Alexander ran and ran until he reached a place that had been a solace for him in the past - the old, run-down shed.
Sweating and tremoring from head to toe, Alexander knelt in the shed, not caring about all the horrible memories it held. No, he needed to be alone, and this was the most solitary place he could think of.
Doubling over and vomiting, Alexander felt his entire world crumble as he knelt there. Standing and pacing, he cursed himself over and over. At last, he grew silent, though his body still was wracked with uncontrollable shaking. Alexander leaned against the wall and clenched and unclenched his fists. He sank to the ground and finally allowed himself to release the tears that had been bottled up in his eyes.
The voice was low and sympathetic, which seemed completely contradictory to its speaker. Eve. Eve had come to comfort him.
"Shh, shh, it's going to be alright," Eve whispered, sitting down beside Alexander. She had a basket next to her. She wrapped him in her arms and cradled him gently, her hair tumbling down around their faces. "It's going to be alright, my love. I'm here for you."
"No," Alexander replied through feverish lips. "No, it's not going to be alright this time."
"You're a good man," Eve said, kissing Alexander's forehead and neck and jaw.
Alexander bent to kiss Eve's lips, but she shook her head. "You just got sick," she said gently. "Drink some of this, and then I'll kiss you."
Alexander froze, understanding what would happen if he tasted some "of this" that Eve had mentioned. "You're wrong," he said. " I've fought so hard for sobriety."
"For Miriam's sake."
"But Miriam isn't here, isn't she? She left you when she found out the depth of your badness."
Catching Eve's deceit for what it was, Alexander shook his head. "You said I was a good man."
"I was lying." Eve traced Alexander's jaw with her fingertip. "You're a sinful rogue, Alexander, and you don't deserve Miriam. You don't deserve anyone better than me. We're both horrible people, Alexander, and we don't deserve anyone better than each other. So it's time to embrace all your evil."
Eve laughed and scooted closer, smiling. "Can't you feel the beating of my heart? It's pure evil that is pushed through my veins, Alexander. You're the same. We're demons, you and I."
And then, before Alexander could stop her, Eve drew a knife from the basket she'd brought and slit Alexander's arm. Laughing, she did the same to herself and covered Alexander's cut with her own. "We're made of the same stuff. It's time to accept that you will never escape me."
Shaking, Alexander pulled away. "You're wrong," he said, but with far less conviction.
"God hates you, Alexander. He can't stand the sight of you. You're filthy and hopeless and filled with evil. He created me just for you, so that your evil could be consumed by me and only me. But the thing is, you shared your evil with others. So He's angry, Alexander. He hates you. You'd better yield to me."
Alexander looked into Eve's eyes, and his soul screamed at what he saw. Suddenly, Eve didn't seem so human anymore. She looked like...one possessed. Alexander said as much. "You're possessed," he whispered, but when he tried to turn away, Eve caught his arm and pulled him down.
"Yes," she said, eyes fiery. "And it's time you give up." Laughing, Eve pulled a bottle from the basket. "It's time to give into yourself, Alexander. We both know this is what you were made for."
Alexander bent down and kissed Eve more harshly and passionately than he'd ever kissed anyone in his life. Taking his fill of her lips, he felt her respond with equal ardor. Hungrily, desperately, groaningly, he kissed the woman who had become such a snare to his soul.
"There," Alexander said, resting his forehead against Eve's. "It's done."
"What's done?" Eve whispered.
"Your life," Alexander replied. Yanking Eve from where she lay, Alexander took her knife and slit her throat in one fluid motion. Eve's eyes were wide...but it was over. It was all over.
"You will never haunt me again. And as far as I'm concerned, I have killed no one," Alexander whispered to Eve's lifeless form. "And now, I'll do what I've been waiting to do for all this time."
Opening the bottle of liquor, Alexander poured some of it out onto the floor, mesmerized by it. Dropping the bottle, he watched as the amber liquid poured out.
And then, before the bottle lost too much of its contents, Alexander lifted it to his lips and drank with desperation and defeat. He drank as though his life depended on it.
And at that point, it did.