This is Café Aphra. Grab a coffee, take a seat and join in...
Netsuke by Joy Manné“Dave!” Ann took a step backwards. “It isn’t your business where I am.” She pressed a button so Georgy, sitting on a black leather sofa in red Armani casuals, could hear the conversation. “What the hell have I done with what?” Ann’s neck jutted forward. “Polite, Dave. We’re divorced now.” She sashayed across the marble floor on her Jimmy Choos and settled on the sofa’s wide armrest. Georgy’s large hand cradled her buttocks.“You had your netsuke collection valued? The best pieces have been replaced by copies?” Ann laughed. “You told the judge you didn’t have a netsuke collection.”Georgy patted Ann’s buttocks. “Like you didn’t have a Jag. Remember? A year before the divorce. You changed it for a Fiesta and told me you’d lost all your money.” She stalked over to a cabinet. “Polite, Dave, or I’ll put the phone down.” Ann fluttered her eyelash implants at Georgy and picked up a small object. “If you do have a Jag and a netsuke collection, we’ll have to go before the judge again. The Swiss give bank details now.”She settled on the armrest again.“You’ll bash me to pulp? Come and get me, Dave. I’m with Georgy Basilic, in a villa with body guards and servants in the South of France—. Yes, the Georgy Basilic. The woman boxing champion. My boxing teacher. You wanted me to learn.”“Come any time, Dave,” Georgy growled into the phone.Ann cut the connection. “This beauty’s worth a half a million, darling.” She held out the object in her hand. “His dad collected, but Dave can’t tell one from another.” Ann slid onto Georgy’s knees. “And that’s not all I’ve taken.” She interrupted herself to kiss her. “While he was filling his bank vaults, I was filling mine.”
Yikes Joy! I read this a couple of times - I feel guilty for enjoying both Dave and Ann's deceit! What an intriguing, twisted triangle - kudos!
I agree with Chad, definitely one worth reading more than once! :)
“the muse”“I don’t know why they left it.” Laurie’s tone was short; our move had rattled her. I strode to the mirror – chocolate-red frame, shiny finish and intricate trim work with whittled s-shapes and curlicues. It was tall and its legs sturdy and the feet were bowed like a lama’s jaw.Laurie gnawed her fingernail, eyeing the packing crates. “Maybe the owners thought we’d like it?” She raked her yellow hair, clamped her lower lip in her teeth then dove into a box marked BEDDING AND ART – perfect block letters. “We could sell it?” “Yep.” I stroked the smooth casing. “… maybe sand it… or stain it… or…”“Sure.” I peered into the dusty glass.“… this will be a cute guestroom… if we paint… and curtains…” Laurie droned on, yet in the mirror, an image of her stony face drilled through me. My heart hammered at my chest and I sucked hard for air. “What did you say?” Laurie continued her frantic pillaging. “Well, anyway… with the right fabrics and such…” I turned to my beloved, steeped in blankets and nerves, then back to the mirror.“Tell her,” Laurie’s reflection mouthed, slow and amplified, through clenched jowls; its ice-green eyes bore down. I fumbled to the floor, locked in my lover’s rabid likeness. “Laurie?” “Yes?” My skittish bride walked over and knelt behind me. “What happened?” I couldn’t speak. Laurie looked into the dubious glass, “you’re so handsome,” but glanced back at the unpacked boxes. I could feel her anxiousness. The figment shuddered like it bit a lime. “Tell her… Now!” Then all my misdeeds struck at once – my soul wrenched like bait. I watched her lips in horror as they mimed emphatically, “Or… I… will.” “You’re bluffing!” I spat. Laurie twitched – my lovely, nervous bride felt my sins and poured over them. And I squirmed beneath the ire. She quietly stood and crept to the mirror then reared back her pretty head… … and lurched. Her face split the glass like a tree.Sweet Laurie sprawled her fingers across her bloody face and swayed amidst the shards before staggering back to the boxes and resuming her work,“… now, as far as color schemes go…”
This is haunting. I love it! Excellent object choice--there's always so much fun to be had with mirrors. I also love your closing line, as though Laurie hadn't just shattered a nightmare in disguise. Beautiful!
Wow, nightmarish indeed.... Dark and disturbing, with a really fantastic ending. A high-impact piece.