I did it for love.

The first time I saw her, she was running. It wasn’t her bobbing ponytail that caught my eye, or her picturesque midriff. It was her running shoes. White, with just a hint of red. Innocent, with a hint of malice.

Her name was Belinda. An uncommon name for an uncommon beauty, but appropriate. In Italian, bella means beautiful, and lind is German for serpent or dragon.

Belinda. My beautiful dragon.

Finding her address wasn’t hard. I’d sit in my car day after day, watching her come and go. I’d say that it hurt when she brought another man home, but that word is merely a pale shadow of the emotional onslaught that followed.

Betrayal. Despair. Jealousy. Helplessness. Rage. My very soul was under attack, and I could only lie there and take it.

But I didn’t give in. I returned to that battlefield, night after night. And when I was strong enough, it was time to fight back.

That final night, when she arrived with her lover (her victim) in tow, I emerged from my car, battle-weary, battle-hardened. In one hand, I carried a length of rope. In my other hand, I carried my father’s 9mm, the same one he’d used to take his own life so many years ago.

I was ready.

If I hadn’t snuck in the back, hadn’t spied them wrapped in one another’s embrace on the couch, maybe I would have used the rope instead of the gun.

She was surprised, to say the least. It wasn’t the ring of the gunshot so much as the droplets of his blood on her face (white, with just a hint of red) that triggered her transformation. She shed her skin like a blanket on an autumn morning. Leathery wings sprouted from her back, as her prehensile tail whipped back and forth. And she shrieked. Oh god, how she shrieked.

She towered over me, that succubus from hell, with murder in her blood-red eyes. The man who’s life I’d ended was to be her first victim, and I was to be her next. My fingers knew what needed to be done before my mind could register the horror before me.

I emptied the 9mm clip into the demon. She shrieked her last, then fell to the floor, reverting to her human form.

I waited for the police, knowing full well they wouldn’t believe my story. Now, here in my cell, I write these words as my final confession. I did what needed to be done. I saved that man from eternal damnation, and I set Belinda’s soul free. When they come to escort me to meet my executioner, I can rest assured that I did the right thing.

I did it for love.

 

Originally submitted to Columbus Creative Cooperative.

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