Eleanor Roosevelt was quoted as saying, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Mary loved that quote. Eleanor had been a very wise woman, in Mary’s opinion. And she carried the quote in her head like a secret superpower. Eleanor’s voice, she called it.

Mary drew upon this secret power throughout the years, when a situation called for it. Which was often. There was a lot of meanness in this world. Kind, quiet and congenial, it seemed Mary was a beacon to every narcissistic sociopath that crossed her path. Or, was it that she was unconsciously drawn to them?

Mary’s mind was weak, at times. No matter how hard she tried, Eleanor’s voice would only come as a whisper. It was in these moments of debilatation that Mary got hurt. She became an easy victim to the insolent words and actions of others. When Eleanor’s voice was too soft, Mary was an insignificant lamb in a world where dragons existed.

Dr. Scott Colson was one of those dragons. Their paths had intersected a few times in the elevator of the medical building where they both worked. Scott had swept Mary off her feet with his charming smile and sincere compliments. They soon began dating, even though Mary had glimpsed the dragon lurking behind his seductive, green eyes.

They kept their relationship quiet, for professional reasons. And things were good, at first. It took a few weeks for Scott to change. It started with an occasional cutting remark. A testing of the waters – she supposed. Mary let the digs slide by without complaint, as she always did when she was smitten. Inevitably, the deficiencies of her character became obvious to Scott. Instinctively, the dragon inside him took control of their relationship, feasting upon Mary’s every vulnerability.

Before she realized it, Mary was a consenting hostage to Scott’s cruel insults, harangues, and degrading demands. She hated her spineless submission and acceptance of her confirmed insignificance in his presence. But she couldn’t leave him. Not yet. Eleanor’s voice was only a faint echo, drifting through the dark corridors of her mind. She couldn’t grasp onto the powerful words and regain her own strength.

That was until tonight.

Slumped over the kitchen table, with her cheek resting in a puddle of desperate tears, Eleanor’s voice shouted at Mary. Reviving her from a pathetic fugue. Invigorating her. Mary blinked and pulled herself upright in the chair. Her head throbbed with a not so unpleasant intensity. Tingling ribbons of electricity traveled down her neck, through every part of her body. The dragon’s reign was over.

Mary walked slowly down the hall to Scott’s bedroom, wearing only the surgical gloves he always insisted upon. Each pad of her bare feet against the cold tile sent another shock wave of electrical sensations through her body, propelling her forward. Eleanor’s voice encouraged her all the way.

Mary hated the breakups. Often, so messy. But Scott had to know she was not his doormat. She was a respected doctor, with several ground breaking research papers to her name. Mary was not one of the pitiful women he was used to manipulating. He would know she was a woman to be respected.

Scott was lying on his side, facing the door, when Mary entered the bedroom. Settling gently on the edge of the bed, she traced her index finger around his forehead, over his nose and down to his sensuous lips. Mary would miss this handsome face. She filed the vision into one of the cabinets in her mind.

Dr. Scott Colson slowly opened his eyes and grinned when he saw her.

“Back for more, eh?” He propped himself up on his elbow and reached for her breast.

Mary brushed his hand aside as she reached for the gold pen and paper on the nightstand, strewn with plates and utensils.

“It’s over, Scott.”

Mary jotted a quick message on the notepad and held it up for him to read. Goodbye, asshole!, she had written, with a little sad face for the exclamation point.

“You fucking bitch,” he said. ” You’re not going anywhere. You…”

Mary snatched up a steak knife from the messy table and slit his throat before he could think, or berate her further. Her period of consent was over. The doctor clasped his hands over his throat, falling back onto the bed. He gurgled and writhed with panic and agony, until Mary drove the fancy gold pen into his right eye socket. Even dragons deserved some mercy.

Mary J Preston, P.h.D, rose from the bed and looked down at herself. Not a spot of blood on her.

“Hmm, clean breakup. That doesn’t happen very often.”

Mary quickly got dressed and slipped out of the apartment, while Eleanor’s voice giggled in approval.

They had a new paper to write.


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