Read Alex´s most recently published fiction in the June Issue of Reflection´s Edge.
Or enjoy the following short piece…
Brian was only five the first time his aunt killed herself publicly, so wasn’t allowed to see it. His mother Judy had tried fighting with her husband to allow her son to go. “It’s normal for god’s sake, Terry. And besides, it’s my own sister! We should be proud that she’s doing so well.” But Terrance Graham wouldn’t budge, despite his sister-in-law’s new found fame.
And if her first death was any indication, Kaye Fellan was going to be very famous. As valedictorian for her graduating class, Kaye had wanted to impress. Most people expected a death at the ceremony but Kaye wanted to do more. She wanted to explode onto the scene.
Which was exactly what she did.
Stuffed with micro-explosives, pig’s blood, and offal, Kaye stepped up to the podium, opened her mouth, and blew up. The first row of spectators as well as all the faculty and visiting dignitaries on the stage with her ended up cover in blood and guts. When the smoke cleared, Kaye was gone.
From stunned silence the crowd surged to its feet and cheered her boldness. Hearing the applause, Kaye carefully pulled herself out of the booby-trapped hole she had bribed a co-student to install the night before. The explosives had burnt through her protective clothing, right to the muscle on her right thigh. She managed to wave and smile to the crowd before passing out.
The newspapers caught up with her at the hospital. The repair ’bots and painkillers had been injected and the healing had started. So had Kaye’s career.
Her sister Judy had wanted to frame the picture of Kaye unconscious on a gurney surrounded by the college’s blood-soaked elite. But Terrance had refused, point blank. “I’m not going to teach my son that faking death is normal – ever!”
Terrance was a doctor, and an anti-suicide activist.
Not surprisingly, Brian’s parents separated. And since the custody judge was an anti-suicider too, Brian ended up with Terrance, seeing Judy every other weekend and for dinner every Thursday.
Brian learned early on not to talk about his aunt’s profession. Just before the divorce, Judy had taken Brian to his grandmother’s. Kaye had just died for a big soap opera star who wanted out of the business and that was all her mother was able to talk about. The whole house had been filled with newspapers covering the death. Brian was told about the event in great detail and with lots of enthusiasm.
The soap opera producers had decided on doing a live episode during the fall ratings sweep, hearkening back to the early days of television. It had been well hyped and millions had taken the day off work to see it. “A real-time show done with old-fashioned cameras, sets, and lighting. A nostalgic tour de force,” the weekly VR Guide announced.
Using her by now signature trap door (this time under the bed set up for a love scene), Kaye waited for her cue. After the starlet had teasingly gotten undressed and had slipped under the covers, the camera turned to lingeringly watch her co-star strip. Kaye switched places with her client and made sure her wig was still sitting right. When the male star had revealed everything and threw back the satin sheets to “take” his co-star, Kaye plunged a knife into her groin, and dragged it up to her breasts. The sacks of blood implanted under the skin burst, spraying the man above her with blood. He squealed, and promptly fainted, which unfortunately meant he fell on top of Kaye, pushing the trick knife more deeply into her chest than she had planned.
With the puncture in her lung healing nicely, Kaye as usual let the reporters into her hospital room.
Brian thought this was the coolest thing he had ever heard. When Terrance asked how his son’s day was, Brian nearly choked on his dinner in his excitement. He went into as much detail as his grandmother had done.
“And then she almost died! How wow is that?” The seven-year-old Brian had no other word than “wow.”
His father didn’t have many words either. He stood up, walked over to his son and kissing Brian’s forehead, said, “Remember that I love you and that I’m doing this for you.”
Six months later, Terrance and Brian were living as far from Judy and Kaye as the joint custody order allowed them to.
Brian never mentioned Kaye Fellan to his father again.
(c) Alex Fayle, 2008