Eating Our Hearts Out

"If I'm sick of being a victim, but not cut out to be a hero, what does that make me?"

Scotty Matthews is an alcoholic- he’s used to waking up miles away from his university campus with no memories to explain where he was or who he was with. As he tries to recover from one night of drinking, though, he realises he doesn’t feel quite right. He has nightmares he can’t explain, sickness he can’t suppress, anger he can’t control, and- worst of all- hunger he can’t satisfy.

Scotty needs to know what happened to him that night, but he only has two leads- a neck wound that probably came from a broken bottle, and a vague image of a girl, taken from a dream and friends who aren’t sure what they saw. Scotty tries to convince himself she was just another drunk student at a party, but he’s soon forced to accept the far darker truth. Not only is she a monster- she’s turned him into a monster too.

And if he wants to get his symptoms under control, he’s going to need her help.

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Author's note

Hello!
This is a little trigger warning. "Eating Our Hearts Out" is a vampire story, but there isn't any sparkling or ballroom dancing, and the violence goes a HECK of a lot farther than a bit of vanilla stalking. This story is packed with blood, guts, violence, pitch-black humour and an unhealthy amount of cannibalism alongside themes of alcoholism and drug addiction. Also, both my protagonists make morally questionable decisions to say the least. If you're squeamish, proceed with caution. If none of that bothers you, then please have fun reading! Jem :)
AA

22. Villain

SOAKING THE LAZY dribbles from this shower all the way through my hair used to take half an hour. Today, it took an hour. I remember all the times I turned this water numbingly cold so everything would hurt less. This shower’s seen a lot of blood- bloody lips and bloody hands, bloody wrists and bloody scabs. Throbs like dying bruises and stings like white-hot chemical burns. Nothing like this before. Nothing like these tar-thick, black rags rolling off me and crawling towards the drain. Nothing like my closed eyes, my empty face, my utter lack of sweat or tears. Nothing like the sound of my singing.

I’m no stranger to getting so high I pass out. But whenever it’s happened before, it’s happened in my bedroom, not downstairs, on red-painted kitchen tiles. When I woke up, the sky was black and the high was gone, but so was my inhibition. I tried to feel guilty for a while, but there was no guilt. No regret. The voices in my head have shut up, now they’ve finally been fed. I haven’t got the moral high ground anymore, but what I have instead is sharp, hot, intoxicating, full-blooded, electric power in my veins. It’s gorgeous.

As I switch off the shower and run my hands up my arms to hug myself, I see my phone light up with a text. Vacantly, I smile. There’s only one person left it could be from.

Freezing air hits me in an avalanche as I walk across the bathroom and start to get dressed in the clean clothes I brought down from my room. I stamped blood all over the stairway carpet. A patch of the wall next to the sink is smattered red where I tossed the old clothes after peeling them off. Yeah, I’m getting caught. If I get back on that train, I’ll bring every layer of hell right to Maria’s door. I’ve got no choice; I’ve got to run. The blood’s been the only thing on my mind for the last several hours, but over and above even that, I long for her. I need her. I need to go home.

I sigh and pick up my backpack, plodding through the hallway past that hilariously grotesque kitchen scene. The carnage I caused. Broken mannequins, and spilled stuffing. Something inside me laughs. And then I laugh, bitterly. You’ve done it. You’ve won, and yet lost. Good job, idiot.

And then I vault over the mess next to the front door, pull it open, jump out onto the path, breathe in the night air, and start to run. Without panting or thinking or looking back, I run and run and run till the blood rises back into my throat.

 

 

The train back to Glasgow is twice as jam-packed with people as the one I took yesterday, and this time, I don’t have a seat. The journey’s so beautifully tranquil I fall asleep.

 

 

Anyone would guess I was running for my life by the way I crash through that front door. When I reached the end of the road, I was seized by a wave of longing so overwhelming I couldn’t keep walking; I had to start running. It could’ve been to do with the fact I knew the police probably weren’t far behind me. Wonder how long it’s gonna take them to find me. Find us. Maria’ll understand.

“Hi!” I yell, bending down to stroke the puppies as they run up to me.

“Scotty!”

I straighten up as I hear Maria’s footsteps clattering down the stairs. She grins as our eyes meet, and throws herself into my arms. I hug her back, lifting her off her feet and burying my face in her hair. I breathe in her smell.

Then, she stiffens against me. She pulls back, her arms around my neck, and stares at me with wide eyes.

She smelt it. Somehow, she did.

“Scotty?” She murmurs.

Suddenly frightened of what she’ll think of me, I lean forwards and kiss her, tightening my grip on her waist. Almost instantly, she pushes me away. We stare at one another, and I shrink.

“Scotty, what the hell happened?”

“You knew what was gonna happen.” I say.

“Scotty, I-” Her voice starts to rise and rise. “I- you- you didn’t… You killed? Them? Who?” She pushes herself away from me, landing with a stumble on the carpet.

“Gordon.” I say, my voice deadpan. One hand held to her mouth, she nods.

“And my mother.”

Her eyes crumple, and I reach for her, but she bats my arms away from her waist, then covers her face with her hands.

“How… how… how… my god.” She squeaks with a sob. “My god.”

“Maria, you can’t be surprised.”

“Surprised? Bloody hell, Scotty, I’m shell-shocked!”

“Why?” I say angrily.

“All that time we spent.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“All the shit we did to stop you. All the shit I did.”

“I know.” I repeat, rubbing my face. “I’m so sorry. I couldn’t… you don’t… you don’t understand how awful they are. I didn’t remember either. It was too much. I couldn’t hold on.” I sigh. “I snapped.”

She stares at me for a long, long time, shaking her head. I can’t stand it. Then, her face crumples again.

“Maria, I thought you’d understand.” I say.

“Of course I understand; it’s not about what I do and don’t understand, Scotty!” She bursts out. “Is it? I know exactly why you did it.”

“Then why are you…” I trail off. Now, I’m starting to feel angry with myself.

“Why am I…” Her voice softens. “Like this? Why am I upset? Seriously?”

“What, because I’ve…” I don’t want to say doomed myself. It’s what I mean, though.

“Given in? I thought you were stronger than that.”

“I was.”

“Then why’d you do it? God damn you, Scotty, why’d you do it?”

Because I was sick of being miserable. Because I got drunk on power. Because love turned into hatred.

I sigh, and repeat: “Because I snapped.”

She seems to snap herself, breaking and throwing her arms around my neck. “Oh, you idiot!” she cries. “You idiot, Scotty!”

“What?” I can’t understand her reaction. “What?”

“What? You’ve destroyed yourself!”

“I know.” I say. She looks up at me, her lips pressed and eyes narrowed. “I know, Maria. But… The reality is this. And I realised on the train home, after I’d done it, granted. But there’s no life for me without you. If you’re doomed, I guess I want to be doomed too.” I shudder, my guilt blackening, rotting away inside me. “And they deserved it.”

She sobs again, pulling away from my shoulder. Seems my arms around her waist are the only thing holding her up. She’s making me guiltier. Why can’t she understand? I wanted her to make me feel better.

“I know.” She says. “I know they deserved it. But you… you… No. I’m angry with myself, not you.”

“Yeah.” I say.

“For letting you go.” She says. “Letting you out of my sight. With those people. Encouraging you, even.”

“You knew I’d do it when I left, didn’t you?”

Her bottom lip wobbles. Then, she nods a little.

We stare at one another for a while, our grips on one another loosening. God, this isn’t how I wanted this to go. I thought she’d be happy for me. At the very least, accept it wasn’t my fault. All I want is to spend the rest of my life with her. My worries gone.

I run my hand down Maria’s face and cup her chin as she looks up at me, her eyes shining with misery.

“It’s okay, Maria.” I say softly. “I’m happier. Nothing else’s changed.”

She blinks. “But you have changed.”

“I haven’t.” I lie. “I haven’t changed at all. All I want is you.”

“In time, Scotty, that’ll change. In time the blood’ll consume your life.”

“It won’t. You managed, didn’t you?”

“It took me two hundred years!” she says.

There’s a slight pause. I hear her chuckle a little, sadly, which makes me smile, relieved.

“Hey. Only a hundred and ninety-eight.” I say to her. I think. “And if the worst comes to the worst, I can stop tomorrow, right?”

She bursts out laughing.

“You’re a moron, Scotty.” She shoves me playfully in the chest. “You idiot. Idiot. Idiot.”

“I know.”

“You’re an idiot, and…” she looks over my shoulder, through the window of the front door. “And you’ve brought… you’ve…”

“I know.” I say, dropping my smile. “I’ve brought the police right to our door.”

She bites her lip as she looks up at me. Then, she sighs.

“Then I guess we’d better get running, then, hadn’t we?”

Maria fusses her dogs as they run to lick her when she bends down to get her backpack. “No.” She murmurs to them. “You can’t come with us. It’s dangerous. You gotta wait.” She straightens up and throws the bag onto her back, walking forwards to take my hand. I squeeze it.

“You sure you wanna do this?” I ask her. “They’re not after you. They’re after me.”

She bites her lip, angry. “I’m with you, you stupid idiot. Forever.”

“Forever?”

“Forever.”

I smile tiredly. “Okay.”

We leave the house.

I can’t help feeling empty as I watch Maria lock the door and we start to head down to the river. I feel nothing as we pass the university, nothing as we pass the apartment block I used to live in- the city’s asleep. There’s nobody around. None of it means anything to me anymore.

Then, we pass the playground. Maria jerks her head to the side as someone calls her name- it’s Sam. Then, he and Greg spot that we’re holding hands and start to holler at us.

“We knew it!”

“You liars!”

“We told you!”

“Yep.” Maria brushes her hair from her face. “We’re liars. We have to go.”

“What, you’re not coming to hang out?”

“N-no.” I breathe out, squeezing Maria’s hand. I think of Sam and Greg. They deserve so much better than what we’re giving them. They deserve a goodbye, an explanation, an apology. But then, I imagine them finding out what happened to us, and shiver with excitement. “We’re out for a romantic midnight stroll, right, darling?”

Maria smiles at me. “Right.”

“See you around.” I say to them, knowing I’m lying. I can hear sirens in the distance. They might not be for us, but in a minute, Sam and Greg are going to see a few police cars rocket past, on their way to find us.

“See you, lovebirds! Have a good night! Don’t get your hands too dirty!” Sam yells.

Greg shushes him, giggling, and Maria and I exchange glances. Then, we all hear the sirens getting closer. Maria and I look over our shoulders as the night explodes with blue light behind us. Maria widens her eyes at me. I smirk.

Then, she tugs my hand and in front of Sam and Greg, we take off running. We’re laughing as we run. Maria pulls me across the road. “Come on!” She yells as she pushes me towards the stile gate. I make a pig’s arse of trying to climb it as she laughs hysterically and the sirens grow louder and louder and louder. I wonder if the police will find us quickly. I wonder if they’ll ask Sam and Greg. Sam and Greg will tell them if they do. They’re good people. And I don’t resent them for it.

But we will win.

“Get up there!” Maria shouts, shoving me so I fall feet-first and crack my ankles against the hard dirt. Then, she backs up.

“Watch this.” She orders me. I watch as she runs at the gate and plants both hands on it and vaults over. She lands, then suddenly lurches forwards in a stumble before catching herself. “Nailed it.”

“Nice.” I say. “Nine out of ten.”

“Nine?”

“Missed the mark on style points.”

Run, you idiot!” She’s giggling as she grabs my arm and drags me along the riverbank. We run; the wind slaps my cheeks; the bare curtain of the willow tree flies back to let us through. It was autumn the last time we came here. Now, it’s winter. We’re getting closer to the bridge, where she turned me, where I stood on the edge of the bank wallowing in that half-arsed high and thinking that was the best feeling on earth. I was wrong. The real high isn’t the best feeling either. Maria is. This freedom is.

Maria and I reach the bridge and stop, wrapping our arms around one another as the sirens and blue lights come to a halt at the top of the embankment. We press our foreheads together, and I see Maria drop her backpack to the ground at our feet. This is where it all started.

“I adore you, Scotty.” She murmurs as five or six or more voices start to scream at us.

“I adore you too, Maria.”

And this is where it’s all going to end.

“Let GO of each other!” One police officer orders. Maria looks up at him. I let go of her, but she doesn’t let go of me.

“Let GO and GET on the GROUND!”

“Ah, but I just washed my hair.” She murmurs to me softly. Her voice is soft and electric and dark. Then, she lets go of me. “Lost style points my arse, Scotty.”

She turns towards the police officers as their silhouettes get closer. She gives them a wave.

“Hello, everyone!” She says brightly, the growl in her voice leaking through her half-gritted teeth. “I suppose you’re here for Scotty. Now, I HAVE TO ADMIT-” She raises her voice as the police do the same, and now, she’s screaming. “I’ve got some GOOD news, and some BAD! The good news is that- oh, look! He’s right there! Imagine that. Congrats to you all! You found him! Officers of the week- no, the month. Maybe even the whole year.” She laughs, cutting over a dozen retorts. “Then again, once I’m done with you, they’ll have no choice but to brand you officers of the year anyway. And that’s where we arrive at the bad news.”

The shape of her burns black as she walks into the royal blue flood. She ruffles up her hair, which crackles with turquoise light as it falls down her back. She picks out the police officer who’s shouting the loudest and walks towards him, placing one foot in front of the other, lining heel up with toe like she’s walking on a tightrope. He’s still shouting. “Get on the ground! STOP where you are!”

She stops. She stops inches from him. This wasn’t part of the plan, at all, but I can’t tear my eyes away. I see the rest of the police turn their attention to me. Then, they stop and look back at Maria, who’s laughing. They’re forced to.

Because she’s just spun her body like a hurricane with her hair and arms flying out and cut the police officer’s throat with her claws and then pounced on him with her teeth.

As they go down together, blood spews up like a fountain of ink and I stare. Stare as they start to scream. Smile as they leave me behind and descend on her, encircling her. She’s feeding, but when she snaps her head up I see her eyes turning from white to black and her jagged grin widening into a snarl. She’s covered in blood- covered in it- and she gets to her feet in the circle of police and spins slowly, her arms wide. The officers are completely unarmed. And that’s when I see the two silhouettes at the top of the embankment. Looking down on us.

Maria’s laughter churns into a snarl and she pounces on another officer, wrenching his wrist sideways as he raises his hand to defend himself, grabbing him by the front of his collar, digging her teeth into him, and throwing him to the ground with a thud. She licks one finger before giggling and snarling again. I do nothing. I watch. All this to protect me.

A police officer grabs Maria around the waist and slams her down onto the ground, shouting for help. Maria struggles and kicks and screams. Fury digs deep into my bones as I make a move towards the group. How dare they touch her? I don’t care who’s watching- I’m going to help her. They’re going to regret the day they crossed- Oh.

There’s a stomach churning, heart-stopping shriek and the police officer on top of Maria straightens up to a standing position as he claws uselessly at the black spewing hole in his neck. Maria gets to her feet again, and then spits a gob out of her mouth onto the ground. She wipes her face with the back of her wrist and growls, kicking the body out of the way. And I should probably be bothered by the way she’s grinning, but I’m not.

“Come ON!” she screams. “That all you GOT? How’s Glasgow supposed to feel safe with YOU lot protecting and serving its ass? You’re pathetic. You don’t even have guns.”

The two remaining police officers don’t want to fight her. I totally understand. I wouldn’t want to fight her either. God, she’s so fast. I’m still trying to reach her. What do I see as yet more blue lights explode into the sky, as more cars screech to a halt at the top of the embankment? I see her, spinning to kick a police officer in the chest, descending on him, and tearing at him till he’s dead. I see a demon get to her feet- a demon with translucent blue-tinted skin and bloody purple hair and glossed white eyes and a face smeared with warpaint. She grins dopily at me as she shakes her hair out and licks her bloody teeth with her bloody tongue. That’s what I looked like, to my mother. A demon. Maria plunges her head back down, but I grab her arm and drag her away, talking calmly to her as she struggles and tries to get back to eating. When we stop and she turns in my arms to face me, I see the wild greedy desperation in her eyes, and I don’t know how to make it better. I see the last police officer back away from us, shaking so hard she can’t even force out the word please. I see one pathetic woman and one impossibly strong one. I see a villain and her victim. I see.

 And what do the next round of police officers see as they throw themselves out of the cars and stumble down the embankment, shouting their orders and clicking their big-ass guns and crackling their voices through their walkie-talkies? They see a boy and a girl kissing. They see two blood-covered kids wrapped together in an embrace like there’s nobody else on Planet Earth, like they’re just out for a stroll in the park, or alone in their bedroom. Like there’s nobody watching them. Like there’s no earthly reason they shouldn’t. They see the girl’s arms going up over the boy’s head and the boy bending over her, enveloping her, dipping her lower, as her blue-crackling hair blows sideways in the wind. And they stop. And they stare.

And I adore the way they look at us.

Maria breaks away from me, back from her blood-fuelled stupor. She looks at me guiltily, but I don’t need her to apologise. I want this to be over, and if this is what it takes, this is what we’ll do. We’re surrounded by the carnage this girl rains down on the world and I’m afraid, but not in a bad way. I want it. I want her. Need her.

I wipe blood from my mouth, and Maria flinches as a bullet nibbles a line through her cheekbone.

She stiffens, raises a hand to wipe blood from her face, and locks her eyes with mine. Another bullet goes clean through one temple and out the other, her eyes roll out of focus, and she starts to fall. Then, the hail begins. Another three or four bullets find her stomach before she’s even hit the ground. I turn to see the armed droves of police officers descending on us. When I look down again, Maria’s destroyed; her blood’s flowing off the edge of the bank, down into the black water. She rolls onto her back, pitted with bullets, thin lines of red running from both corners of her open mouth. There’s a perfect round hole in the centre of her forehead.

I snap my head up as fury boils my blood, hotter than I’ve ever felt before.

“Step away from her! This is your FINAL warning!” The man in the middle of the armed squad shouts. At me. He’s talking to me.

I growl, my fangs in my mouth and my claws at my fingertips.

“Yours too.” I say.

Then, I run for him, opening his face with a flailing swipe as dull thuds of pressure run from my chest through my body. I pounce on him, sit up on him, push my hair out of my face, and then plunge down into his neck, not coming up again for two seconds or twelve or twenty. I stand up, staggering back and nearly fainting from the dizzying gut-punch of the high, but I want to keep going. The police officers keep screaming and shouting and filling me up with more and more bullets as they realise I’m not going down, but I don’t care about me, even as my body’s blown to rags and the pain cuts through me, white-hot. I care about her. How dare they think they have the right to take her from me like that? How dare they think they have the right to shoot us when all we were doing was kissing? When we’ve fought so hard? How dare they? I walk up to another police officer and wrench his gun out of his grip. Before I’ve even fully contemplated just shooting him with it, my mouth’s at his neck and I’m tearing at him till he stops moving. I stand up, lighter than air, my stomach fluttering, and pounce on another and do the same. And all the while, I’m getting shot, over and over. I don’t feel a thing. They stop shooting.

Silence floods the riverbank. The police and I stare at one another. All but the three I killed.

“G-get on the GROUND!” Someone screams. I raise an eyebrow. I look back down at Maria, who’s still covered in blood, even though all the bulletholes in her are healed. She’s still lying on her back, staring up at the sky with wide, round eyes, her hair spread out.

“On the GROUND!”

I ignore him. He’s starting to irritate me. The high hisses and fizzes in my head as I turn and kneel down next to Maria. As I lean over her, and the police continue to yell at me, I see a smile twitch her lifeless face.

“Get up.” I whisper.

“Can’t. I’m dead.”

I start to laugh, as the shouts grow louder. Then, she starts to laugh too. The screams in the air tangle into a hysterical sheet as I kneel up, grab both her hands, and pull her to her feet.

“Wow!” Maria says, feigning shock as she examines her hands and looks up at the line of officers with doe-eyed wonder. “I’m alive!”

There’s a scream. Just one. And then, the guns open fire again.

Maria and I walk through the hail of bullets like they’re rain; we heal like we’re drying off. It hurts, but it’s nothing, because even before I’ve resumed slashing randomly at people’s throats, I’m high as Heaven or Hell once again. It’s scary. But I love it. And then, something happens.

I stop.

I watch blankly as Maria cracks her neck, smiling as a bullethole in her cheek knits together under its crusts of blood. I watch as she growls and then screams, and the scream churns into more laughter as she bites out a throat and tosses the body aside like a pile of old clothes. I watch in silence, as the bullets thud through me like they’re nothing. These people are innocent. In fact, they’re better than innocent- they’re the heroes. And we’re the villains. Maria’s shoulder bursts apart and sucks itself shut again. She punches the shooter square in the face and grabs his collar to open his throat, and I rise to my feet. This is too much. They’re never going to stop coming.

I have to do it now.

As Maria kills more and more, spinning in a hellish whirlwind of teeth and growls and curls like she weighs nothing, lessening and lessening the hail of bullets on me, I turn and run back to the riverbank. I grab her backpack, tear open the zip, and reach inside. I fumble till my fingers close around the knife.

Once I’ve pulled it free, I realise the riverside’s gone silent.

They’re all dead, heaped on the ground with the dumped rubbish. Maria’s sighing and gasping and swallowing blood as she tears into one of them. A cold shudder runs through me as I realise she’s eating him. She raises her head, glossy-eyed, to grin listlessly at the sky, and I realise she’s not going to stop till she’s finished. Or till I stop her. So I do. I run over and grab her arm. Her voice softens as she starts to struggle.

“No. No. No.”

“Yes.” I tighten my grip on her arm and drag her to her feet. Then, I pull her down to the edge of the river. “That’s enough now.”

The hunger softens her voice. Then, the desperation hardens it. “Come on. Come on. Just a few more minutes, Scotty; come on, I need this! I NEED it!” I tighten my grip around her waist from behind with one arm. The other’s holding the knife. I look up and notice one of the two silhouettes at the top of the riverbank is still there. I think it’s Greg. Sam’s probably fainted. I’m going to miss them. There’s another silhouette, too, moving against the ground in the darkness under the bridge. She’s yelling into a walkie-talkie, which crackles. I hear the words, “Well, what are they doing now?”

She looks up at us. Waiting.

“Maria.” I say. “Enough’s enough.”

And I press the blade into her throat.

Maria stiffens against me, clutching the arm around her waist with both hands. We’re both filthy, each making the other worse with every second of closeness.

Maria stiffly holds her arms out. Then, she lets out what sounds a hell of a lot like an exasperated sigh, dropping them back to her sides. She presses her hand to my wrist at her throat, gasping, but she’s not struggling. She’s adjusting me to make herself more comfortable.

She bites back a laugh. Then, another. Then, she starts to laugh, her voice dripping with bitter sarcasm.

“I see how it is.” She says, more to the people watching us than to me. She raises her voice. “I see how it is!”

I say nothing. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. This is the only way to end it. Here. Now. It’s going to hurt.

“Do it.” Maria mutters to me. I nod silently.

“Do it, Scotty,” she repeats, her voice loud and mad. “Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it now.”

I close my eyes, remembering her in the playground. The art room. The corridor. The bedroom with the pink lights. The bed with the black satin sheets. The first kiss, the bite, the nervous pleasure of my first drink and the screaming euphoria of the second. I remember the tang of hope in my chest she’d fix me, make me whole again. It was bullshit. She can’t fix me; she’s destroyed everything I once was. I made a deal with a demon, and this is where it’s led me: to the edge of a cliff, the black water below us.

“Are you sure you want to do this, love?” Maria looks down, and I almost move the knife from her throat to stop her from hurting herself. “Are you sure?” She laughs again, and this time, I shake with her. I hold her tighter, burying my face in her hair.

I’m sure.

“I love you.” I say to her.

She breathes in, her breath snagging in her throat, her voice clogged with tears that don’t exist. “I love you too. With the last shred of my heart, the last drop of my soul, I love you. Swear on my life. I love you. I love you.”

She giggles, then gasps as I tighten my grip on the knife. “I love you.” I say again. It’s like I can say nothing else.

“Get on with it, love.” She replies. Her voice electrifies me. Then, her hands flash up and grab mine, digging the knife deeper into her throat, and I feel a single freezing trickle of blood lining the gap between my fingers. She gasps, laughs, whimpers loudly, and then whispers, “We’re running out of time.”

I know her mouth’s filled up with blood, because it’s slurring her words into slush. She’s drowning. I tighten my grip, dig the knife in all the way, and feel her go limp against my chest.

Her head lolls and her weight drags me sideways. Another shuddering burst of blue floods through the night as I scoop her up into my arms and clutch her to my chest, pressing my forehead to hers. I stand there, holding her. More doors slam. More voices shout. More footsteps drum on the path. And when they swarm down the embankment, guns in hands, they see the boy they’re after- the murderer- bloodied but unhurt, holding a dead girl’s body in his arms and a bloody knife in his hands. The police officer under the bridge runs to stand behind the new line, but I see her staring at me in shock.

I look down at Maria’s beautiful face, lifeless, ruined by all that red and black. I can’t see the yawning welt under her chin anymore.

I turn and walk to the edge of the riverbank as they start to shout at me all over again. I look down at the sheer drop to the freezing-cold black-and-silver churning water. Then, I throw Maria in.

I turn back before I hear the splash.

“What?” I say to the police, deadpan, as they stare at me. “You didn’t see she was a problem?”

They’re still staring at me. I’ve never been subject to this much attention before.

I wave the blood-covered knife at them. “Silver.” I say. “Only thing that kills us.”

Then, as the screaming in my ears reaches a fever pitch, I hold the knife out in front of my chest, the tip of the blade snagging my brown shirt that used to be green. What do they see? They see a boy who’s lost everything preparing to kill himself. They tell him not do it, but he doesn’t listen. He’s got to be with his girl.

I shuffle back till my heels are hanging over the edge of the bank. Then, I gasp and throw my head back as I drive the knife hilt-deep into my chest, unleashing a cold deep shriek of agony the likes of which I’ve never felt before. I scream, and sob, once, twice. Then, I yank it out with another gasp. I drop the knife onto the ground at my feet, eyes wide, legs stiff, arms flailing. I don’t know why I dropped the knife. I guess we don’t need it. It’s only a common kitchen knife, after all.

I look up at the police, doing my best impression of a man who’s dying. Then, I stumble back as my head grows light and I let myself fall.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten.

I hit the water. It grabs me and pulls me under and folds tightly shut over me. I go to sleep feeling right. I don’t even need to close my eyes.

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