Boston Line by Line: Afterthoughts at the Hatch Shell

Prompt donated by the staff of Porter Square Books

“Just make sure she’s still dead,” he shouted over his shoulder as he ran toward the Hatch Shell. Harold didn’t want to go anywhere near the girl; he could still feel the massive amount of heat emanating from her body. A snaking trail of blood flowed from her gaping mouth down the side of her face, onto the concrete. How could she be lying here in the middle of this bike path?

He’d never liked her but it sickened him to think this was the chosen method to end their “business” arrangement.  Of course, “business” arrangement is too loose of a term.

They’d argued, he’d gotten mad, he’d pulled the pistol but all of a sudden he didn’t know what happened—he’d shot her because of a stupid rumor that she’d been cheating on him. “But had she?” he thought, as snip-its of the last few months of their relationship flooded his mind, momentarily paralyzing him.

The rain froze in time and the air was a labyrinth of hanging needles.

Then he remembered—he had heard the chirpy ring tone of her cell-phone coincide with the fall of her body. He got really confused because he thought he set it to a doorbell noise.

He couldn’t leave her like this, her hair plastered to the side of her face, her eyes still open. As he brushed her hair behind her ear, he scolded himself for having been too much of a coward to do it himself. He at least owed her that. Cheating? Who was he kidding—he cheated everyone. Harold wrapped himself in his raincoat and headed back to the apartment determined to set the record straight.

But, on the way, a cup of coffee seemed like a much better idea.

Contributors: Anna Alves, Hadley; liam Green, Brighton; Bonnie Blass, Philadelphia, PA; Chris Bartlett, Easton, MD; Leslie Rosenberg, Boston; Danielle Goldie, Boston; Orit Ditman, Arlington; S.K. Scanlan; Cambridge; Jessica Johns.

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