THE SCORPION AND THE FROG (Colourised) - SHORT STORY
THE SCORPION AND THE FROG (Colourised)
The relationship was drawing to a close; it was time for Rebecca to end it.
It’d been a year for Rebecca (AKA Brown Eyes) and she’d settled in to a quieter life with Marc while she waited for the heat to die down.
A year of her life with Marc. A year of domestic bliss. It was all dinner parties and engagements, flowers whenever she came home and home cooked pasta bake melting in the oven. She hadn’t hated it, but she grew bored of it and things just came to an end.
It wasn’t even her decision really.
“End it and come home.” The Man said down the phone to her.
She knew what that meant. Nothing more needed to be said. The relationship was over. She didn’t need Marc anymore. That was that... End it.
And so, she arranged a boat trip for them both. Rebecca and Marc.
A fishing trip in fact. She had never been fishing before. She knew Marc liked fishing and she knew Marc was desperate to get her doing things that he loved. Marc was pleasant – his company was warm. He treated her with kindness. He treated her with respect. She got from him things that she didn’t even know people gave away. She wasn’t raised on patience and generosity. She didn’t know that people would do anything to make you happy. It surprised her. It pleased her. And halfway through the year, she forgot that this was all a grift. A plan. She even forgot her name was Brown Eyes. She was Rebecca for a year. Rebecca grew on her.
They took the boat out as far out as possible. Adrift off the English coast. There was nobody around for miles. They sailed out as far as you could safely sail and just sat on the edge of the boat with fishing rods positioned, a crate of beer stocked and a sun-rising far off in the distance.
They sat in silence and listened to the sounds of open water. Marc wasn’t one of those people that needed noise to interrupt the gaps. Marc enjoyed silence. This was part of his comfort. Brown Eyes had been raised on noise. The volatile noises of the Barnardos. The noises of foster parents. The noises of obnoxious men. The noise of gangland warfare. The noise the knife makes when it pierces human flesh and rips up. The noise of gunfire and blood flow. Marc didn’t have any of this. Marc didn’t know any of this. And she loved the silence. Rebecca sat there and tried to actually listen for the sunrise. She wanted to know if the sun rising actually made a sound.
Hours passed. The water was tranquil. Time had no meaning.
Rebecca watched Marc as he sipped beer and dozed off on the edge of the boat. She wanted him to enjoy today. She wanted him to be at peace....
He awoke. She stood over him, her palm wrapped around the knife handle – a wet, tipsy Macbeth. A gun poked out from her waist. He sat up. Alerted to a menacing presence he was only just discovering.
“Rebecca?” He said.
“That was never my name.” She said.
She sat down on the edge of the boat, made sure she was facing him directly.
“What is this?” He said.
“It’s time Marc.” She said.
“Time?” He asked.
Marc scanned the horizon. He had never felt more adrift in his life, literally and metaphorically. A feeling of isolation and dread cast over him as the realisation that something savage had come to boil from this woman he thought he knew.
“What is this?” He asked.
“Our relationship... It is over.” She said.
“Rebecca. We can just turn this boat around and talk about moving your stuff out then.” Marc said.
“My name was never Rebecca. I was never Rebecca. You don’t understand.” She said.
“Understand what?” He asked.
The fear crept higher and higher every time she spoke. Every time she spoke she became stranger and stranger to him.
“Marc. That is exactly what you were - you were a mark. Do you understand? This was an alibi. You paid the price of being at the wrong place, at the wrong time.” She said.
She surprised herself. Her voice quivered and waved, she didn’t account for adrenaline. This became harder than she expected.
“I don’t understand.” Marc said.
“You have been so kind. And so giving to me. You deserve to understand.” She let her voice soften to try to negate the emotion in it.
“Then tell me.” He said.
“I want you to sit over the far side of that boat. Put your hands in your pockets and once you do that, I’ll give you an explanation.” She said.
Marc stood up and the boat rocked slightly. He slipped on a slither of water as he moved his feet to the far end of the boat. Marc knew he was into something that was absolutely beyond his concept. Something horrible. Something he’d not even been alerted to over the course of the year; not a fucking hint of it. And yet, he was not a resourceful or violent man. And whatever was coming, Marc was certain he could talk his way out of it. Always talking his way out of. Marc had silver tongue. But how silver?
Marc sat down. Brown Eyes slipped the knife into her pocket and pulled out the gun from her waist. It was a strange gun. It wasn’t like a gun you saw on the television. It wasn’t a Beretta or a Magnum or something Clint Eastwood would be looping around his finger. It was like two pieces of metal soldered together.
“I’ve had to keep up appearances. You were that appearance. What I have been involved is, it’s something far greater than you can understand. I’ve been with these people since I was a child. They picked me up, they took me off the street, they put a gun in my hand,” She said waving the gun in front of him, “and they gave me everything I have ever needed. In return; I do whatever they need. This thing has run its course Marc – you are disposable. My name was never Rebecca. It’s Brown Eyes.”
Marc knew. Marc knew then that he was some pawn in some giant game.
“I never saw that.” Marc said.
“Saw what?” Brown Eyes asked.
“Any evil from you. I loved you. I still love you. You may think you owe these people. But I saw love in you. I still see it. You are kind. You aren’t what you are telling me you are.” He said.
“I am.” Brown Eyes said.
“No. I saw it. I can still see it. You are good. Whatever has happened to you. We can work through it. I beg you. Please. I see it. I see it in your eyes. The way you’re looking at me. This isn’t you.” He said.
Tears fell from his eyes and he plunged down onto his knees. His knees became drenched the second they hit the floor of the boat. His hands were outstretched. She took a step back and stood at the very foot of the boat.
“I don’t beg for my life. I beg for yours. I loved you. I don’t who this is now but I know you. Please. This is for you.” He said.
Brown Eyes thought for a second. She enjoyed being Rebecca. She enjoyed being with Marc. She could quit it all now. Stay with Marc. Tell The Man that she didn’t want whatever he gave her anymore. She was in too deep. She liked the normal life. She liked the mundane banality of it all. She could become Rebecca, say goodbye to Brown Eyes. Marry Marc, have kids, get a job, worry about credit card debts and bank statements. Worry about over spending on a bottle of wine. Worry about whether the school system of whatever town she’s living in, is up to the standards of what she wants for her kids. Worry about what her colleagues think of her, worry about whether she is watching the news enough and has things to talk about. And, worry about her nature. The nature she was given. You don’t just shake that off and put on an apron. You don’t lose your nature. Your nature is what you are, what you were born. This was her nature. She wiped the tears from her eyes – she was embarrassed all of a sudden.
She stared intently at Marc – the love and pity was gone. She knew she was what she was. And she loathed him for making her question this.
Fuck this man and his pointless life.
“Get up off your feet and die like a man for God’s sake. You’re weak. You let me into your life and you didn’t know the first thing about me. You trusted me. You’re too open. You’re too giving. You’re weak. A year later and your first lesson in love is costing you your life. If I could, I’d get rid of every single weakling like you. I wish I could make you suffer before I did this.” She said and spat. Contempt invaded her face.
Marc had no final words left.
She shot him in the stomach. He fell back against the side of the boat. The blood oozed from his gut and out onto his hand.
“I didn’t choose my existence Marc. And you didn’t choose yours. We both can’t help it. I don’t blame you and I don’t blame myself. Some of us are just scorpions and some of us are frogs. The difference is, we don’t always dress like scorpions and we don’t always dress like frogs.”
She loomed over him and put two more shots into his head. She grabbed his legs and threw them over the side of the boat. She threw the gun in after him and it plopped through the ocean’s surface and sank immediately.
“It’s in my nature.” Brown Eyes said. Marc was gone, this was to herself.
She grabbed the oars and tried to turn the boat around. The boat rocked on the water and the equilibrium of the boat was lost. The boat lopsided and tipped her into the ocean – her arms flailing in the air before she crashed down into...