June 22, 2011
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She was so tiny and cute when I found her. She was gorgeous, too, with smooth, ivory skin, blue eyes and long, auburn hair, laying there in the grass.

I decided to name her Serenity.

She had gotten even more beautiful, of course, but she was frightening as well. Her once tiny, humanoid frame had gotten much bigger. In a mere two months she'd grown to five feet, when she was once no bigger than my little finger. Some days, I could've sworn I'd seen red in her eyes.

But maybe it was just the blood reflecting from her shirt.

I never could fathom it. She would watch as I made cuts in my arm, staring, watching each movement of the blade. She would rattle the bars of her tiny, gold-colored cage, staring at me with a pleading look in her eyes.

Then one day, she got too big for her cage, and I let her out. “Never leave the house,” I warned, not wanting anyone to know about her. Then with a soft “I love you,” I would kiss her and tuck her into her shoe-box bed, lined with soft fleece.

She would still watch every time I cut myself. I noticed her creep closer sometimes, but I thought nothing of it; until that day.

She was watching as usual at first; staring, inching closer. Then, she lunged at my arm, going right for the last incision I had made. She pried open the flesh and licked the widened slit, emitting an odd, high-pitched trilling.

Looking back now, I think it's the happiest I've ever seen her.

I yelled, just managing to grasp both of her legs with the hand not holding the razor, I tried to pull her off, but her little hands had dug into the inside of the wound, ripping it open further with each tug. She whined, her eyes glistening with tears. I finally ripped her off, throwing her against the wall. She stopped moving. I ran over, praying she wouldn't be dead. I watched her and saw her breathing. Putting her back in her box, I whispered to her.
“Don't die,” I said. “You're all I have here.”

When she was about two feet tall, she started trying to leave the house at night. I let her, but made her promise not to be seen. Then it started; almost every day, she would bring something home. Perhaps like a cat, she was offering me gifts. Dogs, deer, raccoons, occasionally something so mangled I couldn't even tell what it was; once she even brought me what looked like a horse. It appeared as though she had removed it's skin, without touching the rest of it. Perhaps to make it easier for me to consume?

At night I would bury her prizes in the back yard, after the neighborhood was asleep. I planted a garden where the sod was uprooted, so that no one would suspect anything.

Soon, the neighborhood was papered with missing pet ads. I felt guilty as I walked by them, sometimes recognizing the animal in the photo. I wished I could stand to lock her inside, but she'd brought me so much happiness, I couldn't bear to keep locked in the house any longer. She was miserable when she was stuck in there, especially once I started locking her away when I cut myself, although I hardly did anymore.

Sometimes, I would talk to her. I would tell her about my past, about my failed relationships and childhood dreams, about all the times I had gotten fired unjustly from jobs that I hated anyway. She never spoke, but I could tell she was listening, and that she understood.

One day, I was telling her about one of my exes, Margaret Hall. I told her about how I loved Margaret with all my heart, about how I thought she was perfect, the most wonderful woman in the world. I started crying then, for the first time in what must have been years.

I told Serenity about how I found her with another man, and forgave her, still thinking she was more wonderful a woman than I deserved. Then I found her with yet another, different man, and again, forgave her. Each time it happened, she promised she would never do it again, that I meant more to her then they ever would. Then one day, she called me. She said she was pregnant with someone else's child, and they would be getting married soon. I told Serenity what she said to me. I remember our conversation as though it was yesterday, though it all happened years ago.

“Terribly sorry about all this, I know it must have all been a bit rough on you as well, but I think it's for the best,” She said to me.
“For the best?” I choked. “I – I – But d-didn't we – You – You said you loved me, goddammit! You said I meant more to you than anyone else did!”
“Did I?” Her voice was airy. “Like I said, terribly, terribly sorry. I never meant to hurt you, I just thought you might need to feel – Not that I didn't – I mean...Oh, never mind.”

And with that, she hung up.

I showed Serenity a picture of us together, with my arm around her waist in her flower garden, taken by a friend of hers. She had a lot of friends; I was always jealous of that.

By the time I was done with my story, I was bawling. From what I could tell, she was crying too. She was sitting cross-legged next to me, her head down, hair covering her face; but I could have sworn I heard a few muffled sobs.

After I calmed down a bit, I went out for a walk. I wanted to get out of the house for a while. I called an old acquaintance - a man named Tom - who had always loved to make fun of me and told him to meet me at the bar. I was desperate. I needed to feel normal again, just for a bit. As much as I hated it, I was losing my grip on reality, going stir-crazy.

When I got to the bar, Tom was there waiting for me. He grinned, beckoning me over.
“Johnny, old friend!” He shouted in his overly enthusiastic, loud voice. “How've you been?”
“Johnny, you know you can tell me about your problems. Now spill it. What is it now? Found yourself another slutty woman to devote yourself to? Still cutting yourself like some fifteen-year-old, depressed loser?”
I tried not to start crying again. “Shut up, Tom. I'm fine, like I said,” I forced out something that I hope sounded like a laugh.
“Sure you are, kid. Here, have a drink. It's on me.”

Tom wanted to buy me several more drinks, which I declined. I was tempted, but Tom had done this sort of thing before. I had both watched him do it to others and been subjected to it myself. He would take a miserable, unsuspecting victim, who he would then get drunk and humiliate. I remembered seeing photos of myself after one of these nights, and promised myself never to let it happen again.

I talked to him for a while, though he was terrible company. After a while, I realized I shouldn't have gone out at all. I certainly wasn't enjoying myself. I consoled myself, however, with the thought that I would be able to relax when I got home, and tell her everything. She's an amazing listener. She always had been.

When I got home, I found Margaret's body on the floor in a pool of blood, bites taken out of her arms, chest and face. Serenity was standing over her, bloodied and holding a knife from the kitchen. She look at me with huge, round, wild eyes.

“No,” I stared at her. I looked up for a moment, and she was gone. I felt something heavy collide with the back of my head, and then I was in my bed, and it was morning. I was mostly unharmed, but I had a terrible headache.

Panicking, I ran out of my bedroom into the hall. I searched all over the house, but there was no blood, and no sign of a body. Rubbing my temples, I went back to my room, where Serenity was sitting on my bed, about a foot taller than she had been the day before.

“How did you grow so fast?” I asked her, half smiling.

As I expected, she didn't speak; but she did answer. She grinned, baring her oddly pointed – and very bloody – teeth.

I felt faint again, and lay down on the bed. She came over to me and sat next to me, stroking my hair. Part of me wanted to push her away, but I couldn't. I didn't know what happened anyway. Maybe it was just a dream.

Just a few days ago, I took her to meet Tom. I told him she was my girlfriend, and that she was a mute.

“...And her name is Serenity.”
“She's very pretty. Any idea who else she's f***ing?” Tom said, mock-frowning at her.
“Tom, please.”
“I kid, I kid,” He smiled at me. “I'm sure she's wonderful. I'm glad you finally got yourself a woman.”
“Thanks.” I said, through gritted teeth. “Look, I think I'd better be going.”
“Now Johnny, you just got here!”
“I have – work to do.”
“I'll talk to you later.”
I walked home with her clinging to my side, as if she meant to protect me.

* * *

Waking up from my reminiscing, I found it was almost midnight. I went to bed with her curled up next to me. She looked so innocent and sweet when she was asleep.

I woke up the next day to find her gone from my side. I got up and looked around my room, worried. She was always right there next to me every morning.
When I went out into the hall, I found her there, covered in blood, along with Tom's half eaten body.
“Serenity! You shouldn't have...You can't just...Oh god.” I put my head in my hands, cursing under by breath. I had to do something. I had to kill her. It was the only way to keep everyone safe.

But I needed her. She was the only thing I had. No one else was ever nice to me anyway. Looking back on it, I'd always hated Tom anyway. I only talked to him because no one else would put up with me.

Still, I had to do it, I couldn't let her live. I searched the house for something to use as a weapon, with her trailing along behind me.

Unable to find any actual weapon, I dug through my toolbox and pulled out a large wrench. Turning on her, I raised it above my head. She looked up at me, and as I looked into her eyes I could almost hear her speak. “What's wrong? What are you doing?” She was asking me, pleading for me to explain. I couldn't stand this anymore. She knew what she was doing. She knew she was manipulating me.

The wrench made a dull cracking sound as it made contact with the side of her head. In a dream-like state, I watched her fragile body crumple to the floor, and begin to shrink. I ran over and picked her up. She was back to the size she was when I found her, the clothes I had given her lay on the floor. Blood dripped down the side of her face. She wasn't breathing. I checked her for a pulse, but felt nothing.

I couldn't believe what I had done. Panicking, I cupped her lifeless body in my hands and set off running through the down. I would go to the river and throw her in. The river near town was deep and wide enough that no one would find her for days, if they ever did at all. Setting off towards it as fast as I could, I avoided eye contact with anyone. They all probably thought I was crazy anyway. It wouldn't matter if I was acting oddly, they didn't care about me.

Out of breath, I ran down the bridge, cars passing dangerously close as they crossed the river, drivers yelling and shaking their fists. I climbed partway up the railing and dropped her in. I watched as her tiny body fell, almost gracefully. I stood there, staring at the calm water flowing along below me. It looked so peaceful, so gentle. I looked behind me. There were hardly any cars passing just then.

* * *

“Haven't seen Tom around lately. Bastard won't even pick up the phone,” Grumbled Michael.
“Probably moping about that old friend of his...what's his name? Jim?” Kevin took a sip of his drink.
“John.” Michael said, tersely. “I always knew he would do it, you know. I was never a good friend of John's, but everyone knew he was a cutter, and towards the end he hardly left the house anymore.”
“Yeah. Anyway, I'm sure Tom'll turn up eventually. Just give him some time. He's probably feeling guilty, he was always picking on John, wasn't he?”
“Yeah, true. He can be a bit of an ass, but still, I miss having him around.”
“Eh, he'll be back. Not like he's died on us or anything.”

* * *

A young man walked along the riverbank, talking to himself.
“You idiot, Ryan. You've blown it now. She hates you.” He muttered.
Stopping to sit, he saw a slight movement in the weeds. He pushed them back, and saw a tiny, apparently female humanoid figure, with soft pale skin, light blue eyes and dark reddish hair. She looked up at him, smiling gently.

He looked around; no one was watching. He picked her up.

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