A story written for Weird Tales. . .
So, can you believe graduation is soon?
I think I'm going to give Miriam a very special present for graduation. . .A diamond ring! (Not an emerald. Ha! Ha!) Yep. . .I think we're ready to get married. And we're doing well. I've been accepted to graduate school and she's already selling stories to that creepy magazine. I know Miriam is the only girl I've ever had sex with, or even really dated, but that's Okay. We do pretty well together.
I still remember when we first met Sophomore year. It was right when I first met Kathleen.
It's funny how much she's faded from my memory. When I first met her I thought she was everything in the world: Tall, blonde, and strikingly beautiful. So, I asked her out.
At least, I shouldn't have done it in front of other people. Kathleen made a disgusted face and said, "Are you serious?"
Everyone else in the room just laughed like it was the funniest thing they ever heard.
Except one. In the corner, there was a small girl with straight black hair and glasses. She was watching us with a kind of grim smile.
Afterwards, when I was walking back to my dorm room and feeling kind of like. . .well. . .shit, she stopped me in the hall. "Hey! Tough break back there."
"Tell me about it."
She smiled and held out her hand. "My name's Miriam. You're Jason, right."
I nodded and shook her hand.
"You know," Miriam went on, "if you really want to win that girl's heart, you've got to try harder. Groove her!"
I smiled a little. "How am I going to do that?"
"You should give her an expensive present. Or at least a present that looks expensive."
"Oh. Yeah. I know girls like that. They don't really care how cool you are, or how handsome you are as long as you give them lots of stuff."
Well, that didn't help. I was a college student after all, with about eighty dollars in my checking account.
"Maybe, I can help you," said Miriam. "Come on back to my room."
I didn't see how she could help, but she was so friendly I thought I could at least see what she had in mind.
When we got back to her dorm room, I saw that it was decorated kind of creepy with posters of monster movies and Heavy Metal bands. Miriam pulled an item from the top shelf of her closet.
It was a fairly large box.
She flipped it open and I gasped, because inside there was a glowing green gem the size of a man's fist.
"Is that an emerald? You shouldn't be keeping something like that in your dorm room closet."
"It might be an emerald. I never took it to a jeweler. The person who gave it to me told a different story. She said it comes from a village in Eastern Europe. She claims that a hundred years ago the village was terrorized by a creature that came out of the mountains. Supposedly, it was a giant more than eight feet tall and it was covered with shaggy green fur and it would come into the village at night to carry off children which it would devour alive. Then, one day, someone finally managed to kill the monster and cut out its heart. And that's what this really is: The monster's heart."
There was a silent pause while I tried to figure out if she believed the story. Honestly, I couldn't tell.
"So," she went on, "do you want to give this to Kathleen?"
The question shocked me a little bit. "Huh? That's yours. I can't just take it."
"Don't be silly. I've been trying to get rid of this for a while. We can give it to her tomorrow afternoon."
So the next afternoon, I took the box and walked up to Kathleen's room. Miriam ended up tagging along. I remember I was a bundle of nerves when I walked up and knocked on the door. Could this be the moment when I finally got a girlfriend?
Kathleen answered the door dressed in her bathrobe and I realized that I had no idea what to say. "What do you want?" she asked.
"Well. . .I thought. . .I would give you this." It sounded lame, but I held out the box.
"Uh. . .Just to be friendly?"
"You think you're my friend?"
"Well, don't go around telling people that. It's kind of bad for my reputation." But she took the box, went back into her room, and closed the door.
I looked at Miriam. "That didn't go very well."
"No," she admitted putting a sympathetic arm around my waist and giving me a hug. "Maybe you should try another way of getting girls."
"Well, some guys act like their own sweet selves around girls and pretty soon a girl decides that he's nice and wants to--"
There was a loud scream from Kathleen's room. Without thinking, I flung the door open.
The entire room was covered in blood. I didn't see Kathleen anywhere.
Miriam pushed into the room behind me. "Look at this!" she said oddly undisturbed. "It's her robe." She picked the bloody thing up off the floor and held it up. There was also an odd squishy thing nearby. "These are her intestines," Miriam declared.
Then we noticed that the box was sitting on Kathleen's desk closed. "Look," said Miriam picking it up. "Her intestines are over there, but I'll bet her heart is in here now."
She held the box up to me.
"Should we open it and find out?"