He drew his fingers to his face, framing the empty display between them. The little glass doors were shut and locked, but ready anytime to open and receive their prize. It stood out proudly among his collection of pinned butterflies, stuffed birds, and model airplanes.
He nodded at it, secure in the knowledge that it was perfect. He checked to make sure everything was set up for his return, swept his jacket off the chair and breezed through the door, heading off to pick up his treasure.
He remembered seeing it for the first time, the ink highlighted by the flashing strobe lights. Green, blue, pink, red. He saw it from every angle as its carrier moved her body, dancing among the mob of clubbers. Only the upper half had been visible, the dress having to cover some part of her body.
He wanted it, he needed it. His hand even reached out to touch it, but she was too far away, him being at the bar. His eyes wouldn’t leave it; he pictured it on his wall, proudly displayed for everyone to see, not hidden away by clothing.
She spun, breaking his gaze. And he got angry. He squeezed the glass in his hand until it broke, spraying glass and beer all over the counter. He stood up quickly, shaking his hand and moving away, his feet moving him toward the door.
Suddenly, he stopped, looked back, and headed onto the dance floor, weaving among the people to get to it. Words spewing out of his mouth without his control.
And the next thing he knew, she was smiling and saying, “I would love to. Pick me up at six next Saturday.” Slipped a paper into his hand, “Here’s my number.”
“So tell me more about you,” she turned the conversation skillfully. It was a vehicle she had mastered. “What does Monty care about? What does Monty like to do?”
He smiled shyly, shifted his weight. Draw her in. Act innocent. “I’ve always been fascinated by flying. Maybe an angel like you could teach me?”
She flipped her hair when she laughed, hiding the tip of the tattooed wing on her shoulder that he’d been staring at for the past half hour. He felt slightly peeved that he had to meet her eyes. Staring off into space would definitely not make her want to come with him.
“Maybe I could,” a wicked grin split across her face.
Her smile slipped a bit. Shit. “Could teach you about flying.”
He chuckled, nervous for real this time. “Oh yes, sorry. I just… got lost in your eyes.”
She was back to him, her face lighting up like it was under lit by a flashlight. Her hand slid slowly across the table, enclosing his like an iron cage. He forced himself to keep smiling. It’s for the wings. It’s for the wings.
“So ah, let’s say we go somewhere, and I’ll teach you, hmm?” her eyebrows raised.
Genuine happiness showed on his face at that. “We can go to my place. You get our coats, I’ll pull around the car.”
He tested the knife tip against his finger, pushing just hard enough for two beads of blood to well up. Tunes buzzed from his throat as he approached the body laying face down on the table. He had removed her shirt to get the full view.
His finger trailed delicately along the feather outline. “You really have wondrous wings, my dear. Too bad they couldn’t carry you away.” He laughed at his own joke.
The knife sliced through her skin like paper, drawing it away from the muscle. His white gloves caught a red tint as he worked, but he didn’t mind. They were going to be burned anyway, along with his suit.
The last strand snapped with a sickening sound that made him laugh out loud. He held it up. Not a single mistake.
He used the bathtub to clean it. There were no windows for anyone to peak through. Then, leaving it to soak as the tanning book had said, he went on to the process of removing the body.
The trash bag was convenient but suspicious. Damn movies. After stuffing her into one anyway, he fit her into a cardboard box, hard but manageable.
He then headed down the stairs with his box, calling a greeting to the little old lady in the next apartment.
She was a petite woman and it was easy for him to remove her from her confinings and hold her over the edge. The bridge was high, high, high. Perfect for her takeoff.
He took a deep breath, waited for the next breeze, and threw her, leaned over to watch. As she fell, her arms splayed out like a bird in flight but he knew it would do her no good. How could she fly? He had her wings.
Her impact sent drops of water onto his face. It felt cool and refreshing, free. He let himself enjoy the high for a moment.
Afterward, he promptly threw any evidence into the box, set it ablaze, and threw that into the river too.
“You’re amazing, you know that?” the voice drifted to him in the kitchen. “Not only do you have all these bugs and animals that you’ve preserved yourself, you also have all these airplanes that you builtyourself. These paintings are signed by others though.”
“Alas, I did not get the artistic ability,” he replied to her, opening the silverware drawer.
“What’s what?” he replied turning the corner into the living room.
“This thing in the glass case,” she said, turning to look at him, gesturing. Her hair shifted over her back, bare by shirt design, revealing more of the huge tattoo that completely encompassed her back.
He strode closer, staying a little behind. “It’s a skin made by Indians,” he pointed to the soft curves.
She looked at it again, “It looks almost human.”
He pulled the knife from behind his back.