Screaming Lambs

Today’s boot camp prompt is:

American Graffiti 

You’re downtown, and see graffiti in an unlikely place—graffiti like you’ve never seen before, concerning  someone you know.

“Well Vicki, have the lambs stopped screaming?” I knew those words from somewhere, but where? The graffiti was the most vulgar thing I’d ever seen. It covered the side of an orphanage. It was the side that looked out over the small, fenced-in yard next to the building. The building itself was a white block with few windows. There was one door that led into the play yard and one that led into the street. The other two sides were butted against other buildings and even the yard was surrounded by buildings on three sides. How had no one seen the artist and caught him? Downtown was busy enough during the day, surely there were people walking at night as well.

Painted against the white wall was a black and red monstrosity of a woman sprawled out on a bed. Her red underwear were twisted around her ankles. There was blood trailing down her legs from the thick black fuzz of her groin. Her arms were spread to each side and blood flowed from her wrists onto the bed. Her breasts had red slash marks ripping flesh away from itself. There was a thick red gash from one side of her neck to the other with the red flowing down her shoulders and chest. Her head lulled to the side in an unnatural way, neck pulling away from neck at the gash. Her eyes were rolled so far you almost couldn’t see the iris. They cried tears of red. Her hair lay sloppily above her head with flecks of red spattered throughout. The words were written across the top in rough, jagged letters. 

What was worse then the imagery was that I knew this woman. Vicki worked in the cube next to me. We talked every day and even went to lunch together from time to time. Whoever painted this new her well enough to get every detail right, down to the birthmark on her thigh that she hated. I picked up my phone and dialed her number. It rang. And rang. And rang. Until finally her voice came on asking for a message.

“Vicki, it’s Anita. I’m looking at a really fucked up painting. Call me as soon as you get this.” I hung up and tapped the phone against my leg while looking at the painting. I paused for a moment and then turned to look at each building. I couldn’t see anything that resembled a security camera on a single one of them. I tried Vicki again. Still no answer. That didn’t mean she was dead, it just meant that she was busy. It was still early in the morning, maybe she was sleeping.

I couldn’t stand around and do nothing. I knocked on the door of the orphanage. After a few more aggressive knocks a woman in her 60’s answered.

“How can I help you?” She asked pleasantly.

“Have you seen the side of your building?” I asked incredulously. Her lips tightened.

“Yes, we’ve contacted the authorities. They’ll be here soon. I’m sorry you had to see it.”

“I know her.” I said, not being able to help myself. Her mouth opened, then closed, then opened again.

“Well when the police arrive you can tell them.” Before I could say anything else she shut the door on me. I tried calling Vicki again and I got her voicemail, again. Where did I know that line from? I went back to stare at the graffiti. I stared hard at the words. It wasn’t until I saw the butterfly as the dot of the question mark that I knew what it was from. It was the only thing of a different color. It was dark yellow with negative space for the white skull-like design on its back. I shuttered as I realized what movie the line came from and then tried Vicki again.


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