Mercy Williams

It used to be just a game.

In fact, it was one that her husband supported. He would pour over newspapers or ask around, helping her find a wedding, before going with her to pick out the dresses and driving her to the venues.

(On their wedding night, he had given her a piece of polished obsidian: small, black and slightly translucent if held to light. Don’t break it, he warned. What you’d be left with would have edges sharper than razors. She kept it with her, always. In her pocket, and in her handbag when there were no pockets for her to slot it into.)

The game began the moment she steps into the venue, the first time she catches the groom’s eye. Depending on how well they do on the initial test, it could be over as soon as it began.

Or it could last until their last night together.

It was always just a game, though. Playing with their hearts and their lives, before cutting the thread and ending it.

(It was fun, smiling shyly at them, giving them a hint of what they could have, luring them into bed – their bed, always. She loved the irony. It would be their deathbeds, after all. And, the looks on their wives’ faces when they discover their husband’s dead body, stripped bare and covered in hickeys, all the evidences there further incriminating them even without the note she’d leave for them to find… She always stayed the night, just for that, to see them understand, before slipping away, swallowed by the shadows.)

It stayed just a game until she discovered her husband in their bed with another.

(Her heart shattered, and, it made sense for her to shatter it – it was poetic justice.)

He was her third kill.

(She’ll never forget the relief on his face when she pulled him into their bed with her, telling her that she’d erase every trace of the other woman from him before muttering the sweet nothings that truly meant nothing now that she saw.)

For a while, after him, she had fallen into a rut – she had truly loved him, after all. Still did, if she was honest with herself, but.

(The betrayal on his face when she dug the shard in and drew it along the median septum, breaking his heart by splitting it – it made her want to claw that look off his face. To yell and scream at him that he had no right to look like she had betrayed him, not when he was the one who betrayed her. He had no right, he was the one who broker her heart and killed her that night, all those promises and vows, their future, the plans, the games -)

He lied.

(He deserved it.)

That was what eventually spurred her back into action.

(Broken hearts weren’t the crippling things people told you they were, she realised – they were scalpels that cut away weaknesses, leaving behind only who you truly were, shielded by an armor of shards.)

So she got back into the game, searching for weddings and dresses and driving there (alone, alone, alone…), except –

(He’d put a hammer to her heart and left behind only this: scalpel sharp pieces that sliced away the useless emotions he had taught her to feel.)

(For him, she’d tried so hard to act nice, like a lady.)

It stopped being a game.

(It became an obsession.)

She would really test them, she vowed. And if they fail, they’d truly deserve this.

(He taught her that it was good to be crazy.)

Didn’t he?

The games, the plans, the lies.

He’s gone, though – the shards aren’t.

She kept them with her, always.

(A constant reminder that no matter how good this feels, it would never compare, ever, but-)

He lied.

(And he’s gone.)

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