Ariel Perez (2nd place. Fiction. Fall 2012 Writing Contest)
A year had passed since he came into my life like a tsunami, destroying everything in its path and leaving the world in shambles. He left me in pieces. I couldn’t sleep, and when I did all I saw was him, all I could see was his disgusting body on mine, breaking me. I was on my way home from a late night out with my friends; I didn’t live that far and walked that path everyday. I loved the scenery in the park: gargantuan trees everywhere and big green bushes with flowers that resembled miniature suns. The world was breathing. In the spring it smelled of honey dew and freshly cut grass. I used to have picnics there every Sunday in the summer. The warm sun touching my pale skin always calmed me; no matter what was wrong with the world I had felt safe. That night I didn’t think it any different to walk that path, but he was there, and he shattered my world.
He came from behind me, grabbed a full hand of my golden hair and yanked me down to the dirt. I was about to scream for my life, I was terrified but he covered my mouth. I tried to fight back as hard as I could, I kicked him countless times trying to release myself, but I guess that just pissed him off even more, because he pulled out a knife.
He looked into my eyes, I felt like a helpless animal waiting to die.
“Pretty girls don’t cry,” he said in his raspy baritone voice.
Even remembering the sound of his voice brought me to tears, I felt disgusting.
He brought his knife to the left side of my face; he pushed and brought it down. I could feel the cold stinging steel separate my skin like butter. I jerked and my heart jumped but there was nothing to be done, there was no stopping this monster. My tears became waterfalls and did nothing but hurt the pulsating gash on my delicate face. I wanted to run, to get away, but he was on me, a heavy weight of shame to come that would not release me. He began to rip at my clothes, tearing every stitch I had off me. I should have screamed, I should have fought harder, but I was afraid he would cut me again. I just wanted to survive, I wanted to live.
I wanted everything to just go away.
He put the knife on the other side of my face and I braced myself. He was using the knife for insurance, to make sure I didn’t move. Then he was in me. I wanted to die at that very moment; I wanted him to kill me so I didn’t have to remember. I tried to imagine I was somewhere else, anywhere but here. I tried to remember the beach, the cool feel of the ocean waves against my body on a hot day and how relieving it had felt, but his heavy grunting every time he came up interrupted my thoughts. When he finished destroying me, he laughed a bit and said, “Thanks, baby.” He punched me and I blacked out.
The cops ended up finding the bastard because of my description of him; it was burned into my memory forever. Joni Madison, I would never forget his face, his hazel eyes, his smell of car oil, or his disgusting smoker’s voice. The detectives assigned to my case said they believed he was the one who hurt me, who destroyed me, but they had no sufficient evidence to prosecute him. He left no DNA, there were no distinguishing marks on him like tattoos, piercings or scars, it was just my word against his and that was not enough. He was free, free to do what he pleased in the world and I was trapped in my crumbling one.
The first few months after my attack I did nothing but think of him, Joni Madison, Joni fucking Madison. He was all I could think about, all I could write or talk about; I wanted to make him suffer. I imagined different ways I would kill him if I ever got the chance. Torture. Starvation. Mutilation. Something that would take long, something that would let him die slowly, like I’m dying now. I was obsessed, but what was I supposed to do? The cops couldn’t get him; he would do this again and again and again. I won’t let him do this to someone else, and I won’t let him get away with doing it to me.
I began to follow him, he was my prey now. Joni Madison worked at a car shop, fixing them, stealing them, selling their parts. He was a charming man, full of charisma and thought he owned the world. He was a player, he lied to customers, fixing their cars but breaking something else in it so they always came back. When he was in middle school he had a bad habit of “accidently” hurting girls, leaving them black and blue. He was a cheater, he had a wife and two kids who thought he worked late every night, but instead he picked up street walkers. Joni was allergic to bees; he hated milk and loved his oldest son. On Sundays he went to church to repent for all his sins during the week, as if it made the world okay again. Joni told his wife I was just some crazed girl who was looking for someone to blame after a night of bad sex with a stranger. She believed him.
I followed him to work today, watched him scurry around to rip off everyone who came by. Men, women, elderly people, he didn’t care whom he conned or hurt, Joni Madison always got what he wanted. I sat across the street at the coffee shop he went to every morning; he got a large black coffee with an extra espresso shot and some cinnamon. I sat for hours, just watching him move, I watched him live and breathe the air around him that he didn’t deserve.
Today would be the beginning of his last journey.
I waited until night had fallen; it was his night to close up the shop alone.
I came up behind him silently, I was his shadow and he never saw me coming. He was getting ready to unlock his car door, head home to his naive wife to tell her how much he loved her. She didn’t notice the monster in him, but I did, I knew it. As I approached him I pulled out a handheld Taser; I bought it a week after he had destroyed my life, I wanted to feel safe and protected. His body jerked around like a flag in a wind storm, his head smacked against his side window. It made a horrible cracking kind of sound and there was a slight smell of burning skin floating in the air. I smiled. I was in control of his body now. He lay there on the black concrete, unconscious, moaning a bit, so I tased him again, his body jerked around again, I wanted him to suffer like I was suffering. I wanted his disgusting body to feel every bit of torturous pain that my body had. I wanted him to die slowly and alone, I wanted to watch the life leave his eyes hollow and dead as mine had a year ago.
I wanted him to suffer.
I needed him to suffer.
I taped his hands and legs together; I put tape around his eyes so he would never see me, not till the end. I dragged him to my car and placed him in the trunk. He smelt of car oil, just like he did that night so long ago. He made a big thud; I didn’t need to be careful, so every once in a while I’d hit him, smack him or give him a kick in the ribs hoping to break at least one.
I drove over to an abandoned building from the 30’s; it was about two hours outside of town and it was isolated. No one would find us, and no one would hear us. Everything was planned out so perfectly. He was always out late, sometimes days at a time so no one would be suspicious of his absence. And me, I’ve been off the grid for a while now, my alibi would be the fact that I’m homeless and don’t have the resources or the heart to do such a heinous thing. Me, a traumatized girl, helpless, weak and in dire need of simple comforting.
I opened the trunk to find him awake and already screaming.
“Who’s there? Tell me! I’ll fucking kill you! I’ll get out and I’ll fucking kill you!”
I gave him a shot of sedatives; I didn’t need him to be awake just yet.
I dragged his heavy unconscious body over to the building; I had a bed there with straps for the arms, legs and the waist. I got it from the back of some psychiatric ward; it was just what I had needed. It was as if the world around me was okay with the thought of this soulless man being ripped from this world. He was but a cancerous sore in this world, he had to be exterminated.
I strapped the ingrate down, tight; there was no way he would even have a chance of getting away from me. He started to moan after a while; I waited till he was fully awake. He was moaning, fresh from his dreams into the nightmare of his new reality. He started to tug at his hands and legs realizing he was strapped down. It was a slow cautious tug at first, then it turned to hard hectic pulls. I could hear the utter panic in his heavy breathing. He was scared.
I reveled in this thought.
“Where am I? Who are you?! I swear I’ll get out and I’ll fucking rip you apart! I..”
I gagged his mouth; I didn’t need to hear his meaningless words. I didn’t care what he had to say, I just wanted to hear the screams and the hopeless pleas.
I had a couple of things planned for him; the last would be my finale.
I lit a blowtorch and stared at the color for a few seconds and I smiled. It had finally happened. I was the destroyer now. I held a piece of wire clothes hanger over the flame, slowly heating it up till it started to turn red. I ran my finger down his chest first, the last soft touch he would feel in this world. He tried talking, but it was muffled by the gag; he had no idea what was in store for him. I brought the hot piece of metal down on the middle of his naked chest. It burned his soft white skin off so easily. A small puff of smoke floated up from the welt and the smell of burned skin began to fill the room. He screamed, he took heavy breaths and grunted, he sweated. He pulled at his straps, hoping, but there was no hope to be found. His chest heaved up and down, and his body gave uncontrollable twitches. So I did it again, again and again, until his entire body was covered in burns, until he was crying. Sobbing! It was beautiful. I even went after the tender parts of his body, behind the ears, his neck, and his weapon. His face had long burn lines going down it.
But not the eyes, I avoided the eyes. He would need those till the very end.
His childish whimpering echoed in the room. To think that he once thought himself a manly-in-control-god-like son of a bitch. He was nothing now. Pathetic, trapped, and on a one-way road to hell with my help.
I got tired so I took a little break. I needed him to rest for a few minutes too; I didn’t need his body to go into shock just yet. We had a couple more hours to have some fun together.
I sat down and poured myself a cup of hazelnut coffee, black. I sat back, slowly breathing the strong fumes in, and I wondered if he had any idea who I was. Was I the only person he hurt, or were there more like me? Worse off than I had turned out? Or did he possibly consider himself a poor victim, being wronged by some demon in the shadows of the world? There had to have been more women, more girls refusing to leave their room in fear of the evil of the universe that he had brought on them.
This wasn’t just for me, it was for all the others that there undoubtedly were.
I went back to the area he was strapped down in; he was calm now. He had hope and I could smell it. I grabbed a bottle of gasoline and I started to spray it on his body. Every inch of his body was shining and doused in the potent and glorious liquid. He kept asking, begging, and hoping, but he would know soon.
I took his gag out, I wanted him to beg.
“Do you remember my voice, Joni?” I asked with my soft voice, seductive and deadly.
“What? No. I don’t, I’m sorry, but please. Please, just let me go dammit, I won’t tell anyone about this.”
I giggled. I scoffed. And I smiled. “How could you forget our night, Joni?” I said in a stern tone. “Because I remember it perfectly. Don’t you?”
He started to breathe heavy again and tears came down from his blindfold, the coward.
“Why are you crying, Joni? Don’t you remember what you told me?” I bent down to his ear so he could hear my perfect words whisper his last memory. “Pretty girls don’t cry, Joni.”
“No…no!” he said in a low voice. “I’m sorry, please let me go, I’ll turn myself in, please just don’t hurt me anymore!”
I flicked a lit match onto his shivering body and he lit up like the night sky on the Fourth of July. It was beautiful. The flames engulfed his entire body, slowly burning each thin layer of skin to his black and hollow core. All I could do was stare for the first few seconds, smile at what I had finally achieved. I tore the tape off dear Joni’s eyes, and I looked straight into them. I wanted my smiling and laughing face to be the last thing he saw in his last few agonizing minutes of life. He stared right back with his pleading eyes, screaming at the top of his lungs, screaming like I had never heard before in my entire life. And just when I thought the monster couldn’t get another breath out he let out another scream.
I sat down in a chair a few feet away from my prize and I picked up my coffee cup.
All he did was stare.
And all I did was smile.