Walls by Jeff Hill [horror]

Walls by Jeff Hill

“Forget everything you’ve ever learned about women,” the giant black Sharpie had written on the bathroom stall. How fitting, he thought. How very true, he agreed. Graffiti on walls and stalls alike were starting to define his crucial moments. Should he wash his hands? Look to the mirror for a response. His face, also covered in blood, would say yes, you will be caught if you don’t. The pen-carved “Nobody fucking gets it” above the sink would say no, you need to keep going. Huh, he thinks to himself. Yeah, he agrees.

Returning to his bag of tools, he pulls out the hammer and inspects the bits of hair and bone and, is that brain? as he thinks to himself, when was I supposed to be back? The kids would be happy to see him. He is their favorite. Then he gets a little sad. He misses the kids. They really are the future, he thinks, smiling one of those sad but proud dad smiles, like when your kid does something great and you want to brag at work to show how great you did, but you don’t want others to know how upset you are that they’re taking attention away from you, taking away your life savings, taking your very soul with them each and every time they break your wife’s heart even though she’s just being ridiculous. Taking.

He sets the hammer down and pulls out the piano wire. Part of him wonders how much longer he can keep doing this. The cursive red lipstick cliché of “You. Are. Important.” raises more questions than it should. Why did a woman come into this bathroom? What made her think to waste her expensive lipstick? Who hurt her? What made her so fucking special?

The warning bell rings. Class starts in one minute. He should probably figure out what he’s doing for third period. After all, it’s his favorite class. And you know what? They’re important. They’re the future, he thinks. It’s his job to break them, he agrees. He takes out his green overhead marker and writes on the tile, “One. By. One.”

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