Hi, I’m Erin. Welcome to Story Time with Erin O’Riordan. Today I’m going to start reading episode 1 of ‘CUT’ by me and Tit Elingtin. It’s gonna be kinda like story time when you were a kid in school only more adult. ‘Cut’ is a crime story along the lines of Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino or Crash, the movie by Paul Haggis. Make sure you subscribe to our channel. I’m going to read two or three episodes a week and you’re not going to want to miss an episode. If you like ‘Cut,’ you can find it on Amazon, on Createspace, a digital copy on Smashwords, or go to our Etsy shop Writer’s Brain Has Wings, and don’t forget to rate it on Goodreads. ‘Cut” episode 1 by Erin O’Riordan and Tit Elingtin. Thank you to Beth Coney Smith for her cover photography – thanks Beth! – featuring real blood by Tit Elingtin. One: January 2000. In Fred’s bright white room she’s stacked three rows of votive candles in red jars on her dresser. Her roommate, Leander, said they reminded him of the cemetery but Fred use them as a meditation point when she prayed. She liked the deep blue sheets on her bed. The blue and white color scheme matched the dress and cape of the woman in the poster above Fred’s bed, the print of Murillo’s ‘Immaculate Conception of the Escorial,’ painted in 1678, portrayed the Virgin looking up to heaven surrounded by cherubim and standing on a crescent moon. Behind the Virgin’s head the cherubim dissolved into an orange haze. In the light of the burning votives the whole room seemed to glow orange. Three rows of seven candlesticks before her, she said one Hail Mary for each. Fred finish saying her 21st Hail Mary and got off her knees. She blew out all the candles except one. The cheap candles smoked, filling Fred’s bedroom with gray haze, reminding her of an underwater scene. She walked over to the bed and lifted the corner of the mattress. She had to grope for a moment to find it tucked inside the elastic of the blue fitted sheet’s corner. She held up the razor to the candlelight. The blood left on it from the last time didn’t bother: clean blood, her own. She was tired of cutting her arms. Fred had covered her upper arms with intersecting highways of hardened scars, and fresher wounds decorated her arms from the elbow to the wrist. She’s scared herself the other night, cutting too deeply at the wrists. She’d bled until she felt like passing out. Blood had soaked into the pillow; she could still smell its stale odor permeating the air. She would be more careful this time. She took off one of her boots and her torn black stockings. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, she reached back and turned on the stereo, tuned to the local Catholic station. The music, a choir of voices singing the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, lifted her soul. It brought her mind back to her purpose: She would feel pain not because she got some pleasure from it (though she did) but because she needed it to save her soul. If heroin took away all pain except a nagging longing for more of itself, then the pain must come from somewhere. She made the first cut above her knee curving her wrists to angle the razor down toward the floor. She felt the acute sting over her thin skin. She made another cut higher up her leg, deep into the flesh of her thigh. Fred grimaced as the blood flowed freely. she wondered if she’d struck muscle the immaculate conception of the Escorial looked up to the heavens as it pretending not to notice the choir saying Lord make me a means of your piece she said their days before she realized the sharp reduction in her ears was not from the radio station she dropped the racers swiftly and unlocked her bedroom door Leander stood outside she saw the beads of sweat on his forehead under his gently curling black hair and his eyes shone smelled like gasoline Fred seemly ender huffing gas to get high but she had never smelled it so strongly before he looked soaked in it and smelled burnt she couldn’t tell if his shirt was soaked in sweat or gasoline but it appeared blackened at the bottom what the hell she said she noticed his arm then wrapped in a blood-soaked bandage made from a white t-shirt she went to touch it but Leander let out a sound of pain and jumped back what happened burned he said Leander had small burns all the time Fred often sized hands started with small pink spots of raw flesh he had never cried out like that maybe you should go to the ER it might be serious he shook his head furiously no time Fred I did something really bad i mean they wanted me to do it but I didn’t know it was going to be this nevermind I’ve got to get out of here out of my house she said she thought of his half of the wrecked where are you going I have to get out of town he said science bleeding and killed them so i need to know Fred are you staying here are you coming with me she looked around the room and took in the sight of candles the more real painting the bloody razor lying on the carpet she didn’t need to wonder she could leave it all behind and going she said pushing him towards the doorway she blew out the candle and she knelt and reached under the bed she pulled out a black sweater and her junkie works wrapping the works in the sweater she stuck them under her arm with one hand she grabbed her black violin case with the other hand she took hold of lenders sunburned hand he pulled her out the back door for the alley they didn’t bother to lock the house and unfamiliar car that parked at an odd angle on the grass between the alley in the garage whoever Leander had killed had also stolen their car Fred shuttered but no time to think about it she would miss her mother and father her sister Paula and some of her siblings especially domingo her little brother had always been so sweet she would miss father Shelby Sanborn but she would find another priest in another town she confess the sins later wait here we under said he ran back inside the house sprinting so hard she could see the strain on his face even in the darkness Fred place your violin on the floor of the backseat and stashed her junkie shit in the glove box she pressed the sweater to the bloody wounds on her upper thigh damn she’s cut too deeply again and blood didn’t stop she was tying the sweater around her leg when Leander return he jumped into the driver’s seat so violently the vehicle shook he breathes harshly cloud in the silence of the car as they sped away Fred looked back at the house one last time she could see light in the kitchen window Leander she said tightening the sweater around her leg did you set the house on fire he left friend had never heard the end her life like that and it scared her he sounded scared too scared and excited Darius setup he heard his car pull into the garage he followed asleep on the couch watching TV forgetting to keep an eye on dinner he sprinted to the kitchen but she got there first we’re not lifted the lid off the pot on the stove Darius’s rice and being stuck to the bottom of the pan in a burnt gluey mess don’t worry about that Darius said you put his arm around Renata pulling your backwards away from the stove and kissed her I made chicken to its warming in the oven how’s your sister and she spun around to face him lifting up on her toes he leaned in and mr. he held her there his hands traveling down her back and resting in the pockets of a short denim skirt when she pulled away she drew a deep breath then she turned on the oven light and checked on the chicken she gave him a little smile of approval my sister isn’t well she said reaching for a pair of oven mitts I’m really worried about her anyone who not only lost a baby that can never have another baby is going to be distraught obviously I don’t know where normal grieving ends and something abnormal begins she pulled the pan of chicken from the oven inside upon the stove Darius took two plates down from the shelf and handed a spatula Renata I’ve dealt with lots of abnormal people he said what about Monica didn’t seem right she told him as they sat down at the kitchen table well she hasn’t gone back to work yet that’s normal Darius said it doesn’t even been a month yet she’ll go back to work when she’s ready or not to finish the bite of chicken Travis told me she got fired she hasn’t said a word about trying to get her job back are looking for a new job she gave up can’t afford to live on only his salary and try to swing back to work for a while but I don’t think he’s been going to work lately either and they were hi Darius the what she gestured with her for a piece of chicken stuck to the end of it you have to promise me you won’t tell anyone she said the smoke pop Darius left you’re so sweet he said who did you think I was going to tell you think i would arrest them or something this is serious I’m not making any money or taking care of themselves and now they’re on drugs I know you’re not going to arrest them hell if you put people in jail for smoking pot half the town would be in jail right now including half of the police department he required the point is using drugs can’t be good for their mental health it can’t help them get back to their normal lives Darius side it sounds like they want to escape from the pain for a little while you might actually be helping as for getting back to normal who knows what is normal when you think your whole life’s about to change and then you find out you’re not a parent and you never will be we are not parents or not said we still managed to go to work keep food in the house and stay off drugs somehow I find the strength to take a shower in the morning good thing because the strongest thing about you in the morning is your smell he said she grabbed the saltshaker took some salt in her hand and flung at him Darius moved out of the way in the salt later on the floor who’s going to clean that up serious as with mock seriousness you started it she laughed oh yeah well then I’m gonna finish it you got up so fast he knocked his chair over there not a doctor fork shot up out of her chair and ran into the living room she laughed as he caught her and pulled her down onto the couch in terms of the couch and kiss the side of her neck let’s go in the bedroom and a said kicking off shoes here spine Darius said I can’t wait he unbuttoned her blouse Renata’s soft laughter let Daria’s no she didn’t want him to stop Darius stood as he pulls shirt off and threw it onto the recliner or not a hunted around the couch for the remote control the games going to have to wait she said letting her blouse slipped to the floor she unzipped your denim skirt and step down got all the action I need right here area said looking her up and down she found the remote between the cushions of the couch and she was about to click off the TV and erupted loud cheers serious head whipped around to face keeping in time to catch the replay touchdown he shouted the phone ring or not i looked at the various he frowned slightly that’ll be Carl will want to talk about the game she picked up the phone from the end table beside the couch Carl gets you for six ships a week it’s my turn now she had the talk button something we can help you with Carl yeah he’s watching it you can talk to him about it on Monday ok she hung up Darius terror not in her bra and panties I don’t know about you she said but i’m going to get serious look at the TV a moment and back at Renata he picked up the remote where she dropped it and click the TV off chapter 2 jun 19 99 we’re not emerge from the bedroom Darius walked around the kitchen in his blue uniform pants a white t-shirt and black socks is if patent leather shoes SAT by the back door freshly polished or not I knew he would not put them on until he was ready to leave she looked up the clock on the microwave he only had 15 minutes before he have to leave coffee he asked her lifting the pot off the Machine be empty most of the pot into his thermos leaving enough for one cup shouldn’t she said Jerry a smile right i forgot already so how are you feeling today are not a padded her belly and she sat down at the breakfast table I feel fine she said hopefully she had stretched the truth a bit her stomach felt a little funny and as she spotted Darius’s and cereal the feeling that worse hysteria setting bowl of cheerios in front of Renata she Brown did you want threaded wheat instead yes no we’re not afraid I’m not hungry this morning maybe that’s a good sign Darius remarks he took we’re not a cereal bowl away he attempted to pour the Cheerios back into the box they ended up all over the counter instead he looked at the mess that the clock I hate to do this you baby but I’m going to be late if I don’t finish getting ready would you mind I don’t mind she said she swept the spilled cheerios into her hand is serious disappeared down the hall she threw the Cheerios down the garbage disposal thinking she really did not mind picking up after Darius she loved him especially in the morning fresh out of the shower he looks so good with short cropped black hair and dark eyes or not I had dark eyes too she didn’t know whether the baby would have gas black hair or her own right here boy she thought dreamily would certainly be redheaded every man in Renata’s family had red hair except Travis but he was a relative by marriage either way she never complained about picking up cheerios toys or Darius’s clothes whatever she knew she would love every moment of motherhood as much as she loves managing the accounting firm she worked at she couldn’t wait to quit her job she considered nothing more important than being Darius’s life and someone’s mom she heard arias putting on his bulletproof vest she knew this down the velcro straps next you would put on this uniform shirt he wore the short sleep one today the department’s one concession to the 93 heat of the July morning he then put on his belt along with the holster and gun ignoring the rising unease inside her we’re not a thought of how proud little son or daughter would be up daddy going out every morning to protect people That’s the end of episode 1 by Erin O’Riordan and Tit Elingtin. Make sure you subscribe if you want to get a notification when the next episode is ready. Thanks! Have a good day.