Tiffany Hawkins: Watching From the Darkest Places

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The pistol shook in Tiffany's hand. As hard as she tried, she could not keep it straight. Her fingers curled over the trigger. Sweat ran down her brow, down her cheek. She tried, so hard, to look hard and cold and unfeeling – just like the monster standing in front of her.

It proved a difficult task.

"I only slept about an hour this morning," she told him, breaking the painful silence. Her voice was strong and clear. Tiffany wasn't sure how she would sound as soon as she opened her mouth, but was grateful that she didn't give away how scared she was at that moment.

She continued, "Amongst everything that has gone on in my life, there was really only one thing that kept me awake."

Frederick looked at her unblinking. She wasn't scaring him, she could tell. The light from the lamp of the magnifying machine cast shadows on his face. Depending on where he stood, he looked like he had no eyes, and the shadow that his long nose cast reminded her of the Child Snatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

"I was chased and almost killed by some undead cannibals. I was chased and almost killed by a boogeyman, the one that did something so awful in my past that it still comes back to haunt me to this day. I survived two attacks yesterday, but there was one attack that happened that ... I don't feel like I survived it at all."

Tiffany allowed a tear to roll down her cheek. She still maintained the pitch of her voice, but some of the words trailed off at the end. It was agonising for her to talk about, but she knew she had to. This was the moment she needed to relieve her soul.

She didn't ask Frederick to come, yet here he was. She knew she should have expected it. He was about to speak, but Tiffany silenced him.

"I don't know how long you've been following me. I don't really care. But this ends today. This ends now."

"Are you going to kill me, my Tiffany?" He said in a smooth, smarmy tone. His arrogance enraged her.

"Yes, Frederick Valentine. I am going to kill you."

He smiled all the more. He loved it when she said his name – his full name, like he was a naughty schoolboy. That fantasy played in his mind.

"But you made me suffer, so much," she continued. This time her voice did break. "You violated me, worse than anybody who has ever tried to kill me. You're worse than the cannibals, than the monsters. You've made me suffer. You're constantly in the back of my mind. What you did to me..."

Frederick tried to move closer to her but she glared and pointed the gun straight. "Then I would say a job well done on my part," he said. "You've given me everything I've ever wanted. You admit that you think about me. You love me."

Tiffany gave a pitiful laugh. "Oh don't flatter yourself! The only thing I feel for you is pure loathing. Red hot hate. You have brought out the worst in me, because I've never wanted to kill anybody before."

"Really? And your friend Brenda? The one who stole your boyfriend before he had time to take your virginity?"

Tiffany shrugged. "She's a bitch, I give her that. But she could never sink to your level of utter evil."

"Are you saying you didn't enjoy our love-making?" Frederick said, in a way that sounded like he was proud. He taunted her, and she knew it.

"You raped me," she said. The words, while they felt condemning, stabbed her for only a moment. It was the first time she had said the words out loud and admitted it. And it wasn't until she could say the words out loud that she could finally have the courage to overcome it.

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