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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Greta T. Bates: Relationship Status

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Art by Bernice Holtzman © 2024

Relationship Status

By Greta T. Bates

 

            “Dear Diary…”

No, that’s not right—this sure as shit wasn’t my 9th grade Hello Kitty diary.

          “Log: day 23.”

Better.

          I’d followed her home from work again, tracing her steps, noticing her habits, from work and now on the train headed home. A friend of mine once said women’s relationships were confusing—sometimes you didn’t know whether you wanted to be with her or be her.

          Lucky 23, the day we would meet. I fondled the knife in my purse, ran my hand along the spine, as I stared at her long, shiny chestnut locks cascading down her back, skimming her waist, just a peep of skin exposed below her shirt edge—that shirt was sooo cute!

          Ouch! Damn. I’d nicked my finger on the blade.  I brought my fingertip to my mouth drawing it to my tongue. It tasted like lust…or jealousy. I wasn’t sure…relationships with women were complicated.  

          The Object Of My Desire had exited the train and I watched her make her way up the stairs to the street—her boots, amazing. I wondered if they came in brown. Both hands clutching my purse, keeping it tight against my body, I stuck close to her but stayed out of sight. I’d walked this path for almost a month now and I knew where the OOMD was headed, where she lived.

          She entered the front door of her building, there was no concierge, no gate, no code—it would be easy. I waited 15 minutes and then made my way to apartment 2D, my breath quickening in anticipation and to be honest I was shaking a little thinking, “Kill her or kiss her? Kill her or kiss her…”

          Standing outside her door, I inhaled deeply, one hand in a fist poised to knock, the other reaching into my bag, grabbing my knife, my palms were sweating. The door opened suddenly—I was frozen in place, my lips parted, holding my breath.

          The OOMD was standing there in one of those long, oversized t’s, the kind that leaves you wondering if there’s anything underneath. She was casual, one hand leaning against the door jamb, the other finding her hip, her t-shirt riding up a little with this action.

          I exhaled, licked my bottom lip, tugging at it slightly with my teeth.

          OOMD: “Well, you’re finally here. I’ve been watching you too, you know. I thought you’d never get up the nerve to actually come to my door.”

          I stood there, just stood there, not blinking, not breathing. My own clothes beginning to cling to me, damp with nervousness, and to be honest, excitement. The Object Of My Desire had turned, walked away from me. That long t-shirt shifted, confirming my hopeful belief that yes, there was nothing underneath.

          She turned back to me and said, “Are you coming?”

          As I entered the small foyer, all thoughts of the knife in my purse left my head. I was excited, randy, and…a little scared.

          OOMD: “Would you like the grand tour? There’s not much to see.”

          Living room, bedroom to the right. Her closet. Ah…Xanadu…purses, and jackets, and shoes…oh my! And shit, yes, those boots did indeed come in brown!

          Still, I said nothing, hesitant to speak to her. I hadn’t decided exactly what it was that I wanted with this woman. I could feel my blood pumping through my veins, my heart beating, thudding—TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK.

          Then, we were in the kitchen—not what I expected at all judging from the rest of the warm, girly apartment replete with fuzzy carpet throws, overstuffed pillows, candles, and plushies—PINK. So much PINK. It, the kitchen, was cold, clinical, dare I say, antiseptic? It looked like that room you see in shows or movies, the one in the back of the funeral parlor where they prep the bodies. And knives, her knives, so many flanking the wall. So…many…

          The OOMD had gone back to the entrance, and I heard her turn the dead bolt—CLICK. She came back to the kitchen flipping the switch, blinding, fluorescent lights illuminating the space. I shielded my eyes, adjusting. It was then I noticed a clock on the wall, heard the hands striking. I sounded like the march of the death beetle—TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK—only, I didn’t know for whom it was calling.

          The OOMD started to say something, but I held up a hand stopping her.

          Me: “May I use your restroom?” The only words I uttered.

          OOMD: “Uh…sure. Through the bedroom…I can wait.” She smiled, her grin spreading from cheek to cheek, perfectly whitened teeth gleaming, almost glowing.

          I passed through her bedroom, glancing at her closet and fighting the urge to shop through her things. Closing and locking the door behind me, my thoughts whirling—I felt alive!

          First, I knocked one out to quell one need, so I could focus. Then, I took my phone out, quickly got on Facebook, and changed my status from ‘complicated’ to ‘in a relationship.’ Finally, I took out my knife, sliding it into my waist band.

          Back in her kitchen, I acquiesced, allowing her to lead me over to the spotless white countertop. Lying down, I accepted what was to come. The OOMD tied my wrists and bound my ankles but not before taking off my shoes and replacing them with her brown boots. Nice touch I thought.

          Still smiling, she took a variety of knives down from the wall—a chef’s knife, a paring knife, serrated edge—and began, slicing my flesh, here and there, making incisions, my blood slowly leaving me drop by drop. I breathed in and out through clenched teeth. The pain was exquisite! Then, taking the largest blade, she held the tip below my chin. I knew this was it.

          I had to act fast. She had not tied my wrists too tightly since I’d seemingly complied earlier—I’d never know. As she began to drag her knife across my throat, I grabbed my own and with all the power I pulled her towards me with my other arm. Just before she’d cut all the way through, I stabbed her in the back again and again. RED. So much RED. Her smile slipped… she looked…surprised?

          We lie there, bleeding together…but…together. I had finally answered my own questioning thoughts of, “Kill her or kiss her?” Women’s relationships were complicated, instigated by attraction, arousal, or envy. At least I died with my boots on…well…with her boots on.

 

Greta T. Bates lives in sunny Fairhope, AL where she draws the drapes and writes in the dark. She published Snapping, Fraying and Dangling in the Wind in 2020. Currently, she is writing short stories that explore lost love, revenge, and facing one’s fears, told through the lens of horror. A Mills College alumna, Greta has been published in Eternal Haunted Summer-Pagan Songs and Tales, Summer Solstice 2022 issue, with Scars Publications at scars.tv, and in Horror Scope-A Zodiac Anthology edited by H. Everend.  More work out soon!

Look for her first novella, Wounded, to be out in 2023!





Bernice Holtzman’s paintings and collages have appeared in shows at various venues in Manhattan, including the Back Fence in Greenwich Village, the Producer’s Club, the Black Door Gallery on W. 26th St., and one other place she can’t remember, but it was in a basement, and she was well received.

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