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cheaply put together like a slasher film

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It’s a new moon the night of his birthday, pitch black and quiet. The air is not cold, but cool; there is no dew to moisten the dirt under his feet, no wet leaves to pick up footprints. Dennis takes a deep breath in and out of pine-scented air. He’s lurking behind an evergreen tree in the park. There’s a woman jogging all by herself and she is headed in his direction.

It’s Dennis’s fortieth birthday, and this is his present to himself. He wraps his hand around the handle of his knife, and squeezes it for good luck.

“Wonderful evening, isn’t it?” he says, stepping out of the shadows as she passes by. The woman freezes.

“Uh. . .sure.” she replies. Her body tenses with fear, and Dennis relishes in it.

“You’re very beautiful,” he says. “I’ve been watching you for quite some time.”

Her name is Jessica and she’s a yoga instructor. Dennis has been going to her class for several weeks now, partly to increase his flexibility but mostly to stare at her breasts. They’re enormous, even under the constricting sports bras she always insists on wearing. In a proper bra (or preferably, no bra at all) they’d be more magnificent than Jackie Denardo’s. He salivates at the thought. Soon they’ll be his forever and ever.

Rather than responding - honestly, how rude - she runs in the other direction screaming. Fortunately, Dennis came prepared. He unearths a sharp rock from his pocket, and rolls it around in his fingers. He kisses the rock and then lobs it at the back of her neck. It arcs and hits its target with beautiful precision. Jessica crumples to the ground with a soft thunk. As Dennis strides over to her, she begins to cry. When he reaches her, he looks her in the eyes and smiles.

“Don’t hurt me,” she chokes out. “Please. I have – I have a family.”

“No, you don’t,” says Dennis. He pulls out the knife, and examines the way it faintly glints in the darkness. Beautiful. “You live alone. You don’t have anyone.” He looks down at her, and smiles, wider this time. “It’s just us.”

As she continues to cry, he crouches over her and watches the tears stream over her cheeks. If he doesn’t hurry, gunk will start to crust on her face and the sexual tension of the moment will dwindle. Dennis pries open her jaw, and rests the knife between her teeth. He sees the pointy end almost touch her uvula when he shoves her mouth shut.

“It’s just us forever and ever,” he says.

It takes ten minutes of sore hands constricting her throat for the life to leave her eyes. When it finally does, he closes them and strokes her hair. He removes the knife, and wipes away any blood or fluids from her face. Warmth floods his chest for the first time in years. The wind gently blows her hair.

Dennis throws her in the Schuylkill river before the sun comes up. Nobody ever comes looking for her. She is his and his alone.

Forever and ever.