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Death by Merlot

First Date and a Woman's Scorn

By Ashley GomezPublished 2 years ago 9 min read
2
Death by Merlot
Photo by Alfonso Scarpa on Unsplash

I travel as a contract worker; I paint the interior and exterior of buildings. Since I move all over the place, I meet many different people. People like Jake – we met during a show at the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Houston. And Philip – he caught my eye at the Downtown Festival and Arts Show in Gainesville. Then there was this little farm boy named Michael – we bumped into each other in Ames at the London Underground. Finally, I lured Benny away from Ithica Collegetown for a bit of fun and was able to add New York to my list, too.

Next was Burlington, Vermont. I was contracted to paint the exterior of a church, something I wasn’t looking forward to. I hate stucco. There’s no pleasure in coating its rough surface in paint, especially when the paint is as lifeless as “Neutral Tan” – Gag me.

I would have preferred to drench this holy building in blood, but that’s just me. Nothing excites me more than the color red. Its potency provokes the strongest of emotions – Passion, love, power, and anger. It’s fascinating that it can embody feelings that so many yearn for and yet also those they fear and can’t control. Red is the only thing that makes me feel alive anymore.

I wasn’t always this way, though. The Elizabeth I once was had pep in her step and sunshine radiating from her asshole. That all changed when a group of boys took from me that which I would not give to them. Drugged for refusing, beaten for fighting back, and raped for their own fucking satisfaction. The sight of my own blood in the after math of their destruction snuffed out the light in me. I dropped out the day my attackers walked free. I spent years trying to move on, but failed. News about every new rape victim set my blood boiling. On the fifth anniversary of my attack, I decided it was time men started having something to fear too.

Eleven years into this endeavor, I met Josh at a bar in downtown Burlington called the Red Square. I remember it so clearly. He had an air of innocence around him, but a glimmer of mischief in his eyes. Persistent little bastard. I had just finished my contract a day ahead of schedule, as planned. As usual, I saved a day for some fun.

That night, I locked onto a tall blonde, probably a baseball player from the look of his ass. He separated from his buddies to hit on a girl. She had gorgeous locks of hair draped over her exposed shoulders. Light years out of his league. She giggled and played coy, but ultimately rejected him. She was out with friends and they weren’t going to let her go. Smart girls. He huffed about it, called her a bitch, and took his boys to the next bar to try again.

“Pathetic, aren’t they?” a voice murmured next to me.

By Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

“They all are,” I quipped, looking him up and down. About 5’10” with a medium build. He had a nice-looking face. Third, maybe fourth year. Fluffy mid-length corkscrew hair. His jeans looked worn and comfortable. Computer science major, no doubt. He followed me out of the bar chattering. I couldn’t seem to shake him.

“Would you like to stop for a bite to eat somewhere? Right now? My treat,” said Mr. Comp-Sci.

“Hun, you’re about 10 years too early to be taking me out. Find someone else,” I asserted, turning towards the bar Mr. Baseball entered.

“Well, show me how to close the gap!” he replied, stepping in front of me. A persistent bastard who couldn't take no for an answer; He now had my attention.

“Oh ho, up for the challenge, are you?” I said, defiant. “So where are you taking me? Pizza?”

His eyes lit up as he laughed and said, “Close! There’s this Italian restaurant just nearby. We can walk,” he explained.

“My name is Josh, and you?” he asked.

“You can call me Liz,” I responded.

I’ve refined the selection process over the years and let fate decide how the night will progress based on a single drink order. Plenty of my other dates have chosen more age-appropriate refreshments like beer, coke, or just water. Those nights, we have our fun and I am on my way again, leaving them with tales of how they conquered a cougar. Though, if my date has a taste for something more enchanting, then I set in motion a different plan. A glass of Merlot, the second most beautiful shade of red, is the deciding factor.

I felt my body shudder with excitement at his words. “A glass of Chateau Souverain Merlot, please.”

Dinner went off without a hitch, as I would have expected for young and eager prey. He could hardly control his eyes so I watched as they hungrily traced the outline of my every curve. I kept his little head busy with well-rehearsed stories about my past and present and danced around the topic of my love life. I eventually fed him something about never having felt so connected to someone. I feigned embarrassed, admitting to him that a grown woman like myself shouldn’t feel so flustered – they always eat that shit up.

Meals finished; the server brought us our check. Putting a hand out as I reached for my bag, he said, “Please, I’ll get it.”

“I don’t know how I feel about letting a student pay my way, even one as mature as yourself,” I teased.

“And I dunno know how I feel about a beautiful woman not allowing herself to be treated as promised. I got this,” he said.

Oh, he was smooth. I remember needing to think quickly. Like something out of the movies, I slowly ran my foot up his leg and pressed against him while responding, “How about you repay me back at my hotel?” I knew I had laid it on thick when I noticed the server shift nervously. I imagine the sweet young thing was blushing at the mere suggestion of sex. She took the cash I offered and quickly turned away. “Keep the change, sweetie,” I said, never breaking eye contact with a very hungry looking Josh.

By Jake Stark on Unsplash

We soon arrived at the little roadside motel I was staying at. I felt his warm hands begin to snake around my waist just inside the doorway. I wiggled free with a small chuckle.

“This old woman needs water before I croak,” I said, making my way towards the sink. “Here.” I offered him one, too.

“A toast to a long night,” he raised his glass. I gave him a cheeky grin and watched as he took a long drink.

Boys aren’t taught to worry about people drugging them, so lacing their drinks is usually child’s play. I predicted it would take full effect in about 20 to 30 minutes.

Slick with sweat and panting, we drowned ourselves with pleasure. All of the tension built up over dinner came crashing down around us as we intertwined. Soon, he began to sway, unable to keep his bearings. His eyes looked heavy and his breath became uneven. It was about time to relocate.

“Are you okay?” I asked, painting a look of concern onto my face as I held his head steady. “Do you need to stop? More water?”

His speech had become unintelligible. Putting on a show, I told him we needed to get him to the hospital. He complied and drowsily made his way to the car with me bracing him. Though, we weren’t going to the hospital. We were going to church.

By Thomas Kinto on Unsplash

I scowled at the beige stucco as we neared. I had to bear most of his weight to get him into the building, as he was losing consciousness. I told the pastor earlier that day that I wanted to stay behind to give the alter a new coat of paint – a charitable donation of my time and skill. He left me to my own devices. I instead found a cozy room in the basement that appeared to be used for children’s bible study.

My hands moved deftly to bind his arms and legs to the bondage cross I erected in that room earlier. Having removed his clothing, I wipe him down thoroughly; I don’t want to leave any of my DNA behind. I was nearly shaking with anticipation as I gagged him. The buzz from the wine had long worn off and was replaced by a more potent high. I reached into my bag and retrieved my rolled-up tool pouch – it contained an assortment of blades, scissors, and needles. They looked especially thirsty that night.

Under the light of the full moon shining through the hopper window on the adjacent wall, Josh looked to be the spitting image of Christ himself. I savored the first cut. His hot blood wept. This is undeniably the most beautiful shade of red. A fire lit within me. This stirred him, but the drug mostly numbed the pain. As I leaned forward for another delicious slice, heavy footsteps came barreling. Before I knew it, the place was overtaken and I was held at gun point by several men. This twisted scene again. The FBI had found me. I dropped my blade and raised my hands to my head. I didn’t actually feel the need to fight or flee. I looked upon Josh’s bleeding arm and savored its scent until I was roughly ushered away.

It’s been about 6 years since I was arrested. They charged me for the abduction and attempted murder of Joshua Reynolds, a student at the University of Vermont. It would appear that I had acquired some stalkerish fans over the years, though they didn’t like it much when I called them that during my interrogation. I had been suspected for the murders of Jacob Nuñez from Rice University, Phillip Douglas from the University of Florida, Michael Sauerland from Iowa State University, and Benjamin King from Cornell University. They presented each of their photos and I told them how I lovingly escorted them from first date to last meal – every last bloody detail.

By Max Kleinen on Unsplash

A smile crept up on my face at the sight of the blood draining from my interrogators’ faces. The last thing they heard before leaving the room was my shrill laughter. I doubled over breathless well after the door had slammed shut.

Why did I do it? I wanted to strike fear into the hearts of men who would so much as think of taking advantage of a woman. My signature, if you will, was to scatter clippings of the most recent rape reports at the crime scene. A clear message, wouldn't you agree?

I thought I would grow old here waiting for my execution date, but after only 6 years I guess today is my lucky day. For my last meal, I request a single glass of Chateau Souverain Merlot and think back fondly on my first date with Josh, the one who got away.

By Emiliano Bar on Unsplash

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