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Marcy Italiano is the author of Pain Machine, Spirits and Death In Niagara and Katrina and the Frenchman: A Journal From the Street. She has also published short stories and poetry. Marcy lives in Waterloo, Ontario with her family, runs the group "Writing in the 'Loo'" and is working part-time. Find Marcy online at www.marcyitaliano.com

marcy italiano


She put the book down and took out her hearing aids.

The wind outside disappeared.

The furnace fell silent.

Checking the alarm, set to 6:30am, she preferred the bed vibrator over the flashing lights. Too harsh for first thing in the morning. She turned the clock to face toward the wall.

Had trouble sleeping lately.

When she reached over to turn out the lights, the switch did not make a "flick" sound.

Pulling the covers up over her left shoulder, she curled up on her right side away from the clock. She adjusted her T-shirt and panties.

The pillow was uncomfortable. She scrunched it up and tucked it into her neck.

Blinds and heavy blue curtains blocked all outside light.

Pitch black.


But there was nothing to stare at. No focal point while her mind wandered yet again.

Maybe it was time to get the car brakes checked. They've been feeling less responsive lately.

Her left arm stretched out in front of her body, the sheets were cool and fresh.

Laundry day.

She closed her eyes.



She reached down to tuck some blanket between her bony knees.

That's better.

Alone. It was always lonelier at night.

But she had made the right choice.

She sighed.

Milk and coffee...and shampoo. Groceries after work tomorrow. Maybe ice cream. Vanilla. No sugar added.

How much time had passed?

Don't check the clock.

Eyes open.

Deep breath.

Eyes closed.

Muscles relaxing.


She rubbed her nose. Hand cream smelled of vanilla.

Head heavy. Another long, deep breath.



A man's hand clutched her upper arm.

She knew that musky smell.

A cold metal barrel pushed against her forehead.

It was hi--