fiction by Anastasia Arellano


     Three ceiling fans rotate in lazy unison. The air conditioning has been broken for months. Whenever I get my hair done at Beauty Pink I stick to the vinyl chairs, but it’s the only place within a twenty-mile radius that does permanents. Everything else surrounding our town is farmland.

    “Did y’all hear how they found her?” Betty Jo smacks her bubblegum as she gossips to her client. She forcibly shakes a can of hairspray before unloading the contents into the sixties style bouffant, patting down wisps.

    “Was it gruesome?” The client’s eyes widen with intrigue.

    “Well, I heard from a very good friend down in the sheriff’s station that when they searched Dillon’s truck, they found a severed hand.”


    Betty Jo nods. “It’s true. Part of his plea deal was to take them to the rest of her.”

    “Did he?” Another woman across the salon perks up from behind her magazine.

    Betty Jo whips her head around. From the side she looks like a blonde Rosie the Riveter. She blows another bubble.

“Oh absolutely. They found all twelve pieces of her.”

    Everyone in the tiny salon groans.

    I tug the rollers in my hair.

    Susan comes over and lifts the dryer cap. “You alright Cecilia?”

    “I have to go,” I get up, littering rolls on the ground.

    Everyone stares.

Someone whispers, “That’s Lucy’s best friend.”

    I drop a fifty-dollar bill on the counter and storm out. The bell above the door jingles.    

Outside in the Georgia heat I run to my car, yanking open the door. I let out several large gasps as I start the engine, tearing out of the parking lot, trying to escape the image of Lucy in my mind.

    I turn down the old dirt road. I roll down the window, letting in the steamy Southern air. I pull out my emergency pack of Marlboro Reds from the middle console. I barely smoke. But the smoky, if not slightly stale taste of cigarette brings back the old days after high school when Lucy, Dillon and I would all pile into his pick up with a twelve pack or a naggin of whiskey and head for the secret swim hole behind his property. We’d spend the warm evenings drinking and being silly amid the backdrop of croaking bullfrogs and chirping cicadas.

    My house comes into view but I drive past the little yellow farmhouse. I follow the bend, my car hugging every bump.

    The Freedman Farm is up ahead. I pull over and park outside the big gates. I get out of the car.

The wind picks up my long, oaken hair into a halo of frizz. I climb onto the gate and stop. The empty field smells like cow shit. Lucy was half my heart. We planned to see how far we could run from this town. I feel it all again in my chest.

"I loved her!" I scream into the field. The truth should be told.


Anastasia Arellano

Anastasia Arellano is originally from California but now lives in Dublin, Ireland with her wife. She is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, and holds a Master’s in Creative Writing. She writes for Wetpaint Life and Goodfullness. She’s had a short story published in McStorytellers, and poetry published in Smithereen’s Press. She recently completed her first solo YA novel, as well as a coauthored YA novel with fellow writer and Trinity graduate, Emma Guinness. When she’s not writing, she’s cooking, plastering her bedroom walls in storyboards, or seeking inspiration from the Irish landscape. You can follow her on Instagram @latingurl26 and Twitter @AnastasiaArell5