Unholy Trinity: Good Bones by Gus Wood

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.

Bone Concert

Olivia, after her years of brutal tutelage,

has mastered the flute. 

She should hate this particular instrument.

The flute’s crude construction bends every breath into noise.

It’s such a struggle to get good music from bone.

Each note is a power drill,

a hack saw through a stubborn teacher’s skin.

Olivia, when she closes her eyes and plays,

can only hear the sound 

of her music teacher screaming 

as she taps her fingers across the holes.

She imagines him as she last saw him,

pale, bleeding, clutching a bleeding stump, 

watching her play his favorite song,

blowing into his femur.

 

Missed Cue

The lights burned

as Leopold struggled with the words to Hamlet.

“Alas…poor Yorrick…”

Nothing. 

He started pacing, buying time.

Leopold wondered what the old critic

would’ve thought of his performance.

What a man who loved theatre enough to donate his skull 

thought of a college kid butchering the bard.

Leopold tripped, gripped the skull to ground himself.

Then, the click of polished teeth,

the squeak of spurting blood,

the thump of fingers hitting the floor.

The critic, his bleached teeth streaked red, 

hollow mouth full of knuckles and skin, 

was never shy about giving a review with a bite.

 

Mr. Ossum’s Bones

Mr. Ossum starts the lesson.

The entire class rolls their eyes.

“The human body has 206 bones,” he says.

Pointing a ruler at each one, 

he rattles off their names.

Phalanges, Tarsals, Metatarsals, Tibia, Fibia, Femur, 

No one is paying attention.

Cocyx, Sacrum, Lisa, Renee, Joan,

The names slip out quiet and uneventful.

Ossum stops himself and clears his throat.

Nobody notices,

except for the quiet girl in the back

who stopped talking when her mother went missing

The girl stares at the skeleton,

all its different bones,

including the long, slender, familiar fingers

that could have taught her piano.

Gus Wood

Gus Wood is a game designer and horror writer. You can access all of his games, fiction, and horror criticism at www.gusonhorror.com. He hopes you read this by candlelight.

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