The following story is inspired by biological facts. The main female character is a creation of pure fiction but if she were to be real somewhere in the world, she would be…genius.
She is screaming. Her old mother in the next room cannot hear her pleading shrieks. She is screaming. Her father, dying in the bathroom, cannot hear her moans. They are all deaf. She wishes she is deaf, too. Why shall she alone endure her screeching soul and crying body? Her back to the wall, her purple skirt up to her waist, and his sunshine into her; a stroke of lightning. She is screaming and all is deaf and thunder shakes their bodies.
Two weeks later, she receives her monthly check up results. HIV positive. She runs home and finds him sleeping on the crumbling mattress. Slapping him, she wakes him up from his fantasies. Thrusting her away, he slits her dreams. She throws her medical report in his face. He, illiterate, recognizes the three letters and knows their poison. He falls on the mattress. Everything comes rushing back into his mind. The prison bars, the vomit meals, but most of all, his cell mate. He remembers that night. Unforgettable.
It is his last night in prison. After three years of cold water and hot spit, he is coming out at last. Only two more hours and he will be free, two hours unlike any other. His cell mate, in for ten more years yet to come, stayed up that night watching the smiles and euphoria brightening the other half of his cell. He had never spoken to that blond man but he could not bear the overflowing hope from the other half of his cell.
He is not screaming for men do not scream. The guards asleep in their chambers cannot hear his whimpers. The neighboring prisoners awake and smoking cannot hear his breathless whines. They are all deaf. He wishes he is free. Why shall he alone endure his enslaved soul and trembling body? His face to the frozen floor of the cell, his navy blue pants down to his knees, and his cell mate beams into him; a solar flare. He is sobbing and all is deaf and brittle howls break their bodies. Next morning he is lying prostrate on the floor, his blond hair frazzled and wet. The guard orders him to stand and exit the cell but he cannot raise his beseeching body. The guard helps him up and tells him to sit down on the metal chair outside the cell. But once his sun touches the metallic seat, he cries in agony of memories only two hours old. He walks with legs open and limping, like a toddler still learning his first steps. His first free steps out of jail are those of a man defeated by cold and mighty cell mates, are those of a stranger crying in putrid alleys, are those of a man no longer a man.
It has been five years since his release but he cannot forget that night. Five years of unemployment and failure. Five years of stealing money from his mother’s hidden purse and desperate visits to the brothel two blocks away. But no more money remains, no more hidden purses, no more midnight pleasures.
She works at the local clinic and barely makes money to feed the family. She stays overtime to gain the extra five percent of her salary but that is blown away once she returns home and finds him. He snatches her bag and eats the five percent, heading to the brothel; his favorite restaurant. She stops doing overtime because it is pointless to work hard then squander the money on whores. He notices and tonight he asks for her salary. She refuses to give him anything. She grasps onto her purple skirt barely staying alive. She knows his prison time was tough but he cannot simply digest her money and excrete sunshine and misery. He approaches her with eyes burning and hands like claws reaching for skin and food and flesh. She is screaming.
He eventually falls asleep on the mattress leaving the sofa to her. She waits for two hours. She packs her bag, leaving her mother in the bedroom, and her father, dying, in the bathtub. She no longer needs this family, these people, this monster. She, the virus, and the road yet to come are all that matter now. She leaves the house through the backdoor. The dawn breaking, the early rays of sunlight penetrating the darkness like his, like his cell mate’s, like – she imagines – hers.
She does not go for her brother’s brothel for he will eventually see her whenever he visits again. She walks a mile and a half till she reaches the second closest brothel. It is much smaller than her brother’s. She hopes he never finds the money or the time to visit this one. She hopes he never finds the money or the time to live any more. It is dark and, except for the red light bulb on the door, it is utterly dead. She opens the door and arrives home.
The lady gives her the last room on the right where the door creaks and does not fully close. A big bed, two carpets, one cracked mirror, and no windows. The bed sheets are exceptionally white; she never expected that level of sanitation in a place like this. The carpets do not look very clean, though. She finds many blood stains all over them. She empties her bag which has a cheap tube of red lipstick, the kind that wears off. She had borrowed it from her friend at the clinic right after she received her HIV report. She had planned everything that moment, that moment she saw the positivity of the virus and her negativity. She had packed a few other garments, ones she had bought with her mother years ago when she was to get married, in addition to her Bible. Her Bible is always with her. She uses it frequently, especially at the clinic where tens of souls depart and others arrive. A bag of red and holy scripture. A brothel of lust and grace. Some place of vengeance and love. Her vengeance and some strange love lost in blood stains and cracked mirrors.
The lady tells her she starts working tonight because one of the girls left two days ago. She listens to the story of the poor girl who left after seeing the light of God. The lady smirks. She stays in her room till opening hour; midnight.
She wonders. Is it still alive within her? A virus so brilliant, it changes her fate. From a nurse at the local clinic to a girl of red. She thought it would be hard to abandon her life. She thought it would be suffocating to let go of her white uniform and fit herself into this tight baby doll. But it is not; the viper within her body slithers over her heart and soul, poisoning all sense of sympathy and melancholy, licking the glorified sacrifice as it shines in her mind. She is the vanquisher of suns too bright and hot for bodies melting in corners. She is the avenger of infinite women stabbed by sunshine in rooms too stifling for waves of heat. She is the lioness of pleasure given from behind fangs of revenge too sharp for mercy.
She lies on the bed with her back to the door and her naked legs pale and cold; calling. Her flagrant body exposed for eyes and hands and sunshine. He kicks the door open and back to shut it but it stands ajar leaving a crack of freedom.
She is sure. She is as strong as herself. She embraces the virus, promising love and care. She breathes. She breathes in his scent, one of cigarettes and despair. She breathes in his rough hands on her thighs. She breathes in his gazing eyes on her breasts. She feels the heat wailing in the damp air between them. The bed, battlefield, smothered by their intertwining, warring, bodies. The light blinding. The room aflame. The virus euphoric. Her soul victorious.
Their scream escapes through the crack, out into the open starry skies. She screams as the light burns her. The virus screams as it races into new pleated secrets. Their scream, higher than the mighty thunderstorms in all the other rooms, celebrates.
He slides the money beneath her left thigh and stoops to kiss her one last time. He leaves, she heaves. A spectrum of lights and wondrous colors flood her heart. She is queen. She knows that he and all others may not die or suffer or even welcome the virus, but the gratification of endangering kings by giving death masked, basked in sex and heat and light, overwhelms all crowns. An act of passion, a crime scene; genius.
She never tires of melting onto the bed as another king strips himself of jewels, stepping down, abandoning his throne for her, for the virus. She never loses the intensity of love, lascivious and vengeful. Her conviction reborn every time the door is kicked ajar, her body starving for light, her soul screaming for victory. Relentlessly ruling every time, giving more than what they think, giving more than a body, more than love, more than all their fantasies; giving the deathly kiss of revenge.
The doctor tells her to stop doing overtime because it is extra effort and it will make her condition worse. She knows her heart is a weak thing. Myocarditis and HIV at her age is too much to endure. She stops doing overtime to minimize effort and so that her brother doesn’t find any five percent to consume. Her breathing dances at times; she fainted twice at the clinic. A weak heart and a powerful virus; a body of battles. She hides her heart problems from everyone, she wishes she can hide them from herself but her heart speaks louder than its beats.
The moon tonight is extraordinary, gleaming ecstatically with prophecies of pride. The bed sheets, changed a few hours ago, shine immaculately. The cracked mirror sings of dreams unknown yet beautiful. The room is infused with an auspicious air of newborn hope. She feels tonight emanates a taste of incredible love, unfelt and unreal yet powerfully permeating all places and sounds. She hears a howl, a hoot, and heavy footsteps approaching. This time the door does not creak, it is not kicked as usual, it is pushed inwards slowly as if the king is dancing at one of his balls. The king carefully strokes the door back. The door surrenders to his majestic caress, closing for the first time. Her back to the king, as always, she cannot help but imagine how his majesty looks, his face of smooth and caring features, eyes of benevolence, lips painted by the gods, teeth too white to bite, tongue carved for holy passions. She imagines his hands effeminate, incapable of clawing necks or pinching thighs. She strips his majesty of all possible cruelty or vigor. Her imagination soars to skies of fantasy and passion; unparalleled.
But imagined kings die and reality kills.
Aberrance; his sunshine shrieks, scorching her star, she dies.
Her weak heart, deafened by her own scream, blinded by his sunshine, melts onto the white bed sheets staining them black. A crescendo unprecedented implodes within her leaving an echo of a final passionate moan, suspended in the air, reverberating true stories of sacrifice and genius. Queen dethroned in all nudity and beauty and poison. The closed door seals the room and hides her secret in the stained bed sheets and singing cracked mirror and the real king, no longer imagined and perfect, injects himself into a corpse because death is sweet and bright.