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  • Writer's pictureCathryn Grant

2-Minute Fiction: Misaligned

The manhole cover was misaligned. The stripe marking the side of the road across the metal plate didn’t connect to the painted line on the pavement.


She looked out her window and fumed, infuriated by the carelessness eating at the fabric of society. “I want it fixed,” she whispered.


“Stop obsessing,” he said.


“Why doesn’t anyone care? I’m losing my mind.”


“You are.”


It haunted her at night. It tormented her days. He told her to find something that mattered in the world. Otherwise, she was simply taking up space.


The night was cold and clear when she woke. She reached under the bed and pulled out her carving knife. She woke him by touching the point of the blade to his throat. “I want it fixed. Now.”


“It’s public property. Not my—”


“The crowbar is by the front door.”


She used the knife to prod him out to the street, waiting while he pried off the heavy plate. It clattered onto the pavement. She looked around to see if any lights came on. The neighboring houses remained dark.


Turning quickly, she drove the knife into his flesh. More than once. When he collapsed, his breath gone, she shoved him into the uncovered hole, steeling herself against the sickening thud of flesh on the ground below.


She dragged the manhole cover toward the opening, turning it until the lines met up. Slowly, carefully, she eased it into place.


Aligned.

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