Cupid + Valentine 4Eva!!! Part 2 (of 2)
Sophia When I see Alexander again, I want to laugh. He’s dressed in some kind of military outfit. The somewhat intense look on his face stops me. “Are you ok? Have some wine,” I say, pouring him a glass.
I watch him pause and try to compose himself. He accepts the glass of wine and drinks it in two long draughts. I exhale. It is done.
“Sorry, I just got a call from my editor,” Alexander speaks. “I need some air. Let’s go for a walk.”
“Luckily, I wore flats,” I hear myself say chirpily.
“You’ll love it. It’s a beautiful walk. I used to play hide and seek in the Maze when I was a kid.”
“Oh.” I say.
He looks at me expectantly, like I’m supposed to have more of a reaction to that. Normally I might. Grounds, a maze — I feel like I’m in a Jane Austen novel. The time for that has passed though. I can almost taste the opportunity. I’m almost salivating. “I can’t wait to see it,” I say, forcing some excitement into my voice.
Alexander She notices the crossbow. A shadow of doubt darkens her eyes.
“I thought we might do some target practice on the walk,” I say, “It’s really fun.”
She looks slightly underwhelmed.
“I picked a lighter one in case you wanted to have a go,” I say, trying to assuage her fears.
She half-smiles. I feel my knees go wobbly. I banish the thoughts of any reprieves. The show must go on. We head into the maze. 5 paces, 10 paces, 15 paces. Showtime, but I’m feeling a bit heavy headed. I almost miss the starting point.
“Stop,” I say, trying to focus my eyes, but they won’t cooperate. My hands twitch, the tremors starting up.
She’s walking ahead of me, looking at the flowers, making sounds of interest. She turns around to look at me. I’ve shouldered the crossbow. She laughs. “What are you doing, Alexander?”
I squint, and fire an arrow in her direction, exhaling as I do so. She squeaks. A small feeling of satisfaction courses through me.
“If you do exactly what I say, you will survive this,” I lie. It’s a lie because no one has ever survived this. I always win the Hunt, and I actually don’t know what I’d do if she escaped the maze. I think I’d have to kill her anyway. Wouldn’t make any sense for her to go free.
I look at her. Three years ago, the target pissed himself. He wore a pair of khaki jeans and I enjoyed watching the hot tears roll down his cheeks as the dark shame spread across the khaki fabric.
There are no accidents here. She looks at me calmly. Like she’s waiting for something. I’m finding it harder to stay awake; she needs to get moving.
“Go,” I bark.
“No.” She says plainly.
I fire another bolt at her shoulder. She grunts as it grazes her.
“The next one will be true,” I say. I don’t feel as confident. Damn that wine. It’s gone straight to my head.
She doesn’t move. A small bud of blood blooms on her shoulder, and she instinctively rubs it away. “What the hell, Alexander? What are you doing?”
She doesn’t sound panicked, only disappointed. I can barely stand now. I’m rocking like one of those round-bottomed skittles my father used to play with as a child.
“It wasn’t supposed to be this way, dammit.” I realise I’ve spoken, said the words out loud, I’m babbling like a child.
“Tell me Alexander, how was it supposed to be?”
Her voice sounds harder and harsher. Through my swimming vision, I see her and she looks an entirely different person from the wall-flower I’ve been chatting with since January.
“Don’t try to fight it,” she says in a gentle tone that only serves to mock me. “I’ve given you enough sedative to knock out two 1-ton geldings.”
I grunt with rage — how dare she! — and fire a couple of bolts. She doesn’t squeal, doesn’t make a sound this time, but she raises her arm instinctively to protect herself.
Sophie The arrows miss. Barely. They pass by the forearm covering my head, close enough for me to feel their heat. I hear a dull ‘chtonk’ as they hit a tree or fence.
He glares at me glassy-eyed, rocking like a defiant boxer waiting for the finishing blow, before dropping to his knees.
I approach him cautiously. Alexander is different from my usual Dates; this stunt with the crossbow is not something I’ve ever come across. I’m a little shaken, I won’t lie, but the show must go on.
I check his pulse. I feverishly unroll my bag, then I take off the stupid red bolero — not really my style anyway — and twist it into a rope so I can bind his hands. It probably won’t keep him restrained for long but the extra seconds he’ll take to free his hands if he comes to will come in handy.
I hike up my dress and straddle him. My hands roam across his torso, looking for the fastenings of his jacket. It’s very well made and the zip is well hidden, but I find it.
I can wait no longer. The desire is like a roaring animal in my head. I slash at his shirt with my scalpel and curse. The idiot doesn’t look like he can grow a beard and yet his chest is covered in coarse black hair. I utter a stream of increasingly complex and creative curses under my breath.
I grind my teeth and reach for the Bic razor I stash for these moments. With the SexSpace Dates, I usually request they come completely shaven, their lustful natures and the possibility of an easy lay guaranteeing their obedience.
This was a proper Date though, and I did play the demure, been-kissed-once-in-my-life wallflower to perfection, so hairy chest it was.
I remove the Bic from its plastic packet and shave a nice square window in his chest. He would be pissed if he could see himself but it’s funny to me and I can’t stop giggling.
I make an incision with the scalpel. The blade is razor sharp and cuts through his flesh like it is wet newsprint.
I hear a thud and feel a flash of pain at the base of my skull, taste the copper from biting my tongue, and then it goes quiet…
….what happened? There is a weight on my chest pinning me to the ground. I panic when I realise I can’t breathe. My body won’t work. My legs kick feebly. The weight is not on them but they are tangled in my dress. This would not be happening if I’d worn a pantsuit.
I force my eyes open. The butler leers at me. He looks almost peaceful, like the sound of me dying is a beautiful symphony. Spots form at the periphery of my vision, slowly expanding. I look away, not wanting his malevolent horse face to be the last thing I see should I succumb. I don’t know how long I’ve been out but I assume I don’t have much time left.
The buzzing in my ears gets louder, then slowly starts to fade, as if my brain just figured out the volume controls on a remote. The spots are large blotches now, I feel euphoric and peaceful at the same time.
As my vision fades to black, I glimpse my open roll bag lying within reach. I reach my hand towards it. It’s now or never, I say to myself as my hand weakly closes on the syringe full of Pavulon. I don’t even have time to be triumphant — I grab the syringe and with my last bit of strength, stab him in the throat with it. My thumb depresses the plunger, hopefully flooding his bloodstream with sleepy goodness.
He gasps, the shock of my attack enough to get him to release his grip a little. Air flows through my bruised trachea. Even my gasping sounds funny. I look up at Mr Hound with hatred. He’s clawing at his throat, trying to remove the syringe and I’m able to shove him off.
He is soon limp. I show no mercy. With a couple of slashes of my scalpel, I sever his Achilles’ tendons in both ankles. ‘I am going to enjoy making your Valentine,’I whisper.
I lean against a tree. The wolf in me howls, wanting to be sated. I’m just so tired. My breathing is coming in little whoops. It doesn’t care, it mocks me and calls me weak and pathetic. I scream at it to shut up. Bad mistake, it only hurts my throat even more and causes me to double over with hacking coughs. I spit up a little blood.
I bite my lip. I will not cry here. I am beautiful, I am fierce. I shuffle over to Alexander. The blood from the incision has turned black on his chest hair window. I straddle him once again. He stirs and moans. I finish the incision to the bone, his milky ribs exposed.
I reach for my bone saw, ready to split his rib cage. In surgery we have all sorts of tools for this, but this will be ugly and quick. I use a small portable electrical saw of my own invention. It’s really ingenious if I do say so myself. If I wanted the publicity, I’d totally get a patent and try and sell it. I don’t want the publicity. I did this after I got tennis elbow sawing through one of my Valentines with my old saw.
I attach the blade to the motor, powered by two 9V batteries, and test it. It skitters to life, vibrating satisfyingly in my palm.
Alexander’s eyes snap open.
Alexander “What?” The word bubbles across my lips. I feel nauseous, my mouth full of thick saliva. I focus and I look up at Sophia. She is straddling me, she looks terrible, grass in her hair, and her neck and lower jaw are swelling by the minute.
She notices I’m awake and recoils a little, almost dropping the tool in her hand.
She punches me in the face with the tool, breaking my nose. This is good, because the corona of pain that erupts from that takes away from the burning pain in my chest.
I moan. “My chest, it hurts.” Father would be ashamed of me, mewling at the foot of this woman. “What did you do to me?”
“I’ve made an incision in your chest, Alexander.”
She laughs. “You’re trying to keep me talking, while you free your hands, clever sticks.” She weighs the tool in her hand and turns it on.
“Bone saw…you like?” She says.
She brings it down to what I assume is the incision. Instinct pushes me past the wall of pain and I bring my bound hands over my head to stop her.
I grab at her hand and hold it inches from my body with every fiber of my being. “Sophia,’ I say, trying to keep the desperation out of my voice, trying not to beg. ‘Sophia, don’t be stupid, Mr Hound is walking around, if he sees you like this … he’s an animal.”
She smiles, she’s enjoying this too much. Even my resistance doesn’t seem to bother her. She looks across me meaningfully, I follow her gaze.
Mr Hound lies face down in the grass, motionless. I curse silently.
Sophie He sighs and I know this will soon be over. I have completely broken him.
I tell him “Your butler is crippled and possibly brain damaged, so why don’t you let go and let me do this.”
I feel the slightest tremor in the hands that grip mine. “Do what?” He says.
I don’t care that he’s trying to buy time now. The tremors are increasing, and the grip is weakening. I can escape his grasp anytime I want, but I choose to play with him a bit.
“I’m going to cut out your heart, and then I’m going to send it to your sister, wherever she is,” I tell him matter-of-factly.
He looks hard at me then smiles.
“What’s so funny?”
He just laughs, that stupid giggle again.
I wrench my hands free and jab the saw at his sternum, pressing hard. He gives a screech that deepens into a ghostly moan. Usually it’s the other way round. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard!; And I want to hear it again. Then his ruined face relaxes and becomes very peaceful.
He shakily grabs at my hand again. And as he does so, his beautiful house explodes, a massive fireball that sends glass, stone, wood and metal flying everywhere.
Alexander. The house is gone. I smile. Let’s face it, there no coming back from this. With my tremors and this humiliation, what kind of life am I living?
The pool goes next, spewing water sky high like a geyser. We can see it from the maze. When the predator can no longer catch his prey what else is left?
Sophia looks unsure of herself for the first time since dinner. “Alexander, what’s going on?”
I grab her hands again; the pain is volcanic. “Failsafe … Mr Hound and I haven’t entered the security code in 90 minutes so…”
The explosives in the garden go off, cutting off my explanation. In the distance I can hear sirens. Could be the police, or the security alarms short circuiting from the intense heat. Who cares at this point?
She looks down at me. I hold on tight. I feel the vibrations and the ringing of my ears as the explosions go off in each section of the maze, drawing ever closer to us.
Her face is unreadable. And as I feel the heat, the dust and burnt leaves pelting us, I think about how romantic it is that I’m dying holding hands with -