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 drunk 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, my phone lights 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, and most importantly of all, I’ve got to get back to her. The blood’s been the only thing on my mind for the last several hours, but over and above even that, I want her. I want to see her again. 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. It doesn’t look real. Looks like a low-budget horror movie. Something inside me laughs. And then I laugh, bitterly.

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 Aberdeen 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 Maria’s footsteps clatter 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 sensed it. I can tell.

“Scotty?” she murmurs.

Frightened, I lean forwards and kiss her, tightening my grip on her waist. She pushes me away almost instantly. 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. “And… and my mother.”

One hand held to her mouth, she nods. Her eyes crumple, and I reach for her, but she bats my arms away from her waist, then covers her mouth with her hands again.

“How… how… how… Oh, my God.” She squeaks with a sob. “Oh, 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. I’m going to become like her, eventually. A slave. But not for a while.

“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. Sick of being hurt and beaten down, of being a victim. Because I got drunk on power.

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

She snaps herself, 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 mouth pressed and eyes narrowed. “I know, Maria. But…” I shudder, my guilt blackening, rotting away inside me. “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 least accept it was inevitable. All I want is to spend the rest of my life with her.

I run my hand down her 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.”

“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!”

There’s a slight pause. She chuckles a little and I smile, relieved.

“Hey. Only a hundred and ninety-eight,” I say to her. “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 the inside of her cheek as she looks up at me. Then, she sighs. “We’d better get running, then.”

She 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. We’ll come back for you.” She straightens 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 frowns. “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 Maria locks the door and we start to head down to the river. I feel nothing as we pass the university, nothing as we pass the flat 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 start to holler at us.

“They’re holding hands!”

“Oh, my god, we knew it!”

“We knew it!”

“You liars!”

“We told you!”

For some reason, we never told them we were together. Not all week. They might’ve guessed from the days we skipped, though. And the way we’ve been looking at each other.

“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. Sam and Greg 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, the sirens get closer.

Maria and I look over our shoulders as the night explodes with blue light behind us.

She 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, running with me to the Don bridge. It’s closed. “Come on!” she yells as she pushes me towards the red plastic barriers. I make a pig’s arse of trying to climb them as she laughs hysterically and the sirens grow louder and louder and louder. Will the police find us quickly? Will they 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’re going to win.

“Get up there!” Maria giggles, shoving me so I fall feet-first and crack my ankles against the hard dirt, nearly falling into a hole in the bridge. Then, she backs up.

“Watch this,” she orders me. She runs at the barrier and plants both hands on it and vaults over. She lands, then 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 bridge. We run; the wind slaps my cheeks. It was autumn the last time we came here. Now, it’s winter. We’re right above the bank where she turned me, where I stood on the edge wallowing in that half-arsed high and thinking it was the best feeling on Earth. I was wrong. The real high isn’t the best feeling either. Maria is. This freedom I’m feeling is. And I never, never, never want to let it go.

Maria and I reach the middle of the bridge and stop, wrapping our arms around one another as the sirens and blue lights come to a halt at the red barrier. We press our foreheads together, and Maria drops 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, her voice 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, careless and cheery as ever. I shiver.

If it wasn’t for me, we wouldn’t have had to deal with a shred of police interference. She said she was angry with me, but she’s glad they’re here. Her hunger’s visible in the way she’s moving—not just the hunger to eat, but the hunger to hurt.

I’m glad they’re here too.

“Hello, everyone!” Maria says brightly, the growl in her voice leaking through. “I suppose you’re here for Scotty. Now, I HAVE TO ADMIT—” She raises her voice as the police do the same, till 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. 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 a police officer in the middle of the crowd behind the barrier and walks towards him, 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, nothing but the barrier between them. The rest of the police turn their attention to me, as they should, but only for a split-second. They’re then forced to stop and look at Maria as she starts to laugh.

The officer before her takes a step back in shock. She surges forwards so fast she blurs and seizes his shoulders with her hands and his neck with her mouth, dragging him over the barrier. As they go down together, blood spews up like a fountain of ink and I stare. Stare as the officers start to scream, descending on her, shoving the barriers out of the way and encircling her. When she snaps her head up from the body, her eyes turn from white to black and her jagged grin widens into a snarl. She gets to her feet and spins slowly, so covered in blood it drips from her fingers. The officers around her are completely unarmed. I look past them for a second and spot two silhouettes on the distant pavement, watching 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 his throat, and throwing his dead weight to the ground with a thud. She licks one finger before giggling and snarling again.

Then, a police officer grabs her by 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, clawing uselessly at the black spewing hole in his neck. Maria gets to her feet again, spitting 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 grins, but I’m not.

“Come ON!” she bellows, her voice guttural and grated. “That all you GOT? How’s Aberdeen supposed to feel safe with YOU lot protecting and serving its ass? You’re pathetic. Give me a real fight, like they used to, damn it!”

The two remaining police officers don’t want to fight her. I wouldn’t want to fight her either. I had no idea she could move that fast. Could I, or would I just fall over?

 I keep walking forwards, trying to reach her. What do I see as yet more blue lights explode into the sky, as more cars screech to a halt on the other side of the bridge? 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 monster get to her feet—a monster 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 broken-metal teeth with her bloody tongue. That’s what I looked like, to my mother. A monster.

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 through the barriers, shouting their orders and clicking their enormous 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, 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. They stop. They stare.

And I adore the way they’re looking at us.

Maria breaks away from me and catches my eye 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 should be afraid, but I only feel exhilarated.

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 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 as the armed droves of police officers descend on us. When I look down again, Maria’s destroyed; her blood’s flowing through the sand on the road, down into the dug pits. She rolls onto her back, gouged with bulletholes, 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. “No. It’s yours.”

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 as the high punches me in the gut, but I want to keep going. And going and going and going. God, there’s nothing like this—like turning on people. Like playing dirty. Like having the upper hand.

The police officers keep screaming and shouting and filling me up with more and more bullets as I refuse to go 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 try to take her from me like that? How dare they 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 with ease. I’m fast. Not as fast as her, but fast. Before I’ve even fully contemplated shooting him, my mouth’s at his neck and I’m tearing at him till he’s stopped 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 and over. I blur. They blur. I don’t feel a thing.

The gunshots pause.

Silence floods the riverbank. The remaining police and I stare at one another.

“G-get on the GROUND!” someone screams. I raise an eyebrow. I look back down at Maria. She’s still covered in blood, even though all her bullet wounds have 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, the police still yelling at me, a smile twitches her lifeless face.

“Get up,” I whisper.

“I can’t. I’m dead.”

I start to laugh. Then, she starts to laugh too. The screams in the air tangle and thicken 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. Almost too scary.

Maria cracks her neck, smiling as a bullethole in her cheek knits together under its crusts of blood. 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 don’t make a sound as the bullets thud through me like they’re nothing. These people are innocent. They’re better than innocent—they’re the heroes, trying their best to save the world. And we’re what they’re saving it from. The monsters. The baddies. The villains.

I’ve stopped.

I watch blankly as 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 shake my head. 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, the riverside’s gone silent.

They’re all dead, heaped on the ground with the dumped rubbish. Maria’s sighing and gasping 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 grimace at the sky. She’s not going to stop till she’s finished. Or till I stop her. 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 to the edge of the bridge. “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 it! I NEED it!”

In a few years, this is what you’ll be like.

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 on the pavement 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 a dark corner behind a barrier. She’s yelling into a walkie-talkie, which crackles: “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. She 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. Gasping, she presses her hand to my wrist at her throat, but she’s not struggling. She’s adjusting me for comfort’s sake. She bites back a snigger. 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 and remember the way she used to be. Everything about her, from the day I met her to the day I realised she was a monster to the day I made her mine. The playground. The art room. The corridor. The river. The house. 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 fell in love—made a deal with a demon—and this is where it’s led me: to the edge of this bridge, nothing but black water below us and nowhere to go but down.

“Are you sure you want to do this, love?” Maria looks down, and I want to 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. “Get on with it, love.” Then, her hands flash up and grab mine, digging the knife deeper into her throat, and a single freezing trickle of blood lines the gap between my fingers. She gasps, laughs, whimpers loudly, and then whispers, “We’re running out of time.”

Her mouth’s filled up with blood, 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 past the red barriers, guns in hands, they see the boy they’re after—the murderer—standing in an ocean of bodies and blood, a dead girl’s body in his arms and a knife in his hand.

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 bridge, managing to sit and then stand up on the wall, 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 look up at the sky, as I drop Maria in.

I turn back before 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 an unbearable 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 crazy guy 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 wall. 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. You can buy stainless steel kitchen knives anywhere you want.

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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