We have put out an instagram prompt on our instagram which was “She pulled out the knife…” and are delighted it inspired Mona AlKhateeb to write this short story for the website. We hope you enjoy “Him”

She wanted them to just stay quiet and still for once. She couldn’t handle it anymore. She wanted it all to end. She wanted him to shut up, once and for all; she wanted him to bleed. His voice was ringing in her ears, shouting and roaring his orders and commands as though his life’s depended on it–even though all he ever asked for was a glass of water. His words resonated through the emptiness of her mind, echoing through the void he’s promised to fill up inside of her, but instead only made bigger and bigger until it consumed all the life that was left inside of her. He said he would love her, would protect her, would take care of her, but he was the only monster she’s ever needed protection from–until now. Now, she needed protection from herself; she could trust herself with The Beast no longer.
She wanted to make him bleed, and the internal monologue inside her head just wouldn’t shut down and go back to where it belonged: the silence. She wanted him to hurt, the same way he’s made her hurt. She wanted him dead. She couldn’t resist this craving inside of her to see the life run out of his eyes until there would be no more left inside his hazel irises.
She headed for the kitchen. Her steps were in the form of the bitter tiptoes she had to take every morning so he wouldn’t wake up. She was afraid, but she didn’t stop, especially as he was snoring through his nose the way his pig of a father did when she was younger. She wanted him dead, and this was her chance.
“He took his sleeping pills, so he’s not supposed to feel a thing, is he?”
She walked, making sure not to make a single sound in the middle of the dreary night, hoping he wouldn’t wake to the sound of her palpitations and shallow breathing. She walked, barely viewing any of the vases and tables in the dark, hoping her human night vision would work the way that of bats and owls does when the sun sets. She walked, no slippers on, even though the cold’s transparently transferred itself from the base of her foot to her fingertips. She walked until she finally reached the kitchen door; it took her a full 5 minutes to make her point of arrival, although it would have typically only taken 26 seconds from their bedroom to the kitchen in the broad daylight.
She headed to the cabinet, and suddenly stood still, recounting the amount of breaths she took comfortably in the past 2 minutes: 6. She needed to stop and breathe before she advanced through the kitchen hallway. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Stop. Something moved outside. She tiptoed again, back to the living room with all the paper towels and crayons scattered across the floor. She steps on a Lego. Crap. She remembered to put her hand on her mouth so she wouldn’t make a single sound. It must have been the wind. 3 minutes to tiptoe back to the LED lights of the kitchen.
“Breathe”, she mentally reminded her self. So she went back to breathing. One. Two. Three. Four. Okay. That’s enough. She needed a knife. Maybe a pair of gloves. She wanted to live after this, not spend a lifetime behind bars, exchanging packs of cigarettes and pennies for small favors with the rest of the inmates. She wanted to live a life, not simply survive right after she took the life of another–after she took the life of The Beast.
She did not belong behind these walls and chains; she belonged elsewhere, perhaps behind the steel cuffs of corporate slavery and boxed offices with paperwork and folders held together with copper clips. She belonged under circumstances of 9 to 5 and meeting rooms, not in the place she stood at on that very moment, under bright lights, having a difficult time choosing between a butcher’s knife or a carving fork. She still needed those latex gloves. Upper cupboard on the lefthand-side. On. She went for the butcher’s knife; she needed to make sure she could cut through the thick skin he hid beneath–he was just a coward that knew nothing but the force of violence to prove himself of any worth at all.
This was the man she has been sworn under oath to care for, but this was the same man who has crushed her fingers and broken her hipbone; the same man who claimed that the cause of injury was nothing but a fall off a long staircase. This was the man she was raised side-by-side with, the man she often mistook for her brother when she was only a child of 7, the man she let beat up the neighbor’s boy when he called her ugly; this was the man she was fated to bring an end to.
She cut off her train of thoughts and discontinued all the sweet memories about The Beast; he wasn’t worth her loving anymore. She advanced, again. She walked for 8 minutes back to their bedroom, her heart beating in her hands, intensely throbbing through her fingers, begging itself to calm down; The Beast could hear dogs like himself bark blocks away. She walked. She walked until she finally reached the door.
She wanted him dead. She wanted to make him bleed. “I will make him bleed”, was the only thing that ran through her head. She carefully pushed down the door’s golden handle with her latex covered hand, until the door gently opened. She walked. She made sure not to hit her head against the ebony cabinet on her right. She wanted him dead. He snored and snorted, and all she wanted was for his breath to be aborted. It will be. She walked.

She approached his bed.
She got on the bed, from her own side, and started a slow march on her knees to his side. It was pitch dark–so dark that it was even in the sense that needles could not make a single sound from the excess of darkness. She climbed on his limbs. He only squirmed. This was her chance. With all the force her arms could muster, she struck on the middle of his face, and she saw the horror in his eyes as they flipped open, but it was too late, and he was bleeding like he had just–
“What are you doing mummy?”, a voice approached. The curtains were open. It was midday. “Who are you?”, she asked. “It’s me, mummy; don’t you know me?”; it was a boy of merely 4 with his football in hand. She looked underneath her. She was covered in goose feathers and humiliation. It was him again.


Author: Mona AlKhateeb


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