Future Repeat Offender


I can’t breathe, wrapped in all this thick, bland plastic. Really I’d always been suffocating, I just didn’t know it before. Not until last night. When Audrey showed me what I’d been missing, with a little help from Ray.

I have no idea where Audrey is now, I only know where she isn’t. I’ve managed to figure out Ray’s location, and I know what he’s not. Not anymore. This room is full of tape-sealed bags and E-Z-Stor boxes of all shapes and sizes, but no Audrey. Uniformed people—mostly men, the occasional woman—walk up and down beyond the heavy wire mesh that keeps all of us evidence under lock and key. They haven’t yet cleaned the blood from my flat, bright face or my sharp edges, but then I suppose if they had then I wouldn’t be evidence.

In my past life, I dealt exclusively with fruits and vegetables. I don’t want to dwell on it, but even before Audrey woke me up I can kind of remember being jealous of my bigger, bolder siblings and their superior air of visceral glamour. They rarely spoke to me, but when they did it was usually to rub my pointy little nose in all their adventures with skin and meat and bone. Runt of the litter, they called me. It’s no fun being looked down on, treated like dirt. Once upon a time we were all atoms in the same boiling, shining soup, and I had no choice about what mould I got poured into. I cut, just like them, only on a smaller scale.

Audrey mostly used me to peel and chop, but sometimes—on those increasingly regular days when she was worried Ray would come home in one of his pitch-black moods, buzzing with bad temper, all his rage glowing white in his fists—she’d craft delicately sculpted flowers and birds from tomatoes or radishes or cucumbers, all kept on ice till her burning stressball of a husband bounced through the door. Sometimes those exquisite little works of art calmed him down—at least enough that he wasn’t too rough with her—but sometimes they made it worse, and her reward for what we’d created was chipped teeth and clumps of copper-coloured hair pulled from her scalp, the sunset-purple corona of battered blood vessels framing her faded blue eyes.

Last night he came home early, when she and I were in the middle of discovering the cute little bears that lived inside rough chunks of crimson and golden beets she’d boiled up earlier that afternoon. Audrey had been chattering happily to herself about Michelangelo and humming a pretty tune while we carved. The music died when Ray got home, making it no secret that he’d had an especially bad day at the office.

If any of these uniforms ask me, I’ll tell them: I genuinely don’t think she meant to do it—well, not at first, but I guess I don’t need to tell them that. But I didn’t do anything to stop her, so I don’t know how much they’ll believe me. And oh—that first taste of Ray’s hot insides, surging up through the artery in his neck that parted surprisingly easily beneath the edge of my blade. Whoa. I had no idea.


And so much better than the bitter grey jelly inside his eyeballs a few minutes later, I can tell you that. By the time Audrey got it together to call 911 her hands were slippery wet, and shaking so badly she needed to place me down on the countertop, blood dripping quietly from my tip while those small and tangy bears stared at me open-mouthed and wide-eyed. Like bears are really that innocent. Anyway, after that it was all bright lights and white noise, and here I am.

I hope I’m not stuck in here too long. I hope they take it easy on Audrey—I mean, she hasn’t had the easiest life, and Ray was a huge dick. But you know what I hope most of all? I really hope I get to do all this again. And soon.

I feel like I’ve finally found my calling, you know what I mean?

~ fin ~

Matt Neil Hill_Pic

Matt Neil Hill is from the UK, where he was a psych nurse for many years. What he is now is anybody’s guess. He’s married, and there are cats. His writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in various publications including Vastarien, Weirdbook, Syntax & Salt, Splonk and Bards and Sages Quarterly. You can find him on Twitter @mattneilhill.