Every relationship has its natural end. Some, if we're lucky, end with death. Others have different end points.
My current relationship, all told, is one I'll be glad to see the back of. I'm here because I have to be. This hasn't been what I've wanted for quite some time now. But the end is in sight. Jessica looks worse by the day. She won't be able to hold out for much longer.
Now, before you write me off as selfish and cruel, let me remind you that you don't know the story. You don't know who Jessica is, what she's taken from me, or how she's made my life a living hell.
I loved her in the beginning. She was beautiful, funny, one of the most brilliant people I'd ever met, but there was something... wild about her. She had a kind of fire within her like I'd never seen before. Maybe it was what drew me to her in the first place, like a moth who only sees the light of a flame and doesn't feel the heat until it’s far too late.
From the very start of our relationship, she possessed me. She dominated, and not just in the bedroom. Her intense jealousy could take absolutely anything and turn it into a sign that I was cheating, or keeping some other horrible secret. If ever I got a text while we were together, she’d demand to know who it was, and insist that I was lying until I showed her proof. She’s come into my room and demand to know what was in ever drawer. She tried to keep me from my friends and family, claiming that they all filled her with dread and that, if I loved her, then I would put her first. I did love her. With everything I had, I loved her. That's the truth. And so, reluctantly, I gave in to her paranoid whims.
For a while, it was fine. Almost worth it. Jessica knew how to keep me fascinated, I'll give her that. My fascination with her never waned, even if my love did. One of the things that made her unique was her belief system. She claimed to be a Witch. Now, I know people who call themselves Witches and practice religious Witchcraft aren't so uncommon, especially not here in Massachusetts where I live. And, regardless, I was a staunch atheist, so I didn't really care what she believed. But something about her insistence made the whole thing feel... spooky.
"There are things I can do that you've never even dreamed of," she said to me once about her "powers." I started laughing. I thought she was joking at first, but her death glare silenced me. "What's so funny?" she asked.
"Nothing," I said, apologetically. "I just don't believe in that stuff."
Her lips curled into a smile as she raised her eyebrows. "You will." This was followed by a wink and gentle touch on my arm.
"Oh?" I said, with hopes that this was going where I thought it would.
The next moment, those lips were mine and the lovemaking began. This brings me to another thing I genuinely liked about Jessica at that time: she was full of passion and absolutely insatiable.
"Promise me we'll make love like this every night," I pleaded one night in the midst of my afterglow intoxication.
"For as long as my body can move," she promised with a mischievous twinkle before wrapping herself around me and pulling me close for a another encounter.
And things proceeded very much in that way for some time, but the day arrived, at last, when I felt myself falling out of love with Jessica. I was getting sick of her games and her controlling nature. The misery she caused far outweighed the pleasure. But these thoughts terrified me. For some reason---good reason, it turns out---I was anxious about what she might do if I tried to leave. I tried to convince myself I couldn't risk it. Those thoughts had no place in my mind, so I should really just forget about them.
Well, that never really works, does it? No matter how hard to you try to shove something down, it always comes back up, even when it shouldn't. At last, I couldn't stand it anymore. I knew I had to break up with Jessica.
I decided I had to be as gentle as possible. So, that day, I took time off from work and drove all the way to Jessica’s house. She lived on the outskirts of town in and old house her parents had left her when they died. It sounds cliche as all hell, but it’s the kind of rambling old Victorian mansion you’d expect to see in a horror movie, located down a dirt road, stuck in the middle of a forest. I remembered being amused when I saw it for the first time, just shortly after we'd started dating. Yeah, I thought to myself, a Witch would totally live here.
Luckily, she had given me a key, and I knew she wouldn’t be home during the day, so I let myself in and set straight to work. I cooked her favorite food, eggplant parmigiana with garlic bread on the side, and had it ready for when she arrived. To see the look on her face when she came home, you’d think she was a six year-old at a surprise party. I didn’t dare look for too long. Her happiness threatened to soften me too much and make me lose my nerve.
At last, dinner was over, and it was time. I took a deep breath and began. "Jessica, honey, you know I love you very deeply."
"And I love you," she said.
"Yes," I said, unnerved by her declaration. If I didn't know better, I'd say she was determined to make this difficult as possible.
I continued. "You know how much I value openness and honesty in a relationship," I offered.
"Yes," she said, her eyes narrowing.
"Well," I went on, "I have to be completely honest with you and tell you that I'm just not happy in our relationship.”
She tilted her head and furrowed her brow. “Not happy?”
“No,” I said.
“Then what was all this?”
I felt suddenly ashamed and stupid for my plan to surprise her. “I wanted to make this a… a positive experience, I guess.”
“A positive experience?” The snark in her voice was withering.
I swallowed hard and pressed on with my prepared speech. “It's not you, I swear. I know that sounds so cliche, but really it's not. It's me. I think I need to... be single for a while."
Silence. I had kept my eyes down almost the entire time, only stealing tiny glimpses, afraid to look into hers and feel my resolve weaken. It was only when I heard the first peal of vicious laughter that I dared to look at her. "What's so funny?" I asked.
"You," she said. "You're not going anywhere."
I was suddenly angry. How dare she try to control me? How dare she take me for granted? "I am," I said, almost shouting. "I want out of this relationship, Jessica. And I can make that happen if I want to."
"No, you can't," she said, drying the tears of laughter from her eyes. "You're mine."
I was enraged now. I could feel the heat in my cheeks. I jumped up out of my seat and glared down at her. "Fuck you!" I shouted, no longer able to keep my composure. "You do not own me, no matter what you think. I can do as I like, associate with whomever I want, and leave your ass if I see fit. And, damn it, I see fit right the fuck now!"
"Be quiet!" she snapped as she stood to meet me eye to eye. "You should have known when you started messing with me that you would never be free again. You're mine. You belong to me. I do own you. And I can prove it."
"How?" I demanded.
Her eyes flamed maliciously as she fixed them on me. "Just try to leave."
There was something in the way she said it that shook me. I found myself moving out of the room, into the hallway, and finally straight to the door, almost as if I were being led there by some kind of unseen force. Maybe I was. When I tried to open it, I couldn't. I turned the knob all right, but then I pulled and pulled. The door wouldn't move. I became desperate. My arms began to ache. I punched the door out of frustration, bruising my hand. I yowled in pain and exasperation. My last attempt at opening the door ended when the knob came off with a snap.
"What the fuck?!" I demanded, now weeping with anger and frustration. I turned to see that she had joined me in the hallway. "Let me out of here! Please!"
All she did was throw her head back and laugh.
I screamed and threw the doorknob at her. It hit her in the shoulder, causing her to yelp in surprise. "You son of a bitch!" she shouted.
"Let me out, now!"
I lunged at her. This must have caught her off guard because, before she could even dodge, my hands were around her throat. "I'll kill you!" I said. "I swear to God, I'll kill you!"
"Do it!" she demanded. "Do it and see what happens! Remember my promise!"
I tightened my grip around her neck. She stared directly into my eyes and choked out a series of words I didn't understand. They were in some kind of hideous, guttural language that seemed more demonic than human. At last, her struggling slowed to a stop. Her eyes rolled back in her head, and all was silent.
I let the corpse fall to the floor in a heap and wasted no time in trying the door again. Nothing. It still would not open. My panic returned. There has to be some way out of here, I thought. I ran to the back door and tried there, only to receive the same result. I tried the door leading to the basement, thinking I could get down there and leave through the bulkhead. No. I couldn't even open the door to get down there. Windows, I thought. I must be able to get out through a window. I must have tried every window in this house. None of them opened. Nothing worked. I was trapped.
I landed, finally, in front of a west-facing window with a perfect view of the sunset. Watching the daylight fade into darkness was almost enough to calm me. I didn’t think I could feel any more defeated than I did at that moment… but I was wrong.
I heard a sound from behind me. It sounded like a long, gasping inhalation. I turned and was met with a horrible sight. Jessica stood in the doorway. At first, I thought that maybe I hadn't done the job well enough, but the longer I stared at her, the more I noticed. Her skin was pale. Her eyes were clouded over. Her lips were blue and hung open, giving vent to a sand-papery hiss. I had finished the job, all right. What stood over me now was a walking corpse.
Before I could finish the question, Jessica rushed at me and forced me down. "What are you---" There was no need to continue. Her hands went for my belt buckle. It was then that I remembered her promise.
"Promise me we'll make love like this every night."
"For as long as my body can move."
It’s been days. The decay has come on slower than I would have expected, but it’s there. Even if her skin didn’t show it, the smell certainly would. I dread that smell. It enters a room before she does. It’s how I know she’s on her way. It’s how I know it’s… time.
I am desperate for the day when she can’t drag herself around anymore, when whatever is holding her bones together finally gives out. What a relief that day will be.
These doors may never unlock. I’ll run out of food eventually, and possibly starve to death alone in this house. I’m not looking forward to any of that, but at least I won’t be her toy anymore.
Written by Jdeschene