I’ve always had bad choice in men. They turn out to be abusive, drug addicts, convicts, and, occasionally, gay. Which was my first clue that he wasn’t all he was cracked up to be. The second was his kitchen.I sat at his table, staring at his perfectly white tablecloth that looked like it had never had a stain on it. A china cabinet sat to my left. Not one of the dishes had a single chip on it from someone setting it down too hard at Thanksgiving. A shelf of cookbooks peeked at me from the kitchen. Not a single one looked as if someone had ever opened it just to see what it would land on.He set a plate down in front of me. I smiled, trying to ignore that the apron he had just removed was clean of tomato sauce stains even though spaghetti was his favorite food. He grinned back, his teeth big, white, and perfect.My fork cut through the pasta. Before I put the food in my mouth, I prayed that I would gag, that the only thing wrong with him was mediocre cooking skills. Noodles and meat never tasted so good.So I faked it.I placed my napkin next to my plate and pushed my chair back. He raised his eyebrows. “Just getting some salt.”He pressed his palms against the table, ready to stand.“No, it’s okay. I’ve got it.” I caressed his cheek as I passed.The tile was spotless, no chips, no cracks, no hairs, no food droppings. Every other surface displayed the same.I reached my hands up, opening the first pair of cabinets. Their hinges squeaked in haunting protest. Nothing inside but stale air. I rose up on my toes to be sure. More air.I closed them slowly, and there was more squeaking. The next set of cabinets was just as empty, and the next and the next. Not a single bottle rested on the lazy Susan. I squatted and wrenched open the doors to the cupboard under the sink.Pipes spiraled back into the wall, shining as if they were still brand new. The usual arsenal of cleaning supplies seemed to have been stolen. My cheeks puffed out and then all the air rushed out, leaving me with puckered lips and no idea of what was going on.I stretched my hand toward the back of the cabinet anyway. My fingers skimmed against the wood as I reached down under the pipes. When I bumped against something, I thought it was the wall. But the surface felt too cool and smooth to the touch.Butterflies swarmed around my stomach. I moved my hand along, trying to glimpse what it was through all the metal. I found an edge and dug my fingers into it. Every time I pulled, one or three of them would slid off. I paused, glanced over my shoulder, and thrust both of my arms into the cupboard.A red gas can emerged. I held it in both my hands as I knelt between the cabinet doors. Gas splashed around inside, the stink of it reminding me of child-hood road trips.I stood slowly. Thoughts bounced around the inside of my skull. What kind of person had absolutely no food in their kitchen? What kind of person had not one bottle of cleaning solution when their house was spotless? What kind of person keeps gas hidden under the sink?“Do you need any help in there?”Everything stopped. It was like I was the little kid with their hand in the cookie jar who had just heard their mother open the kitchen door.“I can find it.” I set the can back in the cabinet and shut the doors harder than usual for emphasis.“Your food is getting cold.”“I won’t be long.”I placed each of my hands on the refrigerator doors. I checked the entrance to the dining room and opened them.Cold air smacked against my face, raising goosebumps along my exposed skin. That barely had time to register before my mouth opened, a scream building in my throat. I slapped my hand over my face, biting down on my tongue.The fridge side was empty, the see-through shelves sitting all lonely. But the freezer, the freezer was filled with pieces, pieces that might have been used to make Frankenstein.A woman’s head, severed at the base of the neck, sat on the top shelf, eyes closed. Wires protruded from it and wound down to a lower shelf, where they connected to a heart enclosed in a glass box. The heart beat slowly.A hand clamped down on my shoulder, and this time I would have allowed myself to scream, but another came down over my mouth. I twisted, trying to get away, but their grip would not release.“Do not worry,” he said. “It is not painful.”The heart started to beat faster, as the frigid air seeped out of the freezer. I watched it as he lifted my feet from the floor, backing towards the counter. It picked up the pace each second.The hand was removed from my mouth. Something moved in my peripheral vision and then a needle pricked my neck. I finally understood the fear of shots. My neck burned, my own veins attacking my body. And it spread, down through my torso, my arms, my legs.I screamed. No one could have stopped me. Over the screaming there was a pounding and I couldn’t tell if it was my heart or the one in the freezer.My eyes were drifting shut, my hands only feebly grasping at my throat, when the head opened hers. They were blue, like ice. She blinked a few times, then stared at me. Her eyes flickered up, then down, like my high school gym teacher’s had during volleyball.Her lips were chapped and they cracked when she opened them. “I'm guessing it’s too late for me to warn you he’s a robot.”
Yay! for finally finishing this story and Yay! for finally writing a story over 1k.