We saw each other from across the bar. Some old drunk was shouting and screaming about being cut off. I’d been in there working since lunch but he was there long before me. He’s not relevant anyway, sorry. I looked at him, this drunk guy. So did she. It sounds cliched but our eyes met and there was just something that sparked. I went up to her and introduced myself. She said her name was Jen. I bought her a drink and we took it from there.
I’m guessing you want more detail. What we talked about and what happened.
It was normal, I guess. We started off laughing together about the old guy. He was being thrown out by someone from behind the bar. For someone who isn’t relevant he seems quite important in setting all this up, doesn’t he? Anyway, that’s how it all started and then we began talking about ourselves. She said that she was a teacher at St. Patrick’s. Six-year olds. She loves, loved, that job. We got on really well; I think anyway. She was meant to be going out with one of her friends, Kate I believe, but she cancelled at the last minute so Jen went out on her own. She was celebrating something that had happened at work. I can’t remember what it was, I’m sorry. We had a lot to drink and some things are still a bit fuzzy.
Anyway, she started asking about what I was doing. I had a big laptop bag with me and a few dozen notepads with barely legible writing all over them. I showed her one of the books and we talked about what it meant. Notes for my next novel. Jen and I spoke for quite a while about that. Probably about an hour. We talked about what I was writing, what I’d written before. She even asked if she might have read it. Nobody read my last book. I was beginning to think that she was just pitying me, asking me these things because she was awkward and didn’t know what else to say. I said that it was getting late and that I should probably head out. She didn’t want me to go. She wanted me to help her celebrate. She’s a really sweet girl. Was a really sweet girl.
We kept drinking. Two or three quickly became half-a-dozen. She was putting them away like a champ. I guess she was really excited about this work thing. We kinda stopped talking at this point. Everything became a game. There was football on the TV and anytime someone in the pub got too excited we’d have to drink. Whenever someone ordered a drink and didn’t say please or thanks, we’d drink. Anything we could think of became a challenge. We were pretty much constantly drinking at this stage. When the match was nearly finished we had one last game. If one team won she’d have to kiss me. If the other won I’d have to kiss her. If it was a draw then we’d have to kiss each other. It ended three-one.
From there it was amazing. We kissed and I don’t think we stopped. We left then and there, and went to get a taxi. Our hands were all over each other. Constantly, just everywhere we could get them. We got in the taxi and only stopped kissing for the moment she told the driver where to go. I think, if I’d let her, we would have had sex there. She kept trying to get my clothes off me. It was only a couple of minutes to her place. Thank God.
We got there and I think we both threw whatever money we had at the driver. We didn’t even stop to count it or ask how much it was. Just threw a handful of notes at him. We went in and our clothes came off before the door was shut. I don’t think we even made it to the bedroom the first time. We couldn’t keep off each other. Honestly, it was the best night of my life. We eventually made it to the bed. I didn’t use protection. It didn’t even enter our minds to. We were just so focused on each other and what we were doing. It was amazing. It really was. At some point in the early hours I fell asleep.
When I woke up my head was pounding. I felt really rough. It all went away when I remembered where I was. And who I was with. I rolled over and she was there. Her eyes wide open. I’ll never forget that look on her face. Blood was dried on her cheeks like it’d come from her eyes. Her mouth was frozen open and twisted. I tried to shake her awake. I called her name again and again. She was cold. Stiff. I called an ambulance. And I waited. That’s everything that I know.
“Okay,” the officer says, “thanks for that. It’s looking like a heart attack at the minute. Jen had a heart problem since birth and it had been getting worse. Almost like this is one last hurrah before the end.” The officer flips through some notes in front of her. “We’re going to keep you in until we get some of the tests back but we’re pretty sure it’s natural causes.”
Jennifer was always fated to die tonight. No matter what she had done, now was her time.
She was on my list.
She deserved better than to die alone, miserable. She was a truly good soul, one of the few. I couldn’t save her, I can’t save any of them. But I can just make the last day of the worthy something that they’ll cherish. For Jen, it was this. For the next one it’ll be something else.
It’s not much, but it’s all I can do before my brothers arrive on their horses.
© 2017 David Chitty
David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.