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Everyone has a monster inside
A hidden gift for being a careful reader of this website
Every now and again I'll post an old story (or perhaps a new one!) here, just to give people a little taste of what I do and make it worth your while for stopping by.
This time around, we have a reprint of a rather nasty story I wrote many years ago that has been out of print for almost a decade.
The Key To Her Heart
By JG Faherty
(previously published in Wee Small Hours/Hellnotes.com, 2006)
Zoey took a seat at the end of the bar. “Appletini, please,” she asked, as the bartender zipped by. She’d arrived early on purpose, wanting to get a little liquid courage going before her date arrived.
Halfway through the drink, someone tapped her on the shoulder. “Hi, are you Zoey?”
She nodded. He took the seat next to her and held out his hand. “I’m Tom. Thanks for telling me what you’d be wearing, it sure makes it easier than going from person to person asking names.”
Zoey sipped her drink and eyed her blind date, a pleasant-looking man in his mid-twenties. As he’d said in his email, he wore a blue denim shirt with a Budweiser lizard on the pocket.
Tom ordered a beer for himself and another round for her. After their drinks arrived, a moment of awkward silence stretched on for several sips. Finally, Tom set down his drink and gave her a sheepish grin. “Look, I, uh, haven’t really done this before. You know, online dating.”
Zoey smiled. “Me either. Let’s just pretend we met here, and you’re hitting on me.”
He chuckled, his soft brown eyes crinkling with laugh lines as he did. “Is that what I’m doing?”
She stared at him, and hoped he was as attracted to her cultivated modern goth look as she was to his rather ordinary, Midwestern high school-quarterback-all-grown-up features.
“That depends. Buy me another drink?”
Zoey fell backwards onto her bed, pulling Tom along for the ride. He stopped just before he landed on her, supporting himself with one muscular arm while with the other hand he fumbled at getting his jeans opened.
“Let me,” she said, her sentence ending in a tipsy giggle. She slid his pants down to his knees, and then removed her own t-shirt and leather mini while he kicked his shoes off and freed his legs.
For the next fifteen minutes they ‘knocked boots,’ as her roommate liked to call it. At one point, Zoey had to hold back a laugh, knowing she’d get an earful from Melanie in the morning about the headboard banging against the wall.
Too bad, she thought. She’s got a boyfriend. I haven’t had it in a while.
Afterwards, Tom rolled off her, grabbed his beer from the nightstand, and took a long swallow. She reached over and stroked his chest.
“You never even took your shirt off,” she chided him.
“Didn’t have time.” He raised an eyebrow, teasing her.
“I want to see your chest. You certainly saw enough of mine.” She undid the buttons, exposing well-tanned flesh. His hairless, smooth skin felt warm against her hand as she tickled her fingers up from his stomach.
Until she touched icy-cold metal.
“What’s this?” Zoey held the object up. It was a key, the long, old-fashioned kind like her grandfather used to carry, only this one had a big circular grip at one end and a jagged, triangular projection at the other.
Tom slipped the gold chain over his head, let it dangle in front of her. “This is the key to your heart.”
Zoey snorted laughter. “You’re getting romantic already? We haven’t even done it twice!” She reversed the direction of her stroking fingers, moving them downwards below his waist. “At least, not yet.”
Without warning, Tom’s hand lunged forward, driving the pointed end of the key into Zoey’s chest just below her left breast. Her mouth opened wide, but only the barest hiss of air came out as the frigid metal slid between her ribs and punctured her heart. She fell back against the pillows, twisting and jerking in a St. Vitus dance of thrashing spasms. Tom straddled her body and pushed down until the key buried itself in her flesh up to its round handle.
Zoey’s mouth opened and closed, making small choking sounds, and her hands beat against the blankets. With a vicious twist, Tom turned the key sharply to the left.
“With this key, I lock thy heart. You belong to me, never to part. Now your love is like a door, closed to others forever more.”
Glowing pink light burst from the hole in Zoey’s flesh as Tom turned the key straight again and withdrew it. One tiny drop of blood rolled down over the mound of her breast. The small wound closed up, neatly sealing itself until no mark remained. Her mouth snapped shut, teeth clacking together loudly in the quiet dusk of the single candle they’d lit earlier.
Tom got up and started to get dressed. He watched the life come back into Zoey’s eyes as her chest heaved and she took a deep breath.
“Where are you going?” she asked him, sitting up and reaching out to him. “You’re not leaving me, are you?”
He patted her leg. “Only for a little while.” He took a business card from his pocket. “Go to this address tomorrow night and wait for me. The other girls will explain everything.” He kissed her cheek, then left the room, carrying his shoes and coat.
Melanie was already sitting at the table drinking coffee when Zoey entered the kitchen.
“Oh, look who finally woke up,” Melanie said with a laugh. “That was some night you had, at least from what I heard. Grab a cup and tell me all about your new friend.”
Zoey poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down. She stared into the hot liquid, saw Tom’s reflection just below the surface, his face smiling at her.
She felt a stupid grin growing on her lips.
“He holds the key to my heart.”