Short story: The hanged man

Hannah Höch :: Fremde Schönheit

That night, the dream came softly and unnoticed.
The filtering, like a cinematographic infatuation, was watery green. I was in a flat, in an unfamiliar city, sharing the space with an unknown person.

Short dark hair wearing a white t-shirt.

He seemed shy and respectful —a living being that does not breathe the same air as you. He is just there, existing.

It seemed that we just moved there. I gave him my plants: a bunch of cactus, flowers and succulents.
He carefully placed it on the balcony. But, omnipresent as I was, -as the dream maker-, I noticed the clouds: grey and heavy.

Outside.

A man was standing at the top of a building. He didn’t seem hesitant nor scared. He just knew that it was the time.

My flatmate was placing the plants when an unexpected “uuhh” left his mouth. The ‘hanged man’ had just jumped off, falling and seeing the world upside down like the card in the Major Arcana.

When I reached the balcony and looked down,
the sidewalk was purple-red, and pieces of flesh,
splattered & viscous, were decorating the building walls. The hanged man’s torso disappeared into existence, and his legs landed in those funny positions, like a dummy doll.

Everything felt wary, dazed. My flatmate was petrified at the window, while I ran back,
trying to avoid an imminent panic attack embodied in a fever dream.

Reluctantly.

I shook my head and my body trying to “regulate” the reality. The watery spirit became sand, and everything looked dusty and far away.

Two days after the incident, we received a letter. The building mailboxes were next to the stairs,
made of tin and painted in dark blue. The imagery was blurry. The watery filter was back. I opened the envelope. It was an invoice for “debris clean-up”:

{as a consequence of this, the city of … and Mr X… notify you of the charge corresponding to the cleaning of debris carried out by the company … after the unfortunate situation that affected the façade of our buildings}

We were charged for our role as anonymous witnesses of the hanged man’s fleshy legacy,
his attempt at immortality, and the mess he left behind while achieving his last will –the subconscious voyeurism as a work of art.