Kill Your Darlings

Entry by: jaguar

14th January 2016

George sighed heavily and shuffled his flat bottom in his seat. The expensive leather creaked obligingly. Suzannah pushed her glasses, chosen to make her look cleverer than she was, firmly up her nose. She had no intention of asking George what the matter was, there had been too much ego pandering today. George rubbed his forehead so hard Suzannah could hear his horrid skin rustle. Then he grimaced as he rubbed the back of his neck.

Suzannah had magazines to read, she had a life to lead, she had a million more important things to do than talk to George. There wasn’t one cell in her entire body faintly interested in George’s problems but there would be no peace if she didn’t give in. ‘What’s the matter, darling?’

George looked up as if he'd forgotten she existed. That was a bit much when the whole pantomime had been for her exclusive benefit. Lately George had become a bit too much all round. Suzannah forced her pretty features into a sympathetic smile. It was hard when her natural instinct was to let her lips curl back from her teeth and spit at him. 'Oh - nothing,' he said.

The man was a prima donna, a nightmare of the worst kind. What had she been thinking of - marrying this fake prophet, this peddler of horrific crimes? His novels weren't even selling that well anymore and he hadn't produced a new one in ages. That stringy agent was always on the phone as diligent as a potty-training mother.

George strained his head forward, reminding Suzannah of the turtles in Antigua and how dreadful their honeymoon had been. 'Something's bothering you, Sugar, I can always tell,' Suzannah cooed, beginning to hate herself almost as much as she loathed George.

'Well,' George sat up like a dog offered a treat,'it's that terrible time again. I shouldn't be so sensitive about it but it's the hardest thing I ever have to do.'

Suzannah ungritted her teeth. 'What's the hardest thing? Have you finished your novel? Are you ready to send it off for editing?' She couldn't ask the follow-up questions although it hurt her not to know - would George be going on a book tour, could she have a few weeks away somewhere? On her own.

George flapped his hands impatiently. 'Don't be silly, I haven't even finished my first edit yet. No the time has come to kill my darlings.'

Suzannah slammed her back against the chair. Had she misjudged George to a fatal degree? Was he keen to get rid of her too - keen enough to murder? Had he found out about her plans? 'Kill your darlings?' She kept her voice light, as sun-kissed and infectious as it had been when they first met.

'Yes. It's a sad fact but what I feel reflects best upon me, what could improve my reputation, it's my favourite things I always have to kill.' George was nodding his ghastly, skeletal head with every syllable. The sun's force behind him cast Suzannah in his shadow, made him look like a judge.

George got up and crept over to Suzannah's chair. He circled behind her and put his hands lightly on her shoulders. She shivered before she managed to conjure up a carefree laugh. 'Are you trying to tell me you're a psychopath, darling?'

George's hands clutched at her collarbones. He fancied himself as a masseur but now, more than ever before, it felt as if he was trying to dismantle her bones. Her neck quivered between his hands, frail as a flower-stalk. Suzannah's pulse was trampolining in her chest. George sighed and let her go. 'No, no although I'm sure a few of my favourite characters might see it that way. Especially when they're cut out completely.'

He was talking about his cursed book! Suzannah dimly remembered George using the kill your darlings phrase before. He had to identify which were the most beautiful passages and cut them out. He'd said they unbalanced the novel with their magnitude.

'Why don't you go to your study darling, or, better yet, out beside the pool. I'll bring you a glass of your favourite anaesthetic and perhaps I can make your murdering a little less painful.' Suzannah brought her shoulders forward to deepen the shadow between her breasts. Instantly George puffed his chest out and pigeoned out to the pool.

'Vermin', Suzannah muttered to herself as she mixed his drink, adding something more juniper than it should be to the cocktail. 'Trying a different recipe,' she called to George, 'no worries if you don't like it, I'll make you another and you can stay set in your ways.' That was a red rag to a bull, George thought of himself as a fearless adventurer. He soon discovered how adventurous he could be when Suzannah rolled his unconscious body straight into the pool.

She stopped to check he was face down then grabbed her carneys and drove to the local mall. Days earlier she'd made a little arrangement with her favourite security guard to make the CCTV show the time an hour earlier than it was as she arrived. He'd corrupt some film and change the time back just after Suzannah left the mall. If she shopped for a couple of hours it should give her a cast-iron alibi.

This morning Suzannah almost convinced herself she couldn't do it, it wasn't fair to literature, let alone George. It wasn't his fault he was two generations adrift from her. That was before she remembered his use of the word magnitude when referring to his own writing. That was before he'd unbalanced her with his magnitude.