Remember when I said there’s more than one way to kill someone? Well, the statement still stands true, and in fact, I found another way.
It all started when I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me. We’ve been in a relationship for 5 years, almost engaged. When I stumbled onto a chat he forgot to archive and saw exactly what our relationship meant to him – nothing. Understandably, like with any reasonable person, I destroyed his life just to give him an inkling of how it felt when he destroyed mine. It was quite easy, really; men are easy to trick. Just a quick hint, their blood only flows one way, either up or down.
It was quite a quick planning and execution, didn’t even break a sweat. But the girl? Girls aren’t as easy to trick. Unless they’re stupidly blinded by love, their heads are pretty clear. I was sure that she knew of my existence when she made a move on him, but she didn’t know who I was. I guess he never really filled her in on the other woman, which was why she allowed me to follow her Instagram account. And that’s the first stab.
The girl eventually found another boyfriend, one who wasn’t already in a serious relationship. Good on her for her character development, but sadly, I’m not into self-improvement. The boyfriend had a brother, so naturally, the brother became my boyfriend. I finally entered her social circle, and now it’s time to destroy it.
It all started really simple; just buy a copy of a book she’s currently reading. It’s a great conversation starter and I get to find out more information about her. Or shall I say, more ammo towards her? And then I bought one of her dresses she wore to a picnic once and wore it to our mutual friend’s birthday party. She dyed her hair strawberry blonde to celebrate the summertime, and so did I. It was these little things at first. Things that seem insignificant to almost anyone else, but to her, it was the beginning of her paranoia. Kind of like how the Chinese water torture works, just small, inconsistent drops on her head until she breaks from fear and mental deterioration. I knew when I first got under her skin it was when I showed up at the same antique store she visited. Her smiling face while shopping dropped so fast it was comical, and seeing her expression when I told her I was going to purchase the same tea set as her? Priceless.
See, the thing with paranoia is that it isn’t as effective to break someone if there are people around validating their fears and concern. So, to make sure she’s the only one that can see what I’m doing, I hacked into her online platforms. After a couple of searches here and there, interacting with posts that were of my liking, the algorithm slowly changed and soon enough, her style and taste started reflecting mine. Now to her, I’m the one who’s stalking her and matching my identity to hers, but to everyone else, she’s the one matching her identity to me. How is she going to explain that I’m stalking her if she’s the one who changed? And that was the second stab.
Now, to really make her feel unhinged, ask her about things only people closest to her would know. Which means getting information from her boyfriend. It was really easy because our boyfriends are brothers, and again, boys are easy to trick. Her boyfriend doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with me having the same outfits as her, so naturally, his guard is down when I ask about intimate things about her, like who’s her doctor, or where does she go to get a bikini wax. Like I said, simple-minded creatures. As if girls bonded over their ob-gyn.
Anyway, by this point, her sanity was hanging by a piece of loose thread. She knows I’m there, watching her every movement and copying her down to the exact brand of toothpaste. But still, even when the danger was so glaringly obvious, no one else took notice because she’s the one constantly changing her preferences and style from the conflicting media content she was consuming while I remained the same. That was the third, fourth, and fifth, however, many stabs it took to get her to throw a tantrum over moisturiser that ruined a perfectly pleasant dinner. And of course, just a few drops of tear and everyone was on my side.
“Why are you so harsh on her? What’s wrong with sharing the same brand of moisturiser?”
“I’m sure you tell your friends about all your new purchases and products. What’s wrong with her knowing it too? Aren’t women supposed to support women?”
“You made a mess at a dinner table over moisturiser, over something so stupid. Of course, you have to apologise. It’s clear as day that you’re in the wrong.”
“She has been nothing but nice to you. Why must you be so mean?”
And if that isn’t the straw that completely broke the camel’s back and completely bury it, I don’t know what else would be more effective. The glares and disdain in their eyes drove her over the edge, and she angrily slammed the door on her way out, screaming all the way to the car. Her boyfriend didn’t go after her. Instead, he stayed back to help clean up while apologising profusely for her behaviour. I have no idea what happened when he eventually went back to their place, but I didn’t really care. All I needed to know was her next move. It’s not that easy to track a crazy person’s movement, so towards this part of the plan, I was stumped too. But as it turns out, everyone does eventually gain enough strength to face their demons.
She met me outside at the car park after our yoga class and warned me to never, ever, see her again. If I saw her on the street, I should walk away. If I change my doctor again, I should change it back. If either one of our boyfriends wants to have dinner, I should always reject it and not show up for dinner. Her eyes pierced into mine with a fury I have never seen before. That’s when I knew I could push it further. It’s clear I had made a huge impact on her life, so now let’s make it explode. The imitation soon became an actual copy. Now people couldn’t tell us apart, and every comment of us looking the same and being twins just drove her deeper down the dark hole I dug for her. And just like I planned, her threats transformed from verbal to physical. Her absolute last straw was me booking the same exact venue for the wedding and honeymoon as her, and hinting that our kids would enter the same school in the future. And now she sits before me, a glass panel separating us.
“What do you want?”
“Just me showing concern to a dear friend of mine. Is there anything wrong with that?”
“What do you want?”
“To know more about you.”
“Haven’t you learnt enough?”
“You know, for as long as I’ve known you, I never did ask you anything about your previous relationship, did I?”
“Do you remember being in a relationship with a committed man? The chats, the secrets, the nickname ‘taffy’?”
“What? How did you - ”
“He never once told you who his girlfriend was at that time, did you? She was a gorgeous woman, who also had a knack for driving people absolutely insane.”
The air hung heavy between us. Her eyes slowly widened from confusion to dismal, to realisation.
She sat there frozen. Unable to speak, unable to breathe, unable to blink. The cogs in her brain are still moving, but it won’t be long till it breaks again. I did make sure to thoroughly damage it while I could. Like with my previous “victim”, her face drained of all colour as reality slowly started to hit her. And that, my friends, is how you kill someone without needing to kill.
“So, I guess he had a type. I mean, we do look the same, after all.”
© 2022 Alison Lian