A short stack of dried human skin trimmed into 8 ½” x 11” pages sat on the desk as Walter Penn pondered on his next flesh fiction. He considered the title, Flayed Minion, in memory of the owner who was formerly bound by the parchment on which he will now scribe with maroon lettering. His ink flowed through a special pen cartridge connected to a tube attached to a hypodermic needle full of citric acid solution, mixed with blood from an unwilling human aorta donor. Once he decided on the title, words streamed out of him like blood flows from a slit artery. So engrossed was he in his composition, he didn’t hear the subtle movements around him. Nor did he sense a figure that stole close to him until his nose flared from the smell of cheap body lotion that hadn’t been washed off from the skin for weeks.
Walter gasped when he looked up. Although the figure before him wore a mask, he had a good idea who it could be from the wearer’s form-fitting clothes. He prided himself in always successfully eluding his haters—law men and outlaws alike.
“Didn’t expect me to come after you, did you?”
Walter swallowed and breathed deeply, suddenly inarticulate for a prolific writer. The chair he sat on had wheels, allowing him to slowly turn away from the desk and face her, as she stood to his right side. The glint of the machete’s 12” blade addled him. His eyes slipped down to the worn looking handle and slid back up to the stainless steel that looked newly sharpened.
“You misogynist pig!” She brandished her weapon and laughed bitterly, as Walter jerked and dropped the pen he had been holding.
“I love women.”
“You know nothing about love. You’re too depraved. There are no words to describe how utterly reprehensible you are. Even excrement or any of its synonyms would still be too good to use for you.”
“I see you’re still civil enough not to be scatological with me.”
“Don’t be fooled, old man. I may not sound like I’m stooping down to the depths of where you truly belong, but I will have your head before the night is over.”
“How dramatic of you,” Walter relaxed a bit as he sensed her need to talk.
“Don’t get too comfortable, Methuselah. Where did you put Jeremy?” She glanced over at the unfinished manuscript on his desk and cried, “Is that from him?” She took off her mask.
“Oh, God, you’re a monster,” She wailed, as tears streamed down her face.
Although 70 years old, Walter was still sharp enough to seize an opportunity when he saw one. He quickly wheeled his chair away from her and drew close to a closet, where he reached in and took out a katana. He wheeled back around in time to see her approach with her machete at the ready. His gleaming blade blocked her strike. The sharpened stainless steels clanged and whooshed between them. Each looked for a way in to cut through flesh.
Walter showed off the sword skills he’d honed over the years. His confidence increased as he continued to dodge her urgent thrusts. Based on his sword sparring experience, she was clearly an amateur. Nothing more than a desperate butcher driven by an emotional need to do right by her husband. He was growing weary, not from the physical activity, but from the lack of creativity she displayed.
“And, here you go, my dear,” Walter whispered in her ear, as he expertly drove the sword through her chest and disarmed her.
He suddenly felt tired after he placed her in his walk-in freezer in the basement and cleaned up. He’ll tan her skin tomorrow and use the hide as the front and back covers for the book he’d started writing earlier that evening. How romantic that both husband and wife will forever have their flesh be bound together. He may yet write a romance. Perhaps another time because he’s highly paid to cater to an elite audience interested only in stories of the flesh, and it’s rarely about love and roses.
He sighed, thinking he will be ready to retire from writing for an audience in about 10 years, or maybe even in eight. “That’s when I’ll try something new. Grandma Moses started painting at 78 years old. I’ve always been curious about flesh painting.”