Chella Courington is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear or are forthcoming in numerous anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quarterly, The Collagist, and Fiction Southeast. Her flash novella, Adele and Tom: The Portrait of a Marriage, is available at Breaking Rules Publishing. Courington lives in California.
The Woman Who Dreamed of the Polished Box
She was a girl then. She’d gone to Carlito’s Traveling Show with her mother, a woman who died young. Glossy red with white stars, the box rested on a carpenter’s table. Carlito climbed in. A muscular woman, like her mother, appeared from stage shadows and would pull a saw through the wood. But first came the long aah from the audience.
What did you like best?
The woman who would die young was still there then, gripping the wheel of a blue Pontiac, driving behind a curtain of rain while the girl clutched her yellow slicker. Her head hummed from hearing blades bite the pine. She chewed her thumb until she tasted her own copper blood. She said, the teeth.
You mean the saw.
And she said, yes, the saw that sings in the dark.