It was a typical fall morning- I sought out my usual seat at the local bistro down the street; the previous day had been an excruciatingly long one, and the one thing that got me through was knowing I always had my solo-breakfast date in the morning.
I sat down on the familiar comfort of the wicker chair, basking in the morning light streaming through the large glass window.
I opened my laptop with to check the local news- I was attempting to act more “adult like”, and adults do that, right?
I opened the browser, and was taken aback by the big, bold letters on the headline: THIRD WOMAN FOUND DROWNED; A SERIAL KILLER IS ARISING. I involuntarily gasped so loud that the elderly man sitting in my peripherals gave a startled jump. In the description, it was said that the women were all in their early 20’s, with no true connection with one another; the only evidence tying them together is that they all had locks of hair missing upon investigation.
Suddenly feeling uneasy, I left money on the table to cover my untouched breakfast, sent a quick email to work explaining that I needed a sick day, and hastily grabbed my belongings. I started walking down the familiar cobblestone road, journeying back home. Pepper spray clasped in one hand, my keys grasped in the other; I felt paranoid, and my heart was exploding with adrenaline. I kept believing I was being followed, turning only to see a bare dry leaf skidding across the pavement. Before I had time to even shift my view back to ahead of me, I bumped straight into a tall, muscular figure that towered over me. My fight or flight kicked in, until I looked up to see kind eyes and an apologetic smirk. He asked if he could escort me home, given the recent danger that over compassed the town. As we arrived to my townhouse, I learned that his name was John; and that he would be accompanying me to breakfast the next morning.
The first few months, we were blissful in the throws of young love. The honeymoon phase never faltered, the love grew stronger every minute. And then suddenly, when I expressed my undying love and proposed moving in with him, John grew distant. The kindness in his eyes had been replaced with worry and despair. He officially broke things off with me a week later.
I decided to start following him home. “I’m not being predatory”, I told myself, “I’m just making sure he’s doing alright”. As I drove by, I saw what was my deepest and most dreading thought I had; he was opening the passenger side door of his car for a woman; long, naturally wavy red hair, her thin waist that accentuated her beautiful curved hips, and a smile that could light up the darkest room. My heart immediately burst into flames, my eyes immediately welling, streaming salty tears into my gaping mouth, and my hands grasping the steering wheel so tight, I thought my circulation was cutting off. Not wanting to cause any attention to myself, I drove home, every emotion filling my entire being to the core.
As I got home, I opened a bottle of wine that had been collecting dust (I hardly ever drank), and let my dying insides feel the warmth and comfort of the alcohol coursing through me. After the first bottle came a second, and after the second came a third. I must have really blacked out, because when I awoke, I was sitting at the edge of a canal not too far from home. I tried to search my mind of any evidence of how I got there; until I saw a figure approach in the darkness. As they got closer and closer, I blacked out again.
I awoke to sirens and lights and several EMT’s surrounding me, all seemingly relieved that I had come to. When I asked what had happened, they explained that they found me washed up on shore. It had looked like I had a wicked fight and battle I had endured, and they were shocked I made it out alive. Once the police wrapped me in a blanket and finished questioning me, I exhaled a sigh of relief. I knew my plan would have been foolproof, and that staging myself as the victim would push myself further down the suspect list. I knew the redhead would meet me there, as long as I posed as John, sending a brief text. One thing I didn’t mention that was in the headlines?
Every woman that had gone missing was one who had taken one of my lovers away. Suspicion started to rise as they started to bring me in for questioning more and more; but I knew at least now I was safe, as long I tended to the body shortly. As the officer took one final glance back at me, I kept on the mask of confusion, sorrow, and fear. When he turned his back, I allowed myself to smile, as I reached into my pocket and brushed my fingers against my new trinket- a lock of wavy red hair.
Credit : Rachel Morrison
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