“Red is a lovely colour on you,” she said.
Sarah smiled and pursed her lips. She looked in the mirror and admired her new look. “Thank you.”
They were at the mall. Sarah had come to shop with her boyfriend, Ken. He was getting a new phone. She needed a few house items. They walked in hand in hand, like the lovebirds they were. Full of love and lust and jealousy. Neither of them wanted to let go of the other’s hand.
It so happened that there was a makeup stall just in front of the phone store. Sarah and Ken had never seen it before. Ken still didn’t see it based on his uncanny ability to overlook feminine products. The stall called out to Sarah though. She wasn’t sure why but she felt a pull. A magnetism. Maybe it was the range of lipstick that caught her eye. Maybe it was the girl arranging them in colour coordination. She admired that level of attention.
Sarah stopped. Ken kept talking, “… and that’s why Arya is the best. Why did we stop?”
She cleared her throat to speak when she saw it. The perfect shade of red. It looked like blood. She wanted it.
“Hello? Earth to Sarah,” Ken said.
“Babe, why don’t you go get your phone and I’ll try on some of those.”
He glanced in the direction Sarah was pointing and gasped. “Makeup? You?” He placed a hand on his chest in mock shock.
“Yes. I want to try it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. You go buy your phone. I’ll spend my time here instead of listening to you compare Snapdragon and Kirin in there.”
“It’s a great debate though.”
“Go,” she said and let go of his hand.
“Oh, I see how it is,” Ken said and started singing, “You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone. You’re gonna miss me by my hair, you’re gonna miss me everywhere…”
She smiled as he walked away. He gave her the finger and she flipped him one too.
“Is that your boyfriend?” Makeup lady asked. Sarah was sure she had given her name but she couldn’t remember it. She gave her the name Njeri in her mind.
“Yes. He’s the best.” Then she quickly added, “Don’t tell him I said that.”
“My lips are sealed,” Njeri did a lock and key impression.
“Speaking of lips, can I try a number 45?”
“Sure. You have a good eye. It’s our most popular shade. Irresistible Delight” She reached over and grabbed a vial. “This is our last one.”
Sarah winced. “So, no sample?”
“Girl,” Njeri said, “I’m so confident you’re going to buy it I’m not even worried.” She smiled and for just a second, Sarah thought she saw her eyes go from brown to grey and back again. Njeri didn’t miss a beat and in no time, Sarah’s lips were blood red.
“I love it,” she said.
“Omg! Your boyfriend will want to kiss you till he dies!”
“Isn’t that the dream?” Sarah smirked. “How much is it?”
“Si mob. Just 999 bob.”
Njeri laughed, “Of course.”
“Oh wow,” Ken said when they met up. “You look… Wow.”
“Shall I pick up your jaw from the floor?” Sarah teased.
“You’re lucky we’re in a public place. Otherwise…”
“Nitakuonyesha tukifika kwako.”
Sarah’s place was a tiny bedsitter on the outskirts of the University. The bed took up most of the space and the table where she studied slash prepared her meals pretty much took up the rest. She had her books in a stack on one side of the table. Her laptop was on top of the stack. Next to that was a cutting board and a large knife she had used earlier. The chair was by the foot of the bed and under the table was a pile of unwashed dishes. She meant to get to them but hadn’t got the chance to.
Ken sat on the bed and set up his phone. Sarah locked the door.
“So, about that threat earlier,” she said. She stood in front of him, one hand on her hip the other in her hair.
Ken put his phone away and beckoned her to him. She stood in the space between his legs. He brought his hands to her butt and squeezed. “It wasn’t an idle threat,” he whispered. He brought her closer and inhaled her perfume as she sat on his lap.
The kiss was startling. She liked how soft yet firm his lips were. How he lingered on her lower lip. How he gently bit her. But it felt different. Ken was hungry for her lips. His hand in her hair, the other on her lower back. Her hands were around his neck. He was sweaty. His skin glistened and glowed from the moisture. Still kissing, he lifted her and put her on the bed. He climbed on top of her, nesting himself between her thighs.
Then he bit her and drew blood.
“Ouch!” She pulled away.
“I’m so sorry,” he said quickly. He lowered himself to kiss her again.
“No. I’m bleeding.”
“I don’t care.” He forced himself on her lips. He liked the taste. He could not get enough. She tasted like warm cookies. Like chocolate. Like an ice-cream sundae. She tasted like a cold beer on a hot day. She tasted like honey. He had to have more. His teeth bit down again.
Sarah screamed. Ken did not stop. He savoured her blood as it ran down her face. He licked it as it came. He bit down again. Hard. The corner of Sarah’s lip came off her face.
She screamed even louder. Tears running down her face. Ken licked them leaving a trail of red. Her neighbours banged on her door. Ken did not stop. She couldn’t get him off her. He was too big. Too crazed. He tore at her lip. He started chewing. Her screams got louder. She flailed her hand to her side, knocking down the book tower and the laptop. She had to get him off her. She reached for the knife she knew was on the table. Her fingers found the cutting board. She pulled it, as carefully as she could, till she felt the hilt of the knife. Once she did, she grabbed it and brought it down hard into Ken’s back. He acted like he didn’t even feel it. He tore her lip clean off and groaned in pleasure. Then he let out a gargled demonic laugh.
She stabbed him again.
Until he stopped laughing.
Sarah heaved Ken’s body away. She was drenched in blood. Blood seeped from her mouth. Tears cascaded down her face. Her eyes were wide. Unbelieving. What the fuck just happened? She fell to her knees and wailed. She cried until her throat was sore.
She looked at Ken’s lifeless body on the bed. She remembered the song he sang earlier. You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone. It filled her mind and taunted her. Scratched at the fabric of her soul. It was all over. It drowned the noise from the neighbours outside. She was in torment. Then she looked at the knife in her trembling hand. And mustering up all the strength she could, she plunged it into her neck.
They got the door open and removed the bodies. Later, others removed personal items. One took the laptop with the broken screen. One took Ken’s new phone. Another took his wallet. One took Sarah’s bag. That one got her purse, her phone, and her brand-new lipstick, Irresistible Delight.