Our steps are measured. Lithe, ready to strike. You move first, and I know you want me. It’s enough for me to close the distance between us and hold your waist. One of my free hands reaches up and cups your cheek. Firm, pale and soft. Perfect.
"What’s your name?" I ask, and you whisper it in my ear but I'm not really listening. I know your name. It’s always the same. You are prettier this time around. Red rosebud lips, long pale platinum hair, smooth legs that go on forever. Perfect.
I've done my research properly this time. No mistakes. I breathe in your heady scent and almost growl. It’s unimaginable how each of you have the power to hold me captive. Not for long.
You're beautiful, and you know it. The silver dress you wear is designed to make guys look at you. Your features already are head turners and with this dress your pale skin looks almost translucent. The dress is long and covers those legs, but it can't hide how utterly sinful you look. Perfect.
Our eyes meet, and I'm struck at the sudden, clear colour I see. Startling, clear green. On your white skin it stands out like a beacon. We are still dancing and we can't seem to stop. I'm what they call a mystery. An enigma. You never could resist one of those. It’s what makes you so amazing. Perfect.
I ask a few more questions, but there is nothing you can tell me which I do not have memorised already. You are charmed; I wouldn't expect any less. I give my best and I hate to lose. Especially with you. We walk together to get some drinks. You are breathless, and I know the time is right. "Can we meet again?" You sound desperate, but that is what makes me agree. We make plans for tomorrow and leave together. Perfect.
You continue to consume my thoughts ‘til I meet you again. You're wearing your hair up this time, and a short red dress lets me know my impression of your long legs was right. Not that I am ever wrong, my siren. Over dinner we talk about work. You ask me what I do for a living and I say, non-committal, “Doctor." It is a white lie and will be one of the many to follow, but it is necessary. What I really do will only raise red flags. I sense that you have many questions so I avoid them and ask questions about you. Not sensing anything amiss, you take the bait and forget all about my work, like the others before you. Or maybe you do sense something wrong but ignore it. Again not unlike the others. Female intuition is a wonderful thing. It is the strongest protection you have and so it is always beyond me how you manage to ignore it every single time. No matter. I have you exactly where I need you. Perfect.
The red flags are everywhere. I do not introduce you to my friends, not that I have many. I do not take you to meet my family, though in all probability they would intimidate you more than I do. I often catch you looking wary of me, I do not blame you. I am pretty intimidating in that aspect but you pay it no heed and that is what makes you almost perfect.
You can trust me. You know that, right, baby? After all, you are flawless. You need to know that. You are beautiful. You seem perfect.
On our tenth date, just as I am dropping you off, I sense you expect something more. A kiss. It isn’t much, perfectly understandable. I have been your boyfriend for almost two months now, but I would taint you, you are beautiful and I am unworthy of you even though I will cherish you more than anyone else. I am so worried, I think to myself. You shine like a star. Flawless, I cup your cheek and press a chaste kiss against your lips. Barely a whisper. I cannot ruin your beauty with my imperfection. I know you can sense my reluctance, but now it doesn’t matter. I have you exactly where I need you, and in one week, it will be time. Perfect.
This is my last trip to the supermarket before I leave this place. The items are varied and nothing that will raise suspicion. I pick up everything I need, and head to the local druggist. Everything is in place, it is only a matter of time. After storing all that I have bought, I look for a new place, one with a huge basement just like the one I have currently. Where I am moving, the basement is vast, and that is great because my collection is growing larger. With the last of that settled, I climb into my car and drive over to your work place. It is time. This time you will look perfect.
You haven’t told anyone about me, as a retaliation, maybe? Whatever it is, I am glad for it. Work has just ended for you, and I stop my car just shy of where you are walking. I can see the minute when your eyes light up seeing me, and I know my eyes have that same adoration. My beautiful, beautiful princess.
“Spend the night with me,” I tell you rather than request and you readily agree. Tonight, my perfect princess, you are mine forever. Dinner is served and placed on the table. You are not dressed for what I have planned but I have taken liberties to get you some essentials and another silver dress in reminder of our first meeting.
“Wear your hair up.” I tell you and you nod, looking overjoyed. Half an hour later, you come down, wearing the dress, shimmering in the light, curls framing your face, pale and glowing. I hold out a glass of wine. Your berry red lips line the edge of the glass as you take a sip and smile. You smile like you know it is your last, eyes bright with memories and regrets. You crumple into my hands, as I take the glass from your hand. That smile can rival the Mona Lisa’s, and you never looked so utterly breath-taking, here, dead in my arms. I gather you in my arms and carry you down to the basement. It is cold and dark. The temperatures are low enough to keep your body from decomposing, I am freezing through my layers of warm clothing but the night is young so I begin my work, starting with your feet. You know, darling, when I am done with you, you will look better than the best. You will look perfect.
I take my time with you. It is a tedious process but completely worth it. You are worth it. With a thin blade, I cut beginning with the sole of your feet. I just know you are going to look magnificent when I am done with you. My clay mould stands at a distance, along with the other girls before you. Perfect.
I try to maintain precision as I work, and I am doing a good job, this is my profession after all. And darling, I tell you as I work, uncaring that you won’t be answering me, I have tons of practice. I cut my scalpel as close inside your thigh as possible so the marks are not visible, thin incisions in your skin. Pale on your fair skin. Perfect. You will look perfect.
Not everyone is
immortalised. Only a select few are part of my gallery. You are one of them. It
is an honour, really. A posthumous honour, but an honour regardless. It has
been three weeks now. I have slept by your side all through these days. I
gently sew the ends of your de-boned, tanned skin over the clay mould and see
you come to life again. I rearrange your hair, adding my own touch, with tiny
embellishments. Your lips are painted a deep red, that smile etched in your
face, now shaming Mona Lisa. I use some of your make-up and make you
glow. You’re better than before, princess. You are perfect.
Bowing before you, I slip on your heeled shoes on your feet. Slowly, reverently. I put on a diamanté studded necklace and matching earrings. I brush the pad of my thumb over your sensually hooded eyes, brushing my lips delicately over your cheek. I am careful. I cannot afford to mess it up. I have finished, I think triumphantly. Yet another utterly flawless, precise, perfect you. Perfect, I chant over and over in my head, Perfect, perfect, perfect.
“Only you, Dianne. Forever and ever, only you earned it—my heart.” I whisper and twenty five of you smile ethereally at me.