Saturday 24 June 2023

'I’d Like to Report a Prophecy' by Emma Brankin

Cassandra watches her eyes ruin with red and purple. Sees her own face bulge and whiten in desperation for breath. Her cries become formless as she tries to dislodge his grasp from her neck, her hands nothing but wisps of air.

She details her latest prophecy to the police officer standing in the hallway of her flat. She describes her ex’s violence, aggression and belittling in a voice that walks a high wire, balance tilting with every step.

‘He’s going to kill me,’ she says, looking at the officer with eyes as grim as head-stones.

The officer scratches his neck. Tells her he wants to believe her. That he wishes she could show him proof. But when it’s just one person’s word against another’s, his hands are tied.

‘You won’t do anything until you’re zipping me into a body bag,’ Cassandra says, as the future, cruel and all-consuming, twists through her mind.

The officer pats her on the arm. Offers a strained impression of a sympathetic smile. Suggests perhaps she could stay with a friend.

Cassandra sways gently in her doorway as she watches the officer pushing away into the night, darkness closing around him like a fist. How lucky, she thinks, that he’ll only have to die once.

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