Nora’s Novel

I first met Nora in a secondhand bookstore when we both reached for the last copy of Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time.” After several minutes of insisting the other person take the book, we wound up co-purchasing it and discussed how we would share it (should one person read the book in its entirety, or would we do a handoff chapter by chapter?) over lunch, which turned into several dates, that appeared to have deeper undertones, ones that could have led to something a little more serious.

The problem, at least on my part, was that I was an open book, while Nora avoided revealing herself to me. That was until one drunken evening when she finally invited me up to her flat and I discovered she was a writer. Curious, I pulled one of her novels off her bookshelf and she tried to snatch it from my hand, claiming that it was a first draft, just broad strokes of the story and she was still fleshing out the details.

I told her not to worry, that I’d turn off my inner critic and view it as a work in progress. But as I skimmed through the book, her entire attitude toward me changed, and I instantly regretted plucking the book off the shelf, because it turned out to be a serial killer story that described in detail how she planned to murder me.

©2021 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

5 responses to “Nora’s Novel

    • This is very loosely based on an actual event when I wore a younger man’s clothes. I once met a woman who looked like Peggy Lipton (an American actress most famous for the 60s tv series, “The Mod Squad” and her marriage to music producer Quincy Jones).

      We went on our own personal pub crawl, saw a local band perform live at an indie bar (who turned out to be the Spin Doctors long before signing with a label) and wound up back at her apartment. Her place was small, spartan and very, very tidy. A place for everything and everything in its place. Except for a television or radio. She had neither. She was an avid reader and nearly every wall contained bookshelves. Nothing wrong with that…except that every book dealt with serial killers, cults, true crime unsolved murder mysteries. Again, her library, her business.

      But her furniture was all covered in plastic, the floors were single sheet vinyl and the tables and countertops were resin…and my mind does the connect-the-dots-thing, teamed with my overactive writer’s imagination and I realize that no one knows I’m here. We arrived at her place around 3am and her neighborhood was a ghost town, no one saw me enter her apartment, and blood could be wiped from all these surfaces easily with a little bleach and elbow grease. And given all those books, she probably knew how to make an enzyme solvent to get rid of any nasty little DNA traces of me.

      Everything turned out fine, naturally, she was just a fellow insomniac looking for some company and we had an interesting conversation and broke dawn, but I did follow her into the kitchen whenever she offered to get me a drink. Just to be on the safe side.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am flabbergasted! So surprised that you stuck around to gauge whether your suspicions were correct. Furniture covered in plastic is never a good sign, unless she was a neat freak and was afraid of germs and stains.
        Following her into the kitchen was a good idea, but she could have easily throttled you with a knife.
        I must say you’re very brave or maybe a huge risk taker (or a bit crazy).
        But all’s well that ends well and your stories (real and fictional) were a treat to read. You had me gripped in both. Anxiety inducing. Thank you for the explanation. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Curiosity killed the cat, I know, I know. But I’m cursed with a writer’s mind and I have to know how the story ends. Besides, it’s all sauce for the goose and grist for the mill. It’ll turn up somewhere in my writing, perhaps even more than once.

        She was lovely company, a gracious hostess, and yes, a bit odd, but I believe we’re all a bit crazy in our own ways.

        Your comments, as always, are much appreciated.

        Liked by 1 person

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