Once upon a time, I left my people to marry a mortal man. I gave him all of myself. I lost Time. I shed my wings. My magic slowly dissolved. But—I learned a great deal.
We were not well-matched, as I am sure you can tell from this tale. Once, while trying to impress some woman he hoped to bed—yes, in front of me, blatant as you please—he told some story about wanting to write a series of books about “The Dark Side” and how he wanted each volume bound in human skin. He seemed to repulse this woman, but I know he used it on others with far more satisfying results (for him). Yet, her repulsion that night garnered for me his ire and his fists. That was the day an idea took shape within my heart.
So I began my journey, with his ‘permission’ and his ‘approval’—and my money from my job—I set out to learn about bookmaking, papermaking, bookbinding, embroidery, and many other related art forms. All at our local University. All in my spare time. All under the Light of the Shining Sun.
I was set to graduate in my sixth year. I, of course, needed to create and complete a thesis work to prove my skill. I had meticulously planned this project before my very first class. For six years, I had written my own Dark Tale in a stack of cheap notebooks that I kept at school in a locker at the gym I never used.
For my end project, I created a large tome with over one thousand hand-made lovingly crafted pages, with bits of his hair, skin, nail clippings and any other optimal bit of body fluid I felt capable of using melted into the raw materials. I bound each signature with a thin woolen thread I have spun myself, thread in which I had woven my ‘beloved’ husband’s hair throughout.
I had also taken classes for ‘fun’. I had learned to make wines, beers, and other alcoholic distillates. For our approaching anniversary, I set to brewing a tonic so strong even the Green Fairy would run from it. I crafted my finest wine, which I called Hobgoblin Night. I worked in careful amounts of belladonna, mugwort, wormwood, and muscaria. As it had fermented, the wine gave off a wonderful woodsy smell, while its deep velvety red fluid bubbled and worked on. It took me time to find that correct formula and proper concentration. The end product, however, was unparalleled. I knew his flair for the dramatic and over the top, so I added a little extra. Before drinking, you lit the beverage, causing into a thick neon green concoction with an incredibly different, but simple citrus flavor.
On our anniversary, my husband drank the entire bottle himself, glass after glass after glass, as if unable to stop once he got started—a factor that hadn’t taken too much time for me to figure out in my brewing, oddly enough. It was a bit of a shock that he drank it that fast; I thought for sure he’d fall to alcohol poisoning…but, alas, he did not.
Once he drained that bottle dry, it took only moments for the magic inside the wine to do its work. The man stopped moving, stopped talking, stopped laughing. I’d already called the restaurant and told them to serve the guests without us as we were hopping a plane out of town for vacation—his surprise for me this year. I had time to work.
My ‘dear’ husband could not so much as blink. His body froze around him, trapping him inside. His body a husk now, unable to move more than enough to draw thin shallow breaths. Now it was my turn.
I had ensured that he would be wide awake and conscious, unable to twitch or react in any way that may compromise my next task. I made sure he felt every kiss and lick of the blade, a lovely little Damascus steel fillet knife I had forged myself. Yet another skill I had worked to develop in the past few years.
I started at his feet, peeling his skin back and away so carefully. I took my time. I made an effort not to harm his hide in any way. I stopped and looked him in the eye as often as I could, relishing what I saw inside his mind. I could hear his screams, although from the outside there was nothing but silence. I watched his tears flee down his cheeks, relishing every drop, much as he had relished my own tears over the years.
Once I had completed my task, I left him there, no skin, unable to neither writhe nor complain while I carefully worked to tan his nefarious skin appropriately. It took a bit, but thankfully we already had the smokehouse out back, something I had asked for several years back, not long after I started school. He enjoyed hunting…and I enjoyed curing the skins and meats he brought me.
Eventually, I returned to him, the waste of him that remained. His soul lingered no longer. Where it had fled, I did not care. Now I had his flesh to dispose of. Since I still had three months until graduation, I wrapped him up in blankets and stuffed him into our recently emptied –due to an odd power outage—deep freeze.
I had planned on a two-week vacation for ‘us’. I had called my job and told them that I had had to quick on husband’s orders. That way I stayed home and worked on creating my book and bringing it to life. In red ochre ink and a dip pen, I wrote out my entire story in that volume—everything I had tracked in my junky notebooks over the years. It was his tale of the Dark Side and he was the star…
I also had another advantage. Husband dearest had trained me to do his job, as he frequently ‘worked’ from home. Usually, this meant he had plans and needed both his boss and me out of the way for the day…so as soon as we returned from our vacation…I pulled out his laptop and acted as if nothing had changed. No one questioned a thing.
The only issue I had was his various women. Most of them called for days until he didn’t respond…I answered every call in my sweetest voice. Every time one asked where he was, I would reply out with some other woman.
Two weeks before I turned in my thesis piece, a month before graduation, I made loud noises all over about having had enough of him and his transgressions. I bought a place of my own, moved in all of my stuff. I made a show of going to the marriage house every day during the day, to clean, to pack, to finish what needed to be finished.
I turned in my thesis. Received an A- for it. My calligraphy, though beautiful, was apparently not as perfect as my instructor would have liked. What can I say? At least I passed.
The day after graduation, I went back to the house, his house. I had brought supplies for a party, The neighborhood thought we were working on a reconciliation, a party after all my hard work. I had scheduled a big to-do, inviting all his friends and co-workers and whoever else I could think of that I knew.
I dragged his heavy corpse out of the freezer and dumped him in his computer room. I threw open bottles of all sorts all over the floor. His ways were widely known—a wife-beating womanizer who enjoyed a blunt regularly. It wasn’t difficult to use the liquor to start the fire.
No one saw me leave the place…I used the smallest sliver of magic that had stayed in my heart to cloak myself…and to keep that fire going until the whole building lay in ash.
Officials ruled his death an accident. A drunk drug addict smoking set the place on fire. I inherited everything, including some lovely settlements from insurance.
I decided now was my time to go Home. To see if I could redevelop and re-earn my Magic. Regardless, I left the human world for good. This is no place for any decent creature.