“I Am Woman” by M. Soni
Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.
This week, M. Soni prepares for a date.
I Am Woman
by M. Soni
Old Saybrook, Connecticut
She loved the sound of her high heels on the pavement. A casual, unhurried, I’m in control sound. She knew the higher the heels, the more elegant her walk.
The soft silk of her dress swished, and lightly caressed her newly waxed legs as she walked down the deserted street. The neckline was low but not trashy, a single button holding it together. The Chanel had mixed with her skin and wafted around her in soft waves. She ran her fingertip over the pinky-red lipstick.
The moonlight glistened on the water, lightening her step. She could almost taste the salt in the ocean breeze that wound its way through this small town on the shore of the Long Island Sound. She had come to love it over the six years she had lived there. The people were as tolerant as she could hope for. They knew about her, but they treated her with respect.
She thought of her date and felt a shiver of anticipation. Keep it subtle girl, he’s the kinda guy who likes subtle, Stepford wife subtle.
I am strong
I am invin . . . cible
I am woman
Nuh, nuh, nuh . . .
Funny how something as trivial as a song could inspire people or, as in her case, prevent them from killing themselves.
She wanted to impress him on this first date, who knows, there may not be any more. That was the usual case. The first date was often perfect. Then, in the blink of an eye, the mood would change. Occasionally they would be so angry at being duped, they would assault her.
For as long as she could remember she had felt like a girl, dressed like a girl, behaved like a girl and desperately, oh so desperately, wanted to be a girl. She never thought of herself as a boy. But there were moments when her reactions seemed to be those of a guy’s. Like now, her brief flash of anger did not seem very feminine but then what did she know about women, maybe they did feel anger like this.
Startled, she looked up. She was surrounded by a group of young men carrying an assortment of weapons, baseball bats that they tapped ominously in the palms of their hands. They seemed weirdly out of place in this New England town with its colonial houses and leafy trees. And yet here they were.
“Damn,” she muttered under her breath.
“Yeah, it’s her. Or him, who the hell knows. She tried to turn a trick on me.” She recognized the boy from the neighborhood gang that hung around the bodega.
“Going somewhere? On a date, maybe? How exciting,” sneered another.
“Great boobs,” said another, digging her in the chest with a bat.
She scanned them to find a weak spot where she could plant a well aimed heel. She knew she stood no chance once they had her on the ground. She searched for her pepper spray in her handbag, not taking her eyes off them.
Oh hell. She had left it at home when she changed handbags.
She lunged at one of the bat-wielding boys, managing to surprise him into putting the bat up in front of his face for protection. She could picture herself, a woman, dressed up in full battle dress, as mad as a man.
She wrenched the bat from the boy and as she turned to face the others, she felt a deep pain in her head. She could hear the bone splinter and felt the bat fly out of her hands.
Oh, please God don’t let them rape me, was her last thought before she lost consciousness.
I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
Hmm, hmm, hmm, hear me roar . . .
I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land.*
*Song lyrics from “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy.
MANJU SONI is an eye surgeon turned author. She is the author of When Lions Roared: How Brave Young People Defied Apartheid, an Amazon Kindle Single publication. Her short fiction and nonfiction has appeared in the Apeiron Review, The Establishment.com, and is forthcoming in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:
—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—Accepted submissions are typically published 6–8 months after their notification date and will be edited for cohesion and to conform to our house style.
—E-mail your submission to [email protected]. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
Posted: Apr 10, 2017
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