Fayola played with her blade. Somebody was going to come along here soon, and then she could go home. The alley was dark, and the alcove she stood in was totally invisible until you were right beside it.

She heard the clicking of heels. Jesus, she thought. This one'll be fun. Wearing heels, walking briskly, but no sense of panic or fear or anything. I bet she thinks that things like this don't happen to her.

The heels drew near and Fayola peered closely at the figure briefly visible in the light from the Lavarato apartment above. Long blonde hair, real skinny, I suppose she calls it slim, blue dress, white nylons, white pumps. Jesus. This one'll be really good.

Fayola slipped out of the alcove and followed the woman, keeping completely silent until she was no more than five feet behind her. Then she made a loud throat-clearing noise.

The woman whirled, caught totally off-guard. Then she turned as if to run, but Fayola caught her arm. "You ain't goin' nowhere, Missy. You and me, we got some business first." Then she giggled. Where did she get words like that?

The woman struggled some more, and then suddenly the voice and the giggle registered. "You--you--"

"Yeah, I'm a woman. Want to see?" Without waiting for a response, Fayola pulled back one side of her jacket, revealing a bare tit. Then she resumed her grip on the woman's arm. "What's your name?"

The woman was totally nonplussed. "What?"

"What's your fuckin' name, woman?" Fayola hissed.

"A-a-adia O'Neil."

"How old are you?"

"I'm twenty-three. What are you going to do to me? Who are you?"

Fayola chortled. "I ain't gonna do nothin' to you. Not physically. It's what you're gonna do to me."

Adia looked confused again. "What?"

Fayola held out the knife, hilt-first. "Here, take this. Take it!"

Adia did, holding it in an amateur's grip. Never held a knife out of the kitchen before. If she's even been in the kitchen. Jesus Christ. Can I pick 'em.

She opened her jacket again, this time with both hands. "Now make a slit, down the middle. Just between my tits. Right there."

"What? I--"

"Jesus fucking Christ, lady, it's not like I'm asking you to kill me or anything. It's a clean knife, I made sure of that. I just need you to do this for me. I'm not going to turn you in the cops, or give 'em a knife with your fingerprints and my blood on it. You can watch me clean it yourself afterward. Just do it, OK?"


"Doesn't matter. You don't need to know. It's just--never mind. Okay, I'll walk you through it, okay? Just get a bit closer. You'll never break the skin from that far away. Good. Now, put the point of the knife right there, at the top of the breastbone. Not there, Jesus! On the bone! Now, push harder. Harder! Break the fucking skin! Yes, like that. Now, keep pressing, but move the knife downward. Don't press too hard, you'll dull the point on the bone. Move it slowly. Keep pressing! Geez, you've got wimpy arms. You should do some exercises." Fayola hissed as Adia finally seemed to get the hang of it. Not too much pressure, not too little. Just enough. Don't move too fast, let the edge of the blade part the skin. She'd honed this one enough. It could cut a little skin.

The knife reached the notch at the bottom of the breastbone and Fayola's hand snapped out to stop Adia's. She looked a little shocked, having been concentrating so hard she forgot she wasn't supposed to slit Fayola to the navel. "I'm sorry, I--"

"Forget it. You did a good job." She fingered the wound. The pressure was easing, now that the flesh was out of the way.

"Listen, I--" Adia stopped, still flustered. She took a deep breath, and said, "Could I do that again sometime?"

Fayola sucked in a breath, considering. Then she shrugged. "Sure, why not. Come by here again--say, six weeks tonight. No, six weeks Thursday. What day is that? August 9th? Whatever. And hey--give me the knife back, okay? Get your own."

She took a deep breath. Yeah, the pressure was certainly eased. Jesus, can I pick 'em.

Now maybe I can get some sleep.

Based on the words: Slit Young O Sleep

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The Den of Ubiquity / Aaron V. Humphrey /