By AJ Brown

Harland sat in the tub damn near overflowing with bubble bath. An empty pill bottle sat on the floor near the sink, a half empty bottle of Jim Beam clutched in one hand and a Camel hanging from his lip. His belly stuck out of the water like a hairy island. He drank down the last of its contents and dropped it in the water along with his cigarette. Eyes blurred, head in a daze he looked around the bathroom, its blues and yellows screaming their intensity. The pill and whiskey cocktails were doing him good. His head swooned and he belched, almost vomited into the water.

She left him. He had only hit her once. Or was it twice? He couldn’t recall. He watched her go, threatened to track her down, cut her head off and piss down her throat.

Carrie-Ann never came back, not even for her purse. She’d grabbed her keys and ran out the door, her face bleeding, wearing only a shirt and torn panties where he had tried to rip them off.

“Sixteen years,” he muttered to himself and fished in the water for the whiskey bottle. He found it, poured out the suds from the bath. “Sixteen years gone because of a fuckin’ drink and some pills. Sixteen years.”

He slung the bottle against the wall. It shattered, fell into the bath and on the floor. One shard sliced his foot. Dark red blood poured from the wound and mixed with the soapy water.


“I don’t need you, bitch,” he yelled at her photo on the wall after she left. “You’re a useless cunt!”

He pulled the picture from the wall, the hanger tearing off with it, and slung it across the room. All over the house, that broad’s knick-knacks and shoes and shit were scattered like leaves after a tornado. Her Cosmopolitan magazines were smoldering in a pile in the living room. Her makeup was floating in the fishbowl. Her photos were in the oven.

After she left, it was just him and his ol’ pal Jim Beam. The first few swallows were deep and long and burned his throat and insides. But, it made him feel strong, in control.


Harland slid his foot back in the water. A prick of pain sliced his heel; he barely flinched. He pushed his foot down further, letting the glass grind into tissue. The drugs were doing their thing and he felt nothing. Slowly, the water turned dark below his knees.

“She doesn’t love me anymore.”

Harland sagged in the tub, his heart feeling the tug of Carrie-Ann’s leaving; the reality of it. Tears stung his eyes as he thought of her turning her back, running out on him. Never coming home.


His chest heaved as he cried.


“You’ll fucking regret it, bitch,” he had said in the phone before slamming it down.

The police served him with a restraining order. He ignored it and called her cell. She hung up several times before telling him to leave her alone.

He called back, got her voice mail.

“This isn’t over, Carrie-Ann. Not by a long shot. I’ll find you and when I do, you’ll regret it. Do you hear me? You’ll fucking regret it.”

When he found out she was staying with that asshole from the Kwik Mart, he went over to his trailer and beat on the door. She screamed at him. He beat on the door some more. Eventually, he kicked it in and tracked her down. He reached her before she could call the police.

“I fucking warned you!”


Harland started to feel the sting of soap in the wounds in his foot and knew the alcohol and drug induced Superman feeling was fading. He reached down into the water and found the top of the Jim Beam bottle, raising it from the water and staring at its jagged edges. His mind, still a fog, began to clear.

Red spatter dripped from the lip of the toilet. Harland’s eyes blurred from the tears. He could barely make out Carrie-Ann’s head inside the commode; her blond hair stained red flapping over the side, her green eyes forever bruised, still open. Her mouth hung agape, pink lipstick smeared on one side. She stank of piss.

He farted and bloody water bubbled up around his thighs. His eyes rolled back in his head and then straight again. Though he couldn’t be sure, he saw the bubbles turn to eyeballs that stared at him and lips that screamed, “What have you done? Are you crazy?”

It sounded like Carrie-Ann, but she was dead, her head sitting in the shitter next to the tub.

“What the fuck?!”

He pushed himself up and out of the tub, falling to the hard linoleum floor like a thick wet slab of meat. He heard her voice screaming as he crawled towards the toilet bowl.
He took a deep breath and forced himself to lift the toilet lid and look at Carrie-Ann’s head in the bowl, but her head looked all wrong. It wasn’t her head at all. He saw his clothes, the sleeve of his flannel shirt dangling down to the floor. He frowned as he tried to decipher the image, the reality before him, but everything blurred together like an awful finger-paint.

“Harland!” There she was again.

“You’re bleeding!”

He looked at his hands then at the floor. There was blood everywhere. And it was all coming from a gash on his foot foot. He turned around and saw her standing there, only she looked like a big pink stain in the room bouncing up and down. As his world became darker and darker, a smile creased his face and he said, “I knew you’d be back.”

AJ Brown is a southern boy with a penchant for the darker side of writing. His stories have appeared at +The Horror Library+, Dark Distortions, SNM Magazine, Bards and Sages Quarterly among others. If he could get the voices in his head to be quiet long enough, he might actually get something done.

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