Short Fiction: Turning the Dial

The face in the mirror wasn’t as bad as she expected.  The bruises remained, but at least the doctor’s stitches were precise.  In time they might even become so faint as to be unnoticeable.  It had happened again.  She knew better than to be so trusting, but he was sweet and handsome.  Aren’t they all, though, she thought, until their true self emerges.

She sighed and began to gently scrub her face, but stopped at a sharp pain at the bridge of her nose.  Gasping, fingers gently probing around the are, she could tell something loose was in the nasal passage.  Whatever it was, she could barely see it with her head tilted back.

There was no sense of alarm in the woman, not any longer.  With another sigh, she reached for a pair of tweezers.  It was difficult to get a solid grip on the object.  After a minute of struggling, though, she was carefully pulling it out.  The pain increased and blood began streaming out.  The damage done as the object sliced the flesh around it was intense.  No reaction remained within her, however.  Last night ended that problem.

Finally, having extracted the thing, she examined it with curiosity.  A sliver of bone wsa grasped in the tweezers.  Further probing around her face seemed to indicate that it was broken from the nasal cavity.  With a snort that sent blood spraying across the vanity, she reckoned that it must have been fractured, but not so evident that the x-rays missed the damage.

She shrugged and sent it aside before returning her gaze to the mirror.  The blood flow was slowing, but would take some time to seal up.  That was fine, she thought.  The team manager had come to the hospital and immediately put her on paid leave.  He arranged for counseling and therapy sessions, asking if there were any other resources she could think of.  A co-worker had called to say that she had arranged for groceries to be delivered and shared the account details to list her needs.  The company was paying the bill.

It wasn’t the best quality job, but at least the company was run and staffed by good people.

Angie sat on the toilet to wait for the bleeding to clot.  At least, she thought, they will never find his body.


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