Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Love in 2018 By Jennifer Kohn

The doctor tells me it is repetitive strain injury; the spasms in my thumb have been incessant since this all began. To go on with this madness I must switch hands even though I’m not ambidextrous.

As I become more adept at using my left hand my twitching right thumb can only recoil in horror as the ordeal continues.

Every evening this week I have scheduled a meeting; faces will merge, personalities will fade into a stream of the bland and obscure.

Venturing out into the cruel heat, joining the throngs of workers trekking across the bridge I find the meeting point. Busking in the shadows is an opera singer who is passionate about love and death in equal measure. I feel a darkness fall over me as my date looms; perspiration drenches a furrowed brow. Their dress is not of the times but I muster the enthusiasm to note they have made an effort.

Awkward greetings followed by a damp handshake; with dread I follow my match through narrow alleyways towards a quiet drinking spot, the soprano I can no longer hear.

I order the shortest drink on the menu and attempt to find common ground with this person. How many times had they done this before? Trying to establish when the photographs were first taken, was it really an accurate likeness? I sense a shift in tone and a sort of defensiveness creeps in.

“You look nothing like your picture either!” Mine were taken last week as opposed to over ten decades ago.

Expecting jet black hair, olive skin, bright white teeth and deep brown eyes with an athletic figure and a sense of individual style was not who was sitting across from me.

Monstrous in comparison to the image I was lured by. A skeletal frame with sunken cheeks and lacklustre eyes. Teeth that remained were blackened and skin was sallow with baby fine hair atop a shrivelled skull.

The difficulty for them was getting a second date. What did I suppose the reason for that was?

I hazard a guess at misrepresentation. A thirst for life seemed lacking too.

“Oh but I am thirsty! Another drink?”, macabre had surfaced.

A feeble semblance of a smile was manifested as I declined. We both knew it was over.

I never felt under threat during our time together, even afterwards when I received a text from my friend:

“Are you in love or in a suitcase?”.


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