Aphelion Issue 239, Volume 23
May 2019
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Body in my Bed

by Susan Anwin

Every time I get home, there's a naked body in the bed. It's always the same body: female, 30's, just lying there, pale in the early morning gloom. There's nothing even remotely erotic in it, it's just a bag of flesh really, a little bit sad, if anything. I'm not sure if it's dead or not (it doesn't respond to my prodding), but at least it doesn't smell. I don't know whom to contact about it. Trying to use the phone here seems like a bad idea altogether. Whenever I try to call someone all kinds of weird stuff happens. Last time I tried a stinky black goo started to ooze from the receiver. My life is weird enough as is; a random body in my bed isn't gonna phase me. At least it's something I can rely on, something that's always there every time I step through the door. Everything else is a jumble of unconnected fragments, a whirlwind of images and impressions, voices and faces. I can never prepare for what the night may bring. There was this one time my entire flat turned into a maze and I was hell bent to find someone, racing up and down wide stairs, scuttling along marble paneled corridors, opening into spacious rooms and parlors, running until I could not run anymore, as the pantry I opened into was a dead end. There was a wardrobe at the back wall, it's carved wood darkened by time. Without thinking I tore up its door. Beyond it there was nothing, just the wind howling in the void, sucking me in before I could hold on to something.

I wasn't alone falling in that darkness; there was a young woman, her blonde hair streaming behind her like a flag. Misshapen trees swished past me twirling, waving their branches. There was a toilet with four open-mouthed nestlings in a swallow’s nest in the bowl.

I don't know when all this started, or how I got into this surrealistic purgatory, or why, but at least it's never boring. I'll give it that.

It was nearing the end of the last of that night's REM phases, and a couple of minutes later Emily stretched and opened her eyes in the early morning gloom.


2018 Susan Anwin

Susan Anwin was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary. Her flash-fiction "Talk of Armadale trees" was featured in the anthology My Favourite Place, published by the Scottish Book Trust in 2012. Her short stories "Fog-People", "Eddie's Lousy Saturday", "You'll die as fish", "People of the Green Cloud", "Dragonfly-man", "Daddy is Driving the Car", "Soul for Sale", "Dark Sister" and "The Man Who Broke Time" were published by Aphelion in 2016 and 2017.

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