Life was good, until They showed up. I never saw it coming. Love is such an unexpected feeling. It caught me off guard. One day we had been forced into a group in class. The next, we were texting, tagging each other in silly pictures, and giggling on the walk to class. I asked them to dinner one morning, and They looked at me curiously. I can still remember their face so well. They had eyes with total uncertainty for a moment, then a smile crept to their face.

“Sure,” they had said—and I got excited. I had thought things were finally progressing, after months of waiting. The dinner was lovely—we went to a classy Italian food place in downtown, just a few miles away from the school with both went to. They looked absolutely radiant—dressed in all black. We laughed and smiled and joked for hours. All through the breadsticks, the brucheta, the main course—we both had ordered pasta, and finally a dessert we shared. We split the check, which I had never done with a partner before. But, I had thought, we both valued each other equally, so the unexpected became something I cherished. We embraced for a hug at the end of the night before parting ways.

It had been such a nice date—at least, I thought it had been a date. But a few dinners later and the sweetness grew sour. I had gotten a bit too excited. Too proud. Too courageous. At the end of each dinner we hugged for a moment longer than usual. I looked into their eyes, searching for permission. I quickly leaned in to kiss them—just a quick peck, to test the waters. I stepped back sheepishly and waved goodbye. They looked shocked, which I had hoped meant a good thing. But the next day, things seemed a bit off. They seemed reserved. I asked them what was wrong.

“People don’t kiss me,” They said. We were walking to class, down an empty hallway. It was cool indoors, but not cold by any means. I stopped and looked them in the eyes. They looked so empty and lost. I stepped forward to hug them, but their arms did not embrace me as they had before. Instead, they put a hand on my chest, and pushed a space between us.

At least, that is what I had thought it was for. We stayed there for a while, talking. My arms fell to my sides, but their hand stayed on my chest—holding me in place. Their hand was so warm, like it were against my skin. In fact, it was on my skin. Then, the most horrifying thing happened.

Their fingers stiffened, and she pressed them hard against my chest. So hard. It felt like knives. It burned. I felt my skin peeling apart, being sliced by their sharp nails. The skin turned to muscle, and the muscle to bone as they buried beneath. Layers of self-doubt, of pain and hatred, were all stripped away, as they drilled into me. I could feel my heart racing. I looked them in the eye. They were still smiling, still talking—though I knew not what they said anymore. Their fingers found my chest plate, and stopped for a moment. I could feel their index finger dance along it, looking for a way through. I was breathing heavily. My heart was pounding like a drum. They looked at me again. I felt their hand curl into a fist inside me. Their left arm moved to my shoulder to steady me, and they punched through my chest plate.

The bone shattered, like glass from a bullet, leaving my heart alone as it beat quicker and quicker. Blood was dripping onto the hallway floor now, in little droplets like the tears that streamed down my face. They gripped my heart. It was chilling to feel a hand feel it beat. They caressed it for a moment, before tightening their grip. My heart struggled, beating wildly for a moment, before they tore it from its housing and out of my body. My shoulder’s slumped, and they watched me drop to the floor. My knees hit the ground first, stopping my decent for an instant. There was no pain. Blood poured from my chest to the floor, and the pool engulfed my whole body. I felt my face hit the ground a moment later, but my eyes were to filled with tears to see anything. As darkness set in, I could hear them walk down the hall, the Click-clack of their shoes echoed around me. Then, it was all gone.


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