Emily shifted in her seat. She stared at the corpse in the casket. The body shared the same blonde ringlets and green eyes. Everyone noticed her yellow highlighted curls but if you want to see Charlotte’s eyes, you needed a crow bar to pry them open. Her sister made sure the embalmer glued them shut. Emily looked around the chapel. It was a sea of black. Char hated the color black. It was negative. If she were sitting next to her sister at that moment, Charlotte would have gently stuck her finger in her mouth, mimicking a bulimic throwing up dinner.
The ceremony was gorgeous like the calla lilies that lined the gravestone. Emily wept as they lowered her sister’s body. She didn’t see Eric. She searched the dark clothing cloud for the red shock of Eric’s hair. She knew he would be there. The panic in her throat. The tears down her cheeks. Emily felt the rage burn in her brain.
She did this for nothing.
Mama died a year earlier in May. Her girls inherited her hay-colored hair and porcelain skin, the kind of look real southern beauties had. Her daughters had her dead husband’s pupil color, a trait she wished that he didn’t pass on to them. Mama saw the abuse he laid on her every time Charlotte or Emily or looked up at her. All the punches and slaps to the face. Kicks to the sides and broken beer bottles. Mama loved her girls but hated their eyes.
Mama did her best to protect her girls. She forced them into pageants, sports and music recitals. Charlotte was the eldest and more outgoing. Both girls were active in theatre and the arts but Charlotte was always casted in the leading role. Char the Star, her mother beamed. Emily was book smart. She had the grades and was accepted in a top-notch college but even at university away from her sibling, she felt awkward and runner-up. That feeling changed when she lured Matt away from the Phi Kappa house party, seducing him with her dusty pink virginity. He was naked and erect when she smothered him with a pillow.
As college progressed, Emily grew more confident. She slit the throat of a man she danced with at the club in its filthy men’s room. She pushed her professor down the stairs after he praised her work on the midterm. She stabbed one blind date after another. When a big city job fell into her lap, Emily celebrated by dismembering her roommate’s boyfriend. She kept a lock of his hair for luck.
Emily moved to Manhattan in the summer. It was hot, too tough breathe. After a long day at the office, she walked to a bar around the corner from her home. She stripped down to her undershirt and work pants, peeling off her stockings with great care. She felt his eyes on her sweaty skin. His glances nearly burned holes into her flesh. He walked over to her; an older gentlemen with salt and pepper hair. The man wasn’t Emily’s type, more of Charlotte’s but she smiled as he slurred how beautiful she was and how her ass looked like a peach. Emily liked his southern charm and followed him home. She expected the sex but she didn’t expect the rape.
Two days later, Emily read in the paper about the apartment fire in Chelsea that killed eight, including Benjamin Nall, at doctor at Lenox Hill, and his wife of seventeen years. The couple was originally from Savannah.
Emily picked up someone new every night. She ripped out their eye balls out of their sockets, their tongues from beneath rows of teeth and butchered them with the kitchen knife she kept in her pocketbook. Emily was happy.
One Saturday night, Charlotte called, sobbing. Mama died. Stroke. Emily slashed at her own arms in despair. She didn’t leave her home for a week. She didn’t feel like hunting.
Mama’s funeral was beautiful. It was at the church she and Daddy were married in and where the girls were christened. Family offered their condolences, family that shared Mama’s blonde hair and dark eyes. Emily and Charlotte looked like angels, wearing cream colored dresses. Charlotte hated the idea of matching clothes but it was Mama’s last request. Emily wanted to honor her late mother. She felt equal wearing the same outfit her sister wore; feeling as beautiful as she thought Charlotte looked.
Emily stood at the table, picking at the hors d’oeuvres. She jumped when a hand softly landed on her shoulder. Eric Graham. They never met before but they spoke as if they were friends for years. He politely offered her a tissue when Emily spoke about Mama. She wiped away wet mascara streaks and memories of the constant paternal abuse. Eric let her snuggle against him that night and combed his fingers through her blonde mane. It was the first time Emily slept at a man’s home.
Eric stuck to Emily like a golden leech. She welcomed his affection and attention. He made her heart sing, a feeling Emily only experienced when gutting men. She took some time off work and spent her full days with Eric by her side. He comforted her when she began to cry about Mama and made her laugh while out walking hand in hand or over simple meals he cooked for her.
It was Tuesday. Emily hadn’t heard from Eric in two days. She called, left messages, sent texts and emails. He didn’t return any of them. Emily walked into the office Eric pointed at during one of their walks. She asked the receptionist if Eric was in. The busty brunette told her Eric quit his position a week prior. Emily was devastated. She was in love but heartbroken. That night, she slaughtered two homeless men in an alleyway while venturing out to the corner bar for a needed cocktail.
Emily knew what she had to do in order to see Eric again.
Colchicine wasn’t hard to get. Emily had enough in savings to charm a doctor into giving her a handful of pills. She later snuck into his study and bashed in his head with an award he won the previous year.
Grinding up the pills, Emily carefully poured the powder into the Starbucks drink Charlotte requested. Since Mama’s death, Charlotte insisted that they spend more time together. Emily was happy to comply, bringing Charlotte a hot latte every evening after she got off from work.
Charlotte died six days later. Emily was eager to plan her funeral.
In the sea of grave black, Eric’s ginger hair stood out like a beacon. Emily was hungry for him, her eyes shouting out his name. He wrapped his arms around her waist and apologized for her loss. Emily buried her head into the warm fabric covering his shoulder.
The things she would do to him later that evening.
I have had this idea for a book in my head for a very long time; a woman who kills others in order to get close to another. The story was inspired by my stepmother who once asked my sisters and me why someone would want to kill someone that he or she loved. As much as I intended to use this question to write a full-length novel, time had gotten the best of me. I set this idea aside and focused on my journalistic writings and my memoir. I do hope to expand this short story to a thick book one day in the very near future. Thanks for reading.