Supernatural Fiction posted March 17, 2012

This work has reached the exceptional level
All kinds of crazy


by Realist101

The room was empty. Except, of course, for Deirdre's dead dog. Deirdre never could part with her pets, and this latest shell, the now stuffed and cuffed Percival, stood in the corner staring through glass eyes--at any and all intruders, just daring us to enter his domain.

Cujo he was not, though. Percival used to be a non-descript mutt the size of a beagle, with thick, matted, tan hair, which gave him the appearance of a filthy mop. I'd disliked him in life, and I hate him even worse in death. The glass eyes seem to follow me around the empty room, and I swear I hear a soft growl emit from his throat. I ignore my paranoia. There's one last box, and I walk by the thing, keeping a wary eye on it with my peripheral vision, and make what should be my last trip inside my now ex-home, to salvage the last of my rag-tag belongings.

Deirdre and I had finally parted ways. I couldn't make love to someone who allowed dead pets to watch us from all angles. Or, who allowed the living ones more privileges than her own boyfriend, yours truly. I missed the Deirdre who'd been soft and kind. But the obsessive Deirdre ... the one who talked to her dead pets, well, I'd had no choice.

I stood looking out the window past the trellis full of tangled morning glories, and thought of the last time I'd seen Deirdre. Only a week ago, it already seemed like a year had gone by. A tinge of guilt, or was it regret, hit my conscience like a ton of bricks. I had told her it was either me, or the taxidermy.

"What's wrong with holding onto them, Ronald? They are, or were ... everything to me. Until I met you. I do know they're dead ... I'm not crazy ... and you're being totally unreasonable. I just like having them with me."

"I can't stand it anymore, Dee. They creep me out. Why not just let them go and have the photos framed? I'll get you enlargements."

"It's just not the same. I don't understand how you could be so crass. So cruel."

"I don't mean to be, babe. Come'ere."

We'd made love then. Or tried to. It was a massive failure and the feelings, the closeness ... had flown away like a wounded bird.

"God, Dee. Baby, damn it, I'm sorry. We have to get rid of them. I can't stand it anymore." I'd thrown the quilt at Percival and it landed across his shaggy back like a saddle, and the ugly eyes still glared out at me. Accusing me, telling me to leave Deirdre alone. He hadn't even blinked, and it was the last straw.

The pitching of Percival out the sliding glass doors felt so good. But, the woman I wanted to love, and be with, turned into a raging animal. At first, she'd clawed at me. And then, more tears. Pleading and insane begging--and I'd told her to choose. She hadn't hesitated. Grabbing one of the cats up, I had seen madness in her eyes, and my heart skipped a beat. From a sad fear, or just fear, I couldn't tell. I knew I had to leave.

Deirdre had never used one swear word in the whole year I'd known her, until that night. Some odd light had shone in her eyes, and she'd reamed me good. My Harley had roared like some prehistoric monolith as I'd left. No clothes. No nothing. I hadn't even remembered to pick up my wallet. Now, the emptiness of the apartment was becoming unnerving. But, at least Deirdre was honest. The box was the last of my life's belongings; even my cash and credit card was still there.

I put my wallet in my hip pocket and stood, like some forlorn kid whose crush just kicked his nuts, and contemplated my next move.

A voice rang out from the curb. "Hey, Ron! Ya done, or what?" It was Fitch. He was always in a hurry. Today it was racket ball.

"Be there, man. Hang on." I wondered where Deirdre was. And just why she'd left Percival. Just to make me feel bad, I supposed. Odd though--she'd been so possessive of the thing, and besides, the landlord would just burn him.

"Come'ere, Fitch! I wanted a second opinion. He strode to the front door, hands in pockets ... unconcerned. The quintessential bachelor, who went through women like I go through beers.

"Why would she leave this thing? She knows it'll get destroyed. What's up with that, Fitchy?"

"Who knows. You know how women are. Nuts. Let it go, man. You can't save the world."

"Deirdre isn't the world. But she was to me. I was too hard on her." I wondered then if I could save her. Save us. I suddenly wanted to try harder. Try, period.

"Ah, forget her, man. You'll wind up with a knife in your throat. There's tons of chicks out there. Live a little. Come on, let's get out'ta here. What'da'ya say?"

"I guess. Yeah. You're right. I can't deal with this shit." Percival took on an air of dismay, I swear, I see it in his glass eyes.

"Get your stuff, man. Let's roll. Wanna go for a game?"

"Nah. Thanks though, Fitch. I'll go next time. I will."

We rode to his apartment in silence ... each lost in different worlds. Different thoughts. I wondered if I were wrong, if I were the one who was crazy.

"Fitch? You think Deirdre's worth saving? Helping? You know, maybe I could get her some counseling?"

"Oh, man, Ron-boy. That's up to you. I didn't know her good enough, you know?"

"Right, I know ... I miss her though, man. I do." I dialed her cell phone, my heart thumping.

"Hello?" Her clear voice so familiar, so sweet.

"Hey, it's me." I didn't know what else to say.

"What? What is it, Ron? Haven't you had enough fun?" There was the anger again.

"No, yes. Look, I'm sorry, Dee. I am. Let's meet. And talk, okay?" I held my breath.

Dead silence. "I won't get rid of them."

"Okay. But can we talk about it? Talk about us? Everything? Please? I'm sorry, baby."

"But we let the apartment go. There's nothing left."

"There's other apartments, Dee. Come on. Meet me at Arni's? Say, thirty minutes?"

"Okay. I'll be there. Just for a little while though."

"Thanks, Dee. We'll work this out. I promise." I hung up, suddenly elated.

"Drop me, Fitchy? I'll ride back with Dee. She'll bring me back if I don't stay there. Her roomy is sort of pushy, so I'll be back, okay?"

"Whatever you say, Dude. Need a third wheel? Just in case she goes bonkers again?"

"No, man. Dee's okay. We'll work this out. I'm sure of it, man."

"Okey-dokey. You got it."

Arni's was full up, but I saw Deirdre's red Camry parked there. And the big lights illuminate her blonde hair. She is so beautiful. Percival didn't seem so important anymore.

We didn't speak. The warmth of her body felt good in the cool night air and I just wanted to go home.

"Can't we try again, Dee? I'm sorry. Percival wasn't hurt in the fall." My humor seemed trite, but I had to try.

"I should get rid of them. I don't want to. But maybe I should."

She pulled away, holding onto my hands and smiled. I was shocked. She had refused to even speak about it before.

"You sure? Like I said. I could get your photos enlarged. Frame 'em. Hang them up? What do you think?"

"Okay. We'll see. I need to go get Percival. Wanna come along? I'll drive."

"Sure, I'll drive if you want." I wished I had my bike, that way she'd have to hang onto me.

"No, come on, let's go. They'll turn the power off tomorrow and I have to turn the key in too." She smiled that movie star smile, and I let the warning bells jingle jangle away into the night.

In the parking lot, the lights cast an eerie orange glow and it looked like Deirdre aged. For just that split second. I could have sworn she was an old hag. I needed to calm down. I needed a beer. Instead, I got in the car and we headed back to the empty apartment. To the empty room. To Percival.

The moon filters into the room, and slit wide open, my jugular oozes dark fluid onto the bare, hardwood floor. This time Deirdre took everything I had, and then some.

Protective and proud, Percival stands guard, again, his beady eyes staring at me in triumph. In hate. I choke on my plea for help, as his toe-nails click out the front door, leaving perfect little paw prints ... made with my life's blood.

This Sentence Starts The Story contest entry


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