“You think you can hold out on me?” demanded Bree over the phone. “That’s five hundred you charged over six months as a ‘tip.’ Renters don’t ‘tip’ landlords, you slumlord jackhat! Why do you think I moved out!…Oh, no, this place is far better than that dump!…Oh, yeah?…Well, I’ll see you in court!…You don’t think so! Watch me!”
She slammed down the receiver and scrunched up her face in obvious, visible rage. She was a fighter, this one, but her anger was a slow boil, a coffee pot that had been left on for too long.
She was definitely one to watch. That temper needed to be checked.
The phone she had slammed down was a landline, an ancient, beige, light-up-push-button thing that looked like it had barely survived the ’80s, but it had come with the apartment, and strangely enough, it still worked, so she used it quite often. This was actually something that shone in her favor, as the younger generations did not appreciate reliable technology from the past; they were prone to buying and using cheaply-made foreign junk.
Her name was Bree Maeve Byrne, she was twenty-six, and she worked for an eyecare office as a receptionist.
She weighed approximately 145 lbs., give or take a few pounds, depending upon the time of year. She was white, of Irish descent, with an hourglass body, short dark-brown hair, and C-cup breasts. She had a pretty face beset with dark-brown eyes, a face, mind you, that held no secrets, as her expressions were brutally honest, an honesty that shone forth sometimes as hostility, something she most certainly needed to work on, as her perceived attitude often spelled trouble for her.
Today, she was dressed in a dark-purple Tee with white swirls on it, the shirt faded due to too much wear and too many washes, and this old and favorite shirt was complemented by some similarly old jeans that showed off the contours of her bottom quite nicely, a deliberate decision on her part, but a negative trait in its boldness, an unladylike affect picked up by the tawdriness of peer pressure and modern media.
She wore old white sneakers with no socks, a barefoot in shoe she had picked up in habit long before she’d entered this new apartment, something that would eventually be corrected out of her, right along with most of the terrible habits she needed corrected.
She did not wear dresses as a proper woman should, nor did she have decent dress shoes, white knee-high socks, or anything else befitting a woman, but this was also to be expected, considering the disrespect her generation often showed toward…well…anything.
As previously mentioned, she also had a temper, but it was not the fiery stereotype so often associated with women of the Irish persuasion, no. Rather, it was the slow burn that had, once again, been previously mentioned.
Nevertheless, a temper was a temper, and that was unbecoming of a lady.
Her old landlord was the scum of the earth, a currently-negative situation she was still dealing with, but that situation was simply life in a bag. There was nothing else to that little scenario, and this was not her fault, so those points were in her favor.
Now, today, she was here in her new apartment on one of her days off, although “new” for this apartment was a relative term. She had only been here for a month, and she had struggled to make the place her own, though that struggle was dying out due to the mere passage of time and the inevitable process of acclimation.
This new place’s ancient phone was parked upon the east kitchen counter, so she traveled over to the south kitchen counter where the sink was located, the sink to the left of her white refrigerator, her white oven between the east kitchen counter and the south kitchen counter, to the left of her sink. It was all very compact, but that was to be expected in such a small apartment, and this was also the reason why it was so difficult to hide anything that stood out in any particular fashion.
She stopped and stared down at the pair of aqua-blue ankle socks lazily strung across her black kitchen countertop. She reached down and picked up the offending pieces of clothing, but the puzzled expression upon her face revealed her lack of memory over leaving them there.
You see, Bree had awakened from sleep around 7:00 AM, made her bed (definitely a bonus in her favor), gone to her bathroom, stepped into the shower (as she was already fully nude), wet her hair, shampooed, and had lathered up with soap whilst her hair was percolating in its expensive hair product, and then she had conditioned, rinsed off, and had dried off with a beige towel directly after this, drying her short hair by wrapping yet another towel, this one white, around that wet hair.
There was nothing wrong with these activities, save for the crude behavior of sleeping in the nude, something no proper human being should do. Her daily showering, however, was a fervent positive of the gold standard, as good hygiene was always expected in a lady.
She had used the toilet directly after that and had then walked to her bedroom, fully nude save for the hair-wrapped towel, and then she had removed that towel and dressed for the day in the aforementioned set of clothes she was currently wearing. She had then walked back to the bathroom and had tossed her wet hair towel in a white hamper that also contained her previously-used beige body towel.
She had traveled to the kitchen after this, at which time she had received the call from her scumbag ex-landlord, and this was the moment in time we are at now, that moment in which she was studying the pair of aqua-blue ankle socks within her right hand.
She stared down at the kitchen counter after that, and her lips scrunched inwards as she studied what was there, or rather, what had been lying in wait beneath her aqua-blue socks.
There was an eye drawn upon the countertop.
There was an eye drawn in white ink upon the countertop, probably with some kind of marker, but where one could get a white marker was a mystery in itself. The eye was drawn in the most basic style, just a circle within lids, lines like lashes extending out from it, something even a child could do in terms of artistic quality.
Bree reached down and ran her fingertips over the eye, but it was clear the eye had not been inked on, no, but painted on, and that paint was quite dry.
Her eyebrows furrowed as if struggling to remember such a thing and why it was here, and then she gave her head a half-shake, a gesture in intention as if to say, “What?”
She walked back to her bedroom, the offending pair of aqua-blue socks still in her right hand. She then walked up to her wooden dresser, only to slide open the third drawer down, revealing the rows of rolled and colored panties and bundled socks within.
Those socks were merely for work, not for any other time, and that was something that needed correction. Nevertheless, the orderliness of her undergarments was refreshing, far superior to most of the younger generation, these grown toddlers that lived like hogs and sows in a pigsty.
It was a simple matter to put the socks back where they belonged, and then she was on her way, out the bedroom and out the apartment door, purse in hand, on her way to wherever on her day off, and when she would return was in question, as was her destination.
She returned slightly after noon, only a few minutes past, and the first thing she did was walk through her living room/kitchen area and into her bedroom.
To be fair, this small apartment only consisted of the mix of living room and kitchen, the bedroom, and the bathroom. There was nothing else to this quaint little space, but this was all she could afford, and Bree appeared happy enough with it, especially after dealing with her last landlord.
She walked up to her dresser, that dresser to the right of her bed at the east wall, and she placed her purse down upon it, and that was when she noticed her small makeup kit, that kit normally located within the bathroom but now on top of her dresser, right next to a small night lamp, a night lamp she had purchased quite cheaply at a yard sale.
Earlier in the month, she had spoken to a friend over the phone about the deal she had made after she had purchased the lamp, and in retrospect, there was nothing negative or untoward about being thrifty. This was definitely another positive in her favor.
Anyway, her makeup kit was strategically placed at the back of the top of the dresser, right next to her bedroom’s light-green wall, so she snatched it up, and by the expression upon her pretty face, she appeared puzzled, though this was only conjecture.
To be fair, makeup was most becoming of a proper lady, as any proper lady needed to put on her best face in order to deal with the challenges of a man’s world. Having and using makeup was a step in the right direction, but she rarely used her kit, though she had owned said kit since first moving into this small apartment, and that reticence needed to be corrected.
She studied the case for a few precious seconds before noticing what rested above its former nesting place, yet another eye, this one identical to the first, though smaller, that eye painted in white upon the light-green wall above the back-top of the dresser.
She switched her small makeup case to her left hand and rubbed the eye with her right thumb, but such a rubbing revealed nothing, as the paint used to create the eye had already dried.
Her eyebrows scrunched inward as her lips scrunched inwards as well, and then those lips parted slightly, a look of extreme confusion cast within the profile of her pretty face.
She shook her head, muttered something under her breath, and then headed to the bathroom. She then placed the makeup kit back where she normally stored it, upon the narrow bathroom counter where her bathroom sink was located.
Her orderliness and timeliness in the matter of cleaning up was flawless, something of a surprise for someone of her generation, and this was even more of a surprise for Bree in particular, as she had never enlisted or had been in any way connected to the military, where such habits are usually formed.
She took the time after that to use the toilet, and then she walked back to the living room/kitchen to sit down on her small brown couch and turn on her flatscreen via a black remote.
She flipped through her favorite streaming service until she found a matchmaker show she wanted to watch, and then she vegetated for two hours watching that drivel. Such shows were dedicated in their mindlessness toward women, so such a viewing was neither positive nor negative, as it was expected behavior for her gentle sex.
During that time, she got up to grab an orange soda from the fridge, along with some pretzels she dumped into a small, clear, plastic bowl. The drinking portion of this activity caused her to use the restroom a couple of times, but this was no hardship, as she could pause her show at her leisure.
Snack foods, of course, were a negative in general, as they were unhealthy, overpriced, and resulted in medical bills later on due to such an unhealthy lifestyle, thereby burdening the overall system for honest, hardworking taxpayers.
Aside from that, being of a younger generation, she did not watch cable anymore, and anything she watched was purely of the streaming variety. This was disrespectful to the time-honored tradition of quality programming, but such behavior was to be expected anymore from such a selfish and thoughtless generation.
After she was finished with a very short, two-episode binge, she yawned and proceeded to her bathroom. She used the toilet one more time, and then she flossed and brushed her teeth before proceeding to her bedroom, specifically her bed.
She had already locked the front door of her apartment, but she shut and locked her bedroom door anyway, as this was an additional layer of security for her, an imaginary boundary that was only physical for those who did not know how to evade such simple, protective measures.
Bree then stripped out of her clothes, as the young woman preferred to sleep in the nude, a trend that was most prevalent amongst those of her age or younger, these younger generations bucking long-standing traditions out of a warped irreverent logic, yet one more reason for a well-justified and intense dislike for them by the older generations.
She laid down upon her bed, on her side, not even bothering to cover with a blanket, and she was soundly asleep twenty minutes later.
She slept for a grand total of three hours and twenty-seven minutes, and when she awoke, she rolled over to her bare back and placed her hands behind her head as she stared up at the white plaster of her small bedroom’s ceiling.
She had a decent line of dark hair along her armpits, a failing upon her part to act like a proper woman, but this was to be expected with her generation, a small failure of decent female hygiene that stacked upon the larger failure that was the entirety of the younger generations altogether.
Her legs were spread, incredibly unbecoming of a woman, really unforgivable, actually, because anyone could have walked in and seen her in her most private position, but that was nothing that couldn’t be addressed during a harsh future lesson.
It would not do to describe in detail what she sometimes did from this position…Let’s just say it’s disgusting and cannot be mentioned here.
Furthermore, she was not trimmed down below, and she was going to need a harsh lesson in that kind of hygiene as well…Astonishingly unbecoming. Unbelievable.
These new generations were certainly trying.
You see, when a child is willful and rebellious, that child must be punished in order to firmly establish the dominance of the parent, or that child will never be a productive citizen in any way, shape, or form.
These younger generations were nothing more than uncouth anarchs, and their national parent, our great government, has long since diminished into nothing more than a corrupt and pensive “buddy” without direction for its citizen-children. This willful and rebellious outlook and behavior, however, could be remedied on an individual basis, and it would be.
But enough ranting. There was too much ranting anymore, especially online. There was never enough action, never enough of what was actually needed to correct society, and that was something that would be remedied shortly…Yes, all of this was merely a prelude to something greater anyway.
Bree sat up on her bed, her hands at her sides, and her dark eyes widened in surprise. She hopped out of bed and walked over to the plain and bare, light-green wall across from her bed to study what was hanging there.
A small nail had been hammered into that wall days earlier, a nail she had never really noticed until now, and it was upon that nail that hung a fine print dress, a white dress with green and pink print, the print markings of fresh spring roses, and beneath that dress upon the light-blue carpet were new black dress shoes with new knee-high white socks tucked within those shoes.
She walked over to the clothing and gripped the dress with both hands. Her naked body trembled as she pulled the dress from the wall, that tremble an obvious visual sign of an intense fear and releasing of adrenaline, but that fear and adrenaline were surely amplified by what was behind the dress.
Upon the blank, light-green wall was a large white eye, that eye painted on the wall, that eye identical to the first two she had discovered, only larger than the previous two.
I, of course, had painted those eyes during her moments of absence, or in the case of the last one, while she had been asleep. Those eyes represented the watchful eye of the concerned, a concern not just for her, but for society as a whole, that watchful eye a symbol of order and respect that needed to be honored and would be honored, if not by example, then by force.
Monitoring her activities had been a simple task with the placement of thirty-one spy cameras within her tiny apartment, and I had placed them everywhere, so as to achieve the maximum angles for equally maximum viewing accuracy.
It was nothing for me to copy the keys to her apartment, nothing at all, and I had a tracker in the lining of her purse to inform me of her location at all times whilst she was away from the apartment, so there would be no untoward early surprises.
But now for the finale, something a while in the making.
It was a simple thing, really, for me to step out of her closet while the dress was still gripped within her shaking hands, that closet left of the bed in the east wall, and it would be even simpler still to subdue her with a quick injection of tranquilizer into one of her bare buttocks while she was both nude and unarmed.
Yes, she was going to learn within the confines of the soundproof training area I had set up within my own basement, and she would either learn to conform to the standards expected of society, or she would be buried in my backyard with the others.
These newer generations were certainly stubborn and stupid, and I’d had more than my fill of disappointments with them. I had a number of newly planted trees in my backyard to showcase that. Hopefully, she would prove different.
Bree stared at the dress, her naked back and bare shoulders trembling, her buttocks taught and tight and clenched with what had to be shaking fear.
“What the fu—!” she rattled off, but she never got to finish that unladylike expletive.
Her unfinished expletive ended in a terrified screech as my left arm snaked around her throat while the hypodermic in my right hand jabbed into the delicate skin of her right buttock.
BONUS STORY: THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL, REVISED
Little six-year-old Victoria sat down on the cold dirt next to the wooden building where the weavers worked day and night to make clothing for the fair people of London. She was freezing, she was tired, and she wanted to sleep, and the last time she had eaten was yesterday when an old woman had taken pity on her and had given her a stale crust of bread.
It was snowing again, and the temperature was dropping, but even so, people were out and about, because Christmas was coming, so she had a chance to make some money. She had one box of matches left and nothing more.
An old man in a top hat came walking by at a brisk pace, and she attempted to get his attention, though the scowl on his face nearly chased her off.
“Please, kind sir, would you buy some matches?” she asked in her humblest voice.
“Begone, you little scab!” said the man as he pushed her down into the steadily-collecting snow. “Off with you before you receive the blunt of my cane!”
Victoria tried not to cry as she stood back up on her stick-thin legs, adjusting her torn and disheveled brown dress to look even somewhat presentable. She was not ready to give in just yet.
She signaled to a wealthy-looking woman that wore a big, feathered, blue hat and a long blue dress. This woman had to have money, as indicated by the large green brooch she wore just above her ample bosom.
“Please, Miss,” said Victoria, “would you like to buy some matches?”
“Away with you, you foul little creature!” scolded the wealthy woman in blue, and she walked off with nothing more to say.
Victoria sat down in the snow and cried. She was so cold and so hungry, and all she had was one small box of matches.
She thought, perhaps, to light a match, light a single match so that she could be warm, and in so doing, she might see happier times within the flame, a happier life when she had been with her grandmother when the old woman was still alive…but then another thought came to her…a much darker one.
It came to her in a flashfire of viciousness, a sudden brand of smoke within her young mind, so she put her plan into action without further thought.
She quickly trotted down the street and around a corner to reach Hawthorne’s Stables. She waited for the stableboy to go inside the nearby building, and once he was gone, she grabbed an unlit lantern the boy had left behind. She poured the lantern fuel upon the hay and then took a single match from her small box of matches. She lit the match and paused for a brief moment to stare into the tiny flame.
Victoria could see the face of her grandmother within the flame, but the kind old woman held a look of fear upon her weathered face, her wizened head shaking in an emphatic “no.”
“Don’t worry, Grandmother,” whispered Victoria. “This will make everything better.”
She tossed the match into the oil-soaked hay and ran as the fire quickly spread. It was not long before half the city was in flames, and she was in the middle of it.
She listened to the screams of those around her as the citizens of London ran to and fro for safety, some gasping for air within the smoke, some catching ablaze as they tried to flee the burning buildings crumbling around them.
A flaming figure came stumbling past Victoria, the immolated woman flailing and screaming, and Victoria recognized this human candle by the burning blue hat she wore. What had once been the woman in the long blue dress, this portly woman now a living pyre, stumbled forward to collapse in the snow, and she smelled like roasted pork and melted fat as she permanently stopped flailing and screaming.
Victoria held up her two little hands, palms out, over the woman’s still burning body.
“Now, I’m warm,” she smiled.
Watch Me Copyright © 2023 bloodytwine.com Matthew L. Marlott
The Little Match Girl, Revised Copyright © 2020 100 More Tall Tales Matthew L. Marlott
The Little Match Girl, Revised Copyright © 2023 bloodytwine.com Matthew L. Marlott