The moonlight shined through the transparent glass window over the tall wavering trees, illuminating my bright red Australia snap back that had drawn me so many compliments from the ladies, as I laid underneath our soft cozy sheets, eyes wide open, swooning with my first girlfriend, that I had only known for three months. Our love has been short but immensely passionate, leading us to take a two-week vacation in La Havana. Only, we didn’t get on the plane like we had told everyone- she chose to throw away our warm beach trip at the last moment and drive to a cold old wooden cabin beside a wide lake she visited as a child. In the spirit of love and spontaneity, which defined our engagement, we took this secret trip.
She moaned in her sleep as the wind howled in the night, pushing cold air into the old creaking house. She fidgeted and murmured weird words about some man and how she would not let it happen again, as we cuddled in the dark. I wondered if I should question her about the meaning of these dreams, or if I should wake her up, but I did not know how she would feel so I stayed quiet and isolated in the dark.
The smooth wooden grandfather clock in the front room chimed twelve times as sunlight filled the room. As I could finally see the rooms, I began to find some questionable objects lying around including what appeared to be knock-off designer clothing from him that had been here before me. I asked her how these items had gotten here.
“Oh, I guess I never really cleaned the place up,” she responded. “We dated for almost four years, he left me right before my wedding. You’re quite like him. That’s what I like about you.” My mind told me that he must have been the man in her nightmares, and my heart felt warmed to hear how much she liked me. She thought I looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but with more style, and how could I not with all the hours I logged in the gym.
My phone buzzed, as Julia jerked her head in its direction.
“Honey!” She exclaimed, “No one can know we’re here. I just want to be alone with you, be one with you, forever. I LOVE YOU,” while placing a tender, warm kiss upon my lips.
As a man who has been single most of his life, doing anything to attract attention of the female variety, I accepted this statement with fervor, turning it off.
“Good boy!” She snatched my Gold IPhone hurriedly, and I would never see it again.
Recently my parents had been leaving me numerous voice messages and texts about the possibility of living with them and pursing a business opportunity near them. Julia knew it was them trying to reach me. Last time we discussed the topic she did not take it so lightly, but this time she felt like she had resolved her old issues.
She danced whimsically over to the kitchen to make us a brunch, while I stared out the window. The sight felt uncomfortable. The overgrown unattended forest seemed to stare right back into my eyes, the trees waving at me, smiling with its leaves as if it knew something that I didn’t and would not tell me the secret. I stared deeper into it, searching for its meaning as something darted across the scene guiding my eye to a freshly turned pile of dirt. I rose out of my chair as a draft slammed the doors shut.
My gut clenched and screamed for me to run from here, but Julia walked back in, clicking her heels as she carried our meal. The scent of fresh eggs and bacon filled the air, and her smooth voice soothed my worried nerves. The greasy meal was one of the best I had ever had, “How would you like one of my special drinks?” She asked.
I was so infatuated with her I would do anything she would ask even if it meant killing the pope. She concocted the drink out of my sight returning with a singular bubbly green wine glass. I asked her why she had only made one for me, and her eyes became hurt looking away from me. I couldn’t bare it, so I reluctantly drank the brew as it burned my throat and wreaked of an ungodly scent. I had no clue what kind of alcohol was in here, but wanted to appease my princess.
She pointed out to the black lake to a paddle boat she wanted me to take her on. I felt nauseous, needing to find a toilet to drain myself of this pollution I allowed her to put in me, but all I wanted to do was make her smile. We walked across the crunching dried brown grass toward the rough splintered wooden paddle boat, past the dirt mound which had caught my curious eye earlier. The trees laughed and trembled in the distance as I began to row gazing into her brown eyes focusing on nothing else besides her silky brown hair.
The lake was immense in size and the house looked faint in the distance, but we were close to arriving on an island in the middle of the lake. The pond mirrored life perfectly, I stared at myself but my reflection seemed scared and afraid as it rippled in the water. A wave of fogged rolled in and my vision became blurrier by the second. I told her we should turn around since I did not feel good.
A dazed muffled outline of some sort of white shed structure came into view. Where are you taking me! I tried to ask, but my mouth had suddenly become dry and numb. My tongue felt dead in my mouth, my arms paralyzed, my vision becoming blacker and blacker like the pond we were on. The forest roared with laughter. It knew what was coming, and I had no way to defend myself. She grabbed the wet plastic oar from my unmovable hands. I could only stare at this beautiful woman as she cracked me on the face and my consciousness faded away.
Trash littered the outside of the grey aging apartment complex, which bothered me to no end, but it inspired me to keep my small room clean and organized. This task became simple due to the size, but also because I did not have a lot of stuff, just photos of my family and friends. It was simply a bedroom with yellow crumbling walls, a small attached bathroom, and frosty fractured tiles lining the floor. Upon the wall over my deflated air mattress I hung my six-foot Australian flag that my fellow Aussies gave me when I left. They said I had to hang it up or I would lose my citizenship, the thought made me laugh. The room always smelled of lemon scented Febreeze, unlike the scummy smell of city life that existed right outside my only window, which could not open- thank God.
I stomached the walk outside to get into the 1999 company civic I could use as part of my work. Work served as the only reason I got to try and live the American dream without being sent packing back to Australia as a failure. The drive was short and had two stop lights. I worked with a failing business in inner Baltimore that tried to organize concerts, specifically, my favorite, electric dance music. I was not the smartest, but I worked hard and long, always ending the night in the company gym. I would bench and squat every day, trying to get ripped for the American women that I adored. This is where I first met Julia- she would swagger in wearing tight athletic clothes, I could only stare at her, and she stared at me too. I could tell I was going to fall for her hard.
Every Friday we went to
I awoke handcuffed to a rickety chair, with my legs taped to it as well. A single flickering light buzzed on and off as I tried to remember how I had gotten here. My mind sat there puzzled and pounding. Why had she done this to me? I loved her. She loved me. My heart beat raced and thumped, as my skin rose in the moist chill air rising off the pond. God, how could anyone help me now, how can I escape, where could I even go? Her long shadow appeared in to my vision.
I whispered what felt like the word why. She giggled to herself, “Because silly! This way you can never leave me and I’ll have you forever. Last time you left I felt so sad, I knew I would never let it happen again. If you truly loved me you would want to be right where you are now. I LOVE YOU.”
I had no clue what to do or say. I felt like I had fallen out of reality with no way to get back to the real world. I reaffirmed to her that I did want to be with her forever, and would do whatever she needed. Her once bright, but now crooked smile slowly stretched across her face, “Good. Stay right there, sweetie.” She walked out of the room smacking and licking her lips.
Blades screeched together outside the shed. I was screwed. How could I have fallen for this? A surge of energy burst out of my body as I squirmed with all my might and snap, my thumb broke, falling limp by the rest of my fingers. My hands were now free, shaking, and clawing at the tape around my legs, while I kicked out simultaneously. It ripped off my jeans and I was free. The screeching had stopped. Her footsteps grew nearer. My eyes skimmed across the room, finding the only escape route, a small low window with broken glass. I jumped and clattered through the window into the darkness of the outside world.
A siren of rage erupted from inside the room, quieting even the forest itself. I shuffled, still inebriated, towards the direction I thought we came from. Sharp pieces of glass jutted from my skin as blood seeped into my clothes, but my body knew there was no time to wait. Splash. I dove into the icy abyss.
My muscle struggled to function, as my body sunk lower and lower. All I wanted was to give in and escape this nightmare, but my body’s desire to breathe and live again propelled me to the surface.
This morning felt different to me. I felt the soreness of my muscles from the night before, but an enigmatic tension still filled me. Something felt off. I went to and performed my regular workday. My boss called me into his office.
“You put in so much work for me, but I’m afraid we just aren’t making enough to keep you around. Take your stuff and leave.”
My heart split into two and my stomach felt like we just dropped on a roller coaster. I had messed up my chance to make it. I would have to go back. Do I even have the money to go back? Can I even afford the piece of crap place I live in? Without work, the USA government will force me to leave! My heart pumped, sweat broke out on my forehead, and I held back the tears that swelled behind my eyes.
I did not even bother to take the stuff from my desk on my extradition out, as I had no space for it. I could not even get home. No more company car, company gym, company concerts, and, most importantly, no money. I just left. Walked right home.
As I walked, following the sidewalk filled with holes and the street lamps to be safe, I kept spotting the same car passing me repeatedly. I would worry, but honestly, I could not care less, all I could think about was how to stay and live my eat, workout, dance/rave, sleep repeat lifestyle.
I pushed in the creaking door to my room, the handle and lock did not even work, and plummeted onto my hard bed with flannel sheets. A knock rasped on the metal door. Ah great, must be the land lord to kick me out with my luck. I mumbled for the person to come in. It was Julia, with her soft, glowing skin. “What happened at work today?”
I thought I should ask about how she even know where I lived, but her beauty and confidence made me forget my question and want to immediately inform her of my perils. She listened patiently, and then made me an offer that made me think that God had sent her as my angel, not simply because she looked better than one, but because she provided me an outlet that would keep this perfect life I loved doing with her. Marriage.
We decided we would take her car to the court the next morning to file the paperwork before going on a trip to La Havana. Life was not a cruel after all. I wrapped my arms around her, smelling her cherry blossom perfume, and refused to let her go. She was the glue to my reality.
After a long swim, I came to onto the coarse sandy shore of the cabin. Water and blood trickling from all sides and a deep burn filled my body as my adrenaline wore off. A wooden paddle slapped against the water somewhere in the mysterious mist. I didn’t have much time. I stormed into the house looking for my phone, feeling I could surmount this horror. I needed to get help from anyone- anywhere. Where the hell was it? She would be here any minute. Where did I put it, where did I put that god damn phone. Then, I remembered. She had it. This was the end. She would get me forever. Boom. Shotgun shells jingled against the wooded ground and dust fell from the ceiling. I fell with a thump, my face searing in pain. My hand reached up to feel a gap where my cheek had once been. Chic-chic. She loaded again, but by the time she pulled the trigger I was gone.
I dipped into the short-crammed bathroom I had once regretted using, but now served as my temporary haven. Another firing cracked in the night putting holes in the door. I braced, clenching all my muscles expecting another shot imminently, as blood filled my mouth, but it didn’t come.
She knocked on the door softly, “Alex, baby, please come out. I love you. I just don’t want you to ever leave me. Don’t you want that for me sweetie. Just come out and I’ll make everything better for the both of us. I LOVE YOU.”
I didn’t respond. I sat quiet remembering all the mistakes I had made, I was so naïve.
“Baby please talk to me.” She started to weep, banging against the hollow door that my legs refused to allow to cave in, while my hips and back pressed up against the opposite wall.
“Don’t leave me. I love you more than anything, I just can’t let you go. You’re never leaving, I LOVE YOU.” She shrieked at me. I remained unmoved.
Her voice lowered becoming flat and monotone, as if all her emotions had leapt from her with one fell swoop. Chic-chic.
She loaded the gun again and I made my peace with God, and what I had done with my life.
She spoke again soullessly, “Come out now, or I’m going to kill myself. Don’t kill me baby I love you so much. Please baby don’t kill me. Speak to me, I LOVE YOU.”
I trembled in silence.
I yanked the rough rusty door handle open, and my eyes raced across the tragedy that had occurred in front of me. Blood puddled on the wood floor, staining it a dark brown, pouring from her dismembered wrist, with the rest of her hand appearing to have flown yards away. It pumped rhythmically from her as her radial artery worked on without knowledge that it would kill her.
I kneeled beside her, scooping her into my arms, putting her beautiful face near mine, feeling her soft flower scented hair as her breaths crashed on my cheek likes waves becoming ever fainter. In and out, till they no longer reached the shore. The buzz of the fluorescent lights was the only sound that filled the room as I rocked her lifeless body back and forth.
My mind could only focus on the mistakes I had made. I never should have rushed into this relationship, never should have left myself so susceptible, never should have let my lustful eyes lull my mind into stupidity.
I had no clue what to do or how to react. My phone was lost, the car keys hidden, so I remained with her, rocking back and forth. A breeze flowed in through the broken glass window, which served as one of the many casualties of the house. Its frigid feel helped my body match my mind’s numbness. I stared, fixated on the now somber trees in the distance who stood satisfied in the dark. I would wait in this manner till the sun rose, but I was quite sure its light and warmth would never reach me again.