by Michael Whelan
Finding Brenda's house wasn't hard at all. She was never protective about her whereabouts or her privacy. It was just a matter of stalking her for a little while, and that was it.
Brenda lived in a small Victorian house on a quiet little street surrounded by trees filled with golden leaves, a few blocks from Main Street. Mr. Glass wouldn't find any difficulty in getting in, and probably no one would ever know he was there.
The clock kept its tick-tock while Mr. Glass slipped quickly from behind the door. Brenda was lying in her bed, unaware of what perils the dark of the night could unleash, especially that night… such a pitch black one. The dark, moonless night was like a giant octopus spreading its tentacles of pure shadow through windowsills and door cracks, pouring its darkness on everything. Mr. Glass had some light, though; a sharp blade of immaculate steel which shone like a light bulb. It was also a mirror in which Mr. Glass could see his devious smile reflected.
He’d done it before, twice. Before and after stabbing and slashing Alice. It was like a metaphor. He was clean and shining white before but then, after taking a life in such a gruesome manner, he became corrupted once his flesh was covered in thick blood. Reddish like a demon.
The clock kept up its tick-tock. Mr. Glass went on. He walked slowly, counting each step until he stopped only a few inches from his victim’s bed. Now it was time; time for him to claim the whore's life. It was rightfully his. The knife was ready as he raised the armed hand above his head. A single motion would make the blade go through Brenda’s skull in a split second. Yet Mr. Glass didn't make a move; not a single move. Even his breath was silenced. He had to wait for the proper moment. It could take several minutes, or perhaps only a couple.
It once kept him waiting for nearly one hour, ten years before. But despite of how long it could take, it would be, once again, worthy. Mr. Glass was anticipating that very moment when Brenda would finally open her eyes. In a split second, her blurry sight would reveal the menacing figure of Mr. Glass and then her eyes would be sparkling with fear. In that moment, when she could realize her helplessness and feel her deepest fear, Mr. Glass would stab and slash, and slash again. Puncturing and shredding the flesh, pouring blood all over the floor and walls. Just like before. These two, Brenda Hayes and Eric Glass, have never met before. He was going through the usual routines of job hunting and she was a receptionist at the building in which the accounting office where Glass was interview was located. There was a whole set of rules to follow while dealing with a visitor, or a worker or someone delivering supplies, and Brenda hadn't had time enough to get used to it. She was new — very new — at this job, and as for that, made a silly mistake, which was to treat the visitors, workers and errand boys as friends. It wasn't difficult, as Brenda was naturally a tender person with a gift for smiling and bringing down the walls that some people erect for protection.
It worked for a while, until Brenda ran into a protective wall made of glass. “Excuse me, sir… could I ask for a bit of your time?” The voice was loud but sweet; tender. The kind of voice that should be a part of a pretty girl’s qualities: bright eyes, soft, slightly wavy hair and reddish lips. Mr. Glass had just entered the building and as the receptionist was a woman, he didn't dare ask for help. In fact he couldn't even look at her, apart from a short-lived glance enough to reveal her gender.
“Hello there! Would you like some help? Are you lost?”
“You can talk to me! No need to be shy.”
Mr. Glass finally gathered enough courage to look at her, and he saw that she was far more beautiful than her voice indicated. But then he also noticed how much Brenda and Alice were alike. This disturbed him so much that he kept his eyes moving. Downwards, upwards, unable to meet her gaze. Like Alice, Brenda was like a brilliant little sun.
“My name is Brenda. May I ask yours? Are you here for a job interview?”
“Yes, I'm here... to... to meet Mr. Reynolds... from the Reynolds Company.” He drew slightly closer. “It’s an accounting firm... you know, they do... uh…”
“Let me guess... accounting?” said Brenda with an even brighter smile. “What’s your name, sir?”
“My name is… uh…” Mr. Glass was about to tell her his name, but suddenly he could remember was his grandmother telling him in a raspy voice how dirty and cheap all women were. He also remembered how the beautiful Alice brought him down to the Abyss. So many years wasted in a nut yard.
“All whores... they’re all whores,” his Grandmother Abigail would say to him repeatedly, restlessly, as if she was trying to paint her words into his soul. “All these ordinary women wouldn't mind to let a unknown man stick his tongue in their mouths or sticking his penis in their filthy holes just for fun... it’s the Devil's work, my son... evil deeds... filthy!” These words came spilling out of Mr. Glass suddenly, and he left the office in the same way.
Brenda was confused. “Mister...?” she muttered, but Mr. Glass was long gone. The wind blew the autumn leaves, knocking them from the tops of the trees as a shattered Mr. Glass kept walking at a desperately fast pace, stumbling on the flat ground. Inside of his already disturbed and frail mind, too many thoughts kept spinning in a turmoil. Too many feelings, blending into a pitch black goo. Brenda was beautiful, and sweet, and had such a bright smile. She was stunningly beautiful, like Alice. Such a pretty girl would catch the attention of many men. Many. Tall, handsome, confident men, sporting the very same kind of smile as Brenda and Alice. “It isn’t a pretty smile, it’s a cheap one,” thought Mr. Glass. “Cheap... you were just trying to seduce me, and then you would have dumped me... yes, you would have... just like Alice.”
Mr. Glass was now filled with rage. From his grayish eyes, tears kept flowing. His pace picked up; he was rushing through the streets now. He was almost sprinting when he finally stumbled over something. His face hit the ground hard, but he didn’t feel the pain. Even when he was, again, shattered. Thirteen years before, Eric Glass had been a lean man in his early twenties with pale skin and gray eyes. He kept his hair short — sometimes too short, just as his grandmother had told him to keep it. “Respectable Christian men never wear their hair long.”
He had just married a light-eyed brunette girl from the same church because they were caught “playing a nasty game of some sort,” as the pastor told the congregation. The girl, Alice, was seventeen at the time, but even being six years younger than Eric, she knew very much what they were doing, and didn't feel bad about the sight of the white, viscous drops on her face and hands. In fact she felt really good about it, and so did Eric. But according to Mrs. Abigail Glass, Eric’s grandmother, feeling good by doing such things was a sin, an evil deed, and evil deeds demand punishment. By performing libidinous acts without being married, Eric was forced to pray restlessly, kneeling on small pieces of granite rock. As Eric´s knees bled, Grandma Abigail felt pride, but even so was unable to praise Eric. Righteousness needed strength, and flattery was a shortcut to weakness. As a married man, Eric felt happiness; for the first time in his life, sexual desire was not a sin. Alice, on the other hand, was inconsolable. She was too young to get married; there were so many hot guys for her to meet. But the worst part is that she didn't feel a thing for Eric Glass. He was too sallow and skinny, his laugh too googy and his clothes and haircut were beyond ridiculous.
“This retard thinks a handjob is proof of love,” said Alice to her best friend, who replied, laughing: “If you had given him a blowjob, he’d think of you as the love of his life.”
“Don't even joke about it... living with this loser would be like living in hell… if he falls for me, things would be even worse!”
“Sorry, didn’t mean to take you down.”
“It’s fine, I know it… But what you just said is not far from the truth.”
“Why is that?”
“When he came, he touched my face… there was something in his eyes.”
“No... not again!” yelled Alice at Eric.
“ I'm sorry... I'm sorry!”
“Come on, Eric! You can’t even hold back until I cum?! Is that too much to ask?!”
“Alice! Don't say dirty things like that!”
“Oh, God! You can't have sex, you can't do anything properly! And you know what?! I’m going to go and take a shower to remove the filth that you left inside me!”
He was silent.
They had been married for two years now. Alice, in fact, did the best she could to keep things together; she tried to be a good wife and even tried to at least like Eric. But so far everything had gone from bad to unbearable. Eric had failed to keep a decent job, even though he had a college degree. He also had failed to please his wife in bed. Even his faith had left him; as he tried to pray, Eric couldn’t feel the Lord by his side any more. Everything was falling apart.
One night Eric went to bed willing to make love to Alice. He tried to caress her shoulders, his shaky hand drawing a line around her belly in a futile effort to embrace her from behind.
Alice had denied sex to Eric for six months by that time. She made a dissatisfied sound, and even in her sleep, removed his hand from her body. He felt a strange taste in his mouth, and his heartbeat became erratic. “No... not again,” he thought. “Please... not again.”
He tried to embrace her again, and again and again. She kept pushing his arms away to the point that, with her blue eyes barely open, she told him, “Stop it!” No sign of rage, but instead the words were followed by a long sigh. He felt like his touch was as boring as getting in line to the checkout line at the grocer’s.
“I’m sorry... I didn't mean to bother you...”
“Yes, well, you did!”
“Sorry. I was just trying to... I mean... I miss...”
“Sorry, honey, but if you have a problems with letting me sleep, either you look for help or go take a nap on the couch.”
“It’s up to you. Now, if you don't mind, I have an early day tomorrow.”
Then the silence. He hated the silence. It made him remember when his grandmother used to lock him in a dark room for days at a time after telling him the same old tale about Sodom and Gomorrah. God, he really hated silence. But even worse, he couldn't be pushed away. It was too much to bear. Too much to bear...
Eric felt strange. Numb, yet tears were streaming from his eyes. The bloody knife in his hand. Blood on his hands. Blood all over. Dark red stains, pools of it, already beginning to dry. A metallic stench, growing ever stronger. Even so, he didn't seem to feel bothered by it. He was numb.
There in front of him lay Alice. She was still alive, but not for long. Even with the pain and despair on her face, it wasn't hard to remember how bright her smile had been, and how pretty she could be while she smiled. But she wasn't going to smile; never again. Her skin was already growing pale and her delicate lips turning slowly to a deep purple. She felt cold. She felt fear. And more than the pain caused by the knife wounds, she was crying from fear.
“I... I can... I can s-survive this... maybe.... a... little... little disabled, or...” The thoughts crossed her mind in flashes. She wanted to believe. From despair, hope was emerging.
“M-maybe if I... if I...”
Suddenly the hope was eclipsed by the shadow of Eric Glass.
“Oh, my Lord!” she thought for the last time. Abigail Glass felt the Lord wasn't by her side for the first time in her life, and with that, her heart simply stopped beating. No doctor could find out the real reason for her demise. She simply sat on her couch, and after murmuring, “It was an evil deed, an evil deed,” Abigail died.
The pastor and the other church members thought of demonic possession as the only reason that Eric Glass would have stabbed his wife to death. “It was the work of Beelzebub,” the pastor kept saying. Also considered a deed performed by Beelzebub was the early demise of Abigail Glass, the righteous lady who raised her only grandson to be a truly Christian man.
“But the Devil is cunning, my brothers! We must keep watching our backs! Even the ones who fear and love the Lord are not untouchable to the fallen one! We must watch and pray.”
Brenda opened her eyes. It took an eternity until they spotted Mr. Glass. The muscles of his hands and arms were beginning to ache, but when she finally saw him, her face showed the most disturbing expression of horror that could be imagined.
Mr. Glass noticed Brenda had blue eyes, and now they became filled with tears of despair and fear. “You... you’re the guy from...”
Brenda tried to speak, but before she could finish her sentence, Mr. Glass smiled and said to her the same thing he had said to Alice: “Don´t be afraid, my love…”
“Multiple stab wounds,” said the doctor to Mrs. Anna Hayes, Brenda's mother. “Your daughter is in an induced coma.”
“Oh, God,” was the only understandable word said in her trembling voice. The doctor proceed to give her a further explanation of how each of the multiple thrusts damaged her liver, kidneys and so on.
“The assailant even aimed for her eyes, but it seems he couldn't hit them.” Anna felt the urge to strangle the doctor, but she was so tired, so terribly tired. The police had asked too many questions: Was she dating someone? Ex-boyfriend? Ex-husband? Was she seeing someone who had been... you know, committed?
“Oh, God! No! Of course not! What kind of girl do you think my daughter is, damn you...? Damn all of you!
“Calm down, Mrs. Hayes.”
“How do you expect me to calm down when you are treating my daughter as she is the criminal?! Are you out of your mind?! She is in a coma!”
“Some crazy man just broke into her home and tried to slaughter her like a pig...”
“Oh, God... oh, dear God...” Anna was crying again. From the very moment she learned what happened to her daughter, she could do nothing more. She couldn't eat or sleep, only cry and cry and cry.
The officer tried to comfort her, while at the same time attempting to explain how unlikely it was that someone would try to kill a woman like that for no reason. It didn't matter. Nothing else mattered. The only thing Anna could think about, the only thing she could pray for, was for her daughter to recover.