"You can make it if you try", I hear a monstrous voice inside my head.
"She is with your boyfriend now... " the voice continues and I wriggle around my bed. When will I be able to sleep again?
"You call her your "bestie" but she never liked you. She likes your boyfriend the most."
-Shut up!- I yell.
"You would be so much happier if you killed her…”
-Please...go away- I beg, almost crying.
"Kill her and I will leave".
I get up from my bed at a fast pace and grab my sleeping pills.
"I will be back in the morning, don't worry" - I hear.
After these words, I am finally able to fall asleep.
"What a great day to kill someone, don't you think?" I open my eyes and sigh. The voice is back.
-Why me? - I ask.
"Just do it "
-I am not crazy enough to do that.
"You're crazy, that's why I chose you"
I ignore the comment and continue:
-Tell me your story and I will help you.
I instantly regret affirming that. What if the person behind this voice is just a crazy psychopath who has some kind of pleasure in killing random people? What if I am becoming a murderer myself?
I don't know. I should wait and see.
Wait a second.
The voice... is gone!
I jump out of my bed and grab my phone. 3 unread messages.
"We have to talk"
"Gina and I have nothing."
"Please call me when you read my messages"
I smirk as soon as I finish reading this bullshit. Calling him will be fun, let's just do it.
I hear his rough voice and my heart starts beating fast. Why? Why am I like this?
- What do you want? - I try not to show how nervous I am, but it's worthless.
-I am going to explain everything to you, right now.
I keep myself in silence, waiting for him to create the perfect explanation. He met my best friend at a café and denied when I said that I saw them together, smiling in such a sweet way. What story will he create this time?
-Our 5th wedding anniversary is near, right?
-Stop that!- I yell.
-I wanted to give you something special so I talked with Gina, who knows you well. I can even show you what I got if you want.
-Come here, let's talk in person. - I impose.
-Ok, I will be there in 30 minutes!
As I have some free time I end up watching TV. I forget all my problems for a moment, as I carefully listen to the reporter's voice:
"This is the 4th victim within the last 3 months. Alma Johnson, 24 years old died yesterday with the same injuries as the other 3 girls. We are here with Mr. Avilla, Ohio's police chief ".
The image switches to the police chief of my locality and I wrap myself in the blanket.
"We are trying our best in this investigation, but unfortunately we don't have any evidence to help us. The only thing we were able to discover is that this serial killer isn’t a sexual abuser but as I said, this is all we have."
Time flies and, when the doorbell rings, I almost die of how scared I was. When I come back to reality it hits me like a slap in the face. I hate this type of conversations, I hate drama, I hate this situation! After turning down the volume of the television, I find myself running to open the door. Can't wait to see him. The antithesis haunts me.
-Hi - he looks at me with puppy eyes and I try my best not to lose all the strength in my legs.
I swerve so he can come in, but he approaches me. Bella, control yourself. I walk away and point the couch for him to sit on.
-Here -he pulls something out of his pocket and places it on my hand- open it.
I unroll the paper and bump into a bracelet. THE bracelet I wanted. I was about to thank John when I hear the reporter on the TV saying:
"We just found the 5th victim near a café where she used to work on. Her name was Merida Jackson, she was 23 years old."
I stop. She was the same age as me.
John sees how stressed I am and gets up quickly from the couch to turn off the television. He approaches me and grabs my hands as he speaks with a serious face on:
-Please be careful, I've seen that you're aware of this case. At the slightest thing that concerns you, call me IMMEDIATELY. Losing you would be the worst thing that could happen to me.
His serious look fades, this time he gives me a smile and says:
-I missed this.
He fixes his eyes on mine and then kisses me. His soft lips calm me down and I forget about everything that was worrying me.
Then, the voice decides to return.
Annoyed, I tell John that I need to use the bathroom and inside, I start talking to the stupid one who interrupted the perfect moment.
-I know it's you! Go away!
"No! I mean, that's me- the voice pauses - on the television"
I remember what was going on these days and I feel like I am going to faint. There's no way I am talking with a dead person.
"I disappeared for a while because I wasn't sure if I wanted you to know about my story, but now I need to tell you. She murdered me."
I try to hide how scared I am by asking her the first question I can think of:
-Is the serial killer a woman?
-Tell me more!
I hear a knock on the bathroom door and, on the other side, John asks me if I'm ok.
-Yes! It's my period... I wasn't expecting it. - I lie.
-Do you need me to go buy anything?- he asks, worried.
-Actually, it would be useful... two boxes of tampons if you don't mind.
-I will be back soon.
I hear the door closing and I exhale in relief.
-We don't have much time, please tell me your story as fast as you can - I demand.
"After I tell you this, please remember that there's nothing more important than justice."
What is the voice talking about?
"It's Gina. She's the serial killer."
-WHAT? - I yell and start laughing.
"It's the truth. I am the 5th victim, my name is Merida Jackson if you want to check."
"I don't know why Gina did this to me, I didn't even know her before she came to the café I worked on. "
"She…" the voice stops after hearing the noise of the key opening the door. I hurry out of the bathroom and bump into John.
-Are you ok? - he asks.
-Yeah, I am great. Thanks for these- I say while taking the tampons out of his hands.
We stay in the middle of the living room just looking at each other and then I say:
-You should go, I have an appointment...
-Oh ok... - he doesn't ask anything but I know he is suspicious.
As soon as he leaves, I turn on the TV and listen to the voice's story, I mean, Merida's story.
"She was found this afternoon near a café called "Caramel" "
"Yes! This is where I used to work" Merida returns.
- You said you met her there, what happened on that day?- I ask intrigued.
“She asked for a cappuccino and I brought it for her.”
I sounded like one of those kids who are constantly asking their parents if they arrived at the destination yet. I am dying of curiosity. For a moment I forgot that my best friend is the guilty one, but I have always been fascinated by mysterious stories. I just can’t help it.
I hear her sniffling before she finishes that day’s report:
“Gina said that I was too beautiful to work in public places, I smiled and then she left. When I was about to close the café, she stabbed me from behind - Merida pauses - I am sorry, but she’s strong and I was weak enough to instantly die”
My throat is so dry that I open the bathroom’s faucet and drink water. I can’t believe it, not without clues. It’s true that Gina and I aren’t as close as before, but she wouldn’t do such a thing. She is scared of flies! How could she kill someone?
-How do you know it was my friend Gina? - I interrogate.
“Oh my God! I forgot the most important thing!” her voice tone is so high that I have to cover my ears.
-Watch out! A deaf person can’t help you.
“Sorry… but I just remembered that before she stabbed me, she introduced herself. I smiled and said that I loved to make new friends, but then her glance changed and she pushed me against the wall, saying that she didn’t want to be friends with me. I politely told her to calm herself down and asked if she wanted to negotiate something, but she didn’t say anything. Gina started to press my neck harder. All I wanted was to leave, so I thought that running away was the best idea. I was wrong. She stabbed me from behind and I had no time to resist.”
My mouth is so open that I can feel my muscles hurting.
-You found the wrong Gina, my friend isn’t that strong.
“I don’t think so… why would I be with you then?”
-I don’t know, you’re crazy! You wanted me to kill her, remember?
I interrupt her.
-What if you’re the real killer and you’re trying to put the blame on someone else?
“Oh come on, why would I do that?”
-I am dumb, why do you keep on asking hard questions? - I angrily ask.
“I trust you. Let’s do this together.”
-You won’t leave me alone if I don’t do what you want, right?
I hear her laugh and roll my eyes.
-If I die, I will also haunt you.
We both laugh.
The next day starts and I call Gina so that we can grab a coffee together.
We meet and I look at her like she’s a stranger, so that I can notice if something’s off. Nothing is. She’s still the same.
I missed our conversations, to be honest.
Merida or whatever the person behind that robotic voice is, is messing with me and trying to fool me around. I will just ignore her from now on.
“You’re so dumb” Merida starts.
Is she also able to read my thoughts?
I ignore her.
“Just ask her what she has been doing and I will stop bothering you”
-I have to go to the bathroom - I say to Gina.
She nods and I enter the bathroom.
-You’re a liar! She’s still the same, there’s no way she’s a serial killer! - I yell.
After this, I hear one of the doors opening and the girl who left the bathroom looks at me like I have a problem. She is not wrong though. What should I do? Yes, right, this is the only thing I can do to cloak this whole thing.
I place my finger against the ear and pretend to have a headset on and affirm:
-Yes, you’re right… I think I drank too much last night.
I slowly move my eyes into the girl’s direction as she leaves the bathroom with a disgusted face.
I sigh in relief.
-I hate you - I say as soon as I check that there’s no one in the bathroom.
“Don’t spend time hating me. We’re in this together.”
“Believe me. Just ask her what she has been doing and you’ll notice how nervous she’ll be. Gina isn’t an expert. She’s just lucky that no one sees her as a possible assassin because she has no reasons to apparently kill us and she knows where the street cameras are. She’s just in the shadow for now and you’re the only one who can get her out of there.”
-I will do what you want but you have to promise that if Gina doesn’t show any signs that she’s nervous or strange you’ll leave me alone.
I leave the bathroom but I run into Gina. Was she listening to my conversation? How long has she been here? Even though she's smaller than me, I feel afraid and my whole body seems to shrink.
-I thought you had been swallowed by the toilet - she laughs- I came here to see if you were ok and coincidentally you were just leaving.
Gina is trying to be nice but I know she is nervous, her dark eyes don’t lie. I used to like them, but now they scare the hell out of me.
I smile and suggest going for a walk.
-Shut up! - I yell.
-What? - Gina asks confused.
-Nothing… the weather is great today, isn’t it?
-You’re right! Last week it rained so bad...
-Oh really? I didn’t notice - I affirm.
“Exactly! It only rained at around 3 am, when she killed me. She was outside, doing what? All the stores close before 3am!”
I feel Gina's piercing gaze and try to disguise my concern by coughing. A complete failure.
-You're very thoughtful today ... what's up?
I bite my lip so hard that I start tasting blood.
-Not much… - I have to stop talking because I feel my whole body shaking - I am writing a story, but I am stuck at the end so I was thinking about it.
What a BAD big lie. She knows I am lying. I have always been so bad at writing why would I suddenly decide to do such a thing?
-You? Writing? What’s the story about?
-It’s still a secret... once I finish it, I will show you.
Lies lies and more lies. I don’t remember the last time I lied to Gina, however now I feel the need to do that and I don’t know why.
-OK! - she says with a big smile on her face.
Was she always this smiling?
-What about you? What have you been doing— I ask.
Her smile fades away and I shiver.
-Not much… I am still looking for a job.
-You’ll find something you love to do, I know you will.- I affirm.
-I actually discovered something I didn’t know I liked on one of these days…
-What is it?
Tell me you killed those girls. Should I record it and show to the police?
Before she is even able to start talking I interrupt her:
-Oh my God, can you just wait a little bit? I just remembered that I have to send a message to John, I completely forgot! He’s going to kill me.
She laughs and responds:
-Killing is a strong word... he loves you.
I feel the sweat dripping down my cheek and press the record button.
-Done! What were you saying?
-Do you think I'm dumb? I tried to ignore your conversation in the bathroom, but now it was too much. - She says while grabbing my phone and turning off the voice recorder.
I look at her with my right hand placed on my mouth.
-I think that we have some things to talk about... - she states.
I try to run away from her, but she presses a piece of cloth on my mouth and all turns black.
“WAKE UP!” Merida screams and I wake up.
-Where am I?
“Gina brought you to this house, leave now or she will kill you!”
I get up from the ground and open the door. On the other side, I recognize Gina. She's standing and when her eyes meet mine, she smiles.
-Where do you think you’re going?
-Why are you doing this?
She grabs my neck and says:
-I’ve always loved you.
-What?! You like girls?
-No, I like you.
-You killed those girls, didn’t you? – I ask.
-Yes, I did. They were too beautiful, I couldn't risk falling in love with them. You are the only one I love.
Gina tries to kiss me but I turn my face.
-You’re disgusting! – I yell.
-After all I did for you, that’s all you say?
I start crying, she’s indeed strong.
-What about John? Why didn’t you kill him if he’s the one I am married to? – I ask.
-I know you. If I killed him, you would still love him. It was a much better idea to make you not love him anymore.
-That’s why you asked me to meet you at the library at the end of that café’s street! To see both of you together and misunderstand!
I spit on her face. Her glance changes and she starts to tighten my neck.
-Say that you love me and I won’t kill you – she starts.
-I hate you!
Is this how I am going to die? It can’t be.
I fight for a little bit of oxygen and then yell as loud as I can:
-MERIDA HELP ME!
Where the hell is she?
-Shut up, that stupid is dead- Gina says.
“I am sorry” Merida states.
Sorry? What do you mean you’re sorry?
I close my eyes and prepare to die. It’s over.
Suddenly, I feel Gina’s hands becoming distant. I open my eyes and see her standing in front of me. What’s happening?
Gina turns her face to me and says:
-I’m sorry, but don’t forget that there’s nothing more important than justice.
It’s Merida. She’s inside her.
After this, Gina opens the window and jumps.
She’s dead. Merida killed her.