The Victim of Love by SeanMartin ()
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The Woman with the Shaved Head looked up from her tablet. "They caught him."
The Listener nodded. "Last night. Just walked into the station and gave himself up."
"Why, I wonder?"
I went on a date with this guy a year ago.
He was nothing special; I don't even remember how we met. Just dinner someplace. It never got past the good night kiss. I mean, he was bland, y'know? Not boring.... just not interesting. So he promised he'd call, and I promised I'd answer, and of course neither of us did, and that was more or less that.
I saw him a few times later, on the street. He never said anything, just looked at me with a small nod and a smile, then continued on. At first, it was just annoying, then it became flat out infuriating: did he think I was gonna just rush after him and beg for another round of his complete and utter dullness? He finally disappeared — moved, I figured — and I thought Thank god…
Then, a few weeks ago, all over the news: this serial rapist/murderer. Eleven women over a three month period. The police were frantic to find this guy, and tonight they announced they had a suspect, a grainy photo from a security camera. I couldnt believe it.
It was that same guy I'd dated a year ago.
I stood on the sidewalk, watching his image on a dozen TV sets in the store window and thinking My god, I don't believe it. I had no idea what to do. I mean, do I call up the cops and say This cant be right. Not this guy. Yeah, I went out with him, and I dont even remember his name because he was so terminally dull.? That wouldnt be very helpful. I started walking home, just shaking my head at how impossible it all seemed — and suddenly I was grabbed from behind. A rag went over my face, and...
... and I woke up in this abandoned warehouse. It was late afternoon; the sun was almost down. There was a flashlight, an industrial one, shining in my face, blinding me. I couldn't see him, but I knew who it was.
"Awake now, huh?"
He was sitting on the floor, on the far side of the room. He didnt do a thing except keep that flashlight on me. I knew I was going to die, and I started to apologize to everyone I'd ever known in my entire life, even though I knew that they would never know, and it didnt matter, because I knew that he was going to kill me right after he --
Then he dropped the flashlight.
And got up.
He was standing in the shadows. And I could almost see him grin. "Small world, huh…"
"… Yeah." I tried to smile. I don't think it worked.
"Did you miss me?"
I shook my head. Hey, he was gonna kill me anyway; what did I have to lose at this point?
But he just stood there, with that damn grin on his face. "Not even a little?"
"Look — "
"… Terry. I bet you forgot, huh."
I didn't say anything.
"I was actually kinda surprised… you know… I mean: you. Here. Wow. Really small world sometimes," he said again.
I sat there, screaming on the inside: Just get on with it, will you?!?
He sighed. "You know, you were a lot more fun a year ago." He turned and opened the big metal door, flooding the space with twilight. He looked at me again, then started to walk away.
"Arent you going to kill me?" Inside, I groaned. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
But he just shrugged his shoulders. "I cant. Not you."
"I dont understand..."
"Not you," he said again, more emphatically. He stared at me for a moment, then looked away. "I guess this is kind of a sign, huh. I mean, you. All the women in the world, and…" He let the thought hang there. "The police will find me anyway, I guess. I might as well give myself up." And then he disappeared.
And I sat there, thinking, incredulously: This is the only man I will ever love.
"So," the Woman with the Shaved Head laughed, "'twas Beauty that tamed the Beast."
The Listener nodded. "True. But which was which?"