Off-Kilter

By @ShilahTLaCoe

Off-Kilter

By @ShilahTLaCoe

End of Summer Short Story Submission! I used the prompt: As soon as I took a sip, I knew it was poison. Sydney wanted to help her long-lost friend, Sabina, take down her rapist, but what she didn't expect was for her former best friend to hate her enough that she wanted her dead.

Chapter 1

Time seemed to slow as Sabina handed me my drink and smirked while I pressed the lip of the glass to my mouth. As soon as I took a sip, I knew it was poison. My throat constricted as soon as the liquid was swallowed. Scratching at my throat didn’t help the sudden thickness of my tongue. My eyes bulged at the person I thought was my best friend.

“I hate you. Did you know that?”

I just stared at her. What could I say around my swelling tongue?

“You, and girls like you. Don’t have to work for nothing. Never had anything bad happen to you. You just go through life like it was given especially for you to take. I ******* hate it.” Hatred dripped from her lips with a snarl as she ripped my poisoned glass from the bar and stalked over to the sink.

Through my nose, I took a deep breath and tried not to choke on the piss-poor bar stench. At least I could still breathe, but not for long. We came here so we would be alone and discuss how we’d get to Ryan, Sabina’s rapist. We were going to kill him tonight. Now, I would most likely die in the liquor spills drying stickily on the wooden panels.

“No one’s ever hurt you, or touched you when you’ve said no, or ignored you when you told them to stop.” She continued, carefully cleaning my glass with steaming water and soap.

The glass sung as she placed it back on the rack by the display of bottles.

“Why me?” I managed, swallowing becoming harder by the second.

She snorted and leaned herself on the bar watching me struggle. “Because you had it all and threw it in my face every chance you got.”

I made a face, knowing she’d explain. I just needed to keep her talking. If I could just click my phone’s emergency button three times…

“Your perfect stay-at-home mom, successful daddy and big house full of food. You didn’t want for nothing. And all you wanted to do was hang out at home and invite us over to see your stupid, perfect life. Every night, I wanted to strangle you in your sleep. But I waited.”

“Psycho-Sabina,” I pushed out, swollen tongue running into teeth. “Always off-kilter.”

Slap! Her breath came out heavily. “Don’t call me that.”

Pain electrocuted my cheek. I placed my cold hands on the sting, but went on, “You know who was the only one that didn’t believe them?”

“I don’t care about what you believed.”

A laugh only huffed through my nose. I struggled to say, “I bet you’d care that Ryan isn’t…” The bottles on the wall turned 45 degrees and blurred green, amber, and silver. My head rolled towards bar and the silent room was now filled with static singing. I closed my eyes and didn’t open them again.

The next night, darkness shrouded me while I sat waiting in a plush used recliner away from the window. It had to be his favorite chair. Unnatural warmth leaked from the leather under me. I stilled when I heard the lock unlatch from across the room. I willed the shadows to cover me a little while longer.

Ryan practically ran to his little kitchen and ripped over the fridge to guzzle down a light beer. I supposed it tasted like water to him by now.

“You know, that’s probably really bad for you.”

He raised his hands in defense. “****!” Beer barely sloshed out the can and onto the floor. “Sydney? How—” He gagged and grabbed at his throat, much like I did the night before.

I smirked then tilted my head. “Ryan, I told you that it’s bad for you.” His eyes bulged at me, then he slipped to floor, his hands searching for something on the marble counters, but he didn’t find anything. I threw the knives in the trash a long time ago.

“I’m not much for playing with my food,” I told him hoisting myself out of the sunken seat and prowling towards him, “so I’ll keep this quick.” I knelt down and sneered. “You’ve caused women too much pain and it cannot go unjustified.”

I could tell he wanted to speak, but literally could not. The dose I had made for him was way more than Sabina gave me. And I didn’t just line his beer cans, I had a friend repackage his six-pack with the poison lacing the alcohol. I was just lucky that he came in and drank half the **** can without thinking twice.

“You won’t be able to rape anyone else, Ryan. Maybe you’ll do better in your next life.” Standing up, I sighed and left the apartment, “Maybe I will, too.”

The black phone pressed close to her mouth as she muttered, “Did you do it?” Sabina’s light-blue prison uniform swallowed her and her olive skin was sallow. I hated that I felt bad for her, but I did.

“Yep,” I said, trying not to look at her, to picture her smirk when she poisoned me.

The last thing I saw was her lips twitching, before she blurt out, “Good,” then walked away back to her cell to seep in her hatred for 10 more years.

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