The Harlot and the Murderer

Posted: 23/09/2013 in Short Stories

“Read” he demands of her. “Read it again.”

She has not looked at him for some time.

Unfolding the book again, she need not ask what passage he demands.

With a quivering bottom lip, she begins.

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. She saith unto…” “Enough!” he interjected.

“And where is your Jesus that you so believe in, harlot?” he asked with such contempt and cruelty – for her or for the scripture, she was not sure.

“I…” she begins quivering. “You what?” he intercedes, “you what exactly? In this slum of this room that we sit. Where you are not a human, a soul, a spirit, but a thing, the spit of this world, hidden away by the world because it rejects you, and your room with no candle so you do not have to face your face.” His voice never raising above a whisper.

He had come three consecutive nights. Not for her pleasure, but for her torment. Other men paid for their amusement, and this was his.

“I know your secret” she spoke with a quivering bottom lip, “what… do. You are no better.”
She braced herself for a blow. She wanted it. Preferred the bruises that heal than the scars he was leaving.

He roars with laughter, gets up from the wooden chair, kneels in front of her, grabbing her by the neck so that she cannot turn away, their noses touching and his eyes trying to creep inside hers.

Whispering, “we are nothing alike, harlot.” She could smell his curse, his sweat, anger, contempt. “I take life. The debase of humanity, the not worth living. The not missed animals who walk the earth. I am unsure why I allow you to live, but decisions can be made. Now tell me harlot, where is your Lord as you sleep in this room? Where is your Jesus when your legs are spread?”

She begins to sob. Not from the pain of his strong grip on her neck, not because she was frightened of his threat, but because she knew he would not carry it out. This meant more to him than her murder. Because he knew her real secret.

“Don’t sob harlot” he says almost compassionately, getting up and sitting back on the chair. “Read.”
“I don’t want to read it!” She screamed, throwing the book at him, falling her to knees, pulling on her hair and bagging her fist on the dusty floor.

A banging from the neighbors below. He begins laughing again. “You hear that harlot? No one cares. They would prefer your death than your life.”

She looks up, still on the floor. Her hair matted with sweat, her eyes bloodshot, and in her state, momentary strength.

“I will tell the world you are a murderer. A Murderer!”

He smiles at her. Pleased she is fighting back.

“Read”, picking up the book from the floor next to him. He puts it in front of her. “Read” he repeats.
Her strength leaves her. Picking up the book, knowing the page number by heart.

Coughing but not wiping her tear stained cheeks. Her voice scratched.

“And I knew that Thou hearest Me always; but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou has sent Me. And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth.”

“And he that was dead came forth”, he repeated after her. “Any why do you stay dead when you believe in He? Lazarus was revived, and yet you remain in your own filth. Say it.”

A minute passes.

“Say it” he repeats.

She resisted yesterday. And the day before it. But there would not be a tomorrow. And she welcomes that thought.

“Say it”, he says again.

Looking up, the fight over, her true secret revealed.

“I do not believe anymore.”

He smiles, realizing there is more than one way to end a life. Gets up and leaves, knowing there will be no need to visit tomorrow.

  1. That’s exactly what’s happening to Egyptians, being ripped off -their dreams & freedom-. Day in, day out & nothing will be left to hang on.

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