Agnes & BB is a bi-weekly fiction series that I’m writing in conjunction with Amanda. We’ll be telling the same story from the perspective of two different characters. You can read BB’s story here and Agnes’ story via Amanda’s blog.
Agnes hasn’t said a word in ten minutes and I’m getting worried she’s gone silent again. She smokes one cigarette after another, five cigarettes in all, and then she stomps out the last one under the heel of her boot and dissolves into an impressive bout of sick, thick coughs. I put my hand on her back but she shrugs away from me, twirling out of reach, slamming her shoulder up hard against a wall of my kitchen.
Upstairs, he’s dead. My love.
He was dead before, too.
I wait ‘til Agnes straightens up. She looks at me with wet eyes. But she’s not crying. She’s not gonna cry. She blinks a lot and then she clears her throat.
She’s dropped the cigarettes in a halo around her feet. There’s ash on my floor. I look from the cigarette butts up to her face, up and down until she stops me. She grabs my arm. Grabs it a little too tight.
“Come on,” she says. Her voice is husky. Strained. Her breath smells like smoke. She’s too close to my face. I can’t breathe. “We got one more to go.”
I think she has fun with Henry.
We let ourselves in the back door. We don’t bother being quiet. He’ll be too drunk to wake up, Agnes assures me.
And she’s right. I can hear him the minute she closes the door and shuts us inside the house. We’re in her kitchen. For one quick moment I want to smoke a bunch of cigarettes, I want to burn up her floor, too, but I don’t. I take her hand. It’s dark. She leads me forward like she can see. I keep hitting against things and she just laughs. We reach the stairs and go up slowly. There’s just enough moonlight coming in through the front windows. I can see where I’m going now. I follow Agnes up and up. I don’t let go of her hand.
When we reach the bedroom, she pushes the door open quietly. They’ve got a couple big windows and the room is lit up with a silver glow. Agnes pulls me in after her. She crosses the room and opens the top drawer of the bureau.
The gun catches the silver of the moon and suddenly it’s on fire, all metal and bright and flashing.
This isn’t what we did with my husband.
Agnes looks at me. She winks.
She aims. She smiles. She blows his fucking brains out.
Later, more cigarettes.
But she’s not bent over anymore. She’s standing up straight and she’s smiling like a crazy person. For just a minute—all right, for a fucking long minute—I’m scared of her. I’m terrified. Agnes, the quiet girl. Suddenly a murderer. There’s black on her hands from the pistol. She’s taken all the bullets from the drawer and tucked the gun into her dress. Somewhere in the folds of her dress. I can’t see it anymore.
“What are we gonna do now?” she asks. Her voice is different, too. Amused. Cheeky. Ecstatic.
I can already hear ‘em, of course. In the distance. Or maybe it’s just my imagination but if it is then fuck, it sounds so real. I must be going crazy.
“We gotta go,” I tell her. I rip the cigarette out of her mouth and throw it on the ground.
“Go where?” she says.
“Where we goin’, BB?” she asks. She sounds like a little girl. Like a little girl, lost. She looks almost terrified.
“We’re gettin’ the fuck out,” I say.
And she nods.
She doesn’t ask me where we’re going again.
She just follows me out into the night. We’re swallowed up in the darkness.
The sirens are real. They’re getting louder.
But they’ll never catch us now.
photograph taken with a minolta x-700.