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She twisted the remains of what had once been a handkerchief between her fingers, shedding little bits of white tissue, as she stared at the clothes in her wardrobe.

What should she wear? The little black dress? Too obvious. The long floral one? Too hippy. The scarlet satin one? Too slutty.

She bit her lip. She dropped the tissue in the bin and chewed on her fingernails.

Whatever she chose, she knew it wasn’t going to be good enough.

He couldn’t wait to see her, so he drove over early and parked across the street and a little way down. The trees there shaded the side of the road, so she wouldn’t spot him, wouldn’t notice when he just drove on along as she came out. But he could see her from here.

He watched her through the window, holding one dress after another up to her shoulders and looking in the mirror. He didn’t care which one she chose. In his eyes, she would always be The One; would always be perfect.

But he hoped that she would choose the red one.

Dress by dress, tissue by shredded tissue, she forged a chain that tied her down. She would never be able to escape; her anxiety might as well have been a coat of lead.

Day after day and night after night, with every moment that he spent watching her when he couldn’t be seen, with every moment he spent thinking of her to the exclusion of all other things, he forged a chain that tied him down. His obsession and lust combined would lead him inexorably down one road, and one road only.

Like millions of others, they spent their last days forging chains that held them to the throne of their own personal devils.

© Kari Fay