A Deadly Love

This is the product of me trying my hand at flash fiction. When love goes wrong by the snap of Fate's fingers and the tables turn... What do you do when you're the one being hunted?

She pauses at an elm tree to catch her breath, her hand lightly resting upon the rough bark. Her lungs are burning and her legs feel like jelly. Curly blonde hair falls across her face in ripples as she doubles over, a sharp pain contorting her side. A lone, wild thought of getting too old for this kind of hassle blazes through her mind, despite the ripe age of twenty-something never being considered “old.”

Terror freezes her heart. She knows she must keep moving, or… The instance trails off into nothingness. She doesn’t want to complete the horrific thought.

With a great amount of effort and ailing fragility, she takes another step forward, then another, slowly leaving the support of the tree. Her limbs scream in protest; they don’t want to do this anymore, they can’t. The chilly autumn air is engulfed by the steam of her breath coming in rapid heaves. Her path is lost in the darkness of the forest as the sun makes its last peep over the horizon ere it lays down to sleep.

Her heart pounds in her chest. There is nothing more that she can do, and she realizes this with a saddening sob. She crumples to the ground and cries quietly in the night, wrenching the dying grass from the earth in hefty tufts. A knot forms in her throat and chills creep up her spine.

A frightening laugh sounds behind her, the heartless chuckle of a murderer. The cold steel of a serrated knife touches her skin and a hand hurtfully tightens over her bruised shoulder.

“I found you, my darling Dalila,” a voice whispers menacingly in her ear. Grimy fingers pinch her chin and tilt her head upwards. She stares into the black eyes of her captor, silent tears sliding over her cheeks. The possessor sighs. “God, I forgot how beautiful you are! The pictures of us don’t do you the rightful justice that you deserve.”

The criminal grins. “It’s such a shame that I have to kill you now.”

She closes her eyes and breathes, remembering the night that now seems so long ago, the night that never should have happened. She remembers the night that will ultimately cause her untimely death.

Dalila waited to hear the slam of the apartment door before she leaped from the bed covers. She had pretended to be asleep, to be tired from the events that took place the previous night. Her hands sped through the drawers in the nightstand, flipping over notebooks and other nonsense. Letters were spilled over the bottom of the drawer.

She quickly glanced over her shoulder and down the hallway to make sure that she was still in the clear. The blonde had only refocused on other letters when something caught her eye. A manila envelope was shoved far into the back of the night table. Dalila tore open the covering and scanned the handwriting that was written hastily on the paper. Names in bold, red ink flashed at her. They were names of women that had been found dead.

“Oh, my God.” A single tear slipped away. Naked pictures of the innocent girls fell from the envelope in massive waves, consisting of different mutilations and torturous things that the murderer had done to them before he killed each one.

“I forgot my tie, silly me.” A voice echoed from the hallway, followed by a ridiculous laugh.

She turned on the spot and gasped, the photographs falling from her hands to lie on the hardwood floor below.

“Delila?” He stopped dead in his tracks. The smile faded from his lips, only to be replaced by a twisted expression of anger. Any sign of happiness disappeared. The once kind face of a lover was smudged into that of a killer caught. “You weren’t supposed to find those.”

“You – you did this to them – you’re –“ she stammered and clutched her chest in grief and panic.

He slowly approached Delila, silent and deadly, like a snake poised for the attack. She was frozen in place, unable to move or think, any recollection of her training fleeing from her mind. The man stood before her and said with a terrifying calm in his voice, “I wasn’t intending to do that to you. I would never do that to you, my darling Delila.”

The murderer brushed a stranded golden hair from her forehead. “Now I have to kill you, too.”

Her eyes open slowly, the memory gone completely. She looks again into the face that she used to cherish. Desperate wide eyes stare back at her, though what form of desperation she doesn’t know. He throws the knife to the ground and pushes her against the hard body of a tree. The blade is only replaced by the icy touch of his fingers around her throat.

“We could have had something good, Delila,” he spits through gritted teeth. “I loved you with everything I had. I would have done anything for you.”

“Michael, please,” she chokes. The air in her lungs is dissipating rapidly.

“I gave you everything!” he screams. “And what did you give me? Nothing!” Michael slams her head against the bark. Blood trickles through her hair and down her skin, staining the yellow locks a deep maroon. She cries out in pain.

He lowers his head and mutters to himself. She begs him to let her go. Michael slowly raises his eyes to meet hers. “No. I – I can’t do that. I have to do this, I have to kill you. It’s the only way.”

The tortured man picks up the weapon again and levitates it over her heart, his hand shaking from the indecisive nerves ailing his mind. The point of the steel pricks her flesh, but only just. He wants to take his time in killing her. “This will be my happiest murder yet,” Michael whispers. His decision is final.

He speaks in her ear, taunting her. “I’ll enjoy this.”

There is a flash of a shadow and a grunt from Michael. The knife tears across her skin and Delila screams. Michael is slammed to the earth in defeat by another man in a bulletproof vest with “CIA” printed on the back in bright, white print. A loud click resonates throughout the eerie silence of the forest, signalling the cuffing of Michael.

“Michael Kane Donehue, you are hereby wanted and arrested for the murder of seven young women and the attempted murder of Agent Delila Santiago.” Someone appears behind Delila and she sees the flash of an official badge. An arm wraps around her shoulders. “Good work, Agent, you did very well in assisting the capture of this man. Come, Miss Santiago, we’ll take you home.”

She sighs in relief and raises a hand to her head. Scarlet blood tints her peachy fingers. “You could have come a little sooner.”

“I’m sorry, Miss Santiago, we had some trouble dealing with traffic.” The agent nods.

“Next time, order them out of the way.”

“Yes, Miss Santiago.”

“First thing’s first. I want my badge returned to me and a hot batch of coffee on my desk in ten minutes. We have more cases to solve, Agent.” Delila remarks.

The man smiles. “Right away, ma’am.”

“Don’t call me ‘ma’am,’” she says. “It makes me feel old.”

The End

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