• Tom Batt

Serial Daters

They agreed to meet at the wine bar in the city centre, it was familiar to them both and not far from where either lived. It had only been three days since Julie had swiped right to Daniel’s picture on the dating app whilst on a break at the hospital. It had been a long morning of surgery and she was beginning to feel an urge that needed satisfying.

Daniel was forcing a pig carcass through a large band saw when he got the alert on his phone to say someone had matched with him. A smile stretched across his face when he saw Julie’s picture pop up.

The initial chat via text had been short and straight to the point, both of them eager to arrange a meet-up as soon as possible. And so now they found themselves sitting opposite each other in a small dimly lit room sipping at glasses of wine.

The small talk was unnatural and forced, they avoided eye-contact as much as possible. Anyone watching this couple would be surprised to learn they were on a date, but as far as Julie and Daniel were concerned this was good enough.

Things took a dark turn however when Julie excused herself to answer an important phone call and Daniel took out a small vial from his pocket. Ensuring no one was watching he poured the clear liquid contents of the vial into Julie’s wine. He pocketed the vial and waited impatiently for her to return. When she did she apologised for the interruption and was about to take a sip of the wine when she paused. Daniel was nervous, did she see what he did?

She placed the glass back down and began talking. She didn’t know. How could she? She was engrossed in that phone call. As he listened uninterested in her meaningless conversation he kept glancing at the wine waiting for her to take a sip, but she didn’t. In fact as she swung an arm erratically to demonstrate a point she was making it clipped the glass toppling it over and spilling across the table soaking Daniel’s trousers.

Daniel jumped up from his seat to look down as his moist crotch, the wine beginning to stain his light coloured chinos. Julie apologised profusely pulling a tissue from her handbag, but he told her it was okay and that he would clean up in the toilets. He made his way up a set of stairs, Julie watching him.

Daniel soaked a hand towel and wiped the trouser cloth grateful it was only white wine. He stood under the dryer to remove some of the remaining moisture and then decided while he was there he would use the urinal.

The restroom was empty, a large space with several cubicles down one side opposite the sinks and the urinals at the far end from the door. Daniel tried to relax considering his options now that his first plan had failed. He stared at the white tiles in front of his face in the hope something would come to mind.

Unbeknownst to him however, the door silently opened and Julie peered in with devilish eyes. She spotted Daniel at the urinal and quietly entered. She crept toward him reaching into her handbag and pulled out a garrotte. She wrapped it around the fingers of each leather gloved hand pulling it taught as she neared him. Just as she was about to wrap it around his neck the restroom door swung open and another man entered.

Julie ducked into one of the cubicles and gently closed the door. She stuffed the garrotte back into her handbag, removing the gloves and listened as Daniel washed his hands at the sink and then left. She had to wait for the other man to finish his business before she was able to sneak back out of the restroom.

When Daniel returned to the table he was surprised to find Julie was missing, until he was startled by her voice behind him. She explained she too had visited the bathroom and apologised again for spilling her drink on him. He was even more surprised when she suggested they take a walk in the park as it was such a lovely night. He couldn’t believe his luck. This would be perfect. Just the two of them in a quiet place. He agreed and they left the establishment.

The park was silent and only lit by the few street-lamps dotted throughout. Their bodies cast intermittent shadows as they strolled along the path side by side. They both attempted small talk as they went, but neither was interested in what the other had to say. It was more to create a distraction while they each considered their options.

Julie clutched her handbag that was hanging on her shoulder and slowly unzipped it. She buried her hand inside rummaging around and pulled out an old dirty hammer. She then lowered her arm so it swung down by her side. She gave a cautious look around and comfortable they were completely alone she raised the hammer high above her head looking at Daniel’s face. He was oblivious to her motions, his focus on the ground in front of him. Just as Julie was about to bring the heavy tool down onto Daniel’s cranium, another couple appeared as if from nowhere walking toward them. Julie’s eyes widened and in a panicked state she lowered the hammer and tossed it aside into a nearby bush. She smiled as they passed them. Blast that couple, she thought. A few moments sooner and she would have claimed the satisfaction she craved. Now she would have to think of something new.

While she was considering her next step, Daniel was concealing a knife down by his side. He was clenching it tightly in his fist, his eyes shifting over to glance at Julie to make sure she was distracted. He brought the knife up and was about to thrust it into her chest when his foot caught on a broken chunk of tarmac beneath him and he tripped. He launched forward landing hard on the ground the knife slipping from his fingers and skating across the path and into a drain. Julie turned to him startled and immediately reached out to help him up. He said he was okay though his pride was slightly bruised and then suggested they go back to his place. He needed to end this once and for all and on home turf he would have more control. Julie was happy to accept his invitation.

Daniel’s apartment was neat and tidy. A place for everything and everything in its place. Julie was very impressed as she scanned the room from her position on the sofa. Daniel was in the kitchen pouring out two glasses of wine. In one of the glasses he dropped a small tablet and waited for it to dissolve. He then carried them both out to the living room passing one glass to Julie and waited a moment for her to take a sip. She didn’t. She placed the glass down on a coffee table and commented on how clean his home was. He was taken back by the compliment as he took a seat next to her.

They continued their banal small talk all the while Daniel waiting for Julie to take a sip of her wine. He placed his glass down next to hers and offered to put some music on. He stood up and approached a stereo system on a shelf selecting a CD and putting it in the machine. While he was doing this Julie reached into her purse and took out a small tin. She flipped open the lid to reveal three medicine capsules. Taking one out, she pulled it apart and poured the powdery contents into Daniel’s wine. She swirled the glass to encourage it to dissolve and then hid the tin back inside her purse just as Daniel turned back to her.

Soft romantic music played and he retook his position on the sofa. He gestured toward the glass on the coffee table and questioned why she wasn’t drinking. Julie made up an excuse that she’d drunk too much already and was feeling light headed. Daniel agreed he felt the same and both of them internally became irritated though they were careful not to let the other see that.

Daniel excused himself heading into the bedroom. Julie knew this was her chance, she needed to strike now. She stood up and collected a heavy sculpture from a shelf. The weight was perfect. She crept into the bedroom to find Daniel crouched on the floor removing something from a drawer. She lifted the sculpture above her head ready to bring it down with full force when Daniel turned holding a syringe in his hand. As their eyes met, Julie hid the sculpture behind her back and Daniel whipped the syringe behind him out of sight. There was a moment of silence and then Daniel spoke.

‘Were you going to kill me?’ he asked.

‘Were you going to kill me?’ Julie replied.

They stared into each others eyes for a few seconds trying to gauge the other and then suddenly threw their weapons aside and lunged toward one another kissing passionately. They fell onto the bed in a tight embrace.

It was one o’clock in the morning and Julie and Daniel were both naked tucked under the duvet exhausted. They were deep in conversation, no longer the useless small talk, but intimate discussions about themselves, how they became the killers they are and their favoured method of murdering. It felt as though they’d known each other for years, the connection they had was the first for both of them. Neither could stop smiling, this time a genuine emotion and not just a front to hide their emptiness. They both felt full.

‘I can’t believe I’ve found someone who understands me,’ Julie said. ‘I feel like celebrating.’

Daniel smirked. ‘Wait there,’ he said as he jumped out from under the duvet and exited the bedroom.

A few seconds later he returned with the two glasses of wine passing one to Julie.

‘To us,’ he said.

They clinked glasses and both took a sip completely forgetting they had each poisoned the other. Their smiles turned to confusion and then fear as they clutched their throats gasping for air. They looked into each other’s eyes as the life left them, both partly enjoying watching the other die until they both collapsed.

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