WIP: Headhunters

A half-assed meditation on the weather and the whole-assed “good riddance” to a very long day.


It’s raining in Los Angeles, and the city is sighing — the long slow breath before the sob. There’s a lightness in the air, and it carries with it the promise of a more translucent day. Through the window, it is any other winter night, save for the skittering percussion of water landing gracelessly on unnatural earth.

She sits on a bed and faces the windowsill, watches it, as if willing its still life tableau into motion. Two stalks of leaning bamboo towering over a bucket of succulents; a paper fan facing an almost-empty jar.

She is alone. She is not alone. There is a knot in her upper back and every attempt she makes to unspool it settles it deeper into the fabric of her shoulders.

She stretches, and the knot tightens. From it, almost invisible to the distracted eye, appears a thread that shimmers when the streetlight hits at exactly the right angle; it winds its way around her torso, mimicking the slants of her ribs, digging into the cotton of her belly, settling against her thigh, dangling off the side of the bed as it shines its trail out of the room, leaving her line of sight as it slips under the door.

She strains against her side to see where it goes, to see beyond the shadows and find the source of her internal ache. But the knot tightens. The thread straightens. Her body is locked into place, and her eyes fail at the door. So she closes them, and looks inward; from the sockets in the skull along the ridge of the hollow nose into the rank damp of the mouth, down the slippery throat, turning away from the spongy lungs and the heavy, bruising heart, choosing instead to rest on the silvery coil, nested on her shoulder blades. There it begins — the mysterious, luminous line. It emerges from her skin and cages her body, but it is not hers. It’s tethered to something else, and though it settles its spiral in her, it pushes, always, outward, anchoring the girl in the rain-scored room but setting out for its rightful home.

Follow where it leads.


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