Feet First

His feet were the first part of him to seep through the floorboards. They slipped through the wood as if it were as ethereal as air. A dark stain, tinged with speckles of silver and grey, were all that remained of where they had been laying.

She didn’t notice at first, too preoccupied with her own affairs to pay any heed to his plaintive whimpers. His desperate attempts to garner attention were nothing particularly new, after all. He was, very much, the man who cried wolf.

It took time before his legs were properly and completely sunken; time before there was little left to him but hips and torso. They too were pulled by the undertow, sweeping them through the flooring and staining where they had once been. No more petty squabbles over whether or not he only thought with one part of his body, the part that was not his brain; that not-brain was most certainly gone now.

His torso began to be tugged under, and soon he was left with nothing but chest. Sinking further down until it seemed soon there would be nothing left of him. Nothing but a stain, marring her existence to remind her of him always. To remind her of that which she had ignored one time too many.

By the time she noticed his disappearing act, he had already sunken until nothing remained but his face, the fingertips of his left hand, and the entirety of his right hand. His vision traced the horizon of the hardwood floor that they had installed when they moved in; he suddenly wished, in this moment of closeness—so able to see the scratches and imperfections worn on it by shoes and time—that they had varnished it.

She began to scream then, finally noticing; finally comprehending the gravity of the situation, and what all his horrible noises had been for. He hadn’t been whining, hoping for her sympathy. He’d been trying to get her attention. Not that such a process, that of sinking to the center of the Earth, would have been stopped by her mere awareness of the matter. Certainly not.

She clutched his one full hand, pressing her face to all that was left of his as high-pitched keening voices, strangled screams, were emitted from her throat. She tugged on the hand she held, as if hoping he would begin to rise. He didn’t.

He continued to lower, the floor blemished with remembrance of his passage. He had been there, he had existed, and he had left his mark quite literally. His inextinguishable memory, forever sealed in that dark wood.

Then he was gone, and she was left staring at the place he had been. Watching the stain as if it might spit out the man it had just consumed whole. Perhaps with enough will, with large enough a wish, everything would go back to the way it was and he would be spit back up, back into existence.

But he didn’t return, no matter how long she stared. Before long she began to realize that she, herself, was slowly beginning to sink.

Her feet were the first part of her to go.


Editor’s Corner


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