The Beast

by Jennifer Ann Margaret Patino

“Are you ready?”

The breath she takes in proves so.

Weapon drawn, he kicks open the door to their bedroom to face the beast.

The beast had been with them since before they got together. They didn’t know this, of course. They went along, as couples usually do, having no inkling of a clue of the dark force watching them. Waiting for them. The beast had patience. The beast could wait to devour.

The new house had been perfect. Just what both wanted. Just what both needed. Just enough seclusion to block the world out so they could just be. Be together. Be happy. Be in love.

The beast showed its face for the first time on a beach for the couple’s six month anniversary. It bared its teeth and terrified them. They ran. They fought it. They thought they’d won.

They were wrong.

Here they are fighting with all they have again. The beast is lashing out this time. Foaming at the mouth, snarling, biting, tormenting the woman over and over again, and the man can only watch as she is shred apart.

In the past, when the beast was especially angry, the man could only sit outside the door and cry and pound on it until his knuckles bled and he screamed and cried in agony for feeling so helpless. So powerless. So out of control.

Everything they tried to do to rid themselves of the monster forever was to no avail. First, no one believed them anyway.

“You guys are crazy…just chill,” was the consensus of their friends.

The church said they weren’t praying enough. Their families didn’t even want to answer their phone calls anymore. They had had enough.

The young couple decided they had had enough too. Both of them. This beast would be slain tonight. They came up with a plan quickly. A better idea. A better way. It would be easy. It had to be easy.

The woman was the bait.

He points his gun at her. He has no choice for he can’t see the beast. The beast is and always has been invisible.

He watches, shaking as she cries out to him. “Just do it!”

Her tear stained face is not enough for him. The bedroom that was once an artsy love nest has been destroyed. The man’s eyes dart around the room, taking it all in and trying to find something to let him know where the vicious force is so he can just shoot it. Wound it maybe? Hopefully kill it. Could the beast even be killed?

All these thoughts and so much more race in his muddled brain. The whiskey he drank before even entering the room isn’t enough to give him courage. The piercing screams from his wife aren’t enough either. Something has to be done. And fast.

The woman suddenly throws an ashtray near him. This isn’t part of the plan, but he trusts her intuition. Before either can blink he is facing the beast and fires off a shot. Three shots.

Glass shatters, she screams louder and the beast suddenly takes hold of her, lifts her off the bed, and slams her on the ground. She kicks, she punches, she does her best to roll away. She’s dying.

The gun is on the ground now. The man scrambles for it. The woman can barely see it as blood fills her eyes.

Her hand reaches out to him to help her, but the beast is not giving up. It’s not stopping. Its blows keep raining upon her. She is incapable.

The man realizes it’s now or never for the gun is so close and all fears he had of just firing blindly are now gone. He didn’t want to have to kill his own wife. He didn’t want it to come to this. She is going to die anyway, he thinks. I can’t save her from this.

He pulls himself away, gun in hand, and points it at her again.

This time she isn’t crying. This time she is not afraid. She nods.

The man places the gun to his head, pulls the trigger, and falls to the ground.

The woman stares wildly at the space where the beast once stood.

The breath she takes in this time means freedom.

Jennifer Patino loves to write. She started at age six and many have tried to stop her since. She often feels forced writing is crap and hates rules and regulations. If you feel like it, drop her a line on Facebook. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband.

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