“Come on baby, don’t be like that.”
The sound of Greta’s voice filled his ear like a soft, salient hiss. “You are such a fucking shit, Hollis. You don’t see anything wrong with what you did last night?”
Her voice was rising in pitch. If Hollis didn’t do something fast, she was going to start screeching again, or crying, or both. “Come on baby, you know I didn’t mean any of it. ”
“But that’s just it, Hollis. You don’t remember having like thirty drinks, lifting up my top at the restaurant and barfing all over everything at dessert, do you? Do you even car how mortified I was? Do you care that my parents were there?”
The trouble was, he did remember. That was part of the problem. “Babe, you know I was just having some fun.”
“Some FUN?!” Oh, now he’d blown it. He’d said something he shouldn’t have. “FUN!?!? You call the way you behaved last night fun?”
“Well,” Fuck it, he thought In for a penny in for a pound. “I had fun.” He said.
“You mother fucking shit face, knob licking asshole!” Yep, she was pissed. “If I ever see you fucking shit face again, I’ll fucking-”
The line cut dead and there was the sound of the buzz of the signal before the phone went dead. He pressed a few buttons. “Hello? Amanda? Shit, I mean Crystal? Are you there?”
The phone hissed in his ear. “That’s pretty sad, don’t you think, that you don’t even know the young bitches name. If I were her, I would break up with you, just out of sheer spite. And from the sounds of it, it doesn’t sound as if you were very nice to her anyway.”
The words were uttered quickly by a voice that sounded old, ancient beyond it’s years. The voice made Hollis’ gut drop, as it had fallen out of him. “Who is this? What have you done with Sheryl?”
“Why, Hollis, you’re a regular horn dog, aren’t you? There are a few more Players to arrive. And we always want to keep the dumb one’s around, don’t we? There’s so much blood to save for later. See, you’re finally good for something, Hollis. There is so much blood in you.”
It was as if his blood had turned to ice. Hollis stood and went looking in the kitchen for a knife of some sort. He didn’t keep a gun in the house. Why didn’t he have a fucking gun? Holy shit fuckers. “What have you done with Stacy? You tell me right now, you filthy dog fucker or I’ll kill you.”
“Such big words from a small man. You’ll have fun, I promise. In the meantime, open you’re door.”
“Because I left a present for you. Haven’t you ever gotten a present Hollis? Or did no one care to ever get you one?”
“The fuck you say, who are you?”
“All in good time, Hollis. Play time has just begun. I’ll be seeing you soon, but in the meantime, here’s something to remember me by.”
Hollis had no idea what the hissing voice meant, what he was talking about. How did the night go from normal to fucked up in the spaced of one hour? First the argument with Carlotta and now this. What the fuck was going on? He may not know much, but he didn’t believe in coincidences. This was some serious fucked up shit.
“Who the fuck are you, man?”
“Open your door.”
Though he didn’t want to, though every instinct told him not to, Hollis did as the dark man said. He stepped quietly to his apartment door and opened it, looking around to see what was there.
At first, he didn’t see anything, only the shadowy hallway. His heart raced inside his chest and despite knowing what what happened in a horror movie (he had watched a few of them, thanks fucking much) and stood in fear looking at darkness until the hissing voice said:
“Look down, horn dog. Look down.”
Hollis did and what he saw there made him want to vomit immediately. A woman lay there, her throat slit. She had red hair and bright staring green eyes, their light gone from them. He had been arguing with her on the phone not five minutes ago. How was that possible? How was any of this possible? Hollis was nearly shitting himself.
“Her name was Olivia. Did you know that you were dating a racist little bitch? She was a supervisor at her job and she always put down people of ethnic origin. Do you know she once walked into a meeting with a lot of black people present and started the meeting by saying it was a little dark in room?”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“To prove that we never really know anyone, do we Hollis? We never really see the person’s true self, just what they choose to show us. Why, my little horn dog, you didn’t even know poor Olivia’s name! That’s just downright stupid, and someone as dumb as you is bound to come in handy.”
“Why me?” Hollis’ voice was a mere croaky whisper, the volume brought down out of fear, out of disgust at poor Olivia’s body on his front step. “Why her?’
“Oh, now don’t go thinking that her death was meaningless. I had to have a messenger of some sort. I’m used to doing things more poetically, you see. But needs must and I had to improvise. I hope you don’t mind the crudeness of it, I normally have more time you see.” He laughed and the sound of it was like the ice of Hollis’ blood shatter into shards of glass
“I’ll be seeing you soon.”
There was a click in Hollis’ ear and he looked at his iPhone with disbelief. Looking down at Olivia’ body (Olivia, her name was Olivia), took her in, the paleness of her face, her clothes torn asunder, the slash of blood across her throat, the slashes of red against her shoulder.
That stopped Hollis, caught his attention. She hadn’t had marks on her shoulder last night; and how did the man get there so quickly? How had he done that? Her apartment had been on the other side of town, at least fifteen minutes away.
With shaking fingers, he reached down and and pulled open her shirt, which had been sliced open all the way down. It was as if he were opening some sort of very sick porno magazine and that thought did make him vomit.
He had the foresight not to vomit on her. He pulled back into his apartment and vomited on the living room rug. Everything he had eaten that day came back out, far more unpleasant then it had gone out.
Now shaking all over, Hollis turned back to Olivia’s body and opened her shit completely. On Olivia’s chest was one word: Nevermore.
The word was slashed into her chest, carved into her skin, and they had bled out. He knew she had been quieted with the slash to the throat and then the carving had begun.
This was Hollis’ last thought before he saw stars that were quickly followed by darkness, swimming over his vision, before he passed out. His body fell next to Olivia’s, as if he were embracing her.