If I had to pick one regret from my life, it would be that I got into the passenger seat of his hot, red convertible. He was sexy and mysterious and everything I thought I wanted. After a stream of bad luck with men and being used and left, I was ready for someone exciting and different. He was the kind of man who made me want to wear mini skirts and sexy high heels. It felt nice to have someone to dress up for and look forward to seeing.
The wind whipped my hair as we drove along the midnight Pacific Coast highway. Normally I would have fretted about the tangles the wind would wind my long, brown hair into but, not tonight. Tonight I felt like we were flying along the road with not a care in the world. We were the only two people left on Earth as the radio blared and the engine roared. My heart pounded in excitement as we raced under a chandelier of stars.
I took his cigarette from his lips and took a long drag, returning it to him stained with my lipstick. I touched his collar seductively and asked,
“Where are we going?”
He didn’t reply but, as I was quickly learning, that wasn’t unusual. At times he seemed to be living in his own mind, it was an intenseness that seemed to draw me in. He glanced over at me with his smoldering eyes and his lips curved into a secretive smile and said nothing.
I began to imagine my own destinations in my head. He’d probably planned a romantic midnight picnic on the beach complete with waves crashing, wine and chocolate covered strawberries. Maybe he’d made reservations at a quaint seaside bed and breakfast where we’d spend the next morning in fluffy bathrobes and eating pancakes.
We approached a scenic overlook and he pulled off the road, turned off the engine and left the radio on to create romantic ambiance. I unbuckled my seat belt to nestle close to him before his hand reached out to clasp my face. I looked at his face, expecting him to lean close and kiss me but he just stared into my eyes. He took his thumb and softly brushed my cheek before running it over my lips and smudging my lipstick.
“Why did you do that?” I brought my hand up to my face to wipe the makeup smudge.
“Your lips are dirty from the other men you’ve been kissing.”
“Wait! What are you talking about?”
“Look at you, dressed like a tramp,” he swung his hand that had been, seconds before caressing my face in what appeared to be a loving gesture, and brought it down on my eye. A scream escaped my lips and I grasped blindly for the door handle, the door was locked and my attempts to open it were futile. I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to reach for the manual lock so I clawed at the handle in vain. Meanwhile he had excited the vehicle and within what seemed like two strides reached my door.
He opened the door wildly and grabbed my long hair by the roots, preventing me from doing anything other than screaming and scratching at his hands and arms. It was then I began to cry which caused my mascara to stream down my face and burn my eyes. He brought me close to his body in a hug to dominate me, to wear me out and keep me from fighting. I squirmed and kicked, losing my shoes in the struggle and they landed on the ground near the car. My throat felt dry and scratchy from screaming. It was pointless screaming for we were completely alone with nothing but the ocean waves roaring loudly below.
He clasped his large hand over my throat and squeezed tightly in an effort to stifle my screams. It worked and the only noises I could manage to make were the attempts I made to breathe. The beautiful strand of pearls I had clasped around my neck earlier were now digging and pinching my flesh.
“Keep a secret for me. Take it to your grave,” I could nearly taste his breath as he whispered, “You’re not the first one and you won’t be the last.” My eyes bulged at the revelation as I looked into his dark, soulless eyes. He brought us closer and closer to the edge of the cliff and my stomach clenched in horror as I realized what he was going to do to me. The fear on my face seemed to empower him, making him even more hellbent on his mission. Despite my strangled screams of “NO!” he held me out over the cliff.
Effortlessly, he released me and the world sped past my eyes. My limbs flailed in an effort to catch myself on anything to save me from the fall. My hair flew up around my face not unlike how it had flown while cruising minutes earlier in the car. My brain felt like it would explode with the awareness of my impending death.
All I felt was bone crushing cold when my body hit the water and then there was darkness, my final resting place. I saw my body sinking further beneath the waves, my brain’s neurons fired for the last time before shutting down to nothingness.