Prompt Day #91: A woman kills her spouse. But she still loves him. What morbid souvenir would she keep?
The fight had escalated and now he was dead. Madison stood over his body, bloody knife sticking in her hand. God, he could be so irritating! He never listened, he was never wrong, and he refused to even listen to anyone else’s opinions. Her mother had told her he was small minded but none of that mattered at the time. Todd was the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen and still was, even in death he looked like an angel sleeping.
“I like you better this way” she said “still so handsome but much more willing to listen to my ideas.” She laughed and wondered if she’d lost her mind.
“So, now what?” she said to the corpse who did not answer. She thought about ways to dispose of his body, but that made her sad. The idea of never looking into his beautiful face again was devastating. “Maybe I shouldn’t have killed him” she mumbled. Reaching down, she ran her hand over his jaw bone to his chin and down his neck to his chest where the linear puncture wound was still seeping blood. Well this part of him was ruined now and frankly was there a woman out there who really needed a dick to keep her happy? She doubted it.
“I’m keeping your head. It has your face on it and that’s what I love most about you.” She told him. He didn’t seem to mind. She looked around the kitchen for something to use.
“Oh my God, Todd, I am losing my mind.” She laughed, held up and wiggled the knife in her hand “I still have this. It should work just fine.” She dropped to her knees and got to work. Even with the large chef’s knife, it took a lot of effort. Once he was completely decapitated she put his lovely melon into a big Tupperware bowl then dragged the ruined and useless part out to the garden.
Madison kept his head in a cleaned out pickle jar in the fridge, but the glass and preservative fluid inside distorted his classic features to the point that every time she saw it, his head frightened her. She began to have nightmares about it. By the end of the week, his tongue had swollen and forced his mouth open. He didn’t look like a peaceful angel now. This wasn’t working. Plus the kids were going to be home from college soon for spring break. They thought their father had finally left their mother so if they discovered his head in the pickle jar, it would be a terrible shock. They might refuse to come back again. She needed to get creative because she was not giving up the one thing she loved about her husband.
The answer came to her almost as a sign. Ironically she was at the doctor’s office waiting to be seen for her annual exam. She took healthcare very seriously, after all an ounce of prevention keeps the doctor away. She picked up a National Geographic while waiting her turn and began to read about Amazonian tribes. Before her name was called she stuffed the magazine in her purse and left the office. She had some work to do and if it was going to be ready by spring break, she needed to get started right away.
It took a lot longer than she imagined to skin his head. She always thought it would just peel right off but she had to use her sewing scissors to cut a lot of connections. She almost ripped his nose right off. When the skin was all off, she looked at his wide, globular blue eyes stared at her in surprise.
“Look, I can’t have you scaring the kids and I’d love to keep as much of you as possible but it isn’t going to work this way. So, I found this” she held the National Geographic up in front of the milky blue protuberant eyes “and it’s perfect!” She looked at him waiting for him to contradict her, tell her the idea was ridiculous and she would never pull it off but the new and as far as she was concerned improved Todd said nothing. He listened quietly and gave his silent assent. She nodded and went back to work. She tried filling the space between the facial skin’s eye lids with almonds but they weren’t quite big enough. Whole walnuts though worked perfectly so she tucked them in nice and tight. The idea was for the eyes to appear closed and resting, not empty sockets like some freakish monster. Even though the tongue was gone, the skin had hardened with the mouth opened. Her least favorite part of his face was Todd’s opened mouth. She much preferred his lips closed. She sewed them together with a nice pink colored thread that blended perfectly with his lips. She’d bought three different spools on the way home. The first, she was certain matched the color of his lips when there was still blood flowing beneath them, but then she realized that they would be paler now, so she went back and picked two more that were closer to her memory of the head in the pickle jar.
The water in the soup pot was boiling nicely. The herbs had been difficult to find but thank god for health-food stores, she managed to find suitable substitutes for all the spices listed on the website with the help of the salesgirl—the one with all the weird piercings and tattoos. She was surprisingly helpful when Madison explained that she had cancer and had read about an exotic tea that was made with the list of ingredients Madison supplied. The girl studied the list and went to work gathering supplements and dried goods and she explained to Madison the capsules of the supplements could be opened and poured into the tea. Madison did just that on a much larger scale. Then, she put the brand new croquet ball she’d bought with the big soup pot into the head of the skin mask and dropped it into the boiling water.
“Now, stay in your bath for a bit, Todd, while I go start the bonfire. When was the last time we had a romantic date by the fire?” She said to the floating face in the stock pot, blew it a kiss, and walked to the back yard. She built a roaring fire and placed river rocks around the edge of the flames and filled an aluminum bucket with sand and put that in the center. She ran back in to check on Todd’s face. It had already started to constrict around the ball. It bobbed and rolled around in the roiling water. It was working, really working. She couldn’t wait to see the final results. Madison took the tongs and gently removed her husband’s precious face, which was smaller now. She let it cool enough to sew shut the incision she’d made up the back of his head. She grabbed a bottle of wine and carried Todd’s babyish visage out to the bonfire.
“You remind me of Josh when he was a baby sleeping in my lap.” She told the hollow skin mask. She filled it with the hot river rocks using the tongs from the kitchen. She poured the hot sand in next. Laying Todd on the fire she opened the wine and poured herself a glass.
“This part takes a while, Babe, so hang in there. It’s gonna be a long night. I want you to look your best when the kids come home.”
“Mom, what the fuck is a shrunken head doing hanging from your bed?” Josh asked coming out of the master bath with a towel wrapped around his waist.
“Well, after your father ran off with that bimbo, I started doing all the things I’ve wanted to do but your father never let me.”
“Buying a shrunken head? Mom, that’s sick.” Miranda piped in.
“No, I meant going to flea markets. But yes, ok, I have a shrunken head. I love him in fact. He reminds me of your dad.” Madison said, smoothing the hair down on the head.
“It’s kind of weird for a shrunken head. I’ve only ever seen black ones. This one just looks like a tanned white guy” Josh said turning the head around in his hands.
“That’s because they rubbed the skin with ash to prevent the soul from getting out and taking revenge. I didn’t want to do that to him, though” Madison said.
“Mom? What exactly are you saying” Miranda asked. She watched her mother lovingly caressing the small head in her hands.
“Huh? Oh, I mean, that’s what I liked about him.” Madison said. “Anyways, he’s mine and he will always be mine now. I’m taking him back up to my room.” Their mother said.
“So have you heard from Dad?” Josh yelled up the stairs.
“Oh, No, he’s been really quiet lately” Madison hollered back down. She hung the head back on the bedpost and patted it. “And that’s just the way I like him.”