Thomas looked out the low window. Light grazed the edges of the sky. The neighborhood, sleepy, was only beginning to stir. Trim, suburban saplings stood hazy and barely visible along dim rows of houses. In the distance, a faint band of interstate carried the occasional tapered headlight beam.
He placed his hand along Clara’s jawline, guided her face upward to his. “Go on,” she said, “Please.” He kissed her, then slid his knife in a neat line up her wrist. As she bled out in a pool on the floor, they kissed again. He held her to him until her passion failed, and then laid her gently down.
He lifted the knife again, steadied himself, brought the point to his own forearm. He watched as the tip indented then pierced his flesh. Blood fleeing him, he let the weapon clatter on the hardwood and curled himself softly around Clara’s form.
I wrote this sometime between 2001 and 2005 to share with a writing group. I was trying to condense a tragic romance into the smallest possible space. Of course, doing so sacrifices a lot—the bulk of character- and relationship-building, of context that generally allows readers to get involved with and care about the characters, to want their love to succeed. As a result, I think this little piece is far less successful than I would have liked, but still an interesting exercise.