PLEASE see notes for TRIGGERS.
|Notes/Warnings: TRIGGERS for torture.
Summary: Written for the Prompts: “Your character walks into an abandoned house . . . what happens?” and “Self-esteem.”
“I’m not, like . . . vain, am I?”
She stares at her reflection in the broken mirror, mugging and examining perfect white teeth. Runs a hand over her cap of russet-brown curls and makes a duck-face before winking, coy and sultry.
“I don’t think I’m vain,” she goes on with firm conviction, searching her reflection’s light-brown gaze. “I think I’m actually, like, the opposite of vain. I don’t really know my own worth, you know? But, then again, who does?”
She laughs, a pretty, girlish giggle that turns into adorable snorts. “I know, I know. I, like, seem really outgoing and confident, but I’m, like, so unsure of myself. So introverted, sometimes. And I never really buy that people believe the things I say, or . . . feel.” On the word feel, she makes air-quotes and huffs. “But I guess I must be doing something right, because they keep on following me home.” She turns away from the broken mirror, smiling big and bright, like a movie star. Big and bright like the scalpel in her left hand. Her eyes are sparkling and intense. Utterly insane. “Wouldn’t you agree?”
She waits for an answer, and when none is forthcoming, that gorgeous smile fades, and is soon replaced by a petulant scowl.
“I said, wouldn’t you agree, Natasha?” she demands in that quiet, forceful tone, pointedly taking a step forward, scalpel at the ready. But suddenly her scowl becomes a puckish grin. “Whatsamatta, baby? Cat got your tongue?” She nods at the decrepit, peeling wooden table to her right, then cackles wildly at her own joke, like a rabid animal might.
I groan, and open my mouth. All that comes out is a pained whimper, a thin trickle of blood, and the cauterized stump that used to be my tongue.
“Catherine . . . please. . . .” I try to say, swallowing back a tiny mouthful of my own blood. Only the words come out as: “Affrin . . . ease. . . .”
It hurts so much to try to speak, but I suppose I haven’t been tongueless for long enough to have stopped trying.
Catherine—“Call me Cat”—Delgado drifts, still giggling, to the table, on which rest small, shallow, stainless steel basins that contain my tongue, four of my fingers, my nipples, and nine of my toes, respectively. To one side, there are still some bowls that have yet to be filled, and will likely, soon, contain more of me. I shudder to think which pieces, not that it matters in the long-run.
I groan again and close my eyes on burning tears, cursing myself for picking up this pretty, charming psychopath. For following her out of the safety of the college bar and to this abandoned house of horrors. But I’d thought I’d be safe, because girls didn’t clock other girls over the head with partially empty bottles of Jack Daniels, strip them, tie them up, and then methodically remove bits of them over the course of days, right? Girls didn’t carefully cauterize each dismemberment with the efficiency of practice and routine, did they? Girls didn’t keep other girls alive for days while doing so, talking at them as they slowly, s l o w l y killed them . . . right?
Girls weren’t psychopaths and serial killers, right?
“Ah-ah,” Cat tsks, and I can feel her cool, gentle hands on my face. I remember being back at the bar, in our cozy, out of the way booth, three sheets to the wind, as this lovely lunatic had enthused about anything and everything, and kept touching my hand. I’d been so infatuated, so turned on, so disbelieving of my luck and yet confident in my ability to win this gorgeous creature, that I hadn’t even noticed that she, herself, hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol, nor so much as a single bar peanut. “I want those pretty eyes on me, soldier.”
But I can’t open my eyes. I’m so tired. Of the pain and the horror and the sight of her . . . the prettiest girl I’d ever seen. The kind of girl who, if she’d been in her right mind, would never have been caught dead talking to me.
Why hadn’t that tipped me off? Even when drunk, girls who look like Cat never pay attention to girls who look like me: plain, chunky, drab chicks who are too soft to be butch, but too tomboyish to be femme. And even if they do pay attention, it doesn’t last for long. Once they find out just how much of a loser I am, and that my hobbies beyond drinking are equivalent to that of a fourteen year-old boy, they usually lose what little interest they had to begin with.
Not Cat, though. And just based on that, I’d already been imagining her moving into my shitty, tiny apartment, taking her to meet my cold, disappointed parents (who’d surely be impressed that someone so lovely and outgoing and smart would be interested in me), and maybe letting her talk me into adopting a cat or three when the time was right. I’d had it all planned out in my drunken, twitter-pated mind.
What do lesbians bring on a second date? A U-HAUL! Ha-ha. . . !
What a fool I’d been . . . a goddamned fool. And now I’m paying with pieces of me.
I could only hope that I’d finish paying with my life, sometime soon, and go to my rest. I don’t believe in Heaven or Hell, or a god or devil, and I’m glad. Because when I take my final breath, there’ll be nothing but darkness, afterwards. Unknowing darkness and peace, the way it was before I was born.
“Hmm.” Cat’s gentle fingers brush my tear-stained cheeks tenderly. A distracted giggle escapes her, and I wonder how I’d thought that giggle sweet. How I’d seen it as anything other than completely unhinged. “I guess I know which pieces go next, Ms. Obstinate.”
I shudder as she starts to hum some aimless, tuneless ditty under her breath. The burning-cold edge of the scalpel kisses my right eyelid ever so lightly and Cat’s humming stops.
“I swear, I just, like, let people walk all over me. Vain people don’t do that, do they?” Cat asks, taking up from where she’d left off before. “It’s gotta be low self-esteem. Whaddaya think?”
I groan, and think nothing as she drags the scalpel slowly to the left.