Photo by Karen Lau00e5rk Boshoff on

Litha dipped her brush into the shiny blue powder and dabbed it onto her eyelid. 

Dab, don’t swipe, she thought. This shadow had a lot of fallout, and if she swished the brush back and forth across her lid, she’d end up with blue all over the bridge of her nose.

She opened her right eye and closed her left and repeated the process. She was new at this, but she’d been learning from videos online. There was a process, a formula, involved. This was mathematical and precise; she could do precise.

Something soft tickled the crease at the back of her knee and she jerked, streaking shiny blue powder all over the left side of her face. 

“Shit!” She looked down and saw her gray tabby looking up at her. “I love you, Max, but now is not the time.”

Litha opened the pack of makeup wipes and fished a towelette out. She scrubbed at her face, erasing the blue along with the foundation that was underneath it. Redness bloomed across her cheeks and the freckles that she worked so hard to hide became visible.

She looked down at her watch. She was running late. Litha rolled her eyes and grabbed another wipe from the pack. 

This was supposed to be a five-minute-face, but she’d been working on it for closer to forty. She scrubbed her face and tossed the wipe in the trash.

“Be good, Max,” she called as she ran, bare-faced, out the door. “I love you.”


I Don’t Want to Hurt You

“I don’t want to hurt you,” she calls to me. She’s hiding behind the corner and there’s a gun in her hand. I can’t see her, but I can see her shadow. “Please, just let me go.”

“You know I can’t do that,” I call back. I take a hesitant step forward, trying to be stealthy, but the broken glass underfoot crunches.


A shot rings out, coming from her position. I leap back behind the pillar that I was hiding behind. It isn’t like her to miss.

“I won’t miss next time,” she says. “I really don’t want to hurt you!”

“You didn’t miss this time,” I whisper to myself. There’s a bullet hole just a few inches over where my head was. “I can’t let you go. You killed twelve people; I have to bring you in!”

“You really don’t.” She pauses and in her silence, I can hear her reload. She’s serious about this. “They were all bad. You can’t fault me for taking out a pedophile ring.”

“It isn’t for you to be judge, jury, and executioner.”

“Someone has to be!” There’s a note of resolution in her voice like this is the last thing she’s going to say to me. I peek around the corner and another shot rings out.


My shoulder erupts in fire and there’s a wet sound that can only be my blood hitting the wall behind me. I drop down to my knees in pain as I hear her footsteps pitter-patter away from me. I can’t believe I let her go. She didn’t want to hurt me, but she did.

I grasp for my walkie and radio that I need help. I lie on my back and wait. It won’t be much longer now.