The Knick-Knack Queen

Her online screenname was “KnickKnackQueen”, and he shocked himself when he asked her to meet him; normally he only began to pursue his prey after talking in the chat rooms for a few weeks. This time, it took only a few hours for him to realize that the inevitable ending was likely to happen. He had to have her, and soon. And so when the knick-knack queen said maybe, she would think about it over night and let him know in the morning, he knew he had her. She gave him her phone number, and he gave her his. A real number, it would ring, but not anywhere around here. And no one was likely to answer a payphone in the middle of a rundown shopping center with only an IGA that was almost out of business on a Sunday morning.The next morning, he called her and they talked. After an hour’s worth of small talk, during which he played with himself while imagining all the things he would do to her body, before and after her death, she finally said yes. His heart pounded and he smiled. He expected nothing less, after all. Another hour’s worth of talk, and she gave him directions to her house, a mere 200-odd miles away. No big deal, he liked to drive. 200 miles and a few extra would only take four hours, probably less, but you never could tell with highways in New York. And driving in and around NYC could be a nightmare.
They small-talked for another hour or so, mostly about books and music. A real conversation, one that he actually enjoyed, the first that he had ever had with a woman in a long time. Since his mother died, anyway. And the queen had his taste in books and music. He actually enjoyed and gave to the discussion, and he didn’t want to let her go. But he had work to go to, and a session to prepare for the next day with her. So after a reluctant good-bye, they hung up.
The workday was uneventful, and he was able to focus his mind on the next few days ahead and prepare accordingly. He packed his usual assortment of toys, rope, handcuffs, and a few other odds and ends into a knapsack. His video equipment, as well as a 35mm camera with a tripod, also went into the bag. For a moment, he debated whether or not he should bring his laptop computer. Finally, it too went into the collection of bags on his bed. He wasn’t as picky with his clothes. Three pair of Levi jeans, a few collared shirts, socks and underwear, and a full body butcher’s apron, all into yet another bag that went into the growing pile. And finally, a small bag of toiletries he usually kept packed, just for these excursions.
After he loaded his things into his car, he called her to let her know that he was on his way. He could sense the tension in her voice. He knew that she was nervous, and he could tell that this was not something that she had ever done before. He licked his lips in anticipation of the fun ahead.
A small complication in the driving plans though; she decided to meet him at the off-ramp of the highway. The back roads that lead to her house in the country were apparently somewhat difficult to find your way around on. He shrugged; no big deal. It would all end out the same anyway you looked at it. And so he left his house, got into his sports coupe, and began the drive to feed his fantasies with another sacrifice.
The drive to Connecticut was uneventful, save for a rainstorm and some heavy traffic around NYC. The tollbooths were a nightmare, as they always are, but he expected nothing less then a good 30 minutes of stop and go traffic as he waited to pay the privilege of leaving such a fucked up state. Another hour of driving found him at a payphone, calling the queen, and telling her where he was for her to come and take him home. The tension was still there, he noted, as he gave her the name of the small diner that he was parked in front of. But something else, also. Excitement? Sexual tension? Something, surely. The queen arrived ten minutes later, driving a small black Ford Ranger pick-up truck, complete with a sporty bed cover. He took note of that; it might come in handy for the disposal later on. She smiled at him, and he smiled back, trying to make himself feel at ease, but he was always a bit uncomfortable at first. She tentatively raises a hand, and her eyes are bright, he can see their softness from here, gentle, kind, and also somewhat anxious. They are the eyes of a doe, caught in the high beams of a truck, knowing something is about to happen but unsure of what that something is, or how to avoid it. But he knew that already. Her innocence is why he is here, why he must have her, why he needs her. He rolls down the window of his Firebird, smiles reassuringly, his own eyes bright and gentle, and also alert as he glances at the cars passing them, searching for anything that might be out of the ordinary. But all seems clear, and nothing seems to stir his senses as unusual.
“Hi,” he says, smiling, and the tension in her eyes seems to melt some. “Hello,” she answers, shyly, and he sees her teeth, bright and white and even, a beautiful smile with the hint of an overbite. Very sexy, he thinks.
He is anxious to see her body, not that her looks are all that important to him. He is a true equal opportunist when it comes to a woman’s physical appearance. Looks just aren’t everything, he believes; her soul and her innocence, her mind and her heart, these are the qualities that he looks for and yearns for. He doesn’t want a brazen whore, or a crude slut. Likewise with her mind, he does not want a stupid woman. He wants someone he can talk to, someone he can relate to, a woman on a level equal to his own, to whom he can spill his fantasies and confess to her his desires, and make her understand even as the flash of a blade draws across her throat. He wants an angel, not a succubus.
The queen opens the door of her truck and slid down from the higher seat as he got out of the Firebird. He took her hand and squeezed it, and some of the tension melts from her face. “It is so nice to finally meet you,” he says, and then gives her a quick brotherly hug. No need to rush anything, he has all the time in the world.
“It is!” she agrees, smiling, and laughs a little. “I’m sorry,” she apologizes, “I’m just a bit wound up. I’ve never done something like this before.” He smiles, understanding, knowing that she is speaking the truth. “Would you like to follow me back to my place? Unload and then go out to dinner?”
He agrees, and follows her out of the parking lot. Her house is only about 15 minutes away, and they pull into the parking lot behind an attorney’s office which takes up the downstairs of the building in which she lives. He pops the trunk to unload his things, and she is immediately at his side, offering a hand, which he declines. He can do it, he doesn’t want to put her to work. He smiles and thanks her though as she ignores him and slips out the bag with his video camera and takes his laptop computer from his hand. She smiles at him brightly and tells him nonsense, she wants to help him so he won’t fall down the stairs going up to her apartment. He follows her up the back steps to her apartment, and watches she unlocks the door. Waiting inside is a huge black and white tomcat, which looks up at him with gold-flecked eyes, and she introduces him as Magic. “Awwww…” she coos to the animal, “Does my little kitty cat need to be fed?” She tells me to put my things in her room on the bed, and she points me towards a door just outside of the kitchen, where we entered.
He steps into her room and stops, amazed, and slowly looks around, taking in what he sees. Stacks of books line the floor along the walls, and floor to ceiling bookshelves cover one entire end of the room next to a queen-sized bed with a flowered comforter folded neatly at the foot. On the end tables and shelves in front of the books, dozens and dozens of figurines and knick-knacks, wooden and plastic, rock and crystal, all different sizes and shapes. He carefully places his bags in the corner of the room next to a stack of worn romance novels balanced precariously atop a hardback version of Stephen King’s “The Stand,” and begins to examine the room closer. He realizes that there is an order to the madness of figurines, or at least the semblance of one. A troupe of tiny wooden dolls, dressed in 18th century handmade clothes, stood next to beautiful sandstone carving of a cat, which seems to dwarf them. From the ceiling, several small wooden birds circle a small birdhouse, robins and cardinals, swaying in the breeze of an electric fan from thin fishing line tacked to the ceiling. A huge wooden macaw, fastened to a metal ring that also hung from the ceiling, regards him with shiny wooden eyes. On the bookshelf, a stone gargoyle reading a stone book seems to laugh at him, it’s mischievous eyes peering at him over the edge of the book it held in stone gray claws. And more, seemingly a never-ending parade of knick-knacks. In the corner, an antique desk with attached chair, meant for an old one-room schoolhouse decades ago, sat, apparently being used by the massive and moth-eaten teddy bear that sat waiting for a teacher who would never come. But the bear seemed just as content with yet another stack of books, old science-fiction hardbacks that seemed to keep him occupied. He steps over to the bookshelves, to peruse the titles with a smile on his face.
From the kitchen, the sound of an electric can-opener whirred, while she cooed meaningless nothings to the tomcat Magic. He smiles to himself, amused, and enraptured by her sweetness. His heart beats excitedly as he reads the titles, discovering that her tastes and interests are indeed wide. Religion and sci-fi, horror and intrigue, drama and books of ancient art, and tons of old romance novels. He gasps in delight when he spots an old hardback sitting behind the gargoyle, and he carefully removes a beautiful hardback novel of short stories with the name Lovecraft on the cover. The inside cover reveals to him what he suspected: a first edition H.P. Lovecraft collection of short stories, published by Arkham House. He closes his eyes for a moment, enjoying the feel of brittle pages, decades old and in remarkable condition, and his fingers run lightly over their crisp edges. He places the book back on the shelf, reluctantly. Next to the bookshelves, on top of a shoe rack with at least 30 pairs of neatly lined up shoes, he spots an unopened package with a K-Mart pricetag: ear-protectors. For the first time, he frowns to himself as he picks up the package and examines it. He can think of only two reasons for an expensive pair of ear-protectors, and he knows she does not work in a high-volume area. Which left room only for safety purposes at a firing range. The package had a thin layer of dust on it, he noted, as well as it being unopened. He smiles and places it back on the shoe rack, unconcerned, knowing that she has probably never shot the tiny .22 or .25 caliber pistol that was hidden somewhere in the room, probably in a locked plastic case. No worries.
A door next to the antique desk and bear led the way the living room, and he steps through to see what else was in the tiny apartment. A comfortable sofa, with several overstuffed pillows and a huge stuffed dog draped over the back, sat against one wall, with a 27” TV sitting across the room. A coffee table sat before the sofa, and it was flanked by two endtables, each with a brass lamp. Surrounding the lamps on all sides were more figurines and knick-knacks, even more then in the bedrooms. A herd of wooden African animals, three elephants accompanied by two giraffes with a few antelope, stood on the coffee table, apparently unconcerned about the two lions that stood on top of a photo album next to them. On one end table, a herd of horses grazed dust, while three tiny circus clowns cavorted madly about them, hand-painted faces grinning demonically, frozen in eternal summersaults and cartwheels. A beautiful glass unicorn stood proudly atop of the TV, it’s horn gleaming in the light of the lamps, one foot raised with it’s head held high. On the other end table, a group of crystal dinosaurs shone brightly, little stegosaurs and triceratops, several long-necked monsters sitting among them, and a few he recognized from books as carnivores balanced on tiny crystal legs.
More bookshelves on one wall, and he immediately made his way through the living room to examine the queen’s literature. More knick-knacks and toys lined the shelves; little miniature clocks, each one ticking away the time, 15 total, he counts. On the next shelf up, two small dye-cast metal TIE fighters are parked peacefully amongst several Rebel Alliance X-Wings and Y-Wings. The Millenium Falcon is also present, but further down the row of books.
More gargoyles are in here, he sees, perched on top of the television. Three beautifully handcarved gargoyles, created after the “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil” trio, peer out at the sofa, one with his hands shielding his eyes so that he might see better, one with his ears cupped, listening to the whisper of the fan and the sounds of food being scraped into the cat’s dish from the kitchen, and the last with his hands cupped around his lips, shouting wickedness to the world. He smiles, lifts one to examine, surprised by the weight in the small ceramic figure. Another gargoyle, large wings framed over its body, sat on a pedestal, looking down at him from a shelf hanging on the wall over the television. He carefully placed the small monster back onto the television, arranging it next to it’s companions, and returned to the kitchen in time to see her put the food bowl for the cat on the floor. The tom looked up at him, green eyes wide and staring, obviously mistrustful of the intruder, but turned away when his dish clunked as it hit the floor. He watched the cat as the queen straightened up, and he returned her bright smile.
“Now I understand your screenname,” he tells her in a gently teasing tone. “I’ve never seen an apartment quite like yours.”
“I know,” she says, “it’s a mess. I just have so much stuff, I can’t quite seem to keep up with the cleaning. It can be a real pain.”
“Nonsense. I find it charming. I love your book collection, you have wonderful taste in your reading. And the toys,” he tells her, smiling, “incredible. Some of them appear to be very old.”
“Some of them are. A lot of them I picked up at antique shows. The African animals, in the living room. Did you see them?” He nodded. “They are several hundred years old, European. Very valuable. But I could never sell them. I found them in a flea market, paid $5 for them. I didn’t find out their age until a friend of my mother’s examined them. He told me that they are worth thousands.”
His eyes widened, showing her how impressed he was. Her gaze dropped to the tomcat, which was chewing noisily on his canned food. It looked up at him, a piece of food hanging from its chin, and his mind flashed a vision of a piece of her flesh in its place. He decided immediately to either let the cat out of the apartment when he was finished, or kill it also. The thought of the animal eating her was blasphemous to him.
“What a handsome cat you have. He doesn’t seem to take to much to strangers, though.”
“He’ll warm up to you. Magic was abused, I rescued him from a shelter. He is a little leery of strangers though.” She knelt down and stroked the animal’s back; he arched his back and mewed softly, raising himself up to meet her hand. “Are you hungry, Ben?”
He shrugged. “If you are, I can always go for a quick bite. What are you in the mood for?”
“We have a great bar and grill just down the street. Do you have 99’s in Pennsylvania?”
“Nope, but they all serve the same food, and if you say they’re good, I’ll take your word for it. Let’s go.”

The line for dinner was an hour long; they found two empty seats in the crowded bar and sat down to order drinks. A Sam Adams for him, and she asked for the same, which surprised him. “You don’t strike me as a beer drinker,” he told her.
“I love beer when I am in the mood for it. Right now I am.”
They made small talk for a bit, him asking her more questions about herself, her family and friends, and her work. She didn’t seem to hold back, spilling her life story from a tongue loosened by the alcohol she consumed. He listened with the ear of a priest, quiet and confident, as she told him of her dysfunctional family, her job that she enjoyed, and her co-workers which, for the most part, she detested. And he could understand why, for he guessed before she told him that she was a hard worker, detail-oriented and motivated to move up in her insurance company. He knew that most people disliked workers such as she. It was identical to any other American office with a lot of low-income workers with not much education.
He turned the conversation’s direction from her work to herself.
“How long have you lived alone?”
“Four years now. I lived with a boyfriend for a few months, but he was abusive. So I left him, and moved into my own apartment.”
“How was he abusive?” He took a sip from his beer, nursing it.
“He constantly followed me. Always checking up on me, he didn’t trust me at all. Once, he slapped when I told him I had stopped by a supermarket on the way home. He didn’t believe me, and he ignored the groceries in bags on the floor. He thought I was out being a whore.” She took a long drink, staring into the glass as she sat it down on the counter. “I’m not a whore, Ben.”
“Did you leave him then?”
“No. I might not be a whore, but I was stupid. I threatened to leave, he swore up and down that he would never do it again. We even went to some counseling, and he enrolled in some anger management courses. He never went though.” Another long drink. “Two months later, he broke both of my wrists and put me in the hospital with a concussion.”
His eyes widened in disgust. Not disgust that a man would beat a woman. I was disgusted that she had been so stupid to have believed him when he said he would get better, that she hadn’t run when she had the chance.
She misread it for the former though. “I know,” she said, “I believed him also.”
“So what happened? Did you go to the police?”
“The hospital called the police. I talked to the detective, and later I met with the district attorney. He received a suspended sentence for assault, and then he left the state and moved to Florida. I’ve not heard from him since. And God willing, I never will, either.” She finished off her glass, signaled the bartender for another. I noted with a smile that she was on her fourth one. “I swore that it would never happen again,” she said softly. “I took steps to protect myself in case the chance ever rose again.” He took this to mean the tiny pistol secreted away in her room, and he nodded gravely, understanding her fear, all the while trying not to laugh out loud at her foolishness. “I moved into my apartment a few years ago,” she continued. “I love it there. Nice and small, cozy. And it seems to reflect me.”
“I like the way you decorated it,” he said. “And I love the order of it. I think most people would find it maybe cramped, maybe even…” He thought for a second, and she furnished a word that he had rejected as being possibly rude.
“Junky?”
They both laughed, and he shrugged his shoulders and nodded. “Sure, that fits I suppose. But I like it. I like the overall tone of everything.” He sipped his beer as the bartender set her glass, refilled, on the counter in front of her.
“How long have you had that H.P.Lovecraft book that I saw on your shelves? The original first edition?”
“Three years. I found it in New York City, in a small shop in Brooklyn. You do know your books,” she said, admiringly. She laughed lightly, and then sighed. “I’m amazed, I actually found someone I can actually talk to. It’s a shame,” she added.
“What’s a shame?” he asked, smiling.
“Hmmm…” she said, softly, “That you live so far away, I suppose. That tonight, we’re going to make love, and I will never see you again.” She was looking into her glass again, and he was surprised to see a lone tear make its way down her cheek. It hung for a second from her skin before letting go, splashing on the counter into nonexistence.
He was taken aback, not knowing what to say to her. The queen saw his confusion, uncertainty, and touched his leg gently. “Isn’t that why you came up here? To take me? To fuck me?”
He looked into her depthless brown eyes that seemed to see through him, and he didn’t answer her, merely looked back at her, considering his words that he wanted to say, but never would. Instead, he answered her by taking a drink, and she smiled at him reassuringly. For the first time, he felt defeated, and he wondered how much about him that she had already guessed. But those thoughts were vanquished from his mind. His killer’s instincts were not alarmed, and he felt safe in his desire to cut her face off and mutilate her body.
She considered him for a long time, then ran her fingers lightly up his muscled thigh, letting the tips brush across his crotch, teasing him, and he felt himself stir, despite his shock at this unforeseen advance. She continued to gaze at him, her eyes seeming to burn a hole into his soul, even as he carefully slipped his hand down to his lap where her palm rested. He lifted it from his crotch, turning into the bar slightly so that she would not be able to continue her torment.
“Not now,” he told her, “but soon.”
She nodded, her gaze still locked on his. “Yes, very soon.”

The waitress led them to their table fifteen minutes later. She ordered chicken, he ordered a prime rib. “Very rare,” he told the waitress. “If it doesn’t come bloody, I’ll send it back.” He laughed as he told her this, and the waitress smiled, but she knew from his eyes that he was serious. The chitchat before dinner was light and nonconsequential, but after the waitress brought their plates to them, again it turned to the serious.
“You said that you took steps to insure that you would never again be attacked. I find that somewhat…difficult,” he told her, cutting a small piece of his very rare steak.
“I’m sure you saw my ear-protectors,” she said. He shrugged, nodded. “I also took a few self-defense courses.” He imagined her screaming a Kung Fu cry and letting loose with a roundhouse kick. His amusement must have shown, because she grinned. “Silly, I know. Most of my steps were for my own self-confidence. I was an emotional and physical wreck during that time of my life. My self-confidence, my self-esteem, they were non-existent. I’ve changed a lot since those days, Ben. Now I feel better about myself, and I’m not deluded into thinking that I may never again get hurt, but at the same time, I’m not deluded into thinking that I’m not without the means to do something back. I know, I’m still sounding silly, but trust me on this. I can defend myself.”
Her confidence was amazing, and his instincts were buzzing with excitement at the challenge. Which was what he sensed, a good challenge like one he had never had before. He leaned forward and took her hand into his. “I hope you feel comfortable with me. I think you’re amazing, and I think it’s incredible how you have changed your life. It takes a very strong woman to do the things you have done, and I hope you know that I would never do anything to hurt you. And I hope that you also know that I’m not here for a quick fuck. I’m not that shallow, I’m hoping for a much more special relationship.”
Her smile was enough, and her words sealed her fate to me. “I know you couldn’t hurt me, Ben. I wouldn’t have invited you to my apartment if I felt that you could.”

She
was more than tipsy as she unlocked her apartment and led them inside. Magic was
perched on the edge of the kitchen counter, regarding him with piercing eyes,
his silent accusation all the more audible as the queen patted his head,
whispered something soft and reassuring into his ear, but he still continued his
unblinking gaze.

“Are
you tired? Would you like to go to bed?” he asked.

“No,
I’m definitely not tired. I think I’m too drunk to sleep. But I think that I
would definitely like to go to bed.” She smiled at him impishly, taking him by
the hand and leading him to her room. Her fingers were steady as they unbuttoned
his shirt and slipped it off over his head. She ran her fingers across his naked
chest, touching the skin just over his heart, feeling the steady beating inches
from her hand. “You’re very tense,” she whispered, pressing her forehead
against his chest.

He
slipped his arms around her, hugged her tightly. “I usually am before sex,”
he said, and kissed the top of her head.

“Love,”
she whispered. “We’re making love, not having sex.”

Inwardly,
he groaned; he squeezed her tightly in his arms, pressed his lips to her ear,
whispered into it, “Yes, sweetie, let me make love to you, I need you so
bad,” and then slipped his tongue from his lips, circled her lobe with it, and
she tensed in his arms, soft moans coming from her throat as he lightly licked
around her ear.

He
lowered her down onto the bed, and she opened her eyes, looking up at him,
parted her mouth slightly and ran her tongue over her lips. Her fingers deftly
undid the button on her jeans, and she kicked them off and onto the floor. He
straightened up, kicked his shoes off, and unbuckled his belt. He started to
lower his jeans, but she stopped him.

“Wait,”
she whispered. “Not yet.”

He
looked at her, momentarily off-guard. “Why?” he asked, slightly annoyed.

“Don’t
you have to go pee first?” she asked, “You did drink quite a bit of beer.”

And
he did, he realized, despite that he had gone before they left the restaurant.
He looked at her, shrugged, and nodded. “I guess I do. Be right back.”

Magic
was perched on the edge of the bathroom sink, watching him as he lowered his
zipper and went. He returned the animal’s unblinking gaze, feeling a slight
unease at being observed by the creature as he pissed. He reached out and pushed
the cat, hard, and it hit the floor on all fours with a thud.
“Shoo!” he hissed at it, and kicked at it with his foot, trying to maintain
his aim into the toilet at the same time. It hissed back at him, but retreated
into the living room and disappeared around the doorjamb. He finished and washed
his hands, shut the light off, and returned to the queen’s bedroom, but
stopped short.

She
was still in bed, but Magic had taken his place on the bed next to her, sprawled
out, licking a foot while eyeing him balefully. She was stroking his side
absently, engrossed in an old leather-bound book with what appeared to be Latin
script on the cover. “Just a moment, Ben,” she said to him, not lifting her
eyes. “Let me finish this verse.”

“It’s
ok, take your time.” He masked his disgust, keeping his voice carefully
cheerful. He sat down on the bed and leaned against her arm, looking over her
shoulder at what she was reading. But as he leaned in, she carefully closed the
timeworn volume, allowing him only a glimpse of a yellowed and cracked page,
brittle with age, and covered with meaningless gibberish and drawings. “What
was that?” he asked, his curiosity aroused by the strange tome.

“It’s
a book of magic,” she said, “Very old, and one of a kind. I flip through it
every now and then.”

He
laughed. “Don’t tell me that you’re a witch!”

She
smiles at him. “What do you think?” she asked him, her tone light. But he
sensed something more, perhaps a malice that he had not foreseen. He chose to
ignore it, though.

“I
think that you are to beautiful to be a witch,” he told her. “I think that I
want to take you now, and to make you feel good.”

She
leaned into him, bit his chin playfully. “Big man,” she said. “You are so
sweet.”

He
grinned. “You never know, little girl. There might be more vinegar than honey
under this mask.”

“I
think I can guess any vinegar that might be within you. Come make love to me.”

They
both quickly shed their remaining clothing, and the queen swept the cat off of
her bed with a flash of her arm. And then he was on her, pinning her to the bed
with his knee on either side of her, leaning down into her, drinking his fill
from her mouth as he kissed her. She squirmed under his probing tongue,
returning his passion, raking her nails across his bare back, murmuring nothings
to him as he held her down, his hands on her wrists, raping her mouth with his
own. Finally he released her lips, and both gasped for air. “Take me!” she
cried, “Please, make love to me, no, fuck me!”

He
shifted his weight on top of her, slipping between her legs, already hard as a
rock, spreading her open to him. With a quick hard thrust and a gasp of pain
from her, he drove himself into her, thrusting in deeply. He held himself for a
second, motionless, feeling her muscles quivering like jelly around his cock,
before he began to thrust in and out with an animalistic frenzy. His hands
tightened on her wrists as he fucked her, and she began to rock down against
him, meeting his rhythms with her pinned body. Her eyes are tightly closed,
mouth wide open, and he stared down at her for a moment, feeling his darker side
rising like a wave, and he drove his mouth down upon hers again, sucking at her.
She gasped, kissing back, pressing her tongue into his mouth, even as he was
releasing her wrist to grope blindly for his bag that he had carefully kicked
next to the head of her bed.

Her
thrusts grew more urgent, her rocking more violent as she neared climax; she
broke their kiss and cried out loudly, her cunt spasming on his cock as she came
hard. He was flying, eyes tightly closed, left hand still locked securely around
her right wrist, and as his own climax began, his fingers found what they were
looking for: the side pocket on his bag, which they dove into, finding the
smooth cool handle of the razor-sharp skinning knife. He bent over to her ear,
still working her hard, fingers locked tightly around the blade’s handle,
whispered hoarsely, “My sweet little beguiling witch, you…” he drew the
blade out of the bag, twisted his body, brought his arm up and around, poised to
strike as his hand tightened, “…are MINE!” He slashed across the bed,
aiming with deadly intent for her throat, his aim sure and true, and the
razor-edged blade flashed, he grinned, and he struck nothing.

He
sat up in the bed, shocked, looking down at the empty bed before him, the sticky
pool of his cum glistening in the lamplight in front of him. His head whipped
from the left to the right, searching, knowing she was here, knowing that she must
be here.

Nothing.

Remembering
the pistol that she must have had hidden, he carefully slid off of the bed,
knelt down to peer beneath the frame, and saw only the two green eyes of the cat
glaring back at him from under the bed. “Fucking animal!” he snarled,
reaching out to grab the cat by the scruff and drag it out. He cried out in pain
a second later, five lines of blood drawn across his palm as the black cat
hissed at him in rage. “Fuck you,” he muttered, clutching his bloodied hand.
He reached into his bag, drew out one of his cleaning cloths, and wrapped
it around his hand to hold the blood flow.
“I’ll be back for you, you fuck,” he snarled, and stalked out of
the room, searching for the bitch who had somehow managed to elude him.

The
kitchen and living room were both empty, leaving the bathroom as the only
possible hiding spot. He stepped into the tiled room, eyeing the drawn shower
curtain, knowing that it was the last possible place for her to be hidden from
him. He tapped the metal tip of the blade against the wall, stroking the handle
with his index finger as he suddenly reached out with his bandaged hand and
ripped the shower curtain back, revealing not the cringing woman he expected,
but the moth-eaten teddy bear instead. He gritted his teeth together, trembling
in rage and frustration, staring down at the ragged brown bear that almost
seemed to mock him with its black button eyes.

THUMP!

The
sound came from the living room!

He
spun around and stepped out of the bathroom, knife hand readied, searching, his
murderous senses on edge, tension and nerves keeping his killer’s edge sharp
and cunning.

Nothing.
He swore under his breath, hands shaking, and that was when he saw it: the three
tiny clowns, once on the end table with the African animals, now moved. One was
on the floor, another sat on the couch, the third one closer yet, on the
endtable only a foot from his thigh. His brow furrowed as he looked from tiny
figurine to tiny figurine, and in his concentration, he missed the sound of tiny
wings beating the air behind him.

They
struck him on the back of the like tiny missiles, one by one, five in all, and
he cried out and raised his hands, trying to shield his head from the attack.
The knife slipped from his fingers and fell to the floor as he spun around to
ward off his unexpected assailant. And once again, no one stood before him. He
dropped his eyes to the floor, searching for his dropped knife, and that was
when he saw the tiny wooden birds, the ones that had been until moments ago tied
by thin lines to the ceiling. He stooped down and picked one up to examine, a
small hand-painted cardinal with a broken wooden beak on its delicately carved
head, knowing that this was what struck him. He spun and threw it across the
room against the wall with enough force for it to shatter into several smaller
pieces. He stooped down again to pick up his knife where it had fallen, and he
froze when he saw that it was gone. “This is bullshit,” he whispers under
his breath, looking from left to right, unsure of what to expect. Finally he
knelt down, peering under the sofa, wondering if he had kicked it by accident.
And sure enough, a glimmer of silver, maybe two feet away from the edge. He
reached his uninjured hand under the couch, feeling deeper and deeper, finally
feeling the cold handle against his fingers, and that was when they
struck. Tiny teeth sank deep into his thumb as what felt like tiny arms
encircled his fingers and wrist with an impossible grip. He screamed out in pain
as more teeth sank into his hand, ripping his tender flesh from between his
fingers. His bandaged hand pounded on the floor as he struggled with all his
strength to stand, but to no avail, as the weight of what felt like minuscule
bodies held his arm fully anchored beneath the couch.

And
in his terror and pain, still his keen power of observation served him well,
only now it was too late. The three pedestals that only moments ago held the
trio of ceramic gargoyles stood impossibly empty on top of the television. And
on the bookshelf, the larger winged gargoyle was no longer perched.
Not real, he thought, absolutely no way can this be happening!

Something
moved in the bathroom, something large, in the shower.

The
pain in his hand, increasing as tiny claws worked in a frenzy, teeth gnashing
into his skin, something cold pressing into his elbow. He felt himself
being dragged deeper still against the couch, his shoulder halting the progress
of the tiny demons which held him securely, despite his struggles, despite his
beating on the floor with his other injured hand, despite his kicking against
the wall as he tried to wrench himself free.

Movement
from the shower again, the sound of the shower curtain being drawn back from the
tub.

He
screamed, loudly, feeling a surge of energy hit him, yanking with all of his
strength desperate to escape the thing that even now stalked him.

To
no avail.

“Please,
God,” he whispers, hearing the thump of something just out of site
around the corner in the bathroom. He turned his head to look, seeing the shadow
of something cross the bathroom wall. He closed his eyes and stopped
struggling, letting his muscles go limp. And that was when he heard it, tiny
voices, laughing, mocking, the sound of the clowns as the tiny troupe gathered
before him, performing their mindless acrobatics and somersaults. The tiny birds
took to the air again, wooden wings beating with a weird life of their own,
flying in circles over his trapped body. Pin-point eyes watched him from the arm
of the sofa and the coffee table; the African animals, the tiny dinosaurs, and
all the others, all watching, and a thought crossed his mind. These are them,
all the women I have taken, here with me to watch, all bearing witness to myend
.
He watched them all in wonder, his eyes opened wide, even as the footsteps began
to fall. And as he turned over to face his enemy, he saw her in its black
button eyes, the sad face of the queen as the moth-eaten beast lumbered closer.
And as it opened its worn lips to reveal a savage maw and reached for him with
hideous claws, his lost thought registered.

Whoever
knew that a teddy bear could have such terrible teeth?

She carried the last of his bags out to her truck,
lugging the weight as she lifted the heavy packages up onto the tailgate of her
truck. Magic followed her, weaving
between her legs, meowing loudly for her attention, and she paused to stoop down
and pet him. She whispered softly to him, and he jumped up to sit down on the
edge of the tailgate, all the better for her to stroke his dark fur as he licked
a black paw with his red tongue. “Sweet
kitty,” she murmured to him, and he regarded her with his green-specked yellow
eyes, “You are the only man I can seem to trust these days.”

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