Thou Shall Not

I saw spots, black and squishy. They elbowed their way around my eyes, shoving down and wriggling in my guts.

I squirmed with them, clenching.

But I kept my sparking eyes on the gun.

I’d never seen one before, and it looked ridiculous in one hand, heavy and foolish, like an arm cannon.

Cannons make big holes.

“I didn’t really—”

“I told you, don’t open the door.”

“I know,” I blurted. “The lady or the tiger.”

“You’re thinking of Bluebeard’s wife.”


I was thinking of teacups.

A wall of them.

China curling with fiddled vines and gaudy blooms like granny wallpaper; porcelain cuddling pods of sleeping kittens and bashful bears; a shelf of shy Peter Rabbits huddling around their roosting bunny teapot; and a herd of lowing Disney princesses fluttering their skanky eyelashes and low self-esteem.

He had the door. There were no windows. No backup. No lightening kick. I could try begging, but that would crease my pants.

“I suppose—”

My arm twitched, nearly knocking out an Elvis cup and saucer, swirled with a jaunty shameless yellow ‘Buttercup’.


“Um,” I tacked back in, “I’m guessing it’s useless to say ‘you don’t have to do this’?”

“You opened the door.”

“You told me not to.”

I stared into a spot, one that wouldn’t dance or be swallowed, a black hole, with the only way out through the other side. “Okay,” I popped a breath. “Do it.”

“What?” He blinked.


Reaching out, I pulled the trigger.


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