All she had asked for was help. This wasn’t what he had in mind. “You can’t be serious, Mari; he’s a kid for crissake!” Jonny’s words didn’t seem to even hit the air surrounding Maria. It was as if the air had built a wall and the dark thoughts that grew within her made the walls thicker and thicker with each passing minute. “Fuck… are you listening to me-“
"I hear you clear as day, Jon Jon, but I’m a little busy." Busy picking out a knife, would have been the appropriate response. "So are you going to help me or not?"
As much as he’d anticipated to scream ‘no, you psychotic bitch’ - Jonny was shocked to find himself caught into silence. The words he’d meant to say faded back into the corners of his thoughts, leaving him stunned and amazed. Did he really think he could do this? “I-I - I Don’t know…”
"You didn’t say no, sugar. Don’t you think that tells you enough?" Her senses were sharp, and although her judgement was clouded, her perception was beyond human. The dark thoughts that had earlier created a wall between them then began to open and felt as though it was welcoming Jonny inside. Needless to say, this frightened him. "Here, maybe this one to start."
Maria handed her friend a short hunting knife, nothing over-the-top unlike the one she admired within her own small hands. It was clean -spotless, even. He realized how gentle she handled her ‘toys’. As if they were antiques meant to be dealt with extreme care, she fondled them and finally settled for a very ornate dagger that curved at its sharp and stunning point. The hilt had initials engraved, ‘M.H.T’. Quickly he put the hunting knife down.
"Are you ready?" Jonny said nothing for what seemed like forever; Maria was a patient woman, hardly an ounce of frustration came upon her. She simply smiled and gently caressed the side of his arm with her free hand. "It’s hard the first time… you’ll do just fine."
"Mari, I can’t do-"
"Shh." she whispered, bringing him close to her, his heartbeat against her ears. It beat so loudly she swore her bones vibrated an echo of his strong heartbeat. "It’s steady." Her wide and dark brown eyes looked up at him. She noted that he may have looked confused and that fear stained his voice… however, "Your heart is steady. You can do this."
As she nodded, Maria turned away and headed for the young boy strapped down to a table, similar to the ones you’d find in a mortuary. The boy’s eyes were wide, glossy and bright blue. Full of fear, he groaned against the duct tape, pleading through muffled words for his freedom, promising to never say a word of what had happened.
'All in vain', Maria thought to herself as she observed the child. It pained her, but not enough to change her mind. “Jonny, come.” she asked softly, still looking down at the boy.
Obediently he came, although he had been willing himself to walk away - maybe run, considering that his best friend turned out to be a serial killer. His legs told him differently, same as his heart. He checked at that moment, too - his heart. It was steady, just as Maria had mentioned, and this only caused him to fear not for himself but for others… for the boy. “Are you going to kill him quickly?”
She shook her head. “That would be wasteful. We have to savor life, Jonny, not end it as if it is useless.” Slowly she lifted her hand only enough for the boy to catch sight of the dagger she held. He only groaned louder and cried harder. “I’ll start of easy…” the blade slid up the boys bicep with precision; it took some time until you could actually see the line she’d carved into him. Then he began to bleed… a lot.
The sight of blood seemed to excite her; the gleam in her eye grew and her breathing quickened. If only Jonny could see the smile on her face, he would know for sure she was a wicked creature. “I can’t, Maria.”
Her eyes looked up into him, gently - nothing like what he expected. Looking into her eyes, Jonny sought out to find that twisted soul, that dark, dark being living inside of his best friend… but it wasn’t there. All he saw was her, and there was nothing dark to find. “Watch.”
Again, she slid the blade down his forearm. He screamed against the tape so hard that his pale skin began to turn pink. ‘At least there’s blood still in him’, he thought.
Without a second’s pause, she moved to the other side of the table where the dagger began making the same exact cuts. As if the idea struck her in that moment, she stuck the blade deep into the boy’s thigh. The sound of the blade’s edge banging against the metal table echoed throughout the room and deep inside of Jonny’s mind.
Still he refused, shaking his head. Fighting of the urge was difficult- wait, fighting? What was there to fight? He knew killing was wrong, why would he have to fight off the urge to actually take part in Maria’s sick little game? It struck him hard then… maybe she was right in the first place. It seemed Jonny wasn’t as well as he’d like himself to be.
Still… it wasn’t right. “I can’t-
"Stop saying you can’t." she breathed harshly.
"But it’s the truth!"
Frustration finally had made its mark on Maria’s soft face. She eyeballed the scared child who was now bleeding profusely and began to shake her head. “The truth… you want the truth?” Something told him that he wasn’t going to make it out of here alive. “This is the truth, Jonny!” Quickly, she sent her dagger deep into the boys upper arm, pulled it out and stuck it back into a fresh hole in the same area. He groaned every time the blade move.
"Stop it already! This is torture!"
"For him maybe… not for us-"
"I’m not going to hurt him."
"But you already have." Her smile returned, sinister and dark. "You’ve forsaken him, Jonny. You watched me lay him down, strap him in and break his skin with bona fide steel." The truth in Maria’s words shook him to the core. "This doesn’t bother you and you know it. Let go of the lies and embrace the truth! Here is your truth…” she shoved the blade into the boy’s stomach, the hilt tilted over to Jonny’s side of the table.
He stared at it for some time, beating himself up over what he’d done to kill this boy. By doing nothing, he’d damned him. Then an itch started somewhere within his chest… a need… a curiosity. Reaching for that dagger seemed to entice him - as if grabbing it would be the answer to all his problems.
'A natural need' she once called it, 'you're either born as predator or prey'. Maybe Maria was onto something. He pulled the knife out, feeling the soft exit of the steel, grazing wet, open flesh. Blood spilled out and spat a little onto his shirt. Surprisingly, it did not bother him but would sending the dagger back into the boy just about do it?
He’d already come this far but was he willing to go all the way? He could have walked away from the whole thing from the beginning. Why did he come here? Maria had only asked and… she had only asked for his help. Was that all it took from Maria to drive him to murder? All Maria had to do was ask?