erin slaughter

Seekers of Flame & Dirt

In the first story the man and the woman had no names, knew each other by animal intuition. They passed through the hallways of each other like body heat, pink-swirled and silent. One did the dishes. One combed the carpet. Their house had begun to breathe and grow fur and this made sense to them. At night the house sighed and they clicked off their bed-lamps, feeling mostly safe to let their bodies go limp collectively. They passed through their bedsheets like echoes of hotel patrons, bubbling stomachs and hearts discovered too-suddenly in the dark. When daybreak came, the sunlight was a quietly opening wound. Their house tremored beastly and began to sweat from brightness. One put old beach towels down on every surface. One sang quietly in the kitchen. They felt certain they had come to know each other the way anyone is certain of the exact shape of a creature outside of themselves. They created noises, little hymns of breath and hoped their meaning was translated most approximately. One day the man or the woman was gone, just a chilled ghost of eaten heat, and the man or the woman was left cold-limbed to tend to their hungering home. I’m not going to say which was a toothless shadow and which misplaced their blood, but I bet you can guess which. I bet you can guess.