‘Euphemia Rises’ by Donna L Greenwood

download Inspired by ‘Blood in the Cut’ by KFlay

Euphemia rises in a blood scream. Lying by her side is the mangled body of her husband. The night sky is where the ground should be; its shadows reach out and claw at her upturned body. Rage knits her bones back together; she swallows her blood and kicks through the windscreen.

The blast from the car illuminates the black clouds that surround Euphemia as she walks away from the crash. She twists and clicks her muscles back into place. Her face is screaming; her eyes spit out red fury. She sniffs the air, searching for the scent of that which she hates.

A road-side diner. Three solitary men stare at their coffees, thinking of wives and children they either love or hate. The lights flicker. The men barely acknowledge this; they are used to sub-standard; they are used to below par. The owner of the diner looks up at the lights and worries about money and bailiffs. He does not worry about Euphemia.

She’s outside looking through the window. She spits red onto the floor and walks into the diner. An unfeasible wind follows her; the threadbare curtains billow in the breeze; the men turn up the collars of their jackets, paying no attention to the woman walking through the diner with violence in her eyes.

The owner watches her as she makes her way to the wash room. He’s seen women like her before; women whose skin hangs loose on their bones; women whose noses and cheekbones are angular and wrong because of years of violence; women who married the wrong men.

Euphemia stares at her hollow face in the bathroom mirror and roars. The mirror cracks and falls from the wall; the sink shatters into a thousand porcelain splinters; the toilets overflow – blood pours from the basins and covers the cheap tiles.

The men in the diner are standing now, staring in the direction of the female noise. They each take a step back as Euphemia re-enters the diner. Her teeth have grown large and she smiles slyly at the men. They see that the woman is no longer walking; she is rising above them. As they back away, she throws a glance at the window and it bursts into lethal glass shards which strike the men in their cheeks and eyes. She snaps her head to the left and the owner is thrown against the wall. His back and neck break in unison. His body falls upon the stove and his flesh begins to cook. The others run towards the door which slams shut. Euphemia has only just started.

Limbs are twisted; eyes are gouged; each man becomes her husband and she exacts a terrible revenge. Eventually her blood lust diminishes and she drops the last body. It splashes to the ground like a rotten watermelon. The last man spits out his last breath.

Euphemia leaves the diner. Eyes searching; nose twitching. She is not satisfied; she is not satiated. Though she haunts, she too is haunted. She is tormented by the feel of her husband’s hands around her neck, between her legs. She still tastes the blood on her lips from his last punch. It is the taste of this blood that hurtles her through the night. She may have been a woman once but she has been tempered in the fires of violence. She heads towards the town, a bridal train of flames consuming everything in her path.
She burns the men she finds with her white-hot rage; eyeballs and bones melt in her heat. They shoot at her and try to run but she incinerates them as they flee. She howls at the moon and reality warps: tides eat themselves; the stars fall from the sky; babies froth in bloody wombs. As thunder cracks around her, she moves on, still searching, still wanting; tearing apart every man who stands in her way.

The women pray by the gravesides of two little angels once living now dead. They know what Euphemia wants. They close their eyes so they are not blinded by her white light shrieking through the cemetery. They bow their heads as she tears up the earth and frees her children; her babies whose lives were taken by the monster who took hers.

The smell of burning flesh mixes with ozone and Euphemia screams into the night. She holds her dead babies at each breast as furious fire pours from her eyes, from her nose, from her mouth.

The women below her raise their heads and howl at the moon. In the light of Euphemia’s fire, the women grow teeth of their own.