Content Warning: Gory imagery and violence!
The auditorium was dark, and deep, like a cavern.
It was silent like one, too.
And then three men entered the auditorium, and it wasn’t dark anymore, or silent.
Their footsteps sounded against the spotless, tiled floor, each of them wearing slick leather shoes with buckles that glinted in the dull light of the room. They sat side-by-side in the faded seats before the stage with their cold hands shuffling through sheets of paper. One of them, young and severe, checked his timepiece— began tapping his foot, glancing every which way. A furrow creased his brow. “We’re ready, aren’t we?”
“Tell them to come out,” said another, balding, with a nudge to his pudgy neighbor. The fat man sighed and rose, about to reach the door, when it slammed open, revealing a boy who effused fervent apologies. His quivering legs carried him up to the stage, where he slumped over on a spare chair. A few moments following his introduction were taken to collect his breaths, and he began to perform.
“Get him out of here,” said the first man in a sharp whisper. “This is terrible.”
“Come on, Charles, he’s only thirty seconds in,” the balding one replied.
“The fool’s daft if he thinks he has a chance. He’s too fast. Too jittery.”
All three watched with disinterest as the boy’s tremulous fingers curled and released. When he was finished he nodded bashfully and placed the object in his hands on the floor; the men jotted down some lazy marks on their sheets and looked back up as the marley vinyl was scrubbed clean by a custodian. Another cage was brought to the stage.
They waited for the next player.
An hour had passed, and the men had not yet been satisfied with any of the performances. All seemed, as they discussed in disgruntled baritones, reluctant, or fearful, or even ashamed; the few that attempted at genuine passion could not quell their nerves— either that, or they were grossly theatrical, all smarm and not enough subtlety.
Charles’s face was red. “You know, I think this— this whole thing is hopeless. Horrible.” He clenched and unclenched his teeth, trying not to cry out in frustration. “They’re so bland.”
“There’s one more person on the list.”
“Yes, one more failure,” he muttered, leaning back in his seat. He crossed a leg. “My enthusiasm is insurmountable.”
The final auditionee ambled up the steps. From where the men were seated, her face was obscured by shadow, but still they could determine the smooth contours of her limbs, the outline of her body, each sure, slow step she took. “Marion Dupont,” she spoke, once she’d sat down on the stage. The light cast now revealed her features— full lips, olive skin, penetrating hazel eyes. “Year 11.” Her blouse was tucked neatly into a pleated tartan skirt; her hair was without a strand out of place.
For a moment she merely remained still, shifting her easy gaze across the mens’ faces, causing them to fidget uncomfortably. Then, without a word, she slunk to the floor, resting on her knees, and peered through the cage; a white rabbit regarded her with wide eyes.
She opened the cage.
The rabbit was now in her arms; she sunk her nose into its fur, caressed behind its ears. It sniffed her cheek— pawed adorably at her sleeve.
She picked up the object.
STAB! STAB! STAB!
With an expression of complete indifference she drove the knife into the small body, twisting it round halfheartedly, as if a child tired of his favorite plaything. Copious amounts of blood fell around her; the rabbit’s fur was soon matted, clumpy and crimson.
Marion stared hollowly for a while— watched the red seep into her clothes— and then tore open its belly, gutting the corpse. Her fingers worked deftly, precise, in prying the fur from the carcass, extracting the innards; slowly she dragged her sticky hands across her lip and neck, down, curving out the slight shape of her breasts, down to the fold of her skirt, between her legs— tracing a ragged red line wherever they touched— and here she curled her fingers in, pulsing, throwing her head back, throaty sounds escaping her mouth…
When she was finished, she was sitting inside a ring formed of organs, with the rabbit’s dismantled head resting in her hands. The smell of slaughter clung to her body like perfume. Her lips burned.
“End,” she said, with a bored sigh.
Featured Image by Megan Wyreweden