The Victim

Chapter Three: Ascent

The scorpion

As we have dinner, I can barely restrain my heartrate from going through the roof. Still, I try to act like everything’s normal. Instead of chicken, we brought home several rations of pork chops from a restaurant that uncle loves, and we all eat our fill. We discuss the fake plans for the future. I make myself look as agreeable and defeated as possible. Finally, I put my daughter to bed, and ask uncle and my friend from school to stay a little longer. Uncle’s wife, the baked potato, silently follows the conversation with her eyes.

Once I’ve put my daughter to bed, I go to the kitchen and prepare some coffee. Then I return to the table and sit down in front of uncle, with his wife at my left and my friend from school at my right. “… it’s like I always say,” is saying uncle, “it’s the new generations that don’t understand the importance of respect.” After I’ve given everyone their coffee, I say, “Funny you should say that.” He takes a sip from his coffee. He doesn’t know it, but the one I gave him has additional caffeine. I didn’t ask if he wanted coffee so he wouldn’t have the chance to say no.

“How so?” he asks. The pause makes him somewhat nervous. “Well,” I say. “Because we talked about precisely that when we went to fetch dinner.” He seems calmer and sips from his coffee again. “Specially about how you have helped me and respected me even though I went against your wishes regarding that bill,” I say. For a moment he doubts, then he says, “Of course, you’re the mother of my granddaughter, you’re family.”

“Right?” I say. “That’s what I thought too. We can always solve our problems because we’re family. We can work them out.” He seems uncomfortable. Just as he’s about to open his mouth, I say, looking at my friend from school “So how come you ratted all my plans to the regional commissar?” Uncle’s eyes are wide open. “What do you mean I ratted you out?” my friend from school answers. “I’ve been there for you, always. I swear—” “You threw me under the fire-insurance-scheme bus so you could get a-away scot-free!” I interrupt her, striking the table with my fist.

She begins to tear, and I keep ramming. “You’ve been by my side all these years for what? Scorpion! You-you’ve stung my back and sunk us both.” She’s crying. “P-please, it wasn’t me, stop it.” She grabs me but I push her away. “Don’t touch me, I don’t want to see you ever again.” “Please—” she begs. “The only one I can trust right now is uncle, he’s the only one who tried to save me from disgrace. He’s the only one who understood the value of trust.”

My friend from school wipes her tears, stands up and looks at me. “You know what? Have it your way. I’ll leave now and go to the police and I’ll tell them everything.” Uncle stands up. “Now, let’s just calm down and—” we ignore him and keep arguing. “Go ahead, you ruined us both anyway!” I yell. “Fine, I’ll tell them all about the insurance scheme,” she starts. “Good!” I reply. “And about how we framed and murdered ‘the arsonist,’” she goes on. “Sure!” I yell even louder. “Girls, stop, let’s be reasonable here,” uncle tries to budge in. “Also about what you did to your husband, I’m sure everyone will want to know that one!”

“Wait what?” asks uncle. “Nothing, nothing,” I say. “What did she mean? Did you… did you cheat on him?” he asks, outraged. I smile and say “No, uncle, I didn’t cheat on him.” “Do you want to know what she did?” asks my friend from school. She’s not crying anymore. “Are you sure?” I ask. He doesn’t look good. “I had that sleazy scumbag killed.” His face turns pale. His baked-potato wife looks at me in horror. “No, it’s not possible, you couldn’t—” He says, but I interrupt him. “I met with one of the looneys,” I go on. “No, stop,” he begs. “I told him he was a monster.” “Please, don’t do this to me—” he says, sitting down. “Hey!” I interrupt him. “Look at me when I’m speaking.”

He looks at me with heart-filled hatred. He looks ready to rip my heart out. “I did it and I would do it again. Your precious nephew was a disgusting, coward murderer. I spit on his grave.” Then I spit on the floor. “I knew it, I f-wording knew it,” says uncle. “It was just too perfect for you. Somehow I knew, deep down I knew it was you. F-wording b-word.” I smile. “There it is. How you truly are, just like your nephew.” He threatens me pointing with his finger. His wife starts crying, or at least tries to. “Don’t you dare say another f-wording word about him. I’m going to—” but he restrains himself.

“To what?” I ask. “You killed me politically, this is just payback.” His face turns to amazement. “Did you… Wait—” he says, confused. “We know it was you who rallied the protests,” says my friend from school. “You two are f-wording crazy. Good thing you’re done.” I smile and sit down. “You are pathetic,” I say. “Just like your nephew—” “I told you, don’t talk about him again!” He yells standing up. “.. and just like your little niece.” He and his wife look at me. “No,” he says, his anger instantly boiling away. “Hmm, your niece, yes, she was weak.” “No, no, no, you didn’t,” he says.

“Maybe I omitted some… facts about what happened that day.” He takes his hands to his face. As I talk, I pull out my phone and start going through it. “You see, after I left her I came back because I felt bad. I stepped in and saw her at the sofa staring at the bottle of pills. I sat down and we talked about how she had messed up. Her ‘plans’ for the future were a simple, normal life. Maybe have kids, get a regular job.” I play an audio clip on my phone. The sound reaches everyone in the room. “It was right then I realized she was… expendable, and when I realized where the conversation was going, I started taping it, just in case.”

The voices sound distorted, partly because it was filmed through my pocket. “… there’s nowhere to go from here,” says my dead girlfriend. Uncle’s eyes light up, hearing his niece again. “Our lives are over,” says my recorded voice. “We might as well lay down and… No, I better not say it.” “Say it, finish that thought,” she begs. “And… die,” says my trembling voice. “Those pills, hand them over,” I say on the tape. “No!” she cries to me. “Do it!” my voice commands again. Finally the sound of the pill bottle cracked open. “Don’t do it,” she says again, crying now, then louder.

“I chucked about sixteen pills then,” I say. Everyone at the table stares at me in disbelief. “Oh… my… god…” my dead girlfriend stutters as she cries. “I love you,” says my voice. “Come with me, we’ll be together.” The phone echoes her whimpers. Then there’s the sound of me running to the bathroom and puking my guts out, flushing the toilet and returning to her. “What are you doing?” she asked. “I thought we…”

“I changed my mind,” says my voice. “But I-I t-took the pills,” says her shattered voice. “The thing is, I don’t love you,” says my voice. “You b-word!” shouts uncle, but I simply turn up the volume on my phone as I smile. “No… y-you don’t, you don’t mean that…” my dead girlfriend stutters, crying. “You are weak, you always complain… you disgust me.” “For f-word’s sake!” yells uncle, standing up. “Stop!” my dead girlfriend says again, but then simply starts crying as I speak. “I only used you for who your uncle is, I never cared about your stupid face. And seriously, you’re really boring in bed, always going for my boobs like, what the f-word? You don’t know how many orgasms I’ve faked.”

“That’s it!” shouts uncle going for me. His baked-potato wife is between us, so he has to push her chair aside to chase me. That gives me time to start running. Our apartment is so large he chases me through his office, the kitchen, our living room, my bedroom, the guest bedroom, and back again. He runs after me knife in hand. He wants to kill me. But he doesn’t realize he’s old, unused to exercise and pumped with caffeine (of which I also put some in the pork chops, woops.) After a couple of minutes he has to stop to catch his breath. I stop too and speak to him.

“Aren’t you scared your heart will explode?” I ask. “Sh-shut up!” he struggles to say. “I put some cocaine in your pork chops, your heart rate must be through the roof!” Then there’s silence as he catches his breath. “F-wording… I’ll get you when—” “All those obstructed arteries blocking your blood, slowly bringing you to collapse.” I hear his breathing getting more difficult. He’s come close to me. He throws himself at me, but instead falls flat on the living room’s floor, face-down.

I flip him like a pancake and stand over him. I step on the hand holding the knife until he releases it and I kick it away. His eyes are out of his sockets, he’s holding his left arm with his right. My friend from school joins me. She has set his wife’s chair so she can watch. “Die,” I say calmly. “Die,” my friend from school says. “Die,” we start chanting. “F-word youu!” he finally says before his face collapses into a blank stare.