It felt like standing in the snow as it fell to earth, wet, heavy drops raining down. She tipped her head back, revelling, then stuck her tongue out and caught some on her tongue. It tasted rich, and she gagged slightly, then swallowed it down and opened her mouth wider. She had tasted blood before, of course she had, but never like this, never as it sprayed from the dying body of her boyfriend.

Getting him up there had been the toughest thing, the pulleys and ropes so obvious, she couldn’t believe he hadn’t spotted them. Then again, the knife in her hand had done a pretty good job of distracting him. She was glad he’d spun at the last minute, it had meant she could stick the garden fork through his face, and stare into his eyes as the blood streamed out.

He was perforated now. She’d lost control for a moment, stabbing and stabbing until the weight of the fork had dragged her arms to the ground and she’d stood, panting, in the rain. She had recovered now, though, and looked up through the dwindling flood. His eyes were fluttering, he was close to an unconsciousness from which he would never wake up. She wanted to cheer, and wave the fork above her head, her heart racing. Her chest was heavy, and tears stung in her eyes, but she wouldn’t cry. She didn’t want his last thought to be that she was upset by his death, for the tears were of relief, and joy.

She stepped until she was underneath his dick, then rammed the fork up once more. She was rewarded with a faint moan, and his entire body jerked. When she looked back at his face, his eyes were sightless, face slack. He was gone.

With a sigh, she dropped the fork, the clatter loud in the silence of the house, and stripped. When her clothes lay in a pile beneath his body, she walked slowly to the shower, and enjoyed the scalding water, stripping away his blood, and the last six years.

They had started so well. He had been a gentleman, a real one, not like ‘twat-face’ before him. No one had found ‘twat-face’ yet, not that she’d spotted in the papers. That made her proud.

But David, the corpse now swinging gently from the lounge ceiling, had been decent. He held open doors, he listened when she spoke to him. He even wanted to help out when she had problems at work. He could be a bit suffocating, but it was worth it. She felt good about herself, and that alone was worth the entrance fee, not to mention the amazing sex, and he could cook! She should have known, really, when he put that first butternut squash and wet garlic risotto on the table with a flourish, that it was too good to be true.

It had been good for a year, maybe eighteen months, actually, before she spotted it. Just the slightest trace of lipstick hiding on his shirt, where they tucked into his trousers. He wasn’t even kissing them. She didn’t say anything the first time, didn’t know what to say. But when it happened again, she resolved to solve it, and find some way to keep their love alive, because it was love now. She had fallen. Her day began and ended with him, and everything she was, he kept safe.

A week later, he said he was going out with the boys, for beers after work. He was smart in so many ways, but considering he had never done this, in the year or so they had been together, it was a particularly clumsy excuse. It was a lazy excuse and that was the first time she felt the anger.

She arrived at his work, a little before five, and sat in her car, parked opposite the industrial park. Just like clockwork, bang on five, he came walking out pushing his bike, his trousers held in at the ankles with those daft little things you weren’t allowed to wear until you were at least seventy. She had brought him some lycra shorts, what everyone who rode was wearing nowadays, but he’d insisted that only show-offs and desperate wannabes wore lycra to cycle to work.

Now he pushed the bike, and swung his leg over, pedalling hard as he joined the traffic. She pulled away and fell in behind him. He wasn’t going home.

A mile or so down the road, and deep in a housing estate, he pulled up and she stopped, parking then ducking down to peer over the steering wheel. He approached a house, pulling off his cycling helmet and smoothing his hair, and knocked on the door. It was opened by a nervous looking woman, young and undeniably pretty, with long dark hair, and they talked quietly for a moment. Then the woman smiled, and opened the door wider. David stepped through the door and into another woman’s house.

Her hands was gripping the steering wheel, the knuckles white, and she banged her forehead gently against it, each thump accompanied by a word.

“fucking, asshole, fucking, fucker, how, could, he.”

She got this far, through gritted teeth, then the tears came and she curled up on the seat, trying to wrap herself up. Perhaps if she was small, it wouldn’t hurt so much. She lay like that for a few minutes, until the tears began to slow, then she abruptly sat up, punching the steering wheel so her hand hurt. Screw this. He would answer, they would both answer.

She shoved open the car door and stormed across the street to the front door. She raised her hand, and hesitated, just for a moment, which was when she heard the scream. She’d watched plenty of horror movies, she knew what a scream was supposed to sound like, but this was different. There was a whole new level in this, like the sound of a rabbit caught in a fox’s jaws. It was pathetic and monstrous at the same time, and she backed away from the door, then dropped to her knees, out of sight of the front window.

The hair on her neck had risen, and she had goose bumps all over. She scuttled sideways, looking for a side gate, and when she found it, she reached for the catch, and ever so slowly, opened it and went through. She was stood in a narrow gap that ran down the side of the house, no windows facing it and she stood, and took a deep breath.

Hold on a second, call the police. She thought about her man being dragged off, dumped in a squad car, and she shook her head. She didn’t know what had happened, but she needed to, before she called them. She walked quickly down the side of house, and round to the back.

Another scream cut into her. It was quiet, muffled by the double glazing, but she could hear the desperation, and the terror. She froze beside the patio doors, then peeked carefully in.

They were in the lounge, and all her worse fears were realised.

The woman was on her knees, blood streaming from deep cuts in her face and arms. He stood above her, cycling clips in place, a large plastic apron covering all but his shoes, and kitchen knife in hand. She clapped one hand over her mouth as the blade came down, cleaving through the softer part where the neck met the shoulder. The pretty woman went down, and he bent, and swung, and swung. She fell on her knees, retching, staring at the light hairs on the backs of her hands. Strange the details you noticed at times like these. Not that there had ever been ‘times like these’ before.

She pushed herself up, wiping her chin with her hand, and turned, reluctantly, back to the window.

Each time the knife came up, droplets of blood flicked off and splashed across the patio door. She jerked back every time the soft thuds announced a new spatter. Soon, she was watching through a red haze, the glass covered.

The body was a mess. He dropped the knife atop the body, shrugged off his apron onto the pile, then peeled off surgeons gloves and let them fall with the rest. He had done this before. The thought made her lip curl, and her hands clench into fists. He made a careful, but swift inspection of his clothes, and stepped out of the room. He returned a few moments later with a bottle of water.

As he opened it and began to flick it across the body and room, she realised that it wasn’t water. Moments later, he pulled matches from his pocket, lit one, then stuffed it back into the box, and as the packet went up, he tossed it onto the body. Bright yellow flames leapt toward the ceiling, and she stepped back, eyes narrowed.

She hesitated at the exit to the garden. What if they bumped into each other? She crouched down, staring at the front door, all-too-aware of the heat beginning to come from the house. She was about to step out when the front door opened and he came out, pulled his bike from where it stood, and pedalled speedily away, not once looking back.

She waited another minute, then ran to the car and drove away. She made it out of the housing estate, and to the nearby drive-through before she parked, and the shaking started. She sat staring up at the golden arches through a haze of tears. How could he? How could he after everything he had promised her? What else wasn’t he telling her? Should she get a Big Mac, or chicken burger?

That had been the start of it. They’d kept going out together, finding fat old businessmen to throw off bridges, and old ladies to tie up and torture, but she knew his heart wasn’t in it. She trailed him, more than once, and enough to know that his choices were always the same, young, attractive women. So she tried to make it work, finding equally hot girls for the two of them, but although he seemed to enjoy it more, still, he went out on his own.

Eventually, she confronted him.

“David, we need to talk.”

“’Kay, what’s up?”

She hesitated. Despite going over and over this in her head, she still didn’t believe she was actually saying it, still didn’t quite know how to.

“You’ve been killing, on your own, without me.”

He stared at her, mouth open and face reddening. She hadn’t needed proof, but at least he knew it was wrong.

“Why, David?”

She heard, and hated, the pleading in her voice.

“We had such fun. I’ve never made you kill in a particular way, I’ve never cramped your style, so why?”

He was looking at the floor now, his hands opening and closing. Her eyes were stinging, but there was no way she was going to cry, not now. Finally he looked up at her, and gave her that crooked grin, and she nearly threw her coffee at him.

“Don’t do that, don’t be an asshole.”

The grin went and he looked pissed all of a sudden. He sounded it too.

“We have to do everything together. I mean, everything. I go to watch the rugby, you have to come too. I go shopping, we have to make a day of it. I wanna chop someone up, suddenly it’s a road trip. I need my own space, sweetheart, I always have.”

“Why didn’t you just say you needed space. I thought you liked how close we were.”

“I do, I do, I love you, you know that, it’s just sometimes I want to do something on my own.”

“Yeah, but why that? That, I thought, it was special, you know, something we did together, date night, you know?”

Her voice had gone quiet, and winsome, and she saw by his face that he had known it was wrong. He shook his head.

“I just, I didn’t know how to tell you, without you being hurt.”

“Oh, so this is better, is it, getting hurt by finding out that you’re cheating on me?”

“You should be grateful I’m not fucking them! Christ, it’s just a bit of casual murder, it’s not like it’s anything serious.”

He was shouting at her, and she shied away, putting her hands up. He came towards her, his own hands held out.

“Aww, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to shout, really. Look, how about if I promise I won’t do it again?”

She looked at him, the tears coming now, unbidden and unwanted.

“Do you mean it?”

“Of course I do. God, you mean so much more than them, they were nothing, really.”

His hands rested on her cheeks and she let him turn it upward, his lips pressing against hers. She sighed, and relaxed against him, wrapping her arms around his chest and feeling safe, protected. As his lips moved to her neck, she whispered in his ear.

“Do you want to go out tonight? We could find someone, you could bring your knife…”

He moaned into her neck and she wrapped her legs around his waist.

It had been good, for a while then, like a second honeymoon. Then it happened again. This time she had no patience, and confronted him immediately, but his response was entirely different. It was like he didn’t care anymore, like he couldn’t be bothered to make it work. She asked him to leave, and he told her that if she kicked him out, he’d go to the police. She’d threatened him in return, and he’d slept on the couch.

It wouldn’t matter which of them grassed on the other, they’d both go down. So the months went by, lying side by side in a cold bed, washing two sets of clothes with different blood stains. There was pleasure in it still, for her, but the joy was gone, the feeling that they could do anything, go anywhere. They still went out together occasionally, on special occasions. She got him a dancer for his birthday, and he brought her the most lovely garrotte, with these curved wooden handles, for their Christmas kill. The months became years, the body count grew, and they drifted further and further apart.

The final straw was their anniversary. It was the sixth, and the first one he missed. He came home late to find her sitting in the lounge, the candles long burned out, the cheerleader face down on the floor, axe buried deep in her back. She didn’t speak, just went upstairs, not letting him see the tears. Strange, she thought, as she listened to him dragging the body out the kitchen door, the things that matter when nothing does. There was no reason to be upset, not really. But she was. She liked to think it was the dinner that sat wasted on the kitchen table, or maybe the champagne that was flat, and had cost more than she liked to think about. But the truth was, he just didn’t love her anymore.

So she’d set the trap. He’d come into the kitchen from the wrong direction and she had been so sure he’d see the ropes. But she’d shouted, and he’d turned, and she pulled the handle, and just like the guy online had promised, up went David, trussed nice and tight.

She’d expected to hesitate, that it would be difficult somehow, but as soon as he started bleating, saying sorry for this and sorry for that, it was easy.

She stepped out of the shower, stretching and feeling like a new woman. The chains she hadn’t known she was wearing had fallen away, and the future was full of opportunity. She wondered into the bedroom, smiling as she heard the gentle dripping still coming from the kitchen. Getting dressed, her eyes never strayed from the bedside table. She pulled open the drawer and took out the plane ticket, one way. She’d heard America welcomed anyone willing to work hard, and make a name for themselves. She grinned, grabbed her suitcase, and picked up the matches.





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