SLICE

A short story by Ashley Laffin

October 30, 2018

“Here we are,” Andrew said, yanking open the door to the entrance of the movie theatre for Haley.

“Thanks,” she said. He followed closely behind her, guided by the lights along the ground.

“Anywhere you want to sit?” He asked, surveying the empty seats.

“It doesn’t matter,” she replied. They settled on a spot about halfway up, dead centre.

It was their first date. Andrew had bumped into her at the shared cafeteria between the two office buildings they worked at, and eventually got Haley’s number. Tonight, they were attending the premiere of “No Peeking,” a thriller about a serial killer on the loose.

“Have you heard if the reviews were good or bad for this one?” Andrew asked, offering some of his popcorn.

“I think they’re mixed.”

“Well the director has had a lot of success with these types of films, so I think we can expect it to be halfway decent.”

“Maybe,” Haley said, taking a handful of popcorn. “But sometimes expectations are completely wrong.”

“We’ll see,” Andrew replied, winking.

The film was predictable and formulaic, but included several well-timed jump scares. Out of the corner of his eye, Andrew watched Haley during the scariest scenes, but she didn’t flinch. Near the climax, as the killer chased his final victim, Haley was barely paying attention; she was distracted by a group of kids freaking out three rows ahead. Unfortunately, Andrew missed every opportunity to put his arm around her.

“What did you think?” He asked when the lights came on.

“It was alright,” she answered without a trace of anxiety on her face. “I really enjoyed the score, of all things.”

Haley swung open the massive exit door on their way out.

“Is there anything you wanted to do? Grab an ice cream or something?”

“No, that’s ok,” Haley responded.

“Come on, just one scoop?” Andrew asked, putting a hand on her shoulder.

“Well, one scoop can’t hurt, I suppose.”

Down the road, at You Scream, Ice Cream, it wasn’t too busy for a Thursday evening. They approached the counter to order.

“I’ll have the large maple walnut,” Andrew said, “and the lady will have…”

“Small vanilla, please,” Haley responded with a shy smile.

The two picked a booth near the window.

“This is a good spot,” Andrew remarked. “So, what did you really think of that movie?”

“I was kind of disappointed, to be honest.”

“Agreed, it was the same old thing. I mean, how stupid was that blonde chick? Everyone knows you don’t go checking out a sound in the middle of the night alone.”

Haley smirked. “Yeah, really. Guess they could have come up with a more interesting character.”

“Don’t get offended by this – but she was pretty hot. I mean, I’m a guy; I did enjoy that shower scene.”

“Is that so?”

“Don’t lie – you got a little bit turned on.”

Haley licked her ice cream. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

The conversation turned to the other customers nearby, and Haley couldn’t help but laugh at Andrew’s impressions of them. Around eleven, the staff announced that the shop was nearing close, so they had to get going.

He drove her home in his SUV and escorted her to the door.

“Thanks for the movie, Andrew, it was nice to get out,” Haley said.

“You’re welcome. I’m glad you finally agreed to go with me.”

She chuckled awkwardly, looking down at her feet.

“I’m glad you kept asking.”

“Hey, I promised you a fun time, didn’t I?”

“Yes, you did. And I appreciate it.”

“Anytime.”

“We should get together again soon.”

“Well, the night doesn’t have to end now,” Andrew suggested.

Haley checked her watch. “I guess it’s not that late yet.”

“Maybe I can just come up for a bit? I promise I won’t stay long.”  

Haley hesitated, a half-smile creeping over her face. “Are you sure?”

Andrew stepped closer. “Definitely.”

“OK.But I’m kicking you out at midnight – I have work in the morning,” she warned.

He followed her up to her door and went inside. They climbed the steps of the narrow staircase,  which softly creaked with each step.

“Sorry, it’s two floors,” she said.

“No problem. I am going to need to use the can when I get in though,” he laughed.

She jiggled her keys in the lock for a second before letting him in. The quaint loft was dim, even after she flipped on the light.

“The bathroom’s right there,” she said, pointing to the mauve door at the left of the galley kitchen.

“I’ll be right back,” he said, disappearing behind it.

Haley went over to the living room closet at the far left of the room. She retrieved a velvet box from the top shelf and took out a silver chain. Running her fingers over the pendant – a serpent wrapped around a sword – she tucked it into her jeans pocket, then returned to the couch as Andrew reappeared.

“Nice place you got here,” he said, looking around. “Ceilings are kind of low for someone my height though. So, how long have you been here?

“About six months.”

“Do you like it?” He inched closer, his thigh brushing up against hers.

“It’s good, I guess. Quiet.”

“Cool. I’ve got a couple roomies from university. There’s always someone around, you know. Never any privacy – especially when girls are over.” He grinned mischievously. “We were kind of known for keggers back in the day. A lot of wild stuff, if you catch my drift.”

“What kind of wild stuff?”

“I’d tell you, but then you’d just get a bad impression of me.”

Haley shot him a sarcastic look, rolling her baby blue eyes.

“Did you go to university?” Andrew asked.

“Yeah, but I dropped out after first year.”

“Oh, how come?”

“It’s not something I want to get into.”

Haley grabbed a fluffy pillow and cuddled it. They sat quietly for a few minutes, listening to the hum of the fridge in the kitchen.

“So… have you made any friends in the neighborhood?”

“Not really… I mean, there’s a few people I see around, but, I’m not close to anyone.”

“So you won’t have anybody dropping by to bother you much, eh?”

“Yeah, true,” she nodded.

“Right on.” Andrew looked around. “Like I said, this place is nice. Why don’t you give me a tour?”

“Well, this is pretty much it. Kitchen, living room, and my bedroom is over there. That’s all.”

“Can I see your room?”

Haley paused a moment. “You want to see my room?”

Andrew put a hand on her shoulder.

“I’m only curious, that’s all. Just for a sec?”

“Alright, since you asked.” She went over, opened the door and let him in.

The interior was pristine, with gleaming hardwood floors. A twin bed covered by a red polka-dot comforter was tucked in the left corner of the room, underneath the slider windows. Opposite was an antique vanity with two evenly spaced, black candles in front of the mirror.

“This is a cool set-up,” he said. “I like the stars on the ceiling.”

“Yeah, they glow in the dark.”

A small framed picture propped up between the candles caught his eye. At the centre was a voluptuous long-haired woman with snakes twisted around her pale body.

“This is interesting. Who is it?” He asked, picking it up.

“Lilith.”

Andrew stared blankly.

“She’s a Jewish mythological figure,” she said.

“What’s her story?”

“Are you familiar with the Talmud?”

 “Is that like the Jewish bible?”

“Sort of. There’s a warning about her: “People should not sleep alone at night, lest Lilith slay them.” Don’t you think she’s beautiful?”

“Yeah. You know who else is beautiful though?” He touched her soft blonde hair. “You.”

“Thanks,” she said.

“I really like you a lot, Haley.”

“I like you too, but, it’s almost midnight now, and…”

“And what?”

“And…”

“You invited me in, didn’t you? Don’t tell me you haven’t been thinking about this. We’re alone now. Right next to your bed.”

“Well, you asked to come in,” she responded, a hint of annoyance in her voice.

“You’ve got me there. You’re so tiny,” he remarked, placing his hands lower, around her waist. “So cute.”

“You can come back tomorrow night. I’m getting my hair done and we’ll have more time together. I just don’t think tonight…is the right time.”

“I think it is the right time.”

Haley clenched her teeth.

“Don’t be nervous, ok? Just relax,” he said, taking her hand and guiding her towards the bed.

They sat down on the mattress. He cradled her face and started to kiss her. She couldn’t help herself and kissed back a little, then pulled away.

“I don’t know if we should do this,” she said.

“Haley…I’m fooling around a bit. That’s all.”

Andrew kissed her neck, grabbing her torso. A few moments later, she responded in turn. His hand inched downwards and she grabbed it.

“What?” He whispered. They continued  kissing for a few minutes, her arms around his shoulders. Sliding the fingers of his right hand towards her navel, he touched her underwear.

“No,” she said, her voice unshakable. “Stop. I’m serious.”

In one swoop, he grabbed her upper body and pinned her down.

“Look, now I’m on top of you,” he chuckled. “What are you gonna do?” Pressing his lips against her mouth hard, he moaned, “I want you. So bad.”

Haley turned her head to the left and bucked her hips. “Get off. That’s enough.”

Ignoring her, Andrew kissed her neck again. Just as his ear brushed against her face, she bit down on his lobe, hard. Andrew restrained both of Haley’s arms and rested his full body weight on her so she couldn’t move.

“You’re starting to piss me off. You wouldn’t want to get hurt, would you?” He said gruffly. She shook her head and closed her eyes. “Just chill. You’re too uptight.”

Fondling her chest with his left hand, she laid still.

“See? This isn’t so bad, is it?”

Haley didn’t respond.

“You like it, don’t you?”

Within seconds he began to undo her jeans. She opened her eyes, her gaze piercing his.

“Andrew, stop this. I’m warning you.”  

“Be quiet,” he said, then roughly pulled her pants and underwear down to her knees. Haley offered no resistance. Tightening his grip on her wrists, he said in a low whisper: “Now listen to me – don’t you dare scream.”

He readied himself and looked into her eyes. They were dark now, almost black.

The anticipated pleasure was short-lived and transformed into horrific agony the second he thrust into her. A searing pain below sent shockwaves throughout his body. Andrew’s blood-curdling shriek echoed in the room. Whatever the sharp thing was, it had a hold, and the more he fought to free himself, the worse the pain became. Hollering, he reached down and yanked furiously. It wouldn’t give. Screaming even harder, he went into spasms trying to wriggle away.

“How does it feel? Are you enjoying it?” She said coolly. “You like it, don’t you?”

“Stop!” Andrew begged, but Haley clenched her legs as hard as possible to prolong his suffering. She put her hands around his neck and squeezed mightily, her sharp nails digging into his flesh. Muffled screams came out between gasps for breath. Despite the sheets becoming soaked with blood, Haley didn’t take her eyes off him. Arms steady, she barely felt Andrew clawing at her hands in a desperate attempt to fight back. After a few agonizing moments, she finally let go and pushed him off. Released, he collapsed on the floor, clutching his bloody member.

Haley leaped off the bed and her feet hit the ground with a thud, blood dripping down her legs. Ripping the sheet from the mattress, she wiped herself, then bent down to the crying mess on the floor.

“I fucking warned you,” she whispered in his ear.

A few seconds later, the door slammed shut – the sound of the deadbolt drowned out by Andrew’s cries.