A young woman discovers sad truths about her boyfriend (For Writer's Cramp)
|When she asked Theodore to arrange Halloween candy, he had gone into one of his tantrums. She had always wondered why he got angry at such minor things. I am the one who will be working that day studying that staff, Celia thought. They had met around five years ago on a cruise-ship: they had started talking and the rest was history. Though these days, she wondered if they were really a match made in heaven.
She, who worked in at the museum as an antiquities expert, and he was a lauded architect. Yet, he mansplained everthing from Literature to Astronomy, and seemed to resent her intellect and insights. She was beginning to realise, after he saw her flirting with her younger friend, Aliya the barista, that he was more into youth and inexperience. He wanted someone who was “dumb” and he acted like a classist.
When she got home the candy was not out — no wait — "Huh." There was a stray wrapper on the side and crumbs on the dish — The candy was gone! "What the-?" She was sure that Theodore, had actually done something instead of fighting with her the umpteenth time. She called out his name. There was no answer.
As if on cue, the light on the porch went out. She was very scared. It must be nothing, just a bad bulb, “Hello…?” She called out into the darkness. Nothing responded. Then there was an eerie knock on the door.
Followed by some softer knocks, and a voice: “Let me in.” She did not know what to do but take small steps back. The voice gurgled out and stopped after saying: “Help.” She swallowed. She got out her cellphone to call the police. Though, something like a tail tore through the air and spiked it clean out of her hand and it hit the fridge door, breaking out in circuits and static. She only had a small slice of blood coming out of her hand.
She screamed and started running, realizing she had to get out of the house! “Theodore! Theodore!” She still called out his name, hoping to get an answer back. The Landline! She thought as she furiously ran up the stairs, she could hear something chasing after her, yet not in full speed — the footfalls felt like an animal’s, quadrupedal. This is insane! This has to be a dream!
As she got into her bedroom, she only spun around to close the door and thought she saw a sphinx but slammed the door shut. She rushed to the phone but the line was dead. Soon, the room was engulfed in darkness and she clutched her mouth so she would not scream. She was crying now. Tears of fear. Of impending doom. Just today, she thought she made a breakthrough in the museum, concerning on this staff, under the Egyptian God, Bastet. And, now? All of that seemed like some distant memory of a life that was going to end soon.
“I am sorry.” There was a voice in the room, as a soft candle was lit, she recognized it before she turned to see the person, “Alex gets very playful and forgets himself.”
“Aliya?” She looked at her in shock. Celia did not understand why the other woman was here. Then she gulped, “Where is Theodore?” She sobbed, not understanding why her boyfriend was not here — why someone she was sure he was cheating on her with was. What did this mean? What did any of it mean?
“Oh, Theodore is the one who invited me to come over. I think he was finally cutting out the pleasantries. Your boyfriend was an asshole.”
The words hit her hard. She knew. She always knew he was going to leave her. Wait, this did not explain anything?! And why did she say — “was?
“You wonder the connection? Well, I was only humouring him because his firm is the one, right? Helping the museum renovate that ruin your team found months ago? The Warding staff of Bastet belongs to me. I let you have it for a while.”
This is when Celia noticed Aliya’s feline ears. The tail. Long, black and unnerving, looping around the floor and tapping it as an impatient foot. “You know.” Aliya continued, “He did not expect me to turn catty.” She laughed at her own joke, “And when he tried to kiss me, I asked him about you? And he got mad and started bitching about you — that is when I used my tail to stab his tongue. Shut him up.”
“You killed him?”
“I got rid of someone who was selfish and planning to leave you.” Aliya answered the shocked Celia, “Take this as a boon. Now, about the staff, you can have it, we need more people like you in our group.”
“What group…?” She was in shock and asked numbly.
“We are a bunch of scholars. Attempting to understand the vibrations of the universe with sacred or special artifacts. We have many types of people in our fold of course.”
“It sounds like a cult.”
“To the low initiates, it can be. You know, for all his disloyalty, your beau wanted to be one of us. I guess he never thought his examiner, his interviewer, would be a ‘lowly’ barista. The bitch always thought he was better than everyone.”
She heard the knock on the door again, this time, it seemed a courtesy, “Come in.” Aliya seemed to have used some sort of spell to open the door. Something came in and it took Celia to realise what she was seeing — The young Sphinx dropped the half-mangled body of Theodore into the room. Blood and guts out. Celia realized. Theodore had been mauled outside and had tried to come back in. Hence, that weird knock.
“I am sure he failed even before he got the answer wrong.” Aliya smiled and offered Celia a drink. “Oh, sorry about the candy, Alex just got appetizers to whet his appetite.”
Written for Writer's Cramp