By Edele Winnie
She could not pinpoint the beginning of it. As a child she had been obsessed with knives. A cute little girl with a shining blade in her hand. Her parents, predictably, had scolded and slapped and shaken and hidden the knives until she learned to pretend that she was not interested in them. She was only nine when her mother found the first scars on her arms. That had been a freak out. She’d been hauled away to see doctors and therapists and she told them whatever she thought they wanted to hear. Now, as a woman in her twenties, she realized that those therapists had just nodded and collected their hourly fees. No one can care forever. No one can understand everyone. What if you were born not caring or not understandable?
She liked blades because they were powerful. They shined. They were hard, yet they could easily slip into a stuffed animal, or an armchair or a thigh. They could transcend barriers. They could take life. And sometimes when life was taken, it could give life. She didn’t believe in vampires but she knew that humans had always killed and eaten. And that was how she thought of herself. Huntress.
She was small and short and thin and unremarkable it almost every way, to the eye. A scrawny brunette with a plain face. But eyes only pick at the surface. Beneath, unseen, she carried two blades that were as much a part of her as her legs. One was an eight inch long bowie knife slung loose under her left arm. The other was a pocket blade in her shoe, a just-in-case. At home in her dinky apartment she’d practiced throwing the bowie and could spike an apple from fifteen feet away. Apples beware.
She had not even noticed him stalking her. She’d been walking- she was a compulsive, addicted walker- she needed to deal with the ferocious energy that consumed her. The energy had to be spent- had to be- one way or another. Then she noticed a man was following her.
Then she thought that her whole life had been leading to this moment. Why had she been fascinated by blades? Her childhood memories seemed to revolve around knives. There was no explanation- except that sometimes fate prepares you for what is to come.
It was a big park- sort of a nature area. Lots of tall grass, weeds, shrubs, thick trees. A winding path through the woods. Full of birds and bird song. She felt at peace there. It was like her energy fit with the energy of the trees and the earth. It was where she belonged.
He’d passed by her, said hi, she’d nodded back. And then he’d followed. He knew the park. They were far from help, from exits, from the parking lot. He began to gain on her. She stopped, back against a tree. She did not want to be taken from behind. He came slowly towards her. Stopped ten feet away. She could easily spike his Adam’s apple at that distance. She didn’t say anything. Just glared. Bit one side of her lip. He was enjoying it, amused that she was terrified. Pleasured.
“Are you lost?” He said, his voice thick and full, like the big bad wolf’s.
She didn’t say anything. Bit her lip harder.
“I promise not to hurt you, if you don’t struggle.” He moved closer to her.
She didn’t say anything. She bit harder and tasted blood.
“You’re pretty, in a strange kind of way.” He was right in front of her. He reached his hand out, as if to caress her face.
She had practiced the move- the quick draw she called it. The eight inch bowie flew out and up the side of his face. He reeled backwards, hands to his head, blood everywhere. She didn’t run. She was too shocked. Her mouth hung open.
Idiotically she asked “Are you all right?”
He lowered his bloody hands. He was furious. The cut was nasty, but not that deep. She hadn’t cut his nose off. The knife was still in her hand. His eyes were swollen with fury. He would have killed her, if she hadn’t had the knife. He began to back away.
It was a good clear shot. He wasn’t moving quickly. But what if he dodged? She’d be without her big blade. She didn’t throw it. She just watched. Licked the blood on her lips while looking at the blood on his.
He turned and walked away. Not ran, just walked, a stroll, one hand still on his face. Dripping red. She wiped the blade on some leaves. Didn’t want to touch the blood. She wasn’t sure what she felt. A mixture really- exhilaration, horror, dismay, fear. Revulsion. She’d cut someone. He’d deserved it. He would have hurt her. She’d hurt him instead.
She was scared he would be in the car park waiting for her. She even waited a while in some bushes, watching. But there was no one she could see in the cars, no one hanging around. She eventually found his trail of blood drips on the pavement. They led to an empty parking space and vanished. He was gone.
Afterwards, that night, she felt good about it. She had been threatened. She’d defended herself. As the following days collected in puddles of weeks she noticed a change in herself. The energy that had driven her daily- that relentless aggressiveness- began to fade. She still wore the knives, but increasingly she felt she would not be using them. Could it actually be over? Had her obsession all led to that one point and now it was finished? The idea intrigued her. She tried to be open-minded, to allow for a new obsession- but nothing arose. She hated to admit it but it seemed true- her fascination with blades was dulling.
Then the unthinkable happen. She met a man. He was abnormally tall, head and shoulders above everyone around him. Thin, gangly, uncoordinated. But he didn’t seem to care. He wore glasses. He shaved his head. His name was Norman but he hated that and made everyone call him Mike. She combined the two and called him Morman. It made him laugh.
She had never thought that she would fall, that she would want to settle down, that she could be content. But she seemed to be a different person now. Her knives remained in her dresser at home. She no longer felt vulnerable without them. Her past seemed like a movie she had seen.
When Morman invited her home to meet his parents she was excited. They’d talked about the future. They were a ridiculous couple- like a circus side show act. He was so tall and gangly and bald and she was short and slim and catlike.
His parents lived in a big fancy house in the country. His father was a corporate lawyer, his mother a school principal.
“You can’t call me Morman in front of them.” He said, as they sat in the car in the drive way. He was sort of hunched over because he was too tall for the car.
“I promise not to call you Morman.” She said. Her eyes twinkling. She’d already decided to call him ‘giraffe”.
His mother was surprisingly short, with neat permed brown hair and glasses, very professional. And his father had a scar running down one side of his face and was the man who’d she cut in the woods.
He shook her hand and smiled and welcomed her and she said nice things back but neither one of them were listening. His eyes were the same – trapped bursting eyes that threatened to kill her.
“So nice to meet you. Norman has told us so much about you.” He said in his smooth big bad wolf voice.
“You look so familiar.” She said. “Surely we’ve met before.”
“I really don’t think so.” He assured all. “I would have remembered such a pretty face.”
“Pretty in a strange kind of way.” She said, smiling pointedly. But then she shivered and reached under her arm but there was nothing there. She felt completely naked without her knives.
Father wolf smiled and showed his teeth. “This is going to be a nice evening.” He laughed.
Continued June 15th