All Stories, General Fiction

Wicked Magdalena by Ailbhe Curran

Hovering over the table, the young lady stands. Though she calls herself woman. But only in whispers. The room caves upon her slight frame as she leans to re-read the letter, clutching the pen in her hand. Her wild crimson hair which once ran free and loose is pinned and smoothed from her face, just the way it pleases him. The kitchen is sparkling too much for an observer, but all appearances are in place so that he can tell himself that life is perfection and that he is perfection too. Little does he know that the table is set tonight for his Last Supper with the wicked Magdalena. The Magdalena who beneath her apron hides the bruises of unladylike womanhood, the bruises of those who dared to challenge his Gospel one too many times.

Today, the wicked Magdalena baked a letter for his dinner with pages of neatly lined paper, dripping black ink and essence of Truth which can only be tasted on the page. She set it down on his crisp white plate beside his fork and knife. For a moment again she wondered if the other would be easier, but she wouldn’t like his rich, rubied blood spilt on the bleached linen cloth. And it would be too quick, not slow and poisonous, seeping questions of who he really is into his mind until he looks in the mirror one day and realises that he is unrecognisable. And that he truly is the wicked one. Tonight, she will run away as wicked Magdalena can, he will call her bitch and whore and slapper, smashing her precious china that for so long she pretended to love. It was cold, perfect, and pristine, everything he wanted her to be. Tonight, after she leaves, he will die from her words. And she doesn’t even need to be in the room to do it.

Placing the pen down as the spoon, she shines his cutlery one more time and holds it up to the light, admiring the deception of her reflection. The table is set. Her dish of words is roasting hot and tempting to the hoodwinked eye. The delph is glimmering normality as she taught it to do. She unpins her hair, letting her strands drift across the table for the first time since they met. She imagines him snapping these strands with his fingers as he reads through the words he will not like. She sees him sitting there, the ink eventually curdling to form pools on the page from his raging tears. With temper, he will start to cause a tear through the middle but stop, thinking that he may use it as evidence in her trial or to cradle at night as he succumbs to haunting slumber. He will look to Jesus who he placed as her shadow on the kitchen wall and find a blank space smirking back at him.

The neighbours will come of course to fill the void and cast their final judgements on her sins or act of salvation. In the day they will speak of the sweet husband deceived by his vicious scheming wife but in their silenced dreams they might find themselves too rising from their beds and following her into the night. And on his last laboured breath, he will come to realise that her broken strands and letter of bravely spoken words will be all he has left in the world. And by then, wicked Magdalena will be long gone.

Ailbhe Curran

Image by Terri Cnudde from Pixabay 

6 thoughts on “Wicked Magdalena by Ailbhe Curran”

  1. Ailbhe–

    The immediate morph of the young lady to the Wicked Magdalena is brilliant. “Only in whispers.” Great tension, outstanding description. We certinly look forward to more from you ahead.


  2. Hi Ailbhe,
    This is a very rich piece of prose which adds to the tension and the distasteful subject matter.
    The tone was beautifully done and you controlled the pace perfectly.
    Looking forward to more from you.


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