The phone rang. It rang in my dream, really. It should have been the sound of Alyssa Milano’s dulcet voice as she murmured my name in sweet adulation, but instead it was the sound of the fucking phone. I peeled my eyes open and looked at the alarm clock. 4am. Who the fuck calls a guy and wakes him up at 4 in the goddamn morning. Bleary eyes searched for the phone, and one look at the caller ID was enough to leave me in a rage.
Sara. My fucking ex.
Ok, it had only been two weeks, but Jesus, wasn’t she over the whiny, call-you-at-four-am-to-scream-at-me-for-ruining-everything bullshit?
“What?” Sure, maybe snapping it was rude. I didn’t give a shit. Fucking Alyssa dreams interrupted—
“Sean?” Her voice was so soft. Weak-sounding. Faint. This wasn’t the sound of a woman who was about to rail on me drunkenly for abandoning her. There were no tears in her voice, only resignation. My anger faded to concern.
“What’s wrong, Sara?”
Her reply was a laugh… a soft, giddy little laugh. “It wouldn’t die, so I had to cut it out.”
My heart leaped into my throat. Jesus, was she off her medication again? Stupid fucking Goth girls and their melodramatic bullshit. My ire began to rise again. “What did you do this time, Sara?”
“Like I said. I cut it out. I just wanted to tell you I don’t blame you anymore, Sean. I’m tired of the blame, and just want to move on. I won’t be able to do that here, so I cut it out. Pound of flesh.”
Shock. She had to be in shock. “What did you cut out?” stumbling into my pants, dragging a sweater out to stave off the winter New York chill. Boots. Where the fuck were my boots?
“I dunno. I think maybe a piece of my liver…. It’s bleeding a lot. It doesn’t hurt anymore.”
“You what?” Allright. That was fucking insane. This was craziness. “Sara, hang up and call 911.”
“No. You do it, Sean.” The venom welled up for a brief instant. “You do it.”
Shit. “I’m on my way.”
“Whatever.” And she hung up. Shit.
It had to be the fastest I had ever ran 6 blocks. Too much snow to drive. I still had the key to her apartment, so when I broke into the shitty little studio she rented from a sleazy old Russian with a disgusting fondness for the ole white horse, I should have been less surprised than I was.
For one, she was wearing white, and a wedding veil. The one she had picked out for our wedding. Fuck, it was the wedding dress. She was lying there on a piece of shower curtain, an empty bottle of vicodin and an almost-empty bottle of rum beside her. The old knife she kept on display lay over her chest like a newborn infant, and she slumped back against her open Hope chest.
There was blood. So much fucking blood, I didn’t know her little body could hold so much. Her skin was pale and she was sweating. She was dying. My fucking god she was dying. I picked up the phone and dialed 911 as I moved towards her. It rang and the operator picked up.
“911, what is the nature of your emergency?”
“Jesus, there’s so much blood…”
Sara’s glazed eyes rolled over to me and she yanked the cord from the wall. It came out with the sort of pop that says the little plastic tab is broken. No more phone. Fuck.
Her eyes locked onto me and her smile was death. “I told you once, do you remember, Sean? I told you only one of us would walk out of this relationship alive. I was kidding at the time… It was at the Ferris wheel, do you remember?
Jesus, she was rambling. She rambled on and on… and all I could think was… I killed her. There was nothing else I could do. I killed her. She’s dying and she’s doing so in front of me, her bloody hand on my cheek. I killed her.
“So you see, Sean, I had to cut you out. I shouldn’t have stopped taking my pills, so I tried to take other ones. See?” she held up the empty vicodin bottle “I thought they might help, but they didn’t.”
She was like a child, then. Big grey eyes blinking away tears of anguish as she just lay there before me dying, and there was nothing I could do.
“Don’t let me die here alone, Sean.” Her hand covering the wound lifted, showing the rent in her belly. The flesh was swollen and bloody. How could a surgeon tell anything apart in that monochrome mess was beyond me. The blood just kept welling. “I am so sorry I wasn’t good enough for you. I gave you everything I could. I am so sorry I couldn’t be more.”
“Shut up, Sara. Just… shut up. You’ll be ok…”
“No I won’t. I am dying. It’s hard to breathe. You’re so fuzzy, and you sound like I’m underwater.” Her eyes closed and more tears rolled down her cheeks. “I thought I cut it out, Sean, but it still burns. Oh God, I love you and it burns so…”
I could see her lips move, but the words just fell on deaf ears. Her breathing slowed, her eyes fluttered closed, and there, in the middle of her living room floor in a blood-soaked gown, lying on a shower curtain, she bled to death.
Frantic, I searched for a pulse. Her skin was cold and clammy. I could not find a pulse. There was no rise and fall of her chest. She was disturbingly still.
I sat back on my heels and looked at the ruined little bird I had fallen in love with. She’d flourished. Bloomed. An angel, really, that just had never been taught how to fly.
There’s no telling how long I sat there, staring at her corpse, cradling the knife like a precious baby, the savior of her world.
I picked it up, carefully avoiding the gash in her belly… the lump of—something—that lay beside her blood-drenched hand.
Jesus, I still loved her. She was so beautiful, even as a corpse.
It had been years since the last time I cried. I felt the dam break. How did it go again? Down the street, not across the block; cut down the arm and not across the wrist.
Like Romeo and Juliet, except no parents to blame. Nobody to blame. My fault, entirely my fault.
God could never forgive either sin.
So I’m cold now. Lying here beside her, letting my blood drip into the floorboards; and letting my eyes close on the worst thing I have ever fucking done.
Sara didn’t open her eyes, the drugs finally worn off for almost 5 minutes after Sean bled out. Her compatriots had been a little worried, but she was ok. A little pale and clammy from letting all that blood be drawn, but it couldn’t be helped. Not if the scene was to look real.
She stripped the wedding gown off and gazed down at the pump system that was filled with her own blood, and peeled off the pig’s stomach that was laid over hers. Her hand reached into the hope chest and she pulled out a walkie-talkie.
Two minutes later they converged. Three other girls, one with a headset and pirate radio, two more with cleaning products and garbage bags to pick up the rest of the mess fell upon the place with a vengeance.
Sara plugged the phone into the real jack, and pulled the tape recording of the “conversation” Sean had had with what he thought was 911. Tamra was good at voices. A simple wire re-route, and bam, you have a dummy closed circuit phone.
She dialed 911 as the last of the mess was cleaned up and she pulled on her clean clothes, coat and boots.
“911, what is the nature of your emergency?” She pressed play. Sean’s harried voice said “Jesus, there’s so much blood….” and then she just … hung up.
She gazed down at the pale face and vacant staring eyes of her best lover and frowned.
“Hell hath no fury, Sean. I told you, only one of us would walk out of this relationship alive. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
Her frown turned itself upside down and she smiled at that thought.
It was going to be a good week, she thought to herself, as she carefully avoided pools of his gore on her way out the door.
Who needed pills when you had friends?