Short Fiction Friday: "Kill Me Harder" (TQP #0075)

Posted: August 15, 2008 in Jeff Holland, Short Fiction
Tags: , ,

“He’s sort of weird,” Karen told me after she met you.

“I don’t know about him, Emmy,” Barb said after the three of us had lunch that one time.

“Did you ever look into his eyes?” James said, refusing to meet mine. “Something’s…off, there. Just promise me you’ll be careful.” He said it like a guy-friend looking out for me, all brotherly love. But he meant something else.

And of course I did promise him, because James has always been so sweet. I think he harbors a little bit of a crush on me. Too bad he’s just not my type of guy.

All of them, so concerned about me.

Like I hadn’t figured you out from the start.

The dinners were nice. I didn’t even know there were Thai places around here, but you did, and you wanted so much to show me that you knew there were interesting spots to go to. So I’d think you were cool, maybe. And you listened to me babble on about all my troubles and how I wish I could just relax a little. It was a perfect date, on paper.

But I saw how your eyes took in the waitresses. I knew what you wanted to do then. I saw the look James had mentioned.

I let it go longer than I should have. I don’t know why. Part of me enjoyed wondering exactly where it would all end. And here we are now in this alley, where we get to break up. It’s my favorite part.

We started to kiss. We’d done that before. Obviously. But this time it was different. Among the trash and the bad street lighting, against the brick wall side of the deli down the block from my place…the feeling wasn’t love. This wasn’t nice kissing. It was something different. Something “off.”

There’s a joke some people make, about how everyone kisses with their eyes closed because if they did it with their eyes opened, they would see how funny they both look. It would shine a light on how silly and absurd love really is.

That’s one way to think about it. The other possibility is this: the boy and the girl open up their eyes and look at each other while they’re kissing, and they see the real deal behind all the cute lines and door holding and hands touching.

You allowed me to see the real you, as you pulled your lips away from mine and slowly slid your hands up around my throat, while your smile curled downwards into something terrible and dead. Your thumbs linked up like old friends at my windpipe. I saw the flicker behind your pupils when you realized what you were ready to do.

This is probably your first time. I wonder what it’s like for you. When everything you love and want about somebody melts away, just bottoms out like mercury, and all you’re left with is hatred and resentment and a coldness where your stomach used to be.

I wonder what it’s like, that first moment when a fractured man realizes that more than anything, he wants to choke the life out of his girlfriend.

I’ll probably never quite understand the psychology of it. All I ever really experience is the tactile reaction to it. The fingers caressing the skin on my neck. The tension when the hands find the position for only one thing. And then the pressure, when they finally get down to business.

Finally. I thought I was going to have to wait forever.

Squeeze a little harder, baby. Keep going until I can’t breathe. Until my excitement gives way to fear and I honestly think that this time might be it. That you might be the one who finally kills me for good.

Tighter. Feel that hate. Whatever you think it is that I did, or that I am, I need you to grip it in your mind as fiercely as you’ve got a hold on my neck right now. That’s it. Right there…oh, god, I might even black out this time. What if I did? That would put a new twist on it.

Yessss…right there, god…I can’t think of anything right now except me not being here anymore. Keep going. Press your thumbs down tighter. Don’t be scared, baby. Don’t be scared until I am.

When I’m finally scared, it all goes away. All the inhibitions. The part of my brain that just won’t turn off, it finally relaxes. And all that’s left is that perfect instinct for survival. When all I can think of is how much I want not to die like this, it makes everything else seem so trivial. Short of Russian Roulette, I can’t think of anything so life-affirming. In a slightly warped way, I suppose.

I make sure my knee is primed and ready, and in a minute or so I’ll raise it hard, and you’ll drop. Your eyes will roll back into your head, and depending on how they do it, I might laugh unintentionally. When you’re gasping on the ground, I’ll shove some Mace into your eyes, just to give that look a funny little twist.

You, I might even threaten afterwards. Because by now, I can tell what kind of woman-killer you want to be. You might not be able to control yourself in the future. And you might not find another girlfriend who gets off on her own survival instinct.

After it’s all over with, I’ll go home and I’ll get underneath my sheets and I’ll touch myself and what happens then will be all mine. I’ve read up on autoerotic asphyxiation and all that. And I wish that was what I really craved, because oxygen depravation, at least there’s a scientific explanation for why somebody would be into that.

I don’t care about gasping for breath. Not that I mind it, but no. There might not be a name for what I want from you.

I think I want to feel my own death sinking into my shoulders and pushing me down. To play with the idea of me not being here anymore, to not be anywhere or anything…and then to fight my way back from that darkness. I get to remind myself how much I love living. You have no idea what a rush that can be. You have no idea what I’ve really wanted from a boy like you. You pathetic dolt. You couldn’t possibly get it.

In the morning I’ll call my friends. I’ll call Karen and Barb and dear sweet James, and I’ll make up some story about how I tossed you to the curb because you suggested something weird like fetish outfits or something. And they’ll smile and shake their heads at responsible, prudish Emmy, and how I should “try to live a little,” and wonder when I’ll meet a nice boy who will be sweet to me.

But let’s leave all that for later. The apologies and the nice boys being sweet.

Right now? I’d just as soon they don’t know that I don’t want a nice boy. I want thumbs against my windpipe.

So for right now. At this moment. Before things get awkward between us…

Kill me just a little bit harder.

(Photos courtesy:

  1. Josh says:

    Whoa. Nice. And certainly visceral.

  2. ISTV Global Stronghold says:

    Thank you, Josh. Visceral is a nice word for it – tonally, it’s pretty unlike my other stories, and so I’ve always been concerned that people would worry about me after reading it.

    To which I say, this is a reverse-perspective response to a story a friend wrote a few years back. And man, you wanna talk about visceral…yowza.


  3. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Even if I’d suggest skydiving to the poor dear, as a thrill-inducing alternative, this is good stuff. Fiction should take you to places like this. I like how it builds into an unexpected perspective.

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