Hands entry

Beth | 06/01/2016

[NB: italics set off as such: /word/]

That one was too big—her right hand, her milking, chopping hand, couldn’t find a grip. The next one, too jagged. She risked thick, yellow calluses on the fleshy part of her palms from the work at the guest house, but she was careful to rub them with lanolin at night before sleeping. No, that rock wouldn’t do at all. The next one her fingers touched was too small. It looked right—dark enough to mirror her heart’s desire—but it was too light to even kill a cat. She reached out with both hands now, scrabbling behind her and beside her to find the right one in this alpine meadow. A startled insect hit her left knuckle as it fled her search, wings tickly but stiff like a dog’s whisker.
“Maria?”
She hadn’t heard his footsteps because she’d been so absorbed in her task. His shadow fell over her right hand as she raised it to caress the tops of the wildflowers growing over the rocks. She plucked a purple bloom and held it out to him.
“Yes?” Innocent. Coquette. /He mustn’t suspect./
“Are you ready to eat? I haven’t found it yet”—/Neither have I/ —“so let’s have the picnic.”
“Of course, darling. Do you think it will take you long to find it?”
“We shall see.” He sat down on her left.
Her hands abandoned the rocks—/I’ll find it, the right one, soon/—and grabbed the picnic basket on her left.
From it, she brought out a cheery red cloth to spread on the ground between Viktor and herself—/Red as your blood/—a huge chunk of perfect bread baked just that morning, and several greasy paper parcels containing cheeses and sausage. From his own rucksack, Viktor’s unsteady hands—/so pale, so useless/—pulled out a bottle of beer and another, larger, of schnapps. His fingers caressed the bottlenecks before uncorking. They had no cups and she preferred to abstain; he’d finish them both.
Excited, she clenched her fists in the folds of her skirt. The perfect time, and soon the perfect rock. /It was the perfect day to kill him./

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