TW // MURDER // BLOOD
You stood at the doorway, wondering if you should knock, take out the key under the doormat, ring the bell, or just smash a stone into the window.
The lights were on, so at least that was a good sign. You took the easiest way to get into the house by unlocking the door with the key. As you walked in, the first thing you noticed was a new mirror hanging on the wall across from the door. You took a step closer to it.
Nothing had changed, nothing should change, and nothing will change.
You walked through the mint blue corridor, which led you around the corner to the combined living room and the small white kitchen. At first, you did not notice Qi’ra lying casually on the gray couch, twitching her foot while reading the newspaper. She took the best place by resting next to the fireplace that gushed the warmth into the room.
You tossed your backpack onto the wooden bar stool, where the small round lights were hanging over the kitchen counter, and let a heavy puff out. If you reminded yourself how many times you bumped your head into them when you wanted to reach for something at the end of the counter, you would probably lose yourself in counting.
“Ah! I see Cinderella has finally found her way home,” Qi’ra chimed in her delightful voice, not taking her eyes off the newspaper.
“Well, Cinderella was waiting by the school stairs at exactly four o’clock. But neither the wicked stepmother nor a pumpkin on wheels appeared to take her back home,” you replied humorously, recreating your afternoon scenario.
“And of course, Cinderella could never imagine that the wicked stepmother talked the other good mother into letting poor Cinderella enjoy her day. After all, it is her birthday!” she replied a bit offensively, yet keeping the same energy.
You just shook your head and sat down on the stool with a glass of water in your hand.
“Where is my mother, anyway?”
“On her way to get you a cake,” Qi’ra responded, flipping through the newspaper.
“She didn’t need to do that. I’m not even hungry.”
“And those were exactly my words.”
Qi’ra turned her head to you, curled a finger in her ponytail, and threw the newspaper on the glass coffee table. She rose from the couch, placed her feet into her ballerinas, and walked behind the counter. She took an orange from the fruit plate and peeled it off.
You turned around to face her, eyes narrowed on your glass, with whom you were swinging around.
“I can tell by the look on your face that your day didn’t go so well after all,” she spoke in a soothing tone.
You lifted your chin, seeing her waiting for you to rejoin the chat.
“Um… I had a psychology test in the morning that was rescheduled because of a sudden fire alarm,” you informed her.
Qi’ra’s face turned stern, eyes increasing in interest. She stopped peeling off the orange and opened her mouth.
“What was the reason?”
“Absolutely no idea. Nobody told us anything.” You prompted your left elbow on the counter, carefully putting your jaw on your palm.
She nodded and continued peeling off her small orange. “How is your hand doing?”
“Good, I think. It still hurts from time to time, but much less than in the beginning,” you uttered and took another sip of your water.
It seemed so crazy to have such a normal conversation with a woman who you maybe have known only for two weeks. You weren’t used to coming home and talking about your day. Or at least half of the day (If you would ignore your hot make-out session and how a statue nearly killed you)
Besides Qi’ra’s loud snores and late-night talks with your mother in the living room, or as you preferred to call it, the “open room,” you did not know what the purpose of her living here was.
Every second day, Qi’ra opened an extra bottle of wine, and most of the time, stayed at home while your mother was out of the house, doing whatever the hell she was doing. You believed your mother saw it as the best opportunity so that you and Qi’ra would spend more time together, but this didn’t work out so great either. Most of the time, just like you, Qi’ra stayed in her room when your mother wasn’t at home.
“You don’t seem too pleased about not writing the test,” Qi’ra mentioned, raising an eyebrow.
“It just — wasn’t my best birthday,” you sighed in disappointment, touching the marble countertop. You gazed at it as if it was the most beautiful thing on earth, trying to get lost in it.
Talking to Qi’ra appeared to be the most comfortable thing to do. She asked nothing in particular, and she understood when you didn’t feel like talking about something. She didn’t ask any further questions about what you did after school, and you were thankful for it. You knew if your mother were in Qi’ra’s position, she would not rest until you would tell her literally everything.
“Well, the day is not over yet,” she mentioned, propping her arms on the counter, casting you a thin smile while twisting her ring around her pinky finger. Her lips were shining from the lip-gloss, and her bangs on her forehead have grown some inches.
She went over to the small cupboard where the snow globes were and put a CD inside the stereo. That’s where a song played that you only knew too well.
Qi’ra led you to step into the center of the room. She wore a black t-shirt and black, wide pants that fell to her feet. You could almost think she might slip over them.
“No, Qi’ra, I really don’t feel like it,” you shrugged off the offer.
“Come on, who doesn’t get the feeling of wanting to dance to this song?” she claimed in shock. “Besides, this is the only time you will get to see me like this.”
She didn’t accept a no and took your right hand to guide you to the center of the room. Thank god you lived in a large place where you had enough room to not bump into things.
“You realize that you’re almost as old as the song?” you joked.
“Thank you for reminding me! I’m actually trying to relive my missing youth,” she replied sharply in a sarcastic tone.
You couldn’t help but escape a tiny chuckle. Within seconds, Qi’ra placed your injured hand firmly on her shoulder, the other hand in hers, as she stretched your arms forward.
After being advised where to put your feet and a snarky comment on what a terrible dancer you were, you relaxed and allowed your soul to leave your body. Your thoughts lightened as they accepted the rhythm of your body moving freely in space. You circled on the spot with Qi’ra hand in hand like a couple, loaded with way too much energy. The sweating under your arms was noticeable, but the enjoyment immediately covered it up.
None of you heard your mother entering the room with a small packet of cake in her hands.
“You’ve already started without me!” exclaimed your mother in a half-grin as she saw you swinging your hips around.
She threw the key on the kitchen table and carefully placed the cake in the middle of the counter. Qi’ra let go of you and danced in motion towards your mother, inviting her to join in. You noticed how your mother whispered in Qi’ra’s ear while giggling half through it.
You gazed at her, and it seemed she wanted nothing more than to dance like you.
All three of you took each other hand in hand and started doing fun new dance moves with your feet, as well as jumping in circles arm in arm, filling the room with laughter. The smiles of your mother and Qi’ra made the corners of your mouth turn up. Seeing the two dancing in circles around as if they were in the Mamma Mia movie made you explore from the inside like a firework.
And although it was only nonsense what you created with your dance moves; it was the moment that counted. You’ve never done something like that, and you were more than happy that you had the chance to do it with people who would do everything to make you smile.
And it may have been too early to say it, but somehow you couldn’t be any happier than sharing your precious house with a person like Qi’ra.
Everything that ever happened today, all those bad words, horrible moments, they all disappeared. The relaxation from the frustration and the whole stress swung into the air, giving you the impression you could fly.
Out of nowhere broke behind the couch through the large sliding doors a big, dark shadow. The clear glass shattered into thousands of small, sharp pieces and flew into your face, bringing an irritating pain to your cheeks.
Two firm hands grabbed your shoulders from behind and pushed you toward the stairs.
“Hide and don’t come out until we call you!” Qi’ra shouted in a loud command.
You didn’t have time to think or realize what was happening. Your body obeyed the command, and your legs rushed up the wooden stairs without once turning your head back.
You could still hear the music you had been dancing to only seconds ago. Now it was just the sound of things flying and breaking through the room. Your body was shaking so much, making a shiver run down your spine. Fear made you forget the outstretching pain in your left hand. Your heart almost jumped out of your chest, your breath grew faster, and when you heard a painful scream from your mother, lightning struck in your head. Without thinking, you violated Qi’ra’s command and run down the stairs, peeking out of the corner.
No one would believe you if you had to describe what you saw.
An enormous, tall man, built like a bear, was sitting on his knees, dressed in black from top to bottom. They had wrapped his neck around a charging cable, which your mother pulled hard on without seeming to choke him. He was unarmed and had his hands gloves placed on his lap. You could see the man’s look of terror, directed at Qi’ra, who looked back at him icily without emotions.
“Please… let me live. I was not sent to kill you,” the man pleaded through heavy breathing in between with a German accent.
The sweat on his forehead blinked in the swinging lights, and just like your mother, he bled from the nose.
“I know,” Qi’ra replied with a half-smile.
Suddenly, she was wearing black gloves and extended from behind a pistol with a long muzzle. Without hesitation, she pointed it at the center of his forehead.
A grinding sound that the bulled made against the barrel of the pistol fired before you clasped your mouth. The salt of the tear rushed down your cuts, and it dropped on the floor at the same time the man did.
The fresh blood from the corpse leaked out like the warm filling of a delicious piece of French chocolate fondant. And the lifeless human eyes were wide open, pupils fully dilated, staring into the distant nothingness.
“Damn it, I liked this carpet. Too bad, we have to get rid of it.”
Only psychopaths would react that way if they had a dead body lying by their feet. Right?