Cleanliness – SHORT STORY

      YOU CANNOT CLEAN your hands in dirty water – 0h, and how long I had been trying. All that scrubbing, inspecting my only skin under all the light, all that soap, lathering up into a froth, until every speck of dirt was purged into the filthy basin that looked so pristine once, slurped at by the gurgling spoked sink hole.
Turning the tap off, I dared to look in the mirror dappled with toothpaste and flossing collateral. I dry my hands and look at them, front and back, with a detachment as if viewing exhibits in a museum of sickness.

Nobody ever told me, you can’t clean your insides but I tried. I’d been bleaching the hallways of my within vicariously, gallon barrels kicked over, scorching through the dead life, cleansing with harsh notes, a burning sensation without degrees.
And so I stood outside, with clean hands and a book – of matches. The quickest quick read. With the reek of petrol fresher than destruction coating the paintwork of the building, I lit three on the strip, tossing them into the flammable.

With each change in colour I felt cleaner, and by the time the building caught the entire attention of the fire, my mind felt lighter as demons exited through solid bone. Burn in hell is a common phrase. Seems a little distant. Now is better.

Patient confidentiality with my psychologist, let me tell the stories. I think they were eager to assist me now we had worked through several sessions. Eager was the wrong word – perhaps, bound? Underneath my confessions, I sensed fear. Of their workplace. Of their car. Of their possessions, all going up in smoke.

And I learned every issue I had could be neatly summarised into one word: transference; my inner fury had to have an outlet, I had to get clean somehow – fire – the other soap. Fixing years of damage would not be easy Dr. S. Galloway assured me. It would be a long road to recovery. All I could think was, are roads flammable?

 

lion around 2

37 thoughts on “Cleanliness – SHORT STORY

  1. And just another amazing story as I step into your place! Wish I was back earlier and read is sooner.
    As always, Lion, brilliant as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Even though we never learn what the problem is, it doesn’t matter.
    Suspenseful. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wowza!! Sizzling work! Grabbed me from start to finish. A fire pit of the soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And wowza right back, thanks for the glowing feedback 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on The Life & Times of Zoe the Fabulous Feline and commented:
    Visit the Lion’s blog if you want to read about and learn from some cool and very well written insights….if you dare.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brilliant, Fionn. I love the complicity of the ‘therapists’. Their fear and excuses, while the crime continues…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kim.
      The therapist feels obliged by fear if nothing else to continue helping…a sort of in too deep scenario.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You are the lion king of surprising endings. I did not see the fire coming until it burnt the page. Fantastic write – and read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks soul lines, liking the lion king of…😃

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You deserve the title, my Liege 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This has to be your most powerful write to date. Great message, nailed it with the finale. BRAVO.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mega thanks LA, that means a lot, especially from yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great story. Love that last line

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Al ☺
      tar is highly flammable btw lol

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Another short hit, well done 😊.
    Intentionally using the fact that arsonists are more likely to have suffered an abusive childhood, hence the washing and bleaching and therapy? Or a spookily profound bit of insight?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ta babbitman ☺
      This story came to me quite organically, its hard to out my finger on the intentionality, but I would imagine someone predisposed to burning and destruction would have plenty unresolved issues.
      As for insight, I swear I havent set any buildings on fire lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting. Verrrrry interesting…. [scribbles into note book]
        😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have a sneaking suspicion, I am being psycho analysed via the medium of blog comment box…. 😮😐😃😕

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I loved the seamless transition from soap and water to fire. A scary, believable story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks magarisa 😃 (btw does magarisa mean anything?)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, Fionn. 🙂 (Magarisa is my alias; “magari” is my favourite word in Italian because of its versatility.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It didn’t occur to me until later that Magarisa looked similar to Margarita. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  11. That had a nice dose of sardonic muse at the end and the creepy fact of all those holding said keys, are they safe? Loved the intro and a thorough building of the characters flaws and insecurities and psychiatric potential, and lo…there he was. And so short – I read short stories that are flat and with nothing in them, hence their length so, amazing, again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ta very much Anita 😃
      Glad you enjoyed.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Seriously! I was hooked from the first line and as the story progressed, I loved how you introduced the element of fire. If water doesn’t clean, fire’s the next best thing right? Fantastic job!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for such positive feedback Jade 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow! You did it again: goose bumps all over me, especially at the end! Great short story, Lion – as it is always the case!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for your feedback Miss. ☺

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You´re very welcome, Lion! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

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