He pulled my head back and put the knife to my face. It’s sharp edge tickled my cheek, before sinking into it and burning. The warm blood felt nice. It tickled as it trickled down my skin and froze.

"Nobody will miss you," He pulled his face back to look at me. Then with the tip of his knife expertly cut my clothes off.

The cold air turned my skin purple and blue.

"You already look dead.”

He grabbed me by my thighs and lifted me, and set my body on the ice.

My muscles contracted.

I welcomed the numb. Pain was the only thing warm. The loss of appetite felt nice. Laying against that sheet of white paper, not caring about a word to write. Spilling like a red pen, felt nice. The pain against the numbness. The bruising against the ice. The nebulous of white caught in his draft as he drove away.

Well, you are dying. What do you feel? I asked myself.





Jenny Diana Smith lives in Vancouver, Canada, and works as a secretary at a law office. She is self-educated. She has written reviews for Room Journal and Anvil Press. In 2012, her painting was featured on the cover of the crime themed issue of Room Journal. Her work is featured on the covers of the August 2014, Issue 10, and Winter 2015, Issue 13, of HelloHorror. When Jenny is not working, you can find her in the clearance section of Winners, impulse buying delusionally undersized clothing that will end up being used as a paint rag within the week. HelloHorror features a Gallery of her artwork.

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