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The Hair of the Dog

The Hair of the Dog

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Published by Rachael Finley
Even the best relationships don't always end gracefully
Even the best relationships don't always end gracefully

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Published by: Rachael Finley on Jan 26, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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PrologueMicah remembered funerals. He remembered waxy, unnatural bodies, their hands crossed over eerily motionless chests, their dress clothes pressed and clean against cream-colored satin. He remembered a pair of cheap coffins laid side by side among a dozen others, the crowd quiet and mournful and afraid as Micah gripped the edge of the casket with small, wind-frozen hands. It hadn’t made sense to him then either. Death, the finality of it all, how sudden and irreversible ithad been, what it meant to him, to his life, to his future… He remembered a steelcasket, the memory much fresher and much more raw, the cloying scent of funeralflowers and the stifling heat of a funeral parlor packed with mourners. There had been only one body at this funeral, but the turnout had been much greater andmuch less genuinely aggrieved. They all cared, but some more than others, and afew in only a vaguely curious, morbid way. Micah had stood beside the coffin, his arms at his side, moving only to shake the hands of the well wishers as theypassed in procession, his face placid and masking the urge to break down. Maybeto scream, maybe to cry…he wasn’t sure what would come out, so he held it all back.He’d ignored the whispers and suspicious looks, the grief-filled and hateful stares cast his way from the trembling, devastated mother of the deceased as she satin the front row, too pained to stand and greet the funeral guests. He held hiscomposure, waiting until he was alone, just him and the cold body in the casketbefore crying, his tears silent and numb, bruised hands shaking as he reached totouch a perfectly pale and unblemished cheek. The magic of the funeral director’smake-up brush. He knew what all the friends and family of the deceased thought,and their suspicions made it difficult to grieve.Micah remembered blood, strangely hot and thick, and the way it had coated his hands like paint. He remembered how his fingers stuck together as the blood congealed and dried, and the sensation of having to pull his sticky flesh away from itself in order to move. There had been so much, a dizzying, almost unrealistic amount sprayed hotly over his exposed neck and face. A drop had beaded inhis eyelashes and smeared over his temple as he wiped it away with the heel ofhis hand. When, unconscious of what he was doing, he had flicked his tongue outto lick away a spot of moisture on his lips, it had tasted metallic and sour, like spoiled milk and old pennies.He remembered it all in terrible, unwanted detail, so vividly that he wished he could drive his fingers into his eyes hard enough to permanently distortthe images. How could he have possibly done something like that? It seemed impossible. He wasn’t that kind of person.At the sound of rustling pages he drew his hands away from his face andrested them on the table. Micah knew how it was possible. Of course he did, andhe wondered if the men across the table knew it too, as unrealistic and improbable as it was.Micah focused on the bronzed badges draped on chains over their chests,wondering what they would see in him if he looked them in the eyes. A monster maybe, a man wracked with violent insanity. At one point they had been on his side. They had wanted to help him. Not anymore. The steely, carefully blank expressions on their faces told him that.One of the men cleared his throat and checked his watch discreetly. “Mr. Daniels, you understand why you’re here, I’m sure.”Micah wasn’t sure which part of the question baffled him more: the suddenrefusal to use his first name, or the ludicrous suggestion that he didn’t understand why he was there.They thought he was insane maybe, unhinged, addled, and maybe they wereright.Micah didn’t move, didn’t nod or blink. “Of course I do.”“You have the right to an attorney, you understand. We can provide you with one if money is a concern.”Now Micah looked him in the eyes and resisted the urge to laugh cruelly.Money wasn’t an issue, and everyone in the room knew it, but they were desperateand maybe a little disappointed. “What good is a lawyer to me now?”

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