The Crucible


The Artist

by Karis Ritzman

The breath of the night air chills my body. Without your

arms to grab me, I wrap my own around me, enveloping myself in

an embrace like you used to hold me in. The corners of my mouth

twitch upward. Even with all my self-hatred, it was still more loving

than any time you touched me.

A smile sliced across your face when you trapped me in

the cage of your arms. You held me there, suffocating me into the

pillows while you huffed above me, panting out phrases like “you

like that,” and “tell me I’m the best.” The feathery dust filled my

lungs, and in return, my tears drowned the cotton case.

I sigh. Red is such a pretty color, don’t you think? It’s so

bold, so fresh, and it splatters across the snow so strikingly. It’s a

beautiful slash across the peaceful landscape, and I feel so happy

knowing you helped me make it. I could almost take a picture.

You laughed at me as my stomach emptied its contents

onto the sheets after I felt your warm spray dribble on my back.

“See you around, I guess,” you said, leaving me to clean the

crimson from between my legs. “Can’t wait ‚til next time.” My

hand reached behind me and I touched the mess you left on me. I

gagged again, but there was nothing left for me to heave, and all

I could think was “how could I let this happen?”

This is the most content I’ve felt in a long time. It was so

refreshing to be above you, hearing you cry for once. And now we’ve

painted such a lovely portrait together. Not quite a still life--a still

death, maybe? Yes, that word fits the expression frozen onto your

face the most. This knife formed the perfect the snow, the

canvas, and you…You’re the paint.