The Misery

By Kaitlynn McShea

A September wind sighed through the city. Beatrice closed her eyes and leaned into its cool embrace. Simultaneously, bells from the cathedral reverberated through her skin, marking the hour. 

It was time.

Within her loose fist, wings tickled against her palm. A wasp battled against her fingers, searching for a way out.  Beatrice tightened her fist, and the wasp peppered her with three sharp zaps. She let go, and the wasp tumbled toward the black asphalt. One of its wings was broken, and Beatrice dug the heel of her black boot into it, spreading its green guts. 

“What’s the misery?” Felix had snuck up on her, but he leaned casually against the cathedral wall like he had always been there.

She shrugged and lifted her hand. A soft rain settled into her skin. She imagined it settling into her bones, too. The three red, angry welts stood out against the overcast sky. Beatrice considered the blotches like others considered tea leaves. 

“It’s blotchier than usual,” Kit said.

Beatrice nodded. With her hand still skyward, they watched the welts soften into the symbol of a cross. Kit swore. Beatrice said nothing, but internally, she recoiled. She closed her hand back into a fist and dropped her arm to her side. “It will be a messy night,” she replied.

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