Alice Turner by Johannus Steger

Alice Turner

 

Alice Turner’s grandpa lied to her grandma. Must run in the family. Alice started picking up a lot of bad habits as of late. Hiracio’s little kitten ears flickered in enjoyment. His black furry tail flicked back and forth as he lapped up the lemon sherbet melted all over the counter. The pink of his tongue flicked and the room permeated with bittersweet juice.

In a puff, Alice released the smoke from her lungs. The charcoal scratch of burned tobacco seared her throat. She pulled her legs up, crossing them on the cool white and gold marble counter in the kitchen. A taste of iron lingered in the air with tobacco and lemon. Alice leaned, elbow to her knee. The blood pooled across the tiles, seeping into the grout. That’ll be a pain to scrub out.

Water dripped from the faucet. Taps echoed through the glossy, white-walled rooms. Alice groaned, the water continuing its slow beating against the stainless steel sink. A knock came at the door. She jumped from the counter and tip-toed, barefoot, around the sticky mess. Tyler Huck never did stand a chance.

His mouth hung agape, eyes wide in terror, as Alice pushed her foot into the dry part of his tossed hair, the color of Jack Daniels water-downed with ice. To think, it all started with a kiss. Some roses. Sex. Good sex too. That she’d miss. Not so much the rest. The knock came again, louder this time.

“I’m coming.” She dropped her lit cigarette into Tyler’s open mouth, listening for the sizzle that never came. Two steps over his legs. Turn down the hall for the door. What now?

Another knock.

“For fuck’s sake.” Alice ran her fingers through her raven locks. That hair from her father that everyone always commented on. Tyler loved her hair. A crawl through her skin made her want to chop it all off in one fell swoop.

She unlatched the chain. Unlocked the padlock. Twisted the knob. Cracked the door.

The woman from 3B stood with that shit-eating grin, and her too perky breasts.

“Oh, hi.”

“Hey, Allie,” she said. What was her name? No idea. “I was wondering if you’ve had that leak looked at.” Oh, that. The bathroom tub kept leaking. Tyler said he’d fix it. Oops.

“Yeah, yeah.” Alice shook her head vigorously. “I’ve called out a worker, I’m sure they’ll be around this week.”

“Oh, good,” 3B said, tucking her head back and forth as if to look inside the apartment.

“Do you need something else?” Alice tapped her foot.

“Oh, I just…” Her eyes darted away.

“Looking for Ty?” Alice scoffed.

“No, no. I’m going back down, thanks.” 3B stepped back from the door.

“No, come in for tea,” Alice opened the door wide and a smile gripped 3B’s face. “I’ve like twenty different flavors.”

The woman sauntered in, like a fucking cheetah. If only Alice didn’t know what she prowled for, or who. Nothing too bad about her, just one of those bubbly people, with too much to smile about. Too much laughter. Too happy. Everyone knows that sort. It didn’t take long after Alice locked the door back up and made her way through the hall and she came upon 3B staring at Tyler’s blood-smothered, trash water-scented corpse. Like a deer in headlights. Such a beauty with her face dumb like that. Those bad habits didn’t feel all bad.

Alice worked the screwdriver out of her pant waist. She’d have stuck it in her pocket, but God forbid women’s jeans get fucking pockets. 3B turned and stared at Alice, tears at the edge of her raindrop eyes.

“Sorry about the mess,” Alice said. “I’ve been meaning to clean, but there’s just so much to do. What kind of tea do you want?”

3B choked on words that wouldn’t come. Her eyes fluttered open and shut. Alice could see the pulse in 3B’s neck stuttering out against the room’s calm. Delicious little morsel. Easy prey. Very few held so still. Funny that. 3B seemed to have plenty of movement atop Tyler before. What could ever be the change? Alice grinned.

That part about her grandpa. Grandpa liked to lie. He’d lie about how much he drank. He’d lie about his weight, his name, how much money he spent on special dances, that time he slipped down a back alley and had his dick in a stranger’s jaw… Grandpa lied to grandma about everything. Those lies stopped when grandma woke up to him dead in his armchair. What a sight that had been.

The skin at his jowls sagged, splotched with sunspots and he reeked of death and liquor. Alice had never seen a dead body before that, nor had she seen the reaction of rat poison in vodka. No one suspected that she cleaned up his vomit. Cleaned up the foam. No one suspected what Alice did when she spent all her time alone.

“Tea?” Alice picked up the kettle and walked back to the woman. “Or are you dead already behind those bright, little emerald eyes?” She poked the woman between the eyes with the screwdriver, enough to cause the woman to go cross-eyed.

“Shame.” Alice said and set the kettle on the counter. She sighed and turned back to the woman from 3B. She reached her arm back and dug her feet into the ground. Alice put all her weight into it and as hard as she could she drove the sharp of the screwdriver into the woman’s temple. Mouth agape, eyes wide in terror, 3B’s body slumped next to Tyler’s and spilled its contents on the floor.

“Such a mess,” Alice said. She licked the screwdriver clean, letting the salty rust fill her mouth, and sat back on the counter with her legs crossed. The tapping of water in the sink played like a harmony with the flow of blood, a river through the grout. Horacio meowed and crawled into her lap with a purr. Grandpa spent too much time lying to grandma. Must run in the family. Alice Turner never even bought tea.